Square and Stax are two of the best credit card payment processing solutions on the market for small-to-midsize businesses. Both come with valuable features that millions of retailers, restaurants, and other transaction-based businesses use to more efficiently process payments every day.
This in-depth comparison of Square vs. Stax is the product of our expertise in software analysis and e-commerce solutions.
Square and Stax offer comparable features, which can make it difficult to determine if Stax or Square is the best option for you. To decide between them, it's best to understand the superior features offered by each tool and pick the solution that is best aligned with your company's priorities.
Square Superior Features
Square is a better choice than Stax if you’re looking for the following features:
- Versatile hardware: Square offers the widest variety of POS hardware solutions on the market, with tools designed to let you process transactions from your phone, your laptop, or from a specialized payment terminal.
- International availability: Currently, Stax is only available in the U.S. Companies looking to do business in Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France, and Spain should definitely consider Square.
- Lower pricing: Square offers its lowest tier of service for free, and its Plus tier is also reasonably priced. By contrast, Stax’s lowest tier of service is $99 per month.
Stax Superior Features
Stax is a better choice than Square if you’re looking for the following features:
- Modular features: Stax allows you to mix and match its feature offerings to ensure the best fit possible for your business.
- Easy surcharging: While Square does allow you to surcharge customers, there are some hoops to jump through. Stax, on the other hand, streamlines the process through its Stax Surcharge feature.
Table of Contents
- Comparison Summary
- Square vs. Stax: Comparison Table
- Square vs. Stax Price Comparison
- Square vs. Stax Feature Comparison
- Bottom Line
Square vs. Stax: Comparison Table
|Pricing||Starting at $0 per month||Starting at $99 per month|
|Ease of Use||Square has a clean design & a manageable learning curve.||Stax has a clean design & a manageable learning curve.|
|Best For||Retailers looking for an affordable credit card payment processing solution with a wide array of features and POS hardware.||Retailers looking for a customizable credit card payment processing solution with predictable pricing.|
|Try Square Today||Try Stax Today|
Square vs. Stax Price Comparison
Square and Stax’s plans are completely different in terms of pricing. The starting plans for Square and Stax cost $0 per month and $99 per month respectively. In fact, Stax’s cheapest plan is more expensive than Square’s second-tier subscription.
Square pricing details
Square’s pricing starts at $0 per month. Users still have to pay processing fees.
- Free: $0 per month plus processing fees
- Plus: $29+ per month plus processing fees
- Premium: Custom pricing plus processing fees
Stax pricing details
Stax’s pricing starts at $99 per month. Businesses that process more than $5 million in transactions annually can contact Stax for a customized payment plan.
- Growth: $99 per month
- Pro: $159 per month
- Ultimate: $199 per month
Square vs. Stax Feature Comparison
As mentioned above, the best way to decide if Square or Stax is the best solution for you is to understand their features and pick the tool that's best aligned with your company priorities. Here's the full breakdown of some of the most important features of each tool.
Square and Stax are tied when it comes to POS hardware solutions. Here’s why:
- Stax offers a wider variety of POS solutions and provides a free terminal or card reader as part of its lowest-tier subscription.
- Square has fewer options. However, those options are guaranteed to work together more cohesively via hardware kits, and its $0 tier subscription provides a free magstripe card reader.
In this instance, it comes down to whether your business values cost-effectiveness or flexibility more. Both product offerings have their merit in this category, so you really can’t go wrong picking either.
Stax currently has 15 different POS solutions on offer from five different manufacturers: Dejavoo, Clover, Ingenico, First Data, and Stax itself. These solutions include card readers, which can be attached to a mobile device; traditional payment stations; and pin pad card readers. The first card reader or terminal is free with any of Stax’s plans, but subsequent terminals or readers must be bought separately. If you need to replace a broken or worn-out card reader or terminal, Stax offers a Terminal Protection add-on feature to allow you to make unlimited swaps.
Meanwhile, Square only offers six hardware options, but they’re all Square products and can function together without much worry. In fact, Square offers a number of hardware kits to make purchases and setting up multiple POS solutions easier than ever. All Square plans, including the free tier, provide a Square Reader for magstripe cards. Though Square hardware is cost-effective, this is less flexible than Stax’s free hardware offering.
Square is the better choice when it comes to invoicing. Here’s why:
- Stax offers a number of interesting and useful features for invoicing, such as custom invoice template creation and automatic payment reminders.
- However, Square offers those same features at a lower price and also includes estimate-to-invoice auto-conversion.
With the Stax platform, you can create and send out custom digital invoices via text or email with ease. You can also schedule recurring payments, set automatic payment reminders, and seamlessly track payments and other financial data in real-time from either your desktop or mobile device. Invoicing comes as part of Stax’s lowest-tier subscription, meaning these features are available at no additional cost to you.
Through Square Invoices, customers can send an unlimited number of invoices, contracts, and estimates. Invoices can be sent via SMS or email or by sharing a link to the invoice. The service is free, but businesses that want to streamline these processes should consider a Square Invoices Plus subscription for $20 per month, which adds features like milestone-based pay schedules, custom invoice template creation, and estimate-to-invoice auto-conversion. While this feature is offered as an addition to Square’s credit card processing subscription, the total is still more affordable than Stax’s offering.
Square is the better option when it comes to fee visibility. Here’s why:
- Square provides its processing fees on its pricing page
- Stax does not do the same, nor does it show up anywhere else on their website.
Despite its claims of transparency, Stax isn’t very open with the cost of its processing fees. Even in an article published on Stax’s blog directly comparing Square's and Stax’s processing fees, the company did not provide the actual calculations for its fees compared to Square’s, only showing the results. Until Stax becomes more transparent in its processing fees, Square takes this category.
That said, it should be noted that Stax claims a 0% markup on processing fees, claiming to only make a profit off its monthly subscription fees.
Square is the better option when it comes to availability. Here’s why:
- Stax is only available in the U.S.
- Square is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France, and Spain.
There really is no contest for companies operating outside the United States. Stax is a wonderful solution for U.S. merchants, but everyone else will need to find a more international solution such as Square.
Square and Stax are both excellent credit card payment processing solutions. The reality is that the vast majority of merchants, especially those that work primarily out of the United States, would be happy with either option.
However, Square and Stax are each slightly better for different use cases. You should pick the tool that best fits what you and your business need to succeed.