PROS / Helcim is transparent about its pricing, and posts its costs and fees online.
CONS / This company doesn't have dedicated account managers for customers.
VERDICT / Helcim is one of the best payment gateway services you can choose due to its transparent and affordable pricing and fees.
Helcim is a Canadian payment gateway services company that can set you up with both a merchant account and a payment gateway. It was founded in 2006 and entered the U.S. market in 2013. It has some of the best interchange-plus pricing in our review and is one of the few processors to post its complete costs and fees for all acceptance types of credit card processing online. For these reasons and more, it's the winner of the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Helcim stands out against other payment gateway services for its transparency. It posts its rates, fees and terms online. You'll also find a chart displaying how much it costs to process transactions made using various debit and credit cards.
When our reviewers called as prospective customers, we received the same information as is listed on the company's website. When we requested rate quotes and full contracts, the sales reps were prompt to email them to us.
Helcim's website has articles to help you gain a better understanding of how interchange-plus pricing works and why PCI compliance is important. The company offers EMV-compliant terminals; the lowest priced model costs $199, which is average compared to similar equipment offered by its competitors.
The interchange-plus pricing model is the only pricing model Helcim offers. Its markup percentages and per-transaction fees are among the lowest in our review. Its markup is 0.18% and the per-transaction fee is $0.08.
Helcim offers a rate guarantee and is one of the only services in our review to do so. This guarantee promises that Helcim's markup percentage won't increase while you're a customer. If your business is a nonprofit or processes more than $50,000 a month, you may qualify for lower rates. (These rates are also listed on Helcim's website.)
In addition to posting its processing rates on its website, it also lists the fees it charges, which is unusual for payment gateway providers. One fee you have to pay if you sign up for a retail account with Helcim is a $12 monthly fee, which includes PCI compliance and the payment gateway fee.
There's no monthly minimum you have to meet in order to work with Helcim, which can be helpful if your business is new to processing and you don't yet know what kind of processing volume to expect. Helcim doesn't charge you any annual fees, and it also doesn't charge a setup or gateway setup fee.
If you fail to establish PCI compliance annually or allow it to lapse, you're charged a noncompliance fee each month until you remedy the situation. At $45, this is an expensive, albeit avoidable, fee. If you have a customer that disputes a charge and a chargeback is issued, it costs $15 for each instance. This is cheaper than the $25 average.
Along with your account, this payment gateway company provides a virtual terminal for you to use. A demo of this terminal is available on Helcim's website. The online terminal allows for some customization. If you plan to sell goods or services online, the cost for online processing is higher than the retail rates and fee listed above, but it allows you accept payments online through a hosted payment page or your website, set customers up with recurrent billing and accept invoice online.
If you'd like to process both in-person and online, you have to open separate merchant accounts. This means you need to pay monthly costs for both of your accounts.
Setup & Service
Helcim received high ratings for its easy application process. After filling out the online application, you need to send in some documents, like a voided check and a business license. It usually takes between 24 and 48 hours after you submit your application for your account to be approved and set up, which is an average amount of time compared to the other payment gateways in our review.
We sought out payment gateway service providers that don't have long-term contracts or charge early cancellation fees. Helcim provides month-to-month service. If you'd like to cancel your service with Helcim, you can do so at any time by providing the company with 30-days' notice.
It can take up to two days for funds to clear the account and be deposited into your bank account if you process with Helcim. This is in line with the industry average, though some processors can clear accounts as soon as the next day. If you need your money faster, this may be something to consider before signing a contract with this company.
While reviewing payment gateway providers, we looked for companies with service representatives who were knowledgeable and courteous and that provided accurate, reliable information. Helcim's agents were stellar in these areas, providing in-depth answers to our questions. Representatives were also good about following up with us.
A downside to working with Helcim is that it doesn't provide a dedicated account representative to its customers. Dedicated reps can be useful because they give you a constant point of contact to guide you through problems you may have. However, that the quality of Helcim's customer service helps compensate for the lack of a dedicated agent. You can reach the company by phone 24/7.
Helcim is among the best payment gateway services due to its low processing costs, few fees and transparency about this key information. It has a rate-lock guarantee, month-to-month service with no penalty fees if you cancel your account, and special rates for nonprofits and companies that process at a very high volume. The company's website has useful information about the credit card processing industry, and the customer service provided by Helcim is excellent, even though it doesn't offer dedicated account reps.