Our rating(3.5/5)
Stripe Terminal extends your online Stripe payments to in-person payments.
Stripe Terminal is a credit card terminal that accepts in-person payments through your Stripe account. Using Stripe as a unified payment system for both online and face-to-face sales can simplify payments and reduce compliance work common with physical card terminals.
  • Highs: Sales synced across channels. Fully custom checkout. Pre-certified terminals reduce hassle for Stripe users.
  • Lows: Requires development resources. Can’t be integrated with many existing POS systems. Week-long payouts.
  • Best for: Online-first businesses with a developer to customize 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 program 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

You can choose between two card machines: a small, mobile card reader by BBPOS or larger smart terminal by Verifone. The pre-certified card machines are set up to work smoothly with Stripe’s system, but it is expected you implement code – with the guidance of Stripe’s documentation – in order to connect and personalize it with your POS software.

That said, the mobile card reader can connect with a few third-party payment apps without code, costing an additional fee per transaction.

The card terminals accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, UnionPay, JCB, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay in US dollars only. Currently, Stripe Terminal is only available for US and Puerto Rican users.

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Stripe Terminal pricing

Fees and costs are simple with Stripe. You pay upfront for the chosen terminal (countertop model is $299, mobile reader is $59), then a fixed rate + fee per transaction.

Stripe charges
Monthly feeNone
Setup feeNone
Terminal transaction fee2.7% + 5¢
International cards (added to transaction fee)1%
Currency conversion (added to transaction fee)1%
Instant payouts (added to transaction fee)1%
Mobile card reader$59
Countertop card terminal$299
Stripe
charges
Monthly feeNone
Setup feeNone
Terminal transaction fee2.7% + 5¢
International cards (added to transaction fee)1%
Currency conversion (added to transaction fee)1%
Instant payouts (added to transaction fee)1%
Mobile card reader$59
Countertop card terminal$299

There are no monthly costs, setup fees or complicated rates – just pay the same transaction rate, 2.7% + 5¢, for any card brand per successful transaction.

Non-US credit and debit cards incur an extra 1% transaction fee, plus an extra 1% if there is currency conversion from a non-US currency to US dollars.

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

Terminal specs

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

Verifone P400:

  • Countertop card machine costing $299 upfront
  • Suitable for a stationary point of sale with a WiFi LAN network
  • With large color touchscreen and keypad
  • Accepts EMV (chip), NFC (contactless) and magnetic stripe cards
  • Compatible with JavaScript SDK
Verifone P400 Stripe

BBPOS Chipper 2X BT:

  • Mobile card reader costing $59 upfront
  • Must be connected to a mobile app to accept payments
  • Suitable for on-the-go payments using your phone’s or tablet’s WiFi or cellphone network
  • With no display or keypad, so no PIN entry is accepted
  • Accepts EMV (chip), NFC (contactless) and magnetic stripe cards
  • Compatible with iOS and Android SDKs
BBPOS Chipper card reader

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.

Integration with third-party POS without 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, but you have to opt for the mobile card reader so it can connect with one of the following mobile payment apps.

Collect for Stripe: This is the simplest out-of-the-box payments app for Stripe Terminal. As well as accepting swipe, EMV and contactless payments through the card reader, you can manually enter card details in the app. The only thing Collect charges is a 1.3% fee per transaction (added to Stripe’s transaction fee). Collect has no monthly fees, commitment or other costs.

Collect for Stripe Terminal

Mobile payment screens from Collect for Stripe.

Payment: Yes, there’s a payment app for Stripe Terminal called ‘Payment’ – and it’s a little cheaper than Collect. Pay 1% on top of Stripe’s transaction fees with Payment, with no monthly fees or commitment.

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

Other POS systems may be compatible with Stripe Terminal without necessarily being vocal about it, so it’s worth checking with your POS provider if they can support or set up the Stripe Terminal integration 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 intended for merchants already using Stripe for some sort of online payments. Adding the Terminal solution helps these business consolidate online with in-person payments without the hassle of setting up a card machine contract, PCI compliance and other necessary arrangements for credit card processing in a physical store.

Moreover, Stripe Terminal is one of the easier ways to customize 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.

You are not confined to online bookings, billing, recurring payments, ecommerce and other online transactions with a Stripe Terminal to accept cards from customers face-to-face.

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-techies without a budget for developers have only few non-code POS options. We recommend looking at alternatives so you know what you’re up against.