PROS / Helcim has transparent pricing and posts this information on its website.
CONS / If you sign up for an account, you're not assigned a dedicated account manager.
VERDICT / This company is one of the industry's most transparent with its rates, fees and service terms. It has some of the lowest retail credit card processing rates and is one of the few companies that provides a rate lock guarantee.
Helcim offers some of the best interchange-plus pricing and is one of the most transparent merchant services companies on our lineup, posting comprehensive costs and fees for retail, online, and mobile merchant services on its website. This Canadian company has been in business since 2006 and broke into the U.S. market in 2013. Because of its transparent pricing and low rates, Helcim is one the best merchant services companies we reviewed and our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
Helcim rises above the competition in its transparency. It posts its fees and rates online along with examples of processing costs using different types of credit and debit cards. The sales agents our reviewers spoke with provided consistent information and emailed rate quotes and full contracts.
The company's website includes articles that explain how interchange-plus pricing works and discuss the more complicated parts of the merchant services industry, such as PCI compliance. Additionally, this is one of the few credit card processing services that offers a rate guarantee when you apply. This means that the interchange-plus markup percentages won't increase during the life of your account. You can purchase EMV-compliant terminals from the company, starting at $199, which is an average price among the companies we reviewed.
This merchant services company provides only interchange-plus pricing and has the lowest such retail pricing on our lineup with a 0.18% interchange markup and $0.08 per-transaction fee. A discounted rate is available for nonprofits. You may also qualify for lower rates if you process $50,000 or more each month.
If you sell goods online, Helcim can set you up with a virtual terminal and its proprietary payment gateway. The rates and monthly fee for virtual terminal processing are higher, but you can also use it for email invoicing and recurring billing. You can choose to accept credit cards through your website or a hosted payment page. A list of features and integrations is on the company's website, along with its pricing.
Unlike many of its competitors, Helcim lists all of its pricing and fees on its website. Recurring fees include a $12 monthly fee, which covers PCI compliance and the monthly gateway fee. If you're new to merchant account services, one feature you may find helpful is Helcim's lack of a monthly minimum requirement. This means that if you don't know the average volume of transactions you'll be processing each month, or if your monthly volume varies, such as may be the case if your business is seasonal, you don't need to meet a certain processing volume or risk being fined if you fail to do so.
This merchant services provider doesn't charge any setup fees, gateway setup fees or annual fees. Like most of the companies we reviewed, Helcim requires you to be PCI compliant and charges a steep $45 per month fine until you establish compliance. This is the highest such fee in our review, however, it's designed to encourage you to stay compliant and doing so means you won't ever have to pay it.
If a customer disputes a charge and a chargeback results, the cost is $15 per instance, which is lower than the industry average of $25.
Setup & Service
It is easy to apply for a Helcim account. You simply fill out an online application and submit a few documents, including a voided check and a business license or your personal financial records. Approval time once you apply is average, taking one to two days after you submit your application.
One important factor to consider when choosing a merchant account provider is whether it locks you into an extended contract. With Helcim, you pay on a month-to-month basis and can end your service with the company at any time by providing 30-days' notice and not incur any penalties or fees.
Once you begin processing with Helcim, it takes about two days to clear the account and deposit the money from your sales into your business bank account. This is the standard amount of time for the industry; however, some services we reviewed can clear the account in one business day.
Phone support is available 24/7. The Helcim representatives our reviewers spoke with were friendly and provided us with precise information about rates, fees and service terms. They answered our questions in a straightforward manner.
Some merchant account service providers that we reviewed offer a dedicated account representative when you sign up with its service. Helcim lacks this service. However, its high-quality customer service offsets this missing feature.
This exceptional merchant account provider earns the top spot on our lineup for its low processing costs and fees and its high level of transparency. It provides service on a month-to-month basis, charges no cancellation fees and is one of the few companies we reviewed that provides its merchants with a rate-lock guarantee. Additionally, Helcim has knowledgeable representatives who provide high-quality customer service despite the lack of a dedicated account rep. Helcim is a great choice for most businesses, including nonprofits and those new to processing.