Helcim Credit Card Processing Review: What Merchants Need To Know
Helcim is a top-rated credit card processor and merchant account provider with one of the most transparent pricing models in the industry. The company has built a solid reputation for its transparency and great customer service.
This makes it stand out in an industry that often gets a bad rap for its obscure sales practices, onerous long-term contracts, and poor customer support. You’ll never have to worry about such issues with this payment processor that serves U.S. and Canadian businesses of all sizes.
In this article, we’ll review Helcim’s services to help small business owners better understand what the provider has to offer and whether it’s the right choice for them.
Let’s get started.
An Overview Of Helcim Merchant Services
Helcim was founded in Canada by student entrepreneur Nicolas Beique and it has been in the business of credit card processing since 2006. The merchant services provider is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta and it expanded its services to the United States in 2013.
The provider offers a full-service merchant account with no contracts, no monthly fees, no hidden fees, and no early termination fees. Its all-in-one Merchant Platform allows you to accept all types of payments—in-person, online, keyed-in, bank transfers—and offers a range of free tools for invoicing, recurring payments, point-of-sale (or POS systems), and much more.
This makes Helcim a great choice for small businesses. However, the provider maintains a list of high-risk industries that are exempt from its services.
This means Helcim won’t provide its services to businesses like airlines, adult entertainment companies, dealers in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, debt resolution lawyers, etc. You can check if your business is on the prohibited list by getting in touch with their customer service staff from Helcim’s website.
If your business is on the approved list, the application process should take you about five to eight minutes. It should be cleared the same day or within two business days. Once your application sails through, you will get access to your merchant account and your Helcim Card Reader will be shipped to you (for free).
Read on to learn more about what signing up with Helcim entails.
Helcim Credit Card Processing Features
Your Helcim account lets you process mobile payments, in-person payments, and online payments. You can accept all major credit and debit cards including Mastercard, Discover, Visa, and American Express.
Let’s take a look at come of Helcim’s most notable offerings and features:
Helcim Credit Card Payment Terminal
Helcim offers a single credit card terminal that can handle all your in-person and on-the-go payment processing needs. The Helcim Card Reader accepts chip and pin, swipe, and tap payments and is priced at $109.
It’s easy to set up and can connect with all your existing devices such as your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The Card Reader comes with a free countertop stand and Helcim also offers an optional receipt printer for $79.
Other features include:
- Email receipts
- Inventory tracking
- Customer tracking
- Card on file
- Batch history
- Analytics and reporting
The Helcim POS app integrates seamlessly with the Helcim Card Reader and your Helcim account. This ensures that you can enjoy its full POS functionality at no extra cost and without purchasing any additional POS hardware. With the app, you can process credit card payments and manage your sales, inventory, and customers from just about anywhere.
The software comes with the following capabilities:
- Credit and debit card payment processing
- Digital receipts
- Unlimited invoice creation
- Automatic payment reminders
- Recurring billing
- Automatic tax calculation
- Inventory tracking
- Unlimited employee accounts
- User permissions management
Helcim Virtual Payment Terminal
This application lets you process keyed-in payments (manually enter credit card transactions) on any computer. The payment gateway is mainly for accepting payments over the phone but it can also work as a backup solution if the Helcim Card Reader isn’t working correctly.
Helcim Online Store
Your merchant account includes access to a fully hosted online shop for eCommerce businesses. The store comes with customizable themes that you can adjust to fit your brand colors, font, and logo.
You can set up a shopping cart, discount codes, tax calculations, and a product & inventory manager that automatically syncs your sales data across all your sales channels. You can also add your existing inventory.
Helcim gives you access to these features even if you already have an online store.
Helcim Online Food Ordering Service
For restaurant businesses, Helcim offers an online food ordering service at no additional cost. You can easily upload your menu items with pictures and the company offers a demo for the feature so you can see how it works.
Customers can order via QR code scan and make their payments. There are also tip recommendations. You can also integrate the Helcim online ordering functionality into your existing website if you prefer to maintain your current web presence.
Helcim allows you to create professional, customized invoices for one-time billing and repeat payments. Customers can view them on any device and make online payments using the “Pay Now” button. They also have the option of storing their payment info in the Card Vault for future payments.
Hosted Payment Pages
Helcim’s Hosted Payment Pages allow you to securely and seamlessly add payment functionality to your site—without having to hire any programmers for the job. You can create shopping carts, facilitate QR code payments, or create custom payment pages for donations, gratuities, rentals, etc.
Self-service Customer Portal for Merchants
Helcim also offers a self-service customer portal for merchants. Using this, your customers can update their personal info or payment details, view their purchase history, and access self-help resources you might have added for their convenience.
Security Practices and Measures
Helcim is a Payment Card Industry (PCI) Level-1 compliant payment processor. The provider outlines its security practices and measures to comply with PCI standards on its website.
It takes strong measures to protect merchant and customer data which are stored separately from Helcim’s web servers. It uses 256-bit AES encryption and multi-factor authentication.
There are also regular and rigorous audits and inspections for both its software applications and its physical hardware and data centers.
Helcim Interchange-Plus Pricing
Helcim is a very transparent company and its website gives full disclosure about its pricing structure and terms of service.
The provider offers interchange-plus pricing. Its cost-plus model separates the interchange rate you have to pay to the credit card associations and issuing banks from the markup charged by Helcim for its services.
Interchange rates are set by credit card processing companies and this is outside the control of Helcim. The exact cost you have to pay per transaction depends on the transaction type and the card brand.
Below are Helcim’s processing fees for processing volumes of up to $25,000 per month:
- In-person transactions: 0.3% + 8¢
- Online and keyed-in transactions: 0.5% + 25¢
- ACH/EFT transactions: 0.5% + 25¢
Volume discounts will automatically apply to businesses processing more than $25,000 per month. This will help you save more money as your business scales.
The provider keeps additional fees to the bare minimum and any other incidental fee you may encounter is fully disclosed in your merchant agreement. For the most part, the only additional fees you may have to pay are chargeback fees and currency conversion fees for multi-currency processing.
Helcim has eliminated the following fees that other providers will typically add to your bill:
- Monthly account fees
- Setup fees
- PCI compliance fees
- Monthly minimums
- Early termination fees
Third-Party Business Software Integrations
Helcim integrates with fewer third-party business software applications out-of-the-box compared to its competitors, but you can still integrate the platform with your website or apps using the Helcim API.
With the Helcim API, you can add custom features to the platform or integrate your existing software solutions. There are development docs to help guide your programmers through the process.
Helcim integrates seamlessly with the following applications:
- Great Exposure
Helcim’s Customer Support Services
The provider has a customer service team that provides 24/7 telephone and email support. Merchant feedback on the quality of Helcim’s customer support services is overwhelmingly positive.
One customer notes, “It’s great to know there’s a real person at the other end of the line showing an interest in what we do!”
And another mentions, “Having been a customer now for a month, I can confirm that its 5-star customer support ratings are well deserved. You may have to wait a bit in the phone queue depending when you call, but there is always a well-informed person available to help on the other end of the line—24/7—who makes sure your questions are answered before the call ends.”
Also, there is an online knowledge base on the company’s website with detailed documentation and tutorials that ensure you will be able to solve most problems on your own without having to reach out to customer service. Plus, Helcim’s YouTube channel contains hundreds of educational videos to guide you through the process of setting up the platform.
The company also has a thriving social media presence where it regularly distributes materials from its blog to help followers gain a deeper understanding of how credit processing works.
Helcim’s Pros And Cons
The Helcim all-in-one platform is feature-packed and suitable for most businesses. However, it’s still prudent to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of signing up for this merchant services provider.
- No monthly fees
- Transparent pricing
- Affordable exclusive interchange-plus pricing rates
- Discounts for businesses with high volumes of transactions
- Zero termination fees
- Support for international payments
- World-class customer service
- Only one hardware option
- Exempts high-risk businesses
Helcim Reviews And Ratings
Helcim mostly has positive comments on popular review sites like Trustpilot and the company has taken the time to respond to each comment—both positive and negative. Happy customers largely praised the company’s transparent pricing model, the extensive suite of tools on the Helcim platform, and the quality of its customer services.
The few negative comments we saw were about difficulties with the company’s account setup process. This largely applies to merchants in high-risk industries that Helcim does not support, but a few business owners in non-risk industries also complained about Elavon’s sometimes tedious underwriting process—Elavon used to provide backend payment processing to Helcim up until June 2020.
Merchant Maverick has given Helcim a 5-star rating, while NerdWallet has given it 4.5 stars.
Is Helcim Suitable For Small Businesses?
Helcim is best suited for the following types of businesses:
New businesses: The company’s relatively cheap interchange-plus pricing model will help you save money compared to third-party payment processors like Square.
Growing businesses: Helcim’s discounted rates will kick in as your business scales. Once your business crosses the $25,000 threshold in transactions, you will get access to discounted rates.
Seasonal businesses: The provider doesn’t charge a monthly fee for its services making it an ideal choice if your business is of a seasonal nature—meaning there are months when you don’t make any sales.
Helcim Credit Card Processing Final Verdict
While Helcim’s processing rates are reasonable, its pricing model doesn’t make it a great choice for all types of businesses. As such, businesses that process tens of thousands of dollars in transactions every month are better off with a membership-based merchant services provider like Payment Depot that gives them access to wholesale interchange rates.
Instead of a percentage markup + fees on the interchange rate that Helcim charges, Payment Depot only charges a monthly membership fee in exchange for the direct costs of interchange. That means businesses with high processing volumes can save hundreds of dollars on processing costs.
What’s more, Payment Depot does not bind merchants into contracts and does not charge any hidden fees either. Because of the transparency it offers, you can rest easy knowing there won’t be any unpleasant surprises on your statement ever.
Is Helcim Cheaper Than Square?
It depends on the size of your business. Helcim offers interchange-plus pricing that leads to cost savings with higher volumes of transactions. On the other hand, Square uses a flat-rate pricing model that won’t change no matter how much your business grows. This makes Helcim suitable for established and growing businesses with significant transaction volumes, while Square is more suitable for micro-businesses with average transactions under $100 like pop-up shops, market stalls, etc.
Is Helcim Cheaper Than Paypal?
Paypal is similar to Square in that it uses a flat-rate pricing model and there is no need to pay for additional equipment. Paypal’s pricing model is cheaper for mobile and small businesses with average transactions under $100. Businesses that process higher volumes should opt for Helcim.
Does Helcim Integrate With QuickBooks?
Yes, Helcim integrates with both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.
Does Helcim Offer An Invoicing Feature?
Yes, the provider has extensive invoicing tools that let you create and email invoices to customers and also send automatic reminders. Customers can click the “Pay Now” button to pay their invoices easily.