Stax By Fattmerchant Review
- Transparent membership pricing
- No percentage markup rate for transactions
- Next-day funding option available
- Offers Stax Pay integrated payments processing platform
- Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
- No early termination fee
- QuickBooks integration
- US-based merchants only
- Not suitable for low-volume businesses
- Some reports of billing issues
Stax By Fattmerchant Overview
Stax by Fattmerchant is a merchant account provider and payment processor that has recently undergone some changes. Fattmerchant’s recent rebranding as Stax has required Fattmerchant reviews across the internet to be updated, and ours is no exception. Along with the new name and website, Stax has also introduced a new pricing scheme and a new subscription package — Stax Connect — tailored to software companies. However, for the most part, the company’s products and services have remained constant — and in this instance, that’s a good thing.
Stax is one of the few providers in the industry to offer membership (also called subscription-based) pricing, which eliminates the percentage markup over interchange in exchange for a higher monthly subscription fee. Fattmerchant fees are also consolidated into a single monthly fee, making your costs more stable and predictable. Membership pricing is a variation of interchange-plus pricing, except the percentage markup is 0%.
After running the numbers and talking to business owners, we can confidently say that Stax offers an outstanding value for a wide variety of merchants. For instance, almost all merchant account providers charge a highly inflated rate for eCommerce and phone order accounts. Stax does not. And since the part of your markup usually assessed as a percentage of your overall volume is just a single flat fee with Stax, what you pay is both predictable and has volume discounts built-in. The more you process, the less you pay in terms of the percentage of your overall card payment volume.
We’re also fans of the company’s Stax Pay integrated payments platform. This web-based service includes payment processing, advanced invoicing and billing, inventory management, advanced reporting features, and more. Furthermore, you’ll get access to a growing list of add-ons and integrations through Stax’s app marketplace.
Put it all together, and Stax By Fattmerchant a score of 5 out of 5 stars. It’s not a great value for most low-volume merchants, but that’s really its only major flaw. The company claims to save its merchants an average of 40% on their overall processing costs, and we’ve seen examples of businesses that saved even more. Read on for the full scoop!
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Stax supports just about any business type through a combination of in-house and third-party products. All of Stax’s membership-based pricing plans come with a full-service merchant account, including 24/7 customer support. However, you’ll have to pick which products you intend to use when you sign up. Of course, you can always add more later.
Let’s start by breaking down the company’s core services and then we’ll explore some of the perks of the StaxPay integrated platform.
- Merchant Accounts: Unlike payment services providers (PSPs) such as Square, Stax offers full-service merchant accounts with a unique merchant ID number for each business. The company is not a direct processor and partners with Worldpay for actual payment processing.
- Countertop Terminals: For brick-and-mortar merchants, Stax offers a choice of several Dejavoo terminals (along with the PAX A920) for merchants who need a countertop payment device. If you already have a terminal, Stax will also reprogram it to work with its system for free. You can add a protection plan to get more comprehensive support for your terminals. This is the ideal option if you don’t care about having your terminal integrated with your POS system. And thankfully for merchants, Stax sells terminals outright instead of leasing them.
- Integrations: Stax doesn’t have an extensive list of third-party integrations proudly displayed on its site the way some payment processors do. But you can integrate Stax’s payment processing into other solutions, including POS systems, and use Stax terminals to accept in-person payments.
- Virtual Terminal: If you mostly key in your payments through a computer (such as in an office environment or by taking phone orders), Stax’s virtual terminal can be a great deal. You’ll also get access to a customer database, invoicing, and inventory management features, which we’ll talk about shortly. Plus, the virtual terminal can connect to Stax’s credit card readers, so you can take advantage of in-person rates. And if you don’t want a full shopping cart but need an easy way to accept payments online, Stax Pay includes a very basic website payments feature starting at the Growth plan level.
- Mobile Processing: The Stax Pay mobile app is available for both iOS and Android. The BBPOS Chipper BT and Chipper 2X BT mobile card reader are offered as mPOS options, both of which connect via Bluetooth and support EMV payments (the 2X model also supports Apple Pay). The Stax website indicates that the Dejavoo Z1 and Z9 readers are now available as well. The mobile plan includes access to other aspects of the Stax platform at no additional cost, specifically invoicing and inventory.
- Shopping Cart: Want to sell online with a no-fuss payments processor? Stax offers a customizable shopping cart for eCommerce businesses. You’ll keep customers on your site during the entire process, and you have control over the look and feel of your shopping cart. This is more advanced than the website payments feature included with the Stax virtual terminal.
Stax Pay Software Suite
The Omni Fattmerchant integrated payments platform has now become Stax Pay. The platform centralizes all of your transactional information and provides several other features as well. Let’s take a look at Stax’s customer database, invoicing, inventory, and reporting features, all included at no additional charge:
- Centralized Web Portal: Logging into the Stax Pay platform will give you all of the information about any and all of the Stax services you’re using. Overall, the Stax Pay portal is fairly easy to use and surprisingly intuitive, but Stax also offers a relatively basic but explanatory tutorial. I think the tutorials could be fleshed out with more detail for those who are a little more hesitant to go poking around the dashboard. However, it genuinely seems like most of Stax’s customers have no trouble finding their way around.
- Customer Database: The customer database lets you keep track of important details, such as preferred payment methods, purchase histories, invoices billed to the customer, and any other data. You can also store cards on file so that you don’t need to ask for your customers’ card information every time they make a purchase.
- Inventory Management: Stax’s inventory system is surprisingly functional, though it’ll never rival a full-scale POS. Still, if you’re using invoicing or website payments, the virtual terminal, or the mobile app, it can be a handy tool. While you won’t see barcode or SKU support, the inventory tracking and centralized catalog are still nice. Inventory features include:
- Mark item as service
- Low-stock alerts
- Set discounts
- Manage tax rates
- Item categories
- Attach image files
- Invoicing: You can send invoices from the mobile app or the virtual terminal. Unsurprisingly, the invoicing feature syncs with your customer database and item catalog to fill in key details. I like that you can even set recurring invoices and see your scheduled invoices at a glance. It’s not as advanced as PayPal or Square, which admittedly are entry-level compared to full-fledged invoicing solutions, but Stax will get the job done. However, if you want the ability to require down payments, set up installments, or anything more advanced, you might be better served by a dedicated billing service.
- Reporting: The reporting features (included at no extra charge) are rather basic, but they’re not the worst tools I’ve seen. In addition to all your financial data, you’ll get item sales and item category reports and even a projected inventory report. Plus, you can view all the data from multiple sales channels with the Stax report. If you want more information, you’ll need to get on one of Stax Pay’s more expensive subscription plans or pay an additional $20 per month for the advanced reporting add-on. I’m always a little disappointed to see this practice of charging more for advanced reporting. However, it’s not an uncommon practice — just one that I don’t like.
Stax’s approach to an integrated, all-in-one platform for payment processing isn’t without its flaws (specifically regarding pricing, which I’ll discuss in the next section). But as far as execution, Stax has done really well. The centralized platform works, even if it’s not as robust as what you would get with stand-alone software in each category. If I’m honest, I don’t think Stax is even as robust as Square (those are some mighty big shoes to fill, after all).
But there’s one significant difference between Stax and Square: Stax sets its customers up with their own merchant accounts, translating into greater account stability. For larger businesses that don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles, Stax is a great solution. And even for smaller businesses that want stability and an integrated platform, Stax makes sense — it just comes at a cost. This brings us to the subject of pricing.
Stax By Fattmerchant Fees & Rates
Stax by Fattmerchant pricing has recently been overhauled. For payment processing, the vast majority of merchants (those processing under $5 million annually) will be charged $99/month to process both swiped and keyed payments. Previously, swiped and keyed payments each required their own $99 monthly service fee, and merchants processing over $500,000 annually were made to pay $199/month for each. Neither one of these conditions now applies, which we (and all merchants processing between $500K and $5 million a year) love to see.
Of course, there are per-transaction fees as well. For each payment you accept, you’ll be paying the following:
- Swiped/Dipped/Tapped Transactions: $0.08 + interchange fee per transaction
- Keyed-In Transactions: $0.15 + interchange fee per transaction
The cost of a Stax subscription covers many of the incidental fees commonly charged by merchant services providers. Here’s what you won’t be paying:
As a merchant, understand that Stax offers its core services (terminals, the mobile POS, the shopping cart, integrations, and the API) on an à la carte basis rather than as an all-in-one platform. (Secondary features, such as invoicing and inventory, do overlap because they’re included as part of the Stax Pay platform.) However, the new pricing scheme means that your $99 monthly fee allows you to process both swiped and keyed payments. Previously, you would have had to pay $99 per month for each service, bringing your costs up to $198 per month.
These costs apply to merchants processing under $5 million annually. Merchants processing more than that are directed to sign up for Stax Enterprise. Enterprise prices are not listed on the Stax website, so high-volume merchants will have to contact the company for a consultation.
Additionally, Stax offers a processing package tailored to SaaS software platforms called Stax Connect. Described by Stax as a “fully managed payments facilitation ecosystem for your platform,” Stax Connect has no publicly-listed prices, so you’ll have to contact Stax for pricing details.
Now, let’s examine the costs associated with the Stax Pay software suite.
Stax Pay Software Pricing
Stax Pay is offered in three different subscription plans: Starter, Growth, and Pro. Each successive plan is pricier and more well-featured than the previous. Here are the details:
|Starter Plan||Growth Plan||Pro Plan|
|Customer Support||Ticket-based||Ticket-based||Account Manager|
|Reporting & Dashboards||Basic||Standard||Advanced|
|Cards On File Included?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Recurring Payments Included?||No||No||Yes|
|API Key Included?||No||Yes||Yes|
All Stax Pay plans include ACH processing, with each ACH transaction costing you 1% of the transaction up to a maximum of $10. At the Growth level, you’ll get web-hosted payment support, Text2Pay, and accounting reconciliation lite sync (comes with QuickBooks Online). Finally, the Pro plan includes such advanced features as a one-click shopping cart with catalog management, data exports, and an account updater that automatically updates your customer’s saved information when they receive a new card.
All things considered, Stax isn’t very cost-effective for small businesses that want an all-in-one payment platform. Without the large volume to deliver cost savings, the monthly fees add quite a bit to that overall markup, and it’s more pronounced the more services you plan to use. If you’re processing less than $10,000 per month, you will probably be better served by finding another platform that offers more affordable pricing for multiple payment channels.
The good news is that, as I said earlier, the monthly subscription fee covers just about everything beyond the payment processing: statements, PCI compliance, and even a free QuickBooks Online integration. Stax can be a great value for many merchants. It’s just not a great deal for all merchants, which is true of any processor. Be sure to do your math to ensure that Stax’s pricing and feature set make sense for your business.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
As you would expect from a young, tech-focused company, Stax’s website is professional-looking and easy to navigate. There’s a lot of useful, easy-to-understand information for prospective merchants and clear descriptions of the company’s standardized pricing plans. The fact that Stax discloses any pricing information puts it ahead of most traditional merchant services providers that operate on a quote-based system and mostly use their websites to entice merchants into contacting their sales department.
At the same time, pricing information for the company’s optional add-on services is often not disclosed, obscuring the fact that you’ll have to pay extra to add these features to your account.
Stax relies on an in-house sales team and an online sign-up process to bring on new merchants. The online setup process is a good choice if you’re in a hurry to get your account activated as soon as possible and you’re confident the pricing is a perfect fit for your needs. We recommend talking to a sales representative rather than signing up online if you doubt how well Stax will work for your business. It’s always nice to see that a company has an in-house sales team because using third parties tends to present all sorts of troubles.
Like any technology-focused merchant services company, Stax has a very active social media presence. Its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts are frequently updated with new content, along with an active YouTube channel. And as a writer, I love to see that the Stax blog is full of helpful, recent content.
Finally, you can also check out some of Stax’s existing customers and testimonials on its Customer Reviews page.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Regarding contract transparency, Stax publishes its Terms and Conditions right on its website — something very few providers will do for you.
All Stax accounts feature month-to-month billing with no early termination fee. You’ll need to provide thirty days’ notice when you close your account, but that’s it. This is exactly what we like to see, and it’s what you should be looking for in a payment processor. There’s no reason to go with any company that locks you into a multi-year contract when quality processors offer month-to-month agreements.
As always, we encourage you to read your entire contract very thoroughly before signing up.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Stax’s extensive knowledgebase reduces the likelihood that you’ll need direct support from the company. There’s even a functioning search bar (You would not believe how rare a functioning search feature is!) The only criticism I have here is that some of the support articles appear to be a bit dated, as they lack the new company branding.
If you need to reach out to a customer support representative, Stax offers free 24/7 technical support via an email ticketing system. You can also call Stax for direct support. Round-the-clock assistance is always great to see. Subscribers to the Pro plan will also get a dedicated account manager for an extra degree of personalized support.
It’s common for merchant services providers — even some of the really good ones — to receive a lot of negative feedback about customer support from frustrated merchants. That’s why it means so much that Stax receives a lot of positive customer service feedback. We specifically see quite a few comments that call out Stax for having responsive and helpful customer service, though there are some complaints as well.
If you’ve had any experience with Stax’s customer service, please leave us a comment and tell us about it!
Stax By Fattmerchant Reviews, Complaints, & Testimonials
Negative Fattmerchant Reviews & Complaints
If you go back and look at Fattmerchant reviews from before the rebrand and then look at more recent Stax reviews posted by users, you won’t see a clear pattern of recurring issues with the company’s products. However, there has been an uptick in complaints lately, mainly regarding customer service and billing issues.
Stax is now accredited by the BBB and currently has a stellar A+ rating. However, the company has had 23 complaints in the past three years, 19 in just the past 12 months. This represents a significant increase in complaints from the time of our last review update. Additionally, merchants have left 11 1-star reviews on Stax/Fattmerchant’s BBB profile. We have a handful of complaints on our site as well, which you can read in the Comments section below.
Here are the issues most commonly mentioned in these complaints:
- Billing issues
- Customer service problems
- Withheld funds
- Hidden monthly fees
While it would be ideal to see no complaints at all, the reality of the payment processing industry is that every provider receives complaints of one sort or another. Luckily, Stax appears to respond to all complaints and offers to resolve the situation. The recent uptick in complaints is certainly worth monitoring, though, and we’ll see if this continues.
Positive Fattmerchant Reviews & Testimonials
The majority of Fattmerchant reviews (most of which date to the pre-Stax era; the rebrand is very recent) found online are positive. As I said before, quite a few comments call out the company for having excellent customer support. Also, many of the merchants mention that they are saving money with Stax. An odd but fairly common comment is that many of these merchants think the concept behind Stax is great. I see phrases such as “tech-savvy” and “user-friendly” as well as “forward-thinking.” Other merchants have said the “concept is smart and timely” and that the company is “ahead of the game.”
It’s really rare to see those kinds of comments, and what that says to us is that Stax communicates its value well and stands out as different. And despite the recent increase in complaints — which we take seriously — the company still receives an average customer rating of 4.4 out of 5 at Trustpilot based on 544 reviews. A sizable majority of recent reviews on the site give the company 5 stars.
If you want to see more praise, you can check out Stax’s Customer Reviews page on its website. The testimonials — mostly from local businesses in the Orlando area — come across as unscripted and genuine.
As you might have guessed, we really like Stax. In addition to the company’s unique take on the membership pricing model, its open, transparent business style is a refreshing change of pace. It’s a genuine relief to find a provider that treats its customers with respect and offers such a flexible and affordable service. We would love to see the success of Stax and similar providers lead to long-lasting changes throughout the entire processing industry. Will that happen? It’s hard to say for sure, but I’d certainly like to think things have already begun changing.
At the same time, no provider is perfect. You’ll have to do some math and compare features to make sure that Stax is a good match for your business. For one thing, the company does not provide high-risk merchant accounts. Beyond that, Stax may not be a great value for low-volume merchants, especially ones with small ticket values. Plus, if you plan to combine multiple aspects of the company’s services, you could end up with quite a costly monthly fee. While the threshold will vary from one business to the next, we’ve generally found that merchants processing less than $10,000 per month will save money overall by using a payment service provider (PSP) such as Square. However, merchants consistently processing above that amount can save a significant amount of money on credit card processing with Stax.
Additionally, the uptick in complaints lodged against the company over the last six months or so is worth monitoring. All merchant services companies receive complaints, and the majority of Stax customer reviews are still positive, but we’ll be watching to see if this trend continues.
All in all, you may find that the total value provided by Stax’s platform — including credit card terminal sales, centralized invoicing, data analytics, inventory management, and other features — makes the service worthwhile, especially combined with the stability of a full-service merchant account.
Even with the caveats we’ve mentioned, we’re giving Stax a score of 5 out of 5 stars, our highest recommendation. If you think that the service could be beneficial to your business, by all means, give Stax a try.
As always, we encourage readers who have had personal experience with Stax — good or bad — to leave a review in the Comments section below. Thanks for your help and feedback!
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
Stax by Fattmerchant
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Stax by Fattmerchant for yourself.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
Stax by Fattmerchant
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Stax by Fattmerchant for yourself.