Helcim VS Square
Square and Helcim both offer powerful software, mobile credit card readers, and no monthly fees. Find out which one is right for your business.
|Monthly Fee (Compare Pricing)||$0||$0|
|Credit Card Reader Price||Helcim Card Reader ($109)||
|Next Steps||Visit Site
Square’s revolutionary credit card processing for small businesses can rarely be matched in terms of cost, simplicity, and flexibility. However, Helcim recently dropped its monthly account fee and now offers small business owners all the same features that made Square so popular in the first place. In fact, it even offers a few key features that you won’t get with Square, including better account stability with fully-underwritten merchant accounts and less expensive interchange-plus pricing plans.
In this article, we’ll compare Square vs. Helcim feature-by-feature, showing you the benefits and drawbacks of each provider and explaining where each company excels and where it falls short. We’ll also show you when Square is a better choice and when Helcim is the superior alternative for your business.
Table of Contents
Helcim VS Square At A Glance
The main thing that Helcim and Square have in common is that they’re among a small handful of payment processors on the market that tailor their services (and pricing) to meet the needs of small businesses. However, they both differ in how they go about meeting those needs.
Benefits Of Helcim
- Offers stable, full-service merchant accounts
- Offers month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
- No monthly fees for a standard account
- Offers interchange-plus pricing exclusively
- Not available to high-risk merchants
- High interchange-plus rates at low processing volumes
With its recent decision to drop its monthly account fee, Helcim is now a legitimate alternative for seasonal and low-volume businesses that would otherwise flock to Square. The company’s lack of a long-term contract or monthly fees makes it very affordable for businesses that might otherwise feel that accepting credit cards would be too expensive.
With its proprietary credit card reader and payment gateway software, Helcim can easily serve as a one-stop shop for all of your business’s payment processing needs.
Benefits Of Square
- Offers expedited onboarding process
- Offers month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
- Offers predictable flat-rate processing
- Affordable processing hardware
- Account stability issues
- It can be expensive at high processing volumes
- Many add-on services require monthly fees
Square is a payment service provider (PSP), meaning you won’t have a fully-underwritten merchant account with a unique Merchant ID for your business. Instead, your account is aggregated with other Square users. This approach makes it much easier to sign up but can also put you at a higher risk of a sudden account hold, freeze, or termination.
Flat-rate pricing and the lack of a monthly account fee make it easy to estimate your costs in advance. However, Square’s rates are significantly more expensive than what most merchants pay under interchange-plus pricing. Like Helcim, Square offers a complete processing ecosystem built upon proprietary products and services.
What’s The Difference Between Helcim & Square?
The main difference between Helcim and Square is that Helcim offers true, full-service merchant accounts, whereas Square aggregates all users into a single account. With Square’s streamlined onboarding process, users can sign up online and begin accepting credit card payments almost immediately. Helcim also uses an online signup process but requires additional time for underwriting.
For some users, this difference may not be all that important. While Square’s account stability issues have garnered a lot of attention over the years, they generally only affect merchants who violate the company’s acceptable use policy (i.e., high-risk merchants) or disregard the maximum ticket size limits. Most users never experience any problems, despite years of using the company to process their credit card transactions.
The choice, then, will come down to pricing, available features, and the quality of each company’s customer support.
Both Square & Helcim Offer…
- Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts or early termination fees
- No monthly account fee (for a standard account)
- Proprietary credit card terminals
- Proprietary cloud-based integrated payments platform for online and in-person transactions
- Free virtual terminal for keyed-in transactions
- Accepts all major credit and debit card brands
- ACH processing is included with a standard account at no extra charge (processing fees apply)
- Support for QR code and SMS payments
Only Helcim Offers….
- Full-service merchant accounts with a unique Merchant Identification Number
- Interchange-plus pricing
Only Square Offers…
- Flat-rate pricing
- Specialized services for retail and restaurants
- Support for cryptocurrency payments
- No fee for chargebacks
Helcim VS Square Pricing
|In-Person Transactions||INT + 0.30% + $0.08 (volume discounts available)||2.6% + $0.10|
|Hardware Options||Helcim Card Reader ($109.00)||
|Online Transactions||INT + 0.50% + 0.25 (volume discounts available)||2.9% + $0.30|
|Chargebacks||$15.00 (refunded if merchant prevails)||Free|
|Sign Up For Helcim||Sign Up For Square|
Neither Helcim nor Square charge monthly fees for a basic account (although Square does charge monthly fees for certain optional add-on services), so the difference in your overall cost with each processor will mostly come down to transaction processing rates. You should also consider the cost of processing hardware if you need it.
While Square’s flat-rate pricing plan makes it relatively easy to estimate your costs in advance, Helcim’s exclusive use of interchange-plus pricing introduces an additional variable (i.e., the interchange rates themselves) that complicates estimating and comparing your costs with each processor. While Helcim’s interchange-plus rates for low-volume businesses are roughly comparable to what Square charges, the company also offers fully-disclosed discounted rates to higher-volume businesses. On the other hand, Square only offers “custom pricing” (with no rates disclosed) to certain high-volume businesses.
Square’s pricing can be quite complex for businesses that need to access some of the company’s specialized services. For a more detailed breakdown of Square’s pricing structure, check out our article that discusses how much Square charges.
Helcim VS Square Features
|Point Of Sale||
|Card Vault||Included with an account||
|Inventory Management||Included with an account||Included with an account|
|Customer Database||Included with an account||Included with an account|
|Invoicing||Included with an account||Included with an account (free plan; plus plan available for $20 month)|
|eCommerce Store||Included with an account||Included with an account|
|Recurring Payments||Included with an account||Included with an account|
|Social Media Selling|
|Try Helcim||Try Square|
Helcim and Square aim to provide a complete set of processing and ancillary services for small businesses in a single package.
As such, their included features are nearly identical, with both companies offering an integrated payments platform for online and in-person sales, a virtual terminal for keyed-in payments, a simple online store, and support for a variety of alternative payment methods, such as ACH transfers, QR codes, and payment links. Square has a slight edge here, with support for selling on social media and accepting cryptocurrency payments.
Square’s basic account services can also be upgraded by adding optional services. Most of these extra services, however, require a monthly fee that will add to the overall cost of your account. Helcim, however, doesn’t offer any optional upgrades at this time. While this practice keeps your costs low, you won’t be able to upgrade to more sophisticated features as your business grows and your needs expand.
Here’s a more in-depth look at how Square’s and Helcim’s hardware and software stack up against each other:
Which Is Best For My Business Needs: Square Or Helcim?
As with many of our head-to-head matchups, neither Helcim nor Square emerges as a clear winner for all users. Which provider will be the better choice for your business depends on the nature and size of your business, as well as any specific services or features you’ll need.
Choose Square If…
- You’re just starting up and don’t have an established processing history
- You want to be able to predict your overall processing costs in advance accurately
- You need more sophisticated processing hardware beyond a basic credit card reader
- You’re running a restaurant or a large retail business
- You’re willing to pay extra for additional services, such as improved invoicing and eCommerce features
Choose Helcim If…
- You already have a stable credit card processing history
- You want to save money on processing through interchange-plus pricing
- You need the stability of a full-service merchant account
- You don’t need an expensive credit card terminal or dedicated POS system
- You don’t want or need additional paid options
- You need a sophisticated recurring billing solution
Helcim VS Square Comparison: The Final Verdict
As we’ve seen in this Helcim vs. Square matchup, both companies offer a remarkably robust set of products and services for a very low overall price. With either company, you’ll get a proprietary solution that offers all the basic services a business needs to run on a day-to-day basis.
Both companies offer true month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts, fully-disclosed pricing, and a wide variety of standard features with each account at no additional cost. While Helcim excels in offering full-service merchant accounts and using the more transparent interchange-plus pricing model, Square can provide more sophisticated services for certain business types (particularly restaurants and large retail enterprises). Those additional features come at a price, though, and may not be suitable for a very small or seasonal business.
Finally, neither Helcim nor Square accepts high-risk businesses (although Square makes an exception for CBD merchants). If you’re in a high-risk industry, check out our recommendations for the best high-risk merchant account providers that specialize in serving your industry.