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The Best Canadian Merchant Account Providers | Canada Payment Processing

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Canadian merchant services reviews

Canadians are some nice people. I should know, as I have Canadian relatives who visit from time to time – and you’ll never hear them say a bad word about anything or anybody. However, I do have a bad word to say about Canada – well, not Canadians per se (and certainly not my Ontarian cousins!) but about Canadian credit card processors: Sorry, guys. You suck. Or, more politely (as I’m sure our northern readers would prefer), in Canada payment processing simply is not what it could be.

To be fair, it’s not so much that Canadian merchant account providers are terrible by definition; it’s just that there are not enough good ones. Whereas in the US we have a lot of decent credit card processing options, there aren’t many reputable processors to choose from in Canada. There are only a handful that I would recommend, and even out of those, there’s only a couple that I can recommend. The best option for Canadian small businesses who don’t want to break the bank is National Processing (see our review). The account fee is $9.95, no monthly minimum, and retail markup percentage is just 0.20%. The worst option, judging by all the negative reviews that we receive, is probably Pivotal Payments thanks to the plentiful complaints available for this company.

Our Top Payment Processing Picks For Canadian Businesses in 2018

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ReviewVisit SiteReview Visit SiteReviewVisit SiteReviewVisit Site
Key FeaturesVersatile Service, ACH ProcessingAll-In-One, Mobile POS, InexpensiveAdvanced Shopping Cart IncludedAll-In-One, Advanced Billing
Pricing ModelCost-PlusFlat RateFlat RateCost-Plus
Entry-Level Monthly Fee$9.95$0$9$15
Standard Retail Rates0.20% + $0.10 markup2.75%2.70%0.25% + $0.10 markup
Standard eCommerce Rates0.30% + $0.10 markup2.90% + $0.302.90% + $0.300.40% + $0.25 markup

The following companies are some of the best Canadian credit card payment processors and merchant services providers on the market today.

Best Low-Cost Canadian Merchant Account: National Processing

It’s tough to beat National Processing (see our review) when it comes to low rates alongside a good reputation. This company has the lowest standard markups of any Canadian payment processor we’ve reviewed. And, unlike the terrible credit card processors we’ll get to later, National Processing has managed to maintain a great reputation even as it continues to grow. Not many merchant services companies can say that.

At National Processing, retail markup is 0.20% and eCommerce/telephone order markup is 0.30%. There’s a $0.10 per-item fee in both cases. Of course this company is more than willing to meet or beat any quote you can bring them or your current rates, so high-volume businesses with bargaining power will have their needs met here too.

National Processing is a great service for businesses that want low rates from a reliable company. If you’re hoping for some massive free software suite like Square offers with POS, analytics and such included, you might not find what you’re looking for. But keep in mind that you could easily end up saving enough money with National Processing to buy all that software and more from whichever software provider you want. This low cost and overall versatility makes National Processing a great option for many businesses. Low-cost ACH/eCheck payment processing (0% + $0.24 per transaction) alongside an inexpensive payment gateway ($5 monthly) help to tip the potential value scale even more in National Processing’s favor.

Give National Processing a shot. 

Best Credit Card Payment App For Canada: Square

Square (see our review) is not an exclusively Canadian processor, but they serve smaller Canadian merchants quite well.

With Square, an “alternative” or “third-party” payment processor, you get an aggregate merchant account shared with other merchants. This means you don’t have your own dedicated merchant account, but on the bright side, you don’t have any merchant account contract or monthly fees to contend with. The only fees with this mobile and tablet-based system are the credit card processing fees – which are admittedly on the higher side, at 2.75% per swipe/dip – but if you process less than $10K each month, you might save money versus a traditional merchant account.

One thing to note about Square is they do have a paid Square for Retail package that has additional point of sale features. However, for most small businesses, the free version of Square will be sufficient.

Here are some highlights of Square (the free version):

  • Free POS app can take payments on any mobile device
  • No merchant account contract – zero commitment
  • No monthly fees
  • No setup/application/PCI/ETF fees
  • Convenient for mobile setups
  • $49 EMV reader

A couple things about Square that aren’t quite so terrific is that you don’t get the same level of customer service or account stability as you would with your own merchant account. But if you have a smaller business and want to start taking payments without a big upfront investment, Square is an excellent alternative to a traditional merchant account.

Best All-In-One Platform Features for Canada: Helcim

If you’ve read our team member Tom DeSimone’s glowing review of Calgary-based Helcim (see our review), it should come as no surprise that we’re singling out this processor. There is simply no better processor for Canadian businesses – and they provide the same kick-butt level of service in the US too.

Here are some of Helcim’s highlights:

  • All interchange-plus pricing (aka Cost+)
  • mPOS app and standard POS app
  • eCommerce Platform
  • Billing platform
  • API for custom solutions

Something I really like about Helcim is the truly useful educational resources they provide, including articles on navigating the deceitful credit card processing industry in general, and an extensive knowledgebase detailing how Helcim works.

With Helcim, fairness is the name of the game. Helcim charges affordable prices and has one of the most transparent sales policies of any processor out there, Canadian or otherwise, as we mention in our post on the best small business credit card processing companies. Everything is completely laid out on the table, with crystal-clear fee disclosures so you’re never again hit with a bill like a punch in the stomach. This type of fairness and transparency is what’s lacking in a lot of processors, and hopefully the industry takes a cue from these guys.

Worst Canadian Processor: Pivotal Payments

Pretty much, the only good thing I have to say about Pivotal Payments (see our review) is that they offer merchant services in Canada. While they’re based in Melville, New York, they also have an office in Quebec, making them one of the few processors available to Canadian merchants. In case you’re wondering if there’s a difference between the (bad) service they provide in the US and the (bad) service they provide in Canada, there’s really not. As Tom DeSimone put it in his review:

Canadian and US-based merchants get the same sub-par service from Pivotal, regardless of locale.

Oh, and I guess one more good thing about them is they do offer interchange-plus pricing, if you ask for it. Otherwise, it’s mostly bad news. Here are some of the lowlights of this processor.

Lowlights:

  • Deceptive credit card terminal leases
  • Failure to disclose all terms involved with their early termination fee (ETF)
  • Bad customer service
  • Inconsistent sales experience

Hidden fees (including an early termination fee), deceptive terms (merchants complain of getting stuck in lengthy terminal lease fees), and poor customer service are just a few reasons why this Canadian credit card processor receives terrible customer reviews. For more details on why and just how much they suck, read our review of Pivotal Payments, or just skip down to the comments on that article to read about all the thoroughly unpleasant experiences people have had with this company.

Average Canadian Processors: Chase Paymentech and Moneris Solutions

Chase Paymentech

If you’re looking for a decent processor offering service in Canada, Chase Paymentech (see our review) is a pretty solid choice. They offer affordable rates and have a good reputation in the industry. However, with a big company like Chase, you’re not going to receive the level of customer care you will with a smaller processor like Helcim. Some customers also complain of expensive and unfair terminal (credit card machine) lease contracts with Chase Paymentech.

The good:

  • Month-to-month contracts with no cancellation fees (FYI: This is a fairly recent offering)
  • No PCI compliance fees
  • Useful educational resources
  • Interchange-plus plans and seasonal downtime offered to most merchants

The not-so-great:

  • No rates or fees disclosed on their website
  • Deceptive terminal leases 
  • Some customers (higher volume merchants and resellers of Chase merchant accounts) may be subject to early cancellation fees
  • So-so customer service

If you own a Canadian business and like the idea of going with a major brand like Chase, go ahead and check them out.

Moneris Solutions

Toronto-based Moneris Solutions (see our review) is an amalgam of the credit card processing components of Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal. So, it has some hefty industry experience behind it. While we like Moneris’s services a lot, and they disclose most of their terms on their website, customers who don’t read the fine print before signing the contract may get burned.

The good:

  • Thorough, informative website
  • Terrific array of services and POS products
  • Reliable merchant support
  • Seasonal downtime

The kind of terrible:

  • Early termination fee, sometimes including liquidated damages
  • Use of misleading sales ploys (e.g., offering $300 gift card for signing up – with tons of strings attached)

Again, while Moneris provides a good selection of solid services and products, they have been known to charge early termination fees that could total thousands of dollars if they decide to hit you with liquidated damages. Protect yourself from by paying close attention to the termination section of your contract (usually toward the end of their document). Customers have told us that Moneris’s sales reps aren’t always upfront so do not trust them to explain all the fine details of the contract, especially the ETF.

Read more about Moneris’s services and how to avoid their sneaky fees in our review.

More Alternative Payments

If you process less than about $5K/month, in Canada or elsewhere, then it makes more sense to go with what we call an “alternative payment processor” or “third-party payment processor.” Third-party processors like Square, mentioned above, and PayPal, allow you to accept credit cards without having to get a merchant account yourself. The only downside to alternative payment processing is that transaction fees are higher than those of traditional merchant accounts. On the bright side, third-party processors are generally contract-fee have no monthly fee (with the exception of PayPal, which charges a reasonable monthly fee for added services). Refer to this article for more info.

Here are a few third-party payment processors that we like:

  • Square – For mobile and brick-and-mortar businesses, online payments
  • PayPal – Offers brick-and-mortar, mobile, and online payments
  • Stripe – Exclusively for online and mobile payments
  • 2Checkout – Exclusively for online and mobile payments

Conclusion

I hope I was able to provide a good idea of the best Canadian merchant account providers and the ones you should avoid. To reiterate, Helcim is the best and Pivotal Payments is the worst; Chase Paymentech and Moneris Solutions are somewhere in the middle. And if you process only a few thousand dollars per month, you’re better off processing credit card payments using a third-party payment processor like Square or Stripe instead of a traditional merchant account.

Got something to add about Canadian payment processors? Sound your voice in the comments!

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Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl has been writing about merchant services, payment gateways, and international money transfer services since 2015. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from the Ventura College of Law. After a long and enjoyable career of traveling around the world as an Air Force navigator, he’s comfortably settled down in the wine country town of Paso Robles in California’s scenic Central Coast region. He enjoys reading, photography, hiking, and numerous other outdoor pursuits.
Frank Kehl
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54 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Colin Lancaster

    This article was really helpful. We also need a payment processor that will allow offline payments as connectivity is not always available. I know Square offer this but not sure who else. Please can you advise.

      Shannon Vissers

      Glad you found it helpful! Offline connectivity generally depends on the point of sale software, rather than the payment processor. As you know, Square serves as both a POS and payment processor so it is kind of an exception to that rule. If you want a POS system that works with a dedicated merchant account, Revel Systems is a POS system with excellent offline functionality — you can actually process credit cards offline vs. just queue them up and wait til internet is restored to run them like with Square. In terms of Canadian payment processors, Revel is compatible with Moneris and possibly some others. If you want another mobile all-in-one app like Square, I’m not aware of a better alternative that has an offline mode. Here is an article you might find helpful: https://www.merchantmaverick.com/pos-101-offline-mode/

        Danny Nguyen

        I got a quote from Costco Elavon:
        1.Retail Visa & Master Card Qualified (swiped/card present) 1.56%
        2. Rewards/Premium/Commercial cards (swiped/card present) 1.99%
        and :
        No Cancellation fees. Your contract can be cancelled without penalty by providing 30-days’ notice
        No Interchange Differential fees
        No Annual or Quarterly Fees
        No Batch Fees
        No Deposit Fees

        And from Helcim that is Cost + 0.25% + 0.08c
        My average is about 30$ each transaction.

        Seems the Costco is a better choice for rate. Is anything that i should concern?

          Tom DeSimone

          Hi Danny,

          Unfortunately, it’s not possible to compare cost-plus quotes to tiered quotes. There are many unknown variables to consider. While the tiered quote might look good at first, we highly recommend cost-plus pricing to get the best deal and have the most negotiating power in the future.

            Brian

            Looking for some advice. We run a consulting business that does about $350,000 in transactions a month. Looking for a payment processor that is the best value as 99.9% of our payments are via credit card. Thanks

              Shannon Vissers

              I think National Processing would probably offer you the lowest processing rate. You might also be able to bargain to get them to reduce the rate even further since you’re a higher-volume business. Hope it helps!

                Jen

                Hi there. I have a small business with 3 locations in Vancouver. At the moment I am with Global Payments (Vantiv). On an average month we currently process approximately $32k a month per location and our fees for this amount are around $480 a month. Most of the transactions are credit card. Also, I do not receive my funding until 48 business hours later (that means Friday-Sunday settlement does not go in until Tuesday). Is this a reasonable fee?

                  Jessica Dinsmore

                  Hi Jen,

                  This seems like a reasonable amount, but you still might want to get a quote analysis from someone like Helcim because it’s hard for us to say for sure without a full statement analysis.

                    Brian Mustard

                    If you are in Canada and are an independent (or small/medium), business…then I’d HIGHLY suggest looking into becoming a member of CFIB (Canadian Federation for Independent Business).

                    As a CFIB member you get access to Chase-Paymenttech exclusive rates and are not locked into any contracts (ie. you can cancel at any time for any reason without penalty). Reference: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/member-savings-benefits/chase

                    As CFIB has over 30,000 members on the Chase program they have over $13B in processing leverage. This has allowed them to negotiate Tier 1 rates with Master Card (you would need to process over $3B to get this rate)…and have recently negotiated a 1.8% rate with AMEX (and you get your money the next day).

                    Hope this helps.

                    Kindly,
                    Brian

                      Leo

                      Hi, I just contacted Helicum and they advised me that we would have have to have a principal resident in Canada to open an account with them.
                      We own an touring acrobatic show that goes to Canada seasonal and don’t have a principal resident in Canada or a brick and.mortar location.
                      Do you know.how to solve that issue? We are registered as a foreign corpation in BC and Federal.

                        Shannon Vissers

                        Hi Leo, it depends what country your business is registered in, but if you’re in the US I believe you need to open an account with Helcim USA, rather than with Helcim Inc. in Canada. If you are based outside of the US and Canada, you’ll need to use a different processor.

                          George Nylan

                          Hi,
                          I have been using Dream Payments. I paid $150 for the machine, no monthly fees, rates seem to be average. I find sometimes it can’t connect with my android phone due to internet wifi issues but seems to work well.

                          What are your thoughts as nobody seems to be commenting on the this system?

                          Thanks in advance

                          George

                            Jessica Dinsmore

                            Hi George,

                            Unfortunately, we have not reviewed Dream Payments, so we can’t confidently give an assessment one way or the other.

                              DGSI

                              We just received an email that Dream Payments are cancelling their MPOS which is what we had going… “We are still committed to providing small businesses with innovative payment solutions that help them to be successful. Going forward however, Dream will serve small businesses through partnerships with banks and merchant acquirers that will provide Dream powered payment solutions directly to their end business customers. With this, Dream Payments will be discontinuing the Dream Payments MPOS service that your company currently uses for payment processing.

                              We have truly appreciated being your payment processing service provider and, as such, we regret to inform you that all debit and credit card payment processing through the Dream MPOS application and mobile card reader will conclude at 11:59pm on July 5th, 2018. Additionally, as of June 6th, 2018, we will no longer be selling the Dream Payments card reader directly to businesses online or through retail stores.

                              The Dream Payments MPOS program will conclude at 11:59pm on July 5, 2018 and will include the following:

                              Merchant processing agreements with Dream Payments will conclude;
                              Effective 12am on July 6, 2018, merchants will no longer be able to use Dream’s products and services, including the ability to process debit and credit card payments through Dream Payments MPOS devices;
                              Note: Merchants will continue to have access to their Merchant Dashboard and sales data for export until June 30, 2019.
                              Dream Payments will provide a full refund to customers for MPOS card readers purchased on or after April 4, 2018, provided they are returned to Dream with proof of purchase on or before July 5, 2018 . For more information regarding returns please visit our FAQs. ”

                              Just thought I’d share

                                Chris

                                I was also using dream payments and loved it. We run 2 brick and mortar tax prep locations and it was idea since many of our customers pay with Interac. I have no clue where to turn to replace what I had with dream with something else that would do the same with a similar cost. We had global payments before dream and the cost was crazy. Most of our transactions are >$100 so square doesn’t work great for Interac since they only have flash. Any ideas would be welcome!

                                  Tina

                                  I too was using Dream Payments.. May I ask if you have found another provider?

                                  I did contact TD Service Merchants as it is a TD POS system and they want $20 per month and they too will send out the identical system.. I asked and you can not use the one we paid for already!

                                  Kind Regards,
                                  Tina

                                    Mary T.

                                    I am in the process of setting up an online business with a yearly auto-recurring subscription model. All b2b. My business is based in Canada but most of the transactions will be with small businesses in the US. Average yearly subscription is about 100-150 USD. Might be charged monthly or yearly. It appears helcim or stripes would be good options? Or are there other ones I should consider,? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated..

                                      Shannon Vissers

                                      You’re exactly right, Helcim or Stripe would be the best processors for this kind of business model. Since the transactions are all online and you’re just starting out, Stripe might be best for your situation if you’re not processing more than a few thousand dollars per month.

                                        Christine Mairi

                                        I read this article and the comments with much interest. I own + operate a very small business (approx $115K gross annually; 95+% of payments are via credit card) and have been using Moneris for about 9 years. I was referred to Moneris by my bank and have not changed due to all the confusion I find with different companies and how they charge. I sense that Moneris is costly but I’m scared to switch since I did try once, with Pivotal, and it was a DISASTER. It was hell getting rid of them and, thankfully, I had not terminated my account with Moneris. I get calls for time to time offering the “BEST” pricing but it is very hard for me to navigate through all the gobbledygook. I am now being pursued by Inkas which did not receive a mention here. What’s the scoop on them? Also, I have heard good things about Elavon over the years. How about them? I had never heard of Helcim so will check them out

                                          Shannon Vissers

                                          Moneris is decent, and if you’re getting interchange-plus processing rates with them, it might be worth staying; if not, you can see if they will give you interchange-plus pricing. Helcim is definitely our favorite, because they give all customers interchange-plus and they don’t have any early termination fees or other hidden fees. Elavon’s quality depends on the reseller; for instance, Helcim is an excellent Elavon reseller, while Costco is not. We haven’t reviewed Inkas so I can’t speak to their quality. Definitely check out Helcim though if you’re considering switching. Here are a few resources you should read:
                                          Helcim review
                                          Moneris review
                                          Elavon review
                                          Interchange-plus pricing explained

                                            Francis

                                            Stu, you are so right. I work for the banks. For us is ta-boo to even enquire on who are the merchant pos associated with. We all know the merchant pos are part of our banking organization, we cannot admit it, like you said for liability issues. For example, Chase Paymentech is Scotiabank and Chase Bank. When asking Scotiabank about their association with Chase Paymentech they answer who?! The financial world is sicker than hollywood. All i can say is… its a world of who sucks who! Good Luck all of you.

                                              Rick Smith

                                              Square and Payd are good alternatives for low volume businesses because there are no fixed costs. The breakeven point where the higher processing fees start to absorb the lack of fixed costs is somewhere between $4000 and $5000 depending upon your business. The other important factor to consider is that to date you can’t accept interac with Square and with Payd you need to rent a pinpad (fixed cost). This is a factor because Interac is so much cheaper to process than credit cards.

                                                Karen

                                                We are a retail point-of-sale software company based out of Toronto. Our policy is to be payment agnostic when it comes to processing integration. Based on an earlier review of Helcim, we ourselves started using them for our own processing. Your review was spot on. We are very happy with their service and will also be looking to add them as a payment gateway for our products in the near future.

                                                  Kadie-Lynn

                                                  We had switched to Merchant Service Canada. As they did a comparison with our current rates and could offer us lower ones.
                                                  We were maybe satisfied with them for 3 months, but still had hiccups over those 3 months. We stuck it out and kept getting a new terminal every couple of days. As there would be days that I would be down completely and be able to accept payment!
                                                  There was one point, where I was without a debit machine for 5 days!!! That is so much business lost!
                                                  Yes I could still write down the patient’s credit card number, but not everyone wants to pay with credit or want to leave their number with me.
                                                  The latest was, Merchant Service Canada (MSC) asked for our terminal back so I sent it to their office. We were still getting billed from a leasing company. Spoke with the leasing company, we are in the lease until 2018. The leasing company said we should not have sent out terminal to MSC. I then called MSC they’ve taken 1.5 months to mail it back to our office. I just opened the box from them, they kept the battery from the terminal!!! I just got off the phone with MSC and they wanted to charge me for a new battery and to ship it. That has also now been straightened out.
                                                  We are now back with Chase payment (knock on wood), we are happy and they have taken very good care of us.
                                                  I strongly do NOT recommend Merchant Service Canada. I am a very forgiving, understanding person but they are not a straight cut company!

                                                    Brenda

                                                    Thank you for your very helpful article. We are looking into Helcim, as per your recommendation.

                                                    Just a comment – you list Stripe as a third-party payment processor, however, I do not believe that they are.
                                                    This is what they emailed me: “Unlike PayPal or other services, Stripe doesn’t use separate webpages or provide hosted payment portals for taking payments[0]. With Stripe, your customers can securely make payments directly from your website without ever having leave or log in to any accounts.”

                                                      Tom DeSimone

                                                      Hi Brenda,

                                                      I’m glad we could help. The term third-party payment processor refers to the way the transactions are processed behind the scenes. In that email, Stipe is referring to how you can integrate the payment capability into your website. Behind the scenes, however, Stripe processes payments through aggregated accounts, which can impact account stability and cost. Helcim, on the other hand, will provide you with a dedicated merchant account.

                                                      It can be a confusing distinction, but I hope this helps!

                                                        Tom Hanks

                                                        Hello
                                                        We are in Construction business in Vancouver, BC area- both residential and commercial. Some of our clients want to pay with credit card. Not sure which option should we go for. We will be collecting on an average $15,000- $25,000 a month. Looking for both option, when client call our office and give their card number for pmt and the second one to process pmt from mobile or ipad. Please guide. Thanks

                                                          Chloe Bahal

                                                          Hi Tom,

                                                          Thank you for your inquiry, I am happy to help you with this. Based on the information provided, I would recommend Helcim. They also have mobile processing so they are a great option to look into. I would encourage you to use the green “visit site” button within the review if you would like to support our work. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

                                                            Rick Smith

                                                            I know processors in Canada it is my business, please note I am not aligned with the industry or anyone in it. I need to correct some items in the above post. If you are dealing directly with Chase in Canada you will be renting a terminal not leasing some ISO that work through Chase do lease. They have very good customer service offering same day terminal swaps in major population centres. However they do have cancellation fees of $300 flat which again may be different through an ISO. Most of what you said about Moneris is true service overall is not bad but in my opinion second to Chase at least with my clients. Cancelling with Moneris is difficult not so much with Chase and negotiating a better rate much easier with Chase than Moneris. Helcium has a good reputation and process through Elavon with Interchange plus pricing available for all. Moneris does not usually offer Interchange plus and Chase only for clients doing over $1 million a year.

                                                              John Procopio

                                                              I’m doing merchant machine audits for a few clients. There are a lot of scammers out there.
                                                              What is the best one in Canada, that provides the best overall service and decent rates. I’m seeing a lot of 4% avg. fees on accounts that churn $100k per month (diner)
                                                              Also with the leasing of equipment, what is your view on owning leasing or renting the terminals.
                                                              Why can’t these companies just sign up and stick to good business practices?

                                                                Sandra

                                                                I haven’t seen any comments about “SQUARE.”
                                                                I am a psychotherapist and need to process credit cards. So I got a “Square” from Staples and signed up. But their fees are high, 4.5% No monthly charge. It is a little square plastic thing that is inserted into my smart phone. Works wonderfully, never a problem. But I would like to find something cheaper.

                                                                  Chloe Bahal

                                                                  Hi Sandra,

                                                                  4.5% is a bit on the higher side and we can probably find something better suited for you. We have a great filtering tool that you can try here. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

                                                                    Jane

                                                                    Also, you don’t comment on whether any of the above can process USD payments in USD. This was something square could not do and last I checked Paypal also would not credit my business in USD – they wanted to exchange to CDN $ in payout. Do you have a suggestion for a small business that takes both USD and CDN? I have to keep the USD because all of my payments to my suppliers are in USD – thank you for any help you can provide.

                                                                      Chloe Bahal

                                                                      Hi Jane,

                                                                      When accepting international currency, your processor is going to convert it to your local currency. Unfortunately there isn’t a work around for it, unless you open a US merchant account, which would require a social security number.

                                                                        Jane

                                                                        I have been using Global Payments and its been a nightmare of high rates and constantly increasing monthly fees. Last month I charged through only $1400 and I was charged $147 for fees for my canadian and US accounts (They separate them – I have no choice). I am seasonal and small business so going to look at your options above. I was curious not to see Global Payments as I see their terminals everywhere – any comments about them?? Thanks!

                                                                          Michael Smillie

                                                                          Hi all,

                                                                          Currently looking into merchant services options for the company I am with as we are looking to potentially make a change-over. After reading this article, I’ve looked into a number of options (including Helcim and First Data).

                                                                          My question is this:

                                                                          For someone such as myself who helps in running a small business, I don’t really have a ton of time to analyze and figure out cost comparisons. When speaking with First Data, they were able to provide me with an easy-to-read comparison of costs, along with how much we would be saving on a monthly / yearly basis. Helcim on the other hand was not able to tell me if our costs would go up or down by swapping to them.

                                                                          Judging by reviews, Helcim is a much better fit for our company…I’m just not sure how to make sense of their offering.

                                                                          Any ideas here would be very much appreciated!

                                                                          Best,

                                                                          Mike

                                                                            Chloe Bahal

                                                                            Hi Michael,

                                                                            I would recommend taking a look at CardFellow. Also, please feel free to send me your quotes and I can take a look at them for you.

                                                                              Rick Smith

                                                                              Mike
                                                                              First Data has become very aggressive lately and you must be careful about the rates. Helcium processes through Elavon and would offer Interchange plus pricing which I prefer. Comparing Interchange Plus to Interchange Differential is difficult if you don`t understand pricing,however it is not just the discounts rates you have to look at you must also compare assessment fees, admin fees, terminal maintenance fees (First Data) etc. I don`t understand why Helcium won`t give you a comparison but be wary of the comparison they can leave out fees that make a big difference the contract is the final word. The biggest disadvantage to First Data is their statement it is absolutely the worst in the industry impossible for anyone not an expert in the industry to read.

                                                                                Erika

                                                                                Avoid first data and digitech like the plague. We’ve been lied to for 8 months straight and our processing fees have almost doubled. Trying to escalate within the company is impossible as they won’t let you speak with anyone else and they take messages insisting someone will call you back (which doesn’t happen). Where can small businesses report processors with deceptive practices?

                                                                                  Chloe Bahal

                                                                                  Hi Erika,

                                                                                  You can leave a review on the BBB site.

                                                                                    Bob

                                                                                    You can cancel any merchant services contract within 90 days of rate change without pentalty. Its the law in Canada. I use to sell merchant services and this is how we were able to business to switch without having to oay cancelation fees.

                                                                                      Epona Donna

                                                                                      We are a small to medium online retailer. As our current merchant account provider is closing its doors the end of August, we find ourselves looking for a new PP that is supported by our platform. Would you or any of the users here have any reviews, experience or comments on the following;

                                                                                      Authorize.net
                                                                                      WorldPay
                                                                                      FirstData
                                                                                      CyberBit
                                                                                      PSI Gate
                                                                                      MiraPay

                                                                                      Thank you for any information!!

                                                                                        Epona Donna

                                                                                        We are a small to medium Canadian company that takes payments in CAD and USD. As our current payment provider is about to close its doors, we find ourselves looking for a new merchant account provider that is supported by our platform. I have found your reviews extremely helpful. Thank you! I would like to know if you or any other Canadian users have experience with the following;

                                                                                        Authorize.net
                                                                                        First Data
                                                                                        PSI Gate
                                                                                        MiraPay

                                                                                        Thank you so much!

                                                                                          syed mutal quadri

                                                                                          Hi
                                                                                          We have set up a new Incorporation in Calgary, Canada. We will provide online PC Tech Support to the consumers in Canada and USA. We need help to set up high risk payment gateway and merchant accounts.
                                                                                          Please advise.

                                                                                            Dan

                                                                                            Hi Tom,
                                                                                            With regards to Canadian POS providers, if you haven’t already, I would love to see what you have to say about Zomaron. We have recently rid ourselves of them and are still dealing with the fallout from their terrible service. But they sound similar to Pivotal, using independent door to door sales people promising you insanely lower rates and failing to disclose their 5 year lease agreements for the equipment and early termination fees. i don’t want to to get into to many specifics about our situation on this public forum but I’m very to hear what you have to say about them and their business practices.

                                                                                            thanks in advance

                                                                                              Rick Smith

                                                                                              Unfortunately some ISOs (Independent Sales Organizations) employ some questionable sales tactics. For someone not familiar with the industry you are probably better off going through your bank or directly to one of the better Acquirers directly in no special order Elavon, TD Merchant Services, Chase Paymentech or Moneris. A good bet is Elavon through Costco. If service is a priority Chase is very good. I don`t know your situation but the Code of conduct allows you to cancel your agreement within 90 days of a new fee, increase in fees or if the processor does not give you the full benefit of a decrease in their costs (Interchange fees). All of these have happened in the last 6 months and depending upon the timing of your cancellation you may fall into this category. The code also affords you to cancel a lease under these circumstances providing the lease was provided by the processor. All of this can be done with no penalty.

                                                                                                Dale Degagne

                                                                                                Hey Shannon, have you reviewed Elavon in Canada? Or does it really make a difference?

                                                                                                On Tom’s review of Elavon, he quoted flat rate pricing, but just yesterday I received an interchange plus quote of 0.25% (virtual or swiped) + $0.05. They also quoted a $26 monthly package fee (including PCI) and a $150 set up fee.

                                                                                                Am I missing something with Elavon? Because that seems like a pretty good deal compared to Helcim’s pricing (0.36% virtual + $0.25)

                                                                                                  Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                  Hi Dale,

                                                                                                  There are some differences between the service Elavon provides in Canada versus the US, but our Elavon review combines both.

                                                                                                  There’s nothing wrong with Elavon as a whole. They can, and sometimes do, provide fair rate quotes and contract terms. The trouble is that they are somewhat inconsistent, with some representatives giving better deals than others. That’s why we generally recommend Helcim instead. Helcim gives everyone the same fair treatment.

                                                                                                  That interchange-plus quote sounds fair, but the transaction fee looks suspiciously low. Be sure to ask if the AVS fee (address verification) is included in that. For card-not-present transactions, the AVS fee will be charged every time. This fee is included in the Helcim transaction fee.

                                                                                                  I can’t say one way or another if the terms you were given by Elavon are fair overall. I’d have to look at the contract and fees page. My suggestion would be to take the quote that Elavon gave you can show it to Helcim and ask for them to match it or beat it. In all likelihood, they will.

                                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                                    Mark S

                                                                                                    Hi Tom, I am busy wading through all the evaluations of Merchant CC processors and find little quality comparison of Canadian Merchant Service Providers. I have used Paymentech for about 6 years without a single complaint, I moved to TD Merchant services because we have our commercial accounts there and since 2009 have not had a single bad moment. We have a virtual zero charge back history and do approx. $550,000.00 per year in CC business. I have had a presentation by a reseller of Evalon who is used by Costco and there are showing savings to me of approx. 20%. I have not seen their contract yet. In investigating I find HELCIM comes up as highly rated and has a Calgary Canada office approx. 120 miles from my location. Apart from the Premium card charges, that are killing us,( it bothers me that Merchants are paying for all the winter holidays and air flights “earned” by Cardholders through the elevated fees and the public does not generally know this) we are very happy with TD. Excellent service. It would be nice to see some genuine third party reviews of strictly Canadian Merchant suppliers.

                                                                                                      Hedi Gossweiler

                                                                                                      Thanks for the info. I would like to know where you put TD Bank merchant services.

                                                                                                        Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                        Hi Hedi,

                                                                                                        We haven’t reviewed that company in-depth, but in general going directly through a consumer bank brand does not yield the best contracts. Again, not sure about TD Bank, but that’s my overall experience.

                                                                                                          Hedi

                                                                                                          Hi Simone

                                                                                                          Thanks for your response.
                                                                                                          I was with TD and was wondering how it is compared. We got good service over the years but they are very expensive.
                                                                                                          One year ago I switched or got tricked to First Data, through Quantum…. the worst experience ever! They promised one year free rent on the unit. I also use a Wireless unit for trade-shows, it constantly didn’t work, lost a lot of money plus there are always charges I don’t understand.
                                                                                                          I read trough you reviews and will sign up with Helcim, they seem to be a good way to go plus they are Canadian.

                                                                                                            Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                            Helcim is a very reliable option. I’ve sent dozen of Canadian merchants over there and have heard only good experiences. They offer a very good standard contract and rates. Let us know how it goes!

                                                                                                              Hedi Gossweiler

                                                                                                              Hello again

                                                                                                              I switched to Helcim and am very happy with the service. The statements are clear, no hidden fees. I had to call them on a charge and they took care of it right away. I am using for a side business a seasonal unit. The charge there compared to the one before is very reasonable. The only drawback with Helcim is, they only answer the phone during office hours. I can call Evalon anytime but the wait can be long. So far I didn’t have any problems.
                                                                                                              As to First Data, to stop the bleeding I blocked my account so they can’t take out money anymore. I had a few phone calls from collection agencies, I explained to them how I was treaded, that stopped. I got few nasty letters threatening with court and a lot of charges, those I ignored. I haven’t heard anything in the last few weeks, I hope they gave up.
                                                                                                              So all in all Helcim is a good solution and my life is back to normal.
                                                                                                              By the way I have three units sitting here, two are wireless one hasn’t even been activated. They are all chip equipped, is there a place I can sell them?

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