Helcim Merchant Services Overview:
Helcim provides credit card processing for small, medium and large businesses. They offer a wide range of solutions to accept credit card such as Virtual Terminals, Mobile Apps, Credit Card Machines and Internet Payment Gateway. All of their processing solutions have a built-in merchant account for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Their all-in-one processing solution can make things simple to accept credit card payments. Here are some quick points about Helcim.
- All interchange-plus pricing: This means you have transparent pricing. You’re charged the credit card network fees + a fee to Helcium.
- No termination fees: You can end your contract when you want without a penalty
- No setup fees: Getting your terminal programmed, for example, is free.
- No monthly minimum: You pay credit card processing fees when you make a sale.
- No PCI compliance fees
Helcim is newer than some other providers in the merchant services business. They’ve only been around for a few years. But they’ve made huge progress by being very straight forward about credit card payment processing fees. They do a great job explaining their pricing in a simple and easy to understand manner.
This company educates merchants on some of the less attractive parts of the payment processing industry and provide some of the most useful information you’re likely to find.
If you’re looking for straight forward pricing and a provider who understands small businesses, give Helcim a try. See our review below for more information, or go to their website to check them out. Leave us a comment to let me know what you think.
- Merchant accounts: The merchant accounts are processed through Elavon. Elavon is a top notch provider and well respected in the industry. Your contract and customer support will all be handled at Helcim. Deposits from your sales are made in two business days into your bank account. Two days is a pretty good deal. (PayPal, for example, has been known to hold a merchant’s money from anywhere from two day up to 14 days.) You can ask to be paid sooner once you’ve shown that you’re a responsible merchant who has low refunds and low chargebacks. Two days, however, is about the amount of time it takes to move money into your bank account. So we think getting paid in two days is pretty good.
- Terminal sales/leases: For US merchants, Helcim recommends that you buy your terminal, or they will reprogram your existing terminal for free. They have some attractive terminals starting at $199. If you’re a Canadian merchant, this is different. In Canada, Chip and PIN terminals are not transferred or resold. So Helcim does a month-to-month rental for Canadian merchants.
- Virtual terminal: All internet plans include access to a web-based virtual terminal for processing cards right at your computer. You don’t need to install any software. Receipts can be printed or emailed automatically. This is very handy.
- Payment gateway: If you opt for the upgraded internet account, you get a payment gateway that allows you to sell online. You’ll also get features such as a credit card vault, recurring billing, payment pages, shopping cart integration.
- Mobile processing: This comes with a $20 monthly fee. The app used is Evalon’s mobile app.
- Amex Opt Blue: This is interchange-plus for American Express. In other words, there is a cost of taking a credit card payment for American Express plus a fee to Helcim. This is transparent pricing that many providers don’t offer or communicate to their merchant customers.
- Seasonal Accounts: This is a useful service. If you don’t need an account 12 months out of the year you can get a seasonal account. Most businesses are seasonal so this is a great idea. We have not seen any other provider offer this. For example, if your business is focused on tourism at the beach where you sell tee shirts, you would get your merchant account in April, May, June, July, August and September during high beach season. If you’re selling candles, candy and gifts your peak season might be October, November, and December. This is a really fantastic feature that Helcim offers.
- Charity Accounts: If you’re a non-profit organization, you can get lower payment processing fees. This is an outstanding offer.
Fees and Rates:
Interchange plus is the way that Helcim prices. With interchange plus, you need to focus on one rate:the markup or increase above the cost to the credit card network. Many small merchants cannot get this kind of pricing because they don’t have enough volume to force the payment provider to make a deal. Helcim has this arrangement for every merchant.
Sample Retail Pricing:
- 0.18% above interchange + $0.08 per transaction
- $12 monthly fee in the US and Canada
Sample Internet Pricing (Internet Pro Plan):
- 0.36% above interchange + $0.25 per transaction
- $25 monthly fee
- Includes gateway for: shopping cart integration, credit card vault, recurring billing, payment page, email invoicing,
Sample Mobile Plan:
- 0.18% above interchange + $0.08 per transaction
- $30 monthly fee
- Optional card reader is $45 (You will want this to get lower rates known as qualifying rates.)
- Free app
Discounts By Volume:
Their are discounts by volume. In other words, the more you sell the less your fees will be. These are based on dollar volume. Most payment processors will based volume tiers on the number of transactions. Helcim does these by dollar volume which makes much more sense. Here is the pricing for a standard merchant account.
Standard Merchant Account Pricing
- $0 – 50,000 – 0.18% + 8¢
- $50,001 – 100,000 – 0.16% + 7¢
- $100,001 – 500,000 – 0.14% + 6¢
- $500,001 – 1,000,000 – 0.12% + 5¢
- $1,000,001 + – 0.10% + 5¢
Virtual Merchant Account Pricing
- $0 – 50,000 – 0.36% + 25¢
- $50,001 – 100,000 – 0.24% + 20¢
- $100,001 – 500,000 – 0.18% + 15¢
- $500,001 – 1,000,000 – 0.15% + 10¢
- $1,000,001 + – 0.10% + 10¢
These are the prices from the list that is published in their website. We think you can negotiate for lower pricing. But it’s great to see that they have published their already reasonable rates where you can make an easy comparison and shop around.
- Chargeback fee: $15
- Insufficient funds: $25
- PCI non-compliance: $30-35 monthly (
- Wireless data fee in the US (optional): $20 monthly, in Canada it’s packaged with the terminal at no additional cost
Helcim has written and provided an easy to understand webpage that tells what each and everyone of their fees is for. This is really impressive. We’ve not seen a payment processor go into this much detail before.
Fees You Will NOT be Charged:
- Monthly minimums
- PCI-compliance fees
- Setup/application fees
- Statement fees
- Early termination/account closure fees
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
There are no early termination fees or cancellation fees charged. We strongly encourage you to carefully review your contract.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
They provide an extensive knowledgebase on par with the best of the best. This is seriously useful self-service support. While many providers will take over 24 hours to return emails, Helcim got back to me almost instantly.
Helcim has several testimonials from merchants in their website. You can see the testimonials here right in their site. This is pretty rare. The relationship between the merchant and payment processor can often sour. So we’re super impressed to see this many testimonials available. Nice work Helcim!
They’re an innovator in transparent pricing for the future of merchant account providers. For small and medium-sized businesses, you’ll find everything you want.
When it comes to full disclosure, fair pricing, and common sense practices they charge fair prices.
Please leave your thoughts in a comment below!
We will close by sharing a video from Helcium. This is a talk on
payment processor pricing.