Helcim Review: A No-Gimmicks Merchant Account Provider

Are you a Canadian online business? If so, Helcim is right for you in terms of merchant account providers. What about companies located in America? It’s a solid option as well. In fact, you could argue that the Canada-based Helcim is one of the most transparent, number-driven companies to partner with for processing your online payments.

The company’s resources are out of this world as well. Considering the merchant account provider world is such a confusing mess, this is one of the most valuable offerings you can find with any company. The only unfortunate part of Helcim is that it doesn’t work with companies outside of the USA or Canada.

Regardless, Canadian and American companies can rejoice, since you’d be hard pressed to go with any other option besides Helcim. Therefore, let’s take a look into Helcim and understand why it’s a powerhouse option for your merchant accounts.

Helcim Ease of Use

Virtual, mobile and retail interfaces are offered through Helcim. Therefore, you may be working on one of these or all of them. Let's start with how the virtual terminal looks, since most companies are going to be using this. It's all about making secure payments in the cloud, and you receive the ability to accept these payments from regular credit cards like Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

virtual

It all happens on a web browser, so you can bring up the interface on a PC, MAC, tablet, or smart-phone. Logging in takes a second, and the real-time transactions come in handy for just about any type of business. The customer credit card vault isn't necessarily something you see on your end, but it's an essential part of protecting your customers and giving you peace of mind. I like that you can print or email receipts, giving you a chance to capture email addresses and cut down on the amount of paper that's being used.

Feel free to setup recurring billing directly from the terminal, and watch as the built-in merchant account automatically deposits money into your bank account after two days. Heck, the system even lets you send out invoices through email if you'd like to get paid a little faster. Overall, the payments are seamless, and everything is pretty much automated for repeat customers.

Now we can move onto the mobile payments interface. Sure you can access the virtual terminal on tablets, but this area is actually designed as a beautiful app that accepts payments while you're on the go. It's perfect for setting up your entire store on mobile devices, or it can be used when going to trade shows and conferences.

mobile payments

It provides iPhone, Android and iPad support, along with a free card reader to swipe cards into your system. Remember that you must have a 3G or WiFi connection, so you're not going to be able to connect with your merchant account while offline.

The mobile platform is available for $30 per month, and it allows for an unlimited number of users. After a customer swipes their card into the mobile reader they are automatically sent an email receipt for their own records. They can also sign their own name and give a tip right on the mobile device. Is this better than using Square? Well, if you check out this cost comparison, you'll see that the savings with Helcim start to kick in once you reach $2,500 per month.

Finally, the Helcim retail module is one of the easiest to use one the market.

retail terminals

Credit and debit terminals are sold for a flat fee, and you can select between wired and wireless options. The lowest priced module terminal goes for $199 per unit, and the highest is at $549 per unit (at the time of this article). This pairs with the virtual terminal, and the merchant account combines with it as well. Along with two day bank deposits, you pretty much receive all the features in the virtual and mobile packages.

Helcim's Top Features and Services

Services You Receive from Helcim

With merchant account deposits being made in two business days, and all customer support being handled through Helcim, the services and products provided make it a solid choice for online business. What else can you expect to receive when signing up?

Your Own Merchant Accounts

Elavon serves as the primary merchant account processor, but it’s almost as if you aren’t working with a second company at all. Why? Because your account, billing and support is handled through Helcim. It doesn't matter which of the processing solutions you choose, a merchant account is going to be built right in. This means that your company accepts all credit cards, all in real-time. American Express is accepted as well.

A Terminal If Needed

It doesn’t matter which internet plan you choose, because they all come with a virtual terminal for customers to make transactions in a browser. You can even send receipts in a printable document or through email. For a physical terminal Helcim recommends you find a monthly lease. As discuss above, they have their own terminals for $199, but a third-party option may be your best bet.

Payment gateway options

The upgraded internet plan offers various payment gateway tools such as recurring billing, cart integration and a payment vault. The payment vault combines with the PCI compliance program, locking down customer information and giving you the ability to tell your customers that their information is completely secure.

Processing Through Mobile Devices

The app is free, but you must pay a $20 monthly fee, along with a payment for the card reader. Elavon provides the app, and it ends up being cheaper than other options like Square.

Special Nonprofit Rates

If your business is run as a charity, you have access to lower rates. I would recommend Helcim over most other payment processors and merchant accounts, but that's particularly the case for nonprofit organizations. Your best bet is to speak with a representative for this pricing, but from what we've seen it's a solid deal.

Gift Cards

This isn’t rare in the merchant account provider business, but Helcim is fair and transparent with these.

Seasonal Account Offerings

If your business is seasonal, there’s no reason to pay for your merchant account for a whole year. Helcim lets you put the account on hold if needed.

Helcim Fees and Pricing Structure

Helcim Fees and Pricing Structure

Interchange-plus pricing is slowly changing the merchant account provider business for the better. In the past, most providers would try to sign you up for what we call tiered pricing, which bundles your fees into vague groups, passing along hidden fees and strange rates to you, the merchant.

That’s not the case with interchange-plus, considering it’s one of the most transparent pricing models out there. Luckily for you, Helcim provides interchange-plus, and they don’t try to sneak you into a tiered model before you ask to change to an interchange-plus option.

Try-Shopify

The Retail Plan

  • You get charged $0.08 for every transaction with 0.18% above interchange
  • A $12 monthly fee is implemented

The Internet Pro Plan

  • You pay a $25 monthly fee
  • You get charged $0.25 for every transaction with 0.36% above interchange
  • This all includes a beautiful payment gateway

The Mobile Plan

  • This comes with a free app
  • Get a card reader with the plan for $45
  • Pay a $30 monthly fee
  • You get charged 0.18% above interchange + $0.08 for every transaction

You also receive a few discounts depending on your store volume:

These discounts are negotiable, and none of them are applied automatically. Therefore, you must talk to Helcim before having them implemented.

For a regular merchant account:

  • $0 to 50,000: 0.18% + $0.08
  • $50,001 to 100,000: 0.16% + $0.07
  • $100,001 to 500,000: 0.14% + $0.06
  • $500,001 to 1,000,000: 0.12% + $0.05
  • $1,000,001 and above: 0.10% + $0.05

For a virtual account:

  • $0 – 50,000: 0.36% + $0.25
  • $50,001: 100,000: 0.24% + $0.20
  • $100,001: 500,000: 0.18% + $0.15
  • $500,001: 1,000,000: 0.15% + $0.10
  • $1,000,001 and above: 0.10% + $0.10

Fees they won’t force upon you:

  • Hidden fees
  • Any monthly minimums
  • Account setup fees
  • Statements costs
  • Early termination
  • Non-qualified expenses
  • PCI Compliance charges

Contracts and Special Rates

You can cancel your account with Helcim whenever you want. That’s right, you aren't locked into any lengthy plans or forced to pay any early termination fees. Helcim is a wonderful business to work with because they always keep you in the loop, but make sure you still read your agreement.

Helcim Customer Support

Helcim Customer Service

Helcim has 24/7 email and phone support, and the online resources and FAQ section work well for finding solutions to your problems without having to sit on the phone for a while. The company's social presence isn’t bad, and the blog serves as a way for you to keep up with industry standards and changes.

The folks at Helcim are the best to work with. They never try to push you into a sale, and they are always around to walk you through the process without any gimmicks. It’s pretty cut and dry here: Helcim has the most transparency out of any merchant account provider I’ve seen.

Who Should be Using Helcim?

The only problem I have with the Helcim company is that the mobile processing fees are a little steep. That said, Canadian businesses have no reason not to go with Helcim. US businesses also should take a hard look at such a transparent, education-focused company that seems to constantly think about its clientele.

If you have any questions about getting your company situated on the Helcim system, let us know in the comments section below.

Helcim Rating: 4 - Review by

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.