Our rating(3.8/5)
Stripe Terminal extends your online Stripe payments to in-person payments.
Stripe Terminal is a card machine service for chip and contactless payments through your Stripe account. It unifies your online and face-to-face sales in Stripe to simplify payments and reduce compliance work common in physical card terminals.
  • Highs: Sales synced across channels. Custom checkout. No lock-in. Pre-certified terminals reduce hassle.
  • Lows: Requires development resources. Can’t be integrated with many existing POS systems. Long payouts.
  • Best for: Online-first businesses with a developer to customise the ideal in-person checkout.

How does it work?

Stripe Terminal is primarily for online-first businesses using Stripe. The solution is built with developers in mind, as it is necessary to use a software development kit (SDK) and application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate the terminal with your own web app or mobile app, or compatible point of sale (POS) software.

The Stripe Terminal solution consists of:

  • Your mobile or web-based application
  • Your Stripe backend
  • Card terminal
  • Terminal SDK

In the UK, you can choose between two card machines: a small card reader with a PIN pad or handheld smartPOS card terminal, both manufactured by BBPOS.

The pre-certified card machines are set up to work smoothly with Stripe’s payments system, but it is expected you implement code – guided by Stripe’s documentation – in order to connect and personalise it with your POS software.

That said, the Stripe card readers can connect with a few third-party payment apps without code, usually for an additional fee per transaction.

The card terminals accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Stripe Terminal fees

Fees and costs are simple with Stripe. You pay upfront for the chosen terminal (£179 + VAT for the touchscreen terminal, £49 + VAT for the small card reader), then a fixed rate + fixed fee per transaction.

Stripe charges
Mobile card reader (BBPOS WisePad 3) £49 + VAT
Touchscreen terminal (BBPOS WisePOS E) £179 + VAT
Setup fee None
Monthly fee None
Terminal transaction fee European cards: 1.4% + 10p
Non-European cards: 2.9% + 10p
Currency conversion (+ transaction fee) 1%
Refund processing Original transaction fee is retained
Chargebacks £15 each
Instant payouts (optional) 1% per payout
Stripe
charges
Mobile card reader (BBPOS WisePad 3) £49 + VAT
Touchscreen terminal (BBPOS WisePOS E) £179 + VAT
Setup fee None
Monthly fee None
Terminal transaction fee European cards: 1.4% + 10p
Non-European cards: 2.9% + 10p
Currency conversion (+ transaction fee) 1%
Refund processing Original transaction fee is retained
Chargebacks £15 each
Instant payouts (optional) 1% per payout

There are no monthly costs, setup fees or complicated rates – you just pay the same transaction rates per successful transaction: 1.4% + 10p for European cards or 2.9% + 10p for non-European cards. If you choose to accept a payment in a different currency than the cardholder’s, a currency conversion fee of 1% is added on top.

When a refund is processed, the transaction fee (e.g. 1.4% + 10p if a European card was used) is retained by Stripe – no additional refund fee is added.

Chargebacks incur a £15 cost each. If the cardholder’s bank resolves the disputed payment in your favour, you get this fee back.

With Stripe’s Instant Payouts, you can receive transactions immediately for an additional 1% of the transaction total. Otherwise, it can take about 7 working days to receive payouts in your bank account.

Terminal specs

Stripe gives you a choice between the following two card machines in the UK.

BBPOS WisePOS E:

  • Handheld and countertop card machine costing £179 + VAT upfront
  • WiFi connectivity or Ethernet through optional dock
  • 5″ colour touchscreen
  • Battery-powered or plugged in
  • Accepts chip, contactless and magnetic stripe cards
  • Compatible with iOS, Android and JavaScript SDKs

Photo: Stripe

Stripe WisePOS E

Stripe’s touchscreen terminal is a BBPOS WisePOS E model.

BBPOS WisePad 3:

  • Mobile card reader costing £49 + VAT upfront
  • Must be connected to a mobile app to accept payments
  • For on-the-go payments using your phone’s or tablet’s WiFi or GPRS/3G/4G
  • Colour display and built-in PIN pad
  • Accepts chip, contactless and magnetic stripe cards
  • Compatible with iOS and Android SDKs

Photo: Stripe

Stripe’s mobile card reader is a BBPOS WisePad 3 model.

The card machines come pre-certified and are PCI-compliant. To start using any of them, you must first connect it with your POS application through the Stripe Terminal SDK.

In the US, Stripe offers different card machine models: Verifone P400 and BBPOS Chipper 2X BT. A new card reader for Stripe called ‘Stripe Reader’ is due to be launched in the near future in the US.

Integrations with third-party POS with no (or little) code

What if you use Stripe online payments with an ecommerce platform and don’t have the budget to hire a developer to set up a POS solution for the Stripe terminal? Then you have a few options that connect with a Stripe reader.

Big Cartel app: The Big Cartel ecommerce platform is popular with artists. If you’re already using Stripe for a Big Cartel online store, downloading this payment app would be the simplest way for you to accept in-person payments through Stripe Terminal.

Krossroads POS: Full-featured point of sale app for Android devices only. Free and paid plans available. Works with BBPOS WisePad 3 and BBPOS WisePOS E card readers.

M&M POS: Free POS system (iOS, Android, macOS or Windows) with various payment methods like invoicing, subscriptions and card reader payments through BBPOS WisePOS E. No monthly fee, but a 1% transaction fee is added to Stripe’s own rates.

Stripe Payment app on iPhone

‘Payment’ app on iPhone has only basic features, but it works with Square Terminal.

Payment: There’s a payment app for Stripe Terminal aptly called ‘Payment’. It costs 1% on top of Stripe’s transaction fee, with no monthly fee or commitment.

Terminal for Stripe and WooCommerce, by Arcane Strategies: Plugin for WooCommerce merchants for accepting in-person payments through BBPOS WisePOS E without an app or BBPOS WisePad 3 with a mobile app.

Other Stripe-compatible apps from third parties appear to work with Stripe Terminal, but only the US card reader models. We know that Collect for Stripe still only works with BBPOS Chipper 2X BT, whereas Vēmos and Nomod have not confirmed compatibility with UK Stripe readers.

Apart from that, popular POS systems may also integrate with Stripe Terminal (for instance, Lightspeed), so it’s worth checking with your POS provider if they can support or set this up for you.

Reports and admin features

A major part of Stripe is its backend management and report functions. It is here you manage online payments such as subscriptions, online bookings and ecommerce transactions, as well as chargebacks, customers and other business functions related to payments.

In the case of Stripe Terminal, you have a fleet management section where you can monitor and manage all your Stripe Terminals remotely. If you have several physical locations, you can determine location-specific settings for the card readers and view when individual terminals were last active.

Stripe dashboard terminal fleet

Overview of terminal fleet as seen in the Stripe dashboard.

An obvious benefit of Stripe Terminal is that Stripe payments across all channels are consolidated in the backend. This simplifies sales reports so you at all times have an overview of total sales as well as individual transactions however way they were accepted through Stripe.

Customer reviews and support

All Stripe users are offered 24/7 customer support by email, chat or telephone. There are also plenty of well-written resources and step-by-step guides in Stripe’s help section.

Customer reviews indicate a mixed experience of the company. Many users mention account closures out of the blue, with payments refunded to their customers or held for various reasons. Upon contacting Stripe, users don’t get satisfactory or even rational responses.

It appears you have to fight hard to win chargeback claims, even with strong documentation to show you are on the right side of the argument.

Furthermore, Stripe is strict in regards to high-risk business. If you fall under a prohibited business area (if in doubt, contact Stripe), your account may be suspended even if you were initially accepted and started receiving payments.

Other users praise the support, with emphasis on a positive onboarding experience.

Verdict

Stripe Terminal is primarily for merchants already using Stripe for some sort of online payments. Adding a Stripe reader helps consolidate online with in-person payments without the hassle of a card machine contract, PCI compliance and other necessary arrangements for card processing at a physical location.

Moreover, Stripe Terminal is one of the easier ways (with your own developers) to customise a unique point-of-sale experience in your own POS application, whether that is an app uniquely created for your business or third-party POS software compatible with Stripe.

But for those selling primarily in person, Stripe Terminal is not the most cost-effective, nor beneficial, payment solution you should be looking at. Payouts are slow, and non-technical merchants without a budget for developers have only few no-code POS options.

We recommend looking at alternatives to know what you’re up against.