Helcim Review: What You Need to Know About Their Merchant Services
It’s an accepted fact that credit cards are here to stay. A recent study by Supermoney found that they are the most popular credit vehicle accounting for two-thirds of all loan products.
As the United States economy continues to recover from the pandemic, credit card issuing standards may relax slightly, says credit card expert Beverly Harzog in U.S. News. She predicts that consumers are more likely to receive card approvals in mid-2021.
As merchants anticipate higher sales, they should partner with a quality merchant services provider. This Helcim review contains everything you need to know about this North American company.
Helcim Merchant Services Overview
Helcim is a Canadian merchant account provider that also serves the expansive United States market. This multifaceted company was launched in Calgary, Alberta in 2006. Helcim expanded into the United States in 2013.
This popular merchant services provider is a registered independent sales organization (or ISO) and MasterCard Service Provider (or ISP). Helcim represents the U.S. Bank National Association’s Canadian branch. Helcim also acts as a reseller of Elavon’s merchant services.
The company uses the interchange-plus pricing model and is known for its transparent pricing practices. It offers month-to-month services with no long-term contracts.
In 2017, the company added its Helcim Commerce platform to its services portfolio. Currently, Helcim serves approximately 7,000 merchants and has $3.2 billion in annual processing volume.
Helcim Services for Small Businesses
Helcim provides payment processing services to customers from numerous industries. Within each industry, Helcim serves businesses from startups to large corporations. Let’s take a closer look at the various services they offer.
1. Merchant Account
Helcim provides each approved customer with a merchant account that enables them to accept major credit cards and debit cards. Examples include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards, among others.
As an Elavon reseller, Helcim benefits from the impressive backend processor’s capabilities. However, Helcim handles all other merchant services functions.
2. Credit Card Processing Equipment
If you have a brick-and-mortar retail store that accepts in-person payments, Helcim offers several payment terminals for purchase. Helcim can also reprogram your existing EMV-capable terminal that meshes with the Helcim system (at no charge).
3. Helcim Commerce
The customizable Helcim Commerce software platform provides access to your merchant account. Once you’re online, Helcim Commerce enables you to receive customer payments and operate your point-of-sale system.
This powerful business suite also includes a complete online shopping cart. However, many third-party shopping carts may also be compatible with Helcim Commerce.
You can access Helcim Commerce on a web browser or on your mobile device with the Helcim Commerce app. As an added bonus, you can log in to Helcim Commerce from different business locations. Finally, this multi-component platform features several integrated functions that should collectively enhance your business operations.
4. Virtual Terminal
Helcim’s virtual terminal functionality enables you to manually enter a customer’s credit card data from your computer, phone, or tablet. You’ll also be able to perform other transaction-related functions. Note that a virtual terminal provides a backup option if your credit card terminal is offline.
5. Payment Gateway
The Helcim Commerce plan incorporates a payment gateway that’s key to processing online transactions. This portal enables you to authorize payments, coordinate batches, and manage customer data. You can also tie this payment gateway to a shopping cart, billing program, or other third-party software programs.
6. Recurring Payments
You can use this feature to handle your recurring payments and subscriptions (such as your monthly gym membership fees). Create a customized subscription plan that includes a one-time fee along with prorated and metered billing functions. A trial period for your customers is an added benefit.
7. Point-of-sale Checkout Functions
With the Helcim Commerce web-based platform, customer checkouts can be even more efficient. You can create customized checkout templates that sync on all your devices and easily integrate your POS function with your associated hardware. You can also download the mobile app for iOS and Android, and use the mobile card reader to process payments.
8. Helcim Online Store
Helcim’s online store offers brand-customizable templates, inventory space, and a shopping cart. Also, access to this fully hosted online shop is included in your monthly account fee.
9. Online Invoicing
This handy online invoicing tool enables you to design and send invoices to multiple customers. You can easily receive online payments and automatically remind slow-paying customers about their dues.
10. Additional Merchant Services
Besides Helcim Commerce, Helcim provides its merchants with several additional business tools. These enhancements may help to streamline small business customers’ operations.
Specialty Processing Services
Helcim also offers several a la carte services that assist merchants with specific needs. Examples include automated clearing house (or ACH) processing and multi-currency processing, among others.
Easily accept payments from international customers without worrying about currency conversion issues. However, be aware that card payment brands assess cross-border fees for these transactions.
Hosted Payment Pages
Helcim’s hosted payment pages enable you to accept customer payments on your company website. You can customize the payment page design and data fields as needed and use these pages as a fully operational shopping cart.
11. Third-party Integrations
Helcim’s credit card processing services integrate smoothly with various third-party software. Examples include the QuickBooks accounting program along with ecommerce platforms and shopping cart providers.
If you’d rather have a custom integration for your website or app, Helcim can supply an application programming interface (or API) to help you.
Payment Processing Pricing Structure
Helcim appears to offer some of the payment processing industry’s most competitive rates and terms. In addition, the company’s notable commitment to pricing transparency sets it apart from many competitors. Helcim has voluntarily posted its rates, fees, and other applicable costs on the company’s website.
Credit Card Processing Rates
Helcim’s credit card processing rates are based on an interchange-plus pricing model. This “Cost+” structure involves a specific rate plus several cents (per transaction) above the interchange rate. The card issuer determines the interchange rate, which often changes annually.
The merchant’s exact rate depends on the business type (retail or ecommerce) and the company’s sales volume. Notably, Helcim’s in-person credit card sales rates are lower than the industry average. Helcim guarantees that their margin will stay the same during the entire time your business maintains an account.
Helcim offers discounted processing fees for merchants who process over $25,000 in monthly volumes. Higher-volume businesses will receive higher discounts. Their pricing page features a volume-dependent rate table that displays the monthly processed sales required for rate discounts.
PayPal, Square, or Stripe Options
Note that Helcim may not be the best option for merchants who typically process less than $2,000 in monthly credit card transactions. In that case, a PayPal Business, a Square, or a Stripe account might be a better choice.
Monthly Account Fees
In June 2020, Helcim revised its service fee structure, giving merchants the ability to process both retail and online payments for a $20 monthly fee. Although other providers may offer lower rates, Helcim’s monthly fee includes PCI compliance along with other useful services.
For $20/month, your business receives a POS app to process payments – both in-store and online. You’ll also be able to accept mobile payments from customers in other locations. In addition, you can use multiple business tools that many providers typically charge for.
Do Contracts or Hidden Fees Apply?
Helcim’s customers benefit from a month-to-month contract. And, you won’t have to worry about “hidden fees” suddenly appearing on your monthly statement.
If a merchant decides to stop using Helcim’s services, the business only needs to provide 30 days’ notice to the company. There are no penalties for closing a Helcim account, and the company doesn’t charge an early termination fee.
In contrast, many other payment processing services require a three-year contract with an automatic renewal clause. If the customer cancels before they fulfill the initial contract, they are charged some hefty cancellation fees.
List of Incidental Fees
Helcim doesn’t hit its customers with numerous add-on fees. With that being said, Helcim keeps to its transparency policy by listing a few incidental fees on its website:
Helcim Advantages for Small Businesses
Helcim offers a number of advantages to small businesses. Compared to other payment processing companies, Helcim stands out with its favorable (and transparent) pricing structure. Helcim is also known for its month-to-month terms and superb customer service.
1. Interchange-plus Pricing
Helcim offers interchange-plus pricing for credit card payments. This favorable pricing model enables business owners to view the credit card processor’s fees along with the card networks’ base interchange rates. Industry experts strongly recommend this pricing structure. Also, Helcim only charges a single markup over the base rate, which further keeps processing rates down.
Many merchant services providers offer vague pricing structures, often resulting in hidden fees that suddenly appear on merchants’ monthly statements. Other companies don’t list any pricing information. Instead, they require potential customers to contact a sales associate for details.
In sharp contrast, Helcim clearly lists its processing rates on its website. This reputable payment processor also provides a table showing its interchange-plus rates for merchants with increasing volumes. Finally, Helcim displays its monthly fee along with the features covered by this charge.
3. Fast Processing Cycle
Helcim’s customers receive their net transaction proceeds very quickly. First, Helcim batches each customer’s daily transactions together. Next, Helcim deducts the applicable processing fees before depositing the day’s net proceeds into the merchant’s business bank account.
Generally speaking, your deposits should reach your bank account within two business days. However, the deposit’s arrival depends on the transaction’s actual settlement time. Note that weekend or bank holiday transactions are initialized for account deposit on the next business day.
4. Enhanced Security Protocols
To protect its merchants’ data (and customer information), Helcim states that it consistently performs stringent tests, audits, and inspections. These measures cover the company’s physical hardware, data centers, and software applications. As an added security layer, Helcim stores all customer data on a separate server rather than on the company’s web servers.
Specifically, Helcim complies with the highest-level PCI DSS requirements. Helcim also manages its merchants’ PCI compliance. Individual merchants can verify their company’s PCI compliance (designed to protect customer data) on their Helcim dashboard.
5. Customer Support Services
Helcim is known for its excellent customer support. The company offers round-the-clock telephone and email customer service, and merchants have reported a very good quality of service overall.
Note that you’re likely to speak with an in-house customer service associate during normal business hours. Helcim often outsources that support during off-hours. Therefore, your technical issues may be more adequately addressed during the regular business day.
Helcim’s email-based customer support is also very good. You’ll likely receive a response to your email within 24 hours.
Finally, Helcim provides a detailed, searchable database about many aspects of the company’s services. You’ll also find many tutorials on equipment functionality and other operations-related topics. The company’s YouTube channel offers numerous informative videos, and its social media accounts contain educational articles.
6. Easy Equipment Purchase
Helcim makes it easy to purchase credit card processing hardware. Once you open a Helcim account, your account dashboard contains access to the Helcim Shop. Here, you can order card readers, printers, stands, and other accessories.
Setting up a Helcim Merchant Account
Opening a Helcim account is simple and only takes a few minutes. Just access the Helcim website from your computer or smartphone and enter basic details about your business on an easy-to-use signup form. You don’t even need to provide an electronic signature.
As an added bonus, you aren’t required to open a new bank account. You can direct your net transaction proceeds to your existing bank or credit union account.
If you’re a sole proprietor, you may send the funds to your personal bank account. If you operate a partnership or corporation, you must use a business bank account. For law firms and other businesses that require separate operating and trust accounts, customized arrangements are available.
Helcim Merchant Services Limitations
Looking at the big picture, Helcim Merchant Services may be a good option for many small businesses. First, Helcim assesses one monthly fee that includes several desirable features. Helcim also offers competitive processing rates, month-to-month agreements, and no early termination fees. And, the company is known for its exceptional transparency.
Of course, Helcim does have its limitations. If you’re focused on super-low rates and don’t need any extra features, you’ll likely find a more suitable merchant services provider. However, that low-priced company will probably impose a surcharge for add-ons that Helcim includes with its monthly service fee.
Finally, Helcim excludes high-risk companies from its customer base. Examples include internet-based gambling businesses, vape shops, and adult entertainment businesses. Certain online pharmacies, telemarketers, debt resolution businesses, and collection agencies also fall into this group.
Helcim’s Industry Reputation
Helcim has maintained a Better Business Bureau accreditation since 2014. The company has an “A+” rating and hasn’t had any complaints in the past 36 months. In addition, there aren’t any existing FTC complaints or class-action lawsuits against them. Finally, the company has received only two negative online reviews while amassing numerous positive reviews.
Helcim has a number of advantages for small businesses. The company offers competitive rates and pricing transparency along with a single monthly fee that includes numerous business tools. Merchants also enjoy excellent customer support, and they aren’t subject to long-term contracts or early termination fees.
However, Helcim does have some notable downsides. First, the company’s interchange-plus pricing structure isn’t favorable for lower-volume businesses. They also offer only a single service plan and don’t provide services to high-risk businesses. Also, the Helcim website lacks the common live chat feature.
If these limitations seem like a deal-breaker, consider a wholesale credit card processor like Payment Depot. Contact our award-winning support staff today to learn how Payment Depot can help your business save $800+ a month on credit card processing.