Helcim Review

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Phone Number
877-643-5246
Date Established
2006
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Seattle, WA

Highlights:

  • All interchange-plus pricing (aka Cost+)
  • Excellent customer support
  • Truly extensive fee disclosures
  • Fantastic educational resources
  • Great charts demonstrating different interchange rate scenarios
  • No termination fees
  • No monthly minimum
  • No setup/application fees
  • No PCI compliance fees

Overview:

Despite my propensity for verbosity, I’m a numbers guy at heart. Numerical data just makes sense to me. For this reason, Helcim is my new-found merchant account soulmate. This is a company that wields the power of numbers honestly and comprehensively, explaining complex pricing considerations in crystal clear and well-organized terms. I appreciate this immensely and am impressed as all get-out. And you want to know the really crazy thing? They’re based in Canada!

Okay, okay – nothing against Canada (my home state [New York] shares a waterfall with y’all), but the payments industry over there is generally not on the same level as in the US – or so I thought. But look at this young, prosperous business: Helcim (anagram of Michel?), though just a decade old, it hit the ground running. In terms of merchant account marketing, this company is one of the most forward-thinking, fair-minded providers I’ve ever seen. And based on reports I’ve read and my own experience, they deliver on all promises.

These folks go to great lengths to show merchants the pitfalls of the payment processing industry – common scams and marketing BS – and provide some of the most useful, intensive, and well-considered educational information you’re likely to find anywhere on the web. In fact, they cover most of the topics we’ve discussed in our own educational resources portal. (Hey Helcim – You’re gonna put us out of business!)

I would send my family to Helcim without hesitation and with no fear of things going awry thus leading to awkward holiday dinner table outbursts about how I ruined my cousin’s business with my processor suggestion. I have 100% confidence in Helcim, and that’s what it takes to earn 5 stars – a feat this company has met and exceeded with their first at-bat.

If you’re a Canadian business, this is absolutely a no-brainer. And if you’re a US-based business… also a no-brainer. Give Helcim a shot and you’ll never look back. See the full Helcim review below for more info, or just head over this company a shot and get the ball rolling. I’m that confident. Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Products and Services:

  • Merchant accounts: From what I gather, most accounts are processed through Elavon. I tend to like Elavon anyway, and it seems like these companies are working together very well here. Your contract terms and customer support will all be handled at Helcim, of course. Deposits are made in two business days.
  • Terminal sales/leases: For US merchants, Helcim recommends buying your terminal outright, or they will reprogram your existing terminal for free. They have very nice terminals starting at $199. If you’re a Canadian merchant, this is different. In Canada, Chip and PIN terminals are not designed to be transferred or resold. So while Helcim profusely warns about the dangers of non-cancellable leases, they recommend a month-to-month rental instead.
  • Virtual terminal: All internet plans include access to a web-based virtual terminal for processing cards right at your computer, no software required. Just internet. Receipts can be printed or emailed automatically.
  • Payment gateway: If you opt for the upgraded internet account, you get a payment gateway that allows you to sell via an online store as well as utilize features like a credit card vault, recurring billing, payment pages, cart integration and more.
  • Mobile processing: While this comes with a $30 monthly fee (and no free card reader), you’ll be saving money over Square if you process over $2,500 monthly since the cost-plus deal is so much better than your standard mobile flat-rate pricing. The app used is Elavon’s VirtualMerchant Mobile (aka VM Mobile), which has very basic functionality (no inventory, no frills), but merchants seem okay with it. Until very recently there was no tip function for Android, an oversight which I find a bit troubling. You are currently unable to demo this app before you sign up, but I’m told this is in the works. A free magstripe card reader is included, but there is no chip card reader supported for the mobile app at this time.
  • Gift cards: This is nice to see, and fairly priced. I’m not blown away here, but as always Helcim goes out of their way to make sure you know exactly what this will cost so you can make an informed decision. And that does blow me away.

Other services:

  • Amex Opt Blue: This like interchange-plus for American Express. Not unique to Helcim, but most providers aren’t advertising it.
  • Seasonal Accounts: Don’t need an account year-round? No problem. Again, not unique to Helcim, but I love to see them trying to save you money.
  • Charity Accounts: Non-profits get lower rates!

Fees and Rates:

If you’ve read much of my writing, you probably know that I am a stickler for interchange-plus pricing. I believe that even low-volume merchants should qualify for this pricing model. There’s no good reason for you to deal with convoluted pricing. With interchange plus, you only have to worry about one rate: the markup above actual cost. Imagine if all of your purchases could be so transparent… Here’s the lowdown on the standard Helcim packages:

Retail:

  • 0.18% above interchange + $0.08 per transaction
  • $12 monthly fee in the US and Canada

Internet Pro Plan:

  • 0.36% above interchange + $0.25 per transaction
  • $25 monthly fee
  • Includes gateway for: credit card vault, recurring billing, payment pages, email invoicing, cart integration, etc.

Mobile Plan:

  • 0.18% above interchange + $0.08 per transaction
  • $30 monthly fee
  • Free mag stripe card reader (not chip card compatible)
  • Free app

Discounts By Volume:

Standard merchant account

  • $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

  • $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 standard published discounts. Note that these are not applied automatically, and they are entirely negotiable. So if you got a lower quote elsewhere, chances are Helcim will match it.

Custom Packages:

If your needs fall outside of the standard offerings, Helcim will work with you to build a custom package around your business.

Other Fees:

  • Chargeback fee: $15
  • Insufficient funds: $25
  • Name change: $25
  • Bank account change: $25
  • PCI non-compliance: $30-35 monthly (Helcim does a good job of helping you avoid this)
  • Wireless data fee in the US (optional): $20 monthly, in Canada it’s packaged with the terminal at no additional cost

If you have any questions about fees, Helcim put together this really nice page that explains what each fee is for. They even talk about fees like the FANF fee that the card networks charge, which will be passed on directly to you with no markup whatsoever.

Fees You Will NOT be Charged:

  • Monthly minimums
  • PCI-compliance fees
  • Setup/application fees
  • Statement fees
  • Early termination/account closure fees
  • Non-qualified fees
  • Junk fees/hidden fees

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

There are absolutely no early termination fees or cancellation fees charged by Helcim! As always, I still encourage you to carefully review your contract before signing. But Helcim is one of the more trustworthy providers I’ve encountered in this regard since they don’t seem to rely on outside agents. They have very consistent contract terms overall.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

I’m going to make a big statement here. Are you ready? Okay. Helcim has the absolute best sales and advertising transparency I’ve ever seen. It’s quite clear that they respect the intelligence of their clientele, as evidenced in their completely professional, ungimmicky, grown-up web copy. They are not trying to trick you into anything, and in fact, have truly useful educational material. If you are a fan of the TV show King of the Hill, you will understand this as the “Hank Hill Approach.” Namely, low-pressure and highly-educational – demonstrating the shortcomings of the industry instead of exploiting these issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Nothing is more infuriating than a flimsy FAQ. With Helcim, you don’t have to worry about that. They provide an extensive knowledgebase on par with the best of the best. This is seriously useful self-service support – no fluff!

I’m not 100% crazy about how it displays on the screen – for some reason I constantly have to toggle right – but that’s not a dealbreaker. (I put in a suggestion about this, so hopefully it will be fixed. Also if you make the window smaller, it will correct this issue.) Beyond this, you can access phone and email support 24/7, both of which I found highly responsive. (Some issues will of course, have to wait for business hours.)

While many providers will take over 24 hours to return emails, Helcim got back to me almost instantly. Users around the web tend to agree that Helcim excels in this category.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

I found only one complaint about Helcim, but the entire complaint is only one sentence long and seems like baloney to me. Aside from that, this company has an absolutely flawless reputation. They have an A+ rating with the BBB, but also no complaints in the past 36 months. If you have experience with Helcim, please leave your thoughts in a comment. Positive or negative, your insights help us keep this review as accurate as possible.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

It’s one thing to keep complaints at bay (a commendable achievement), but another endeavor entirely to get your customers to rave about you on the web. Helcim has managed to provide such impressive services that merchants are speaking out on social media and independent review sites to let us know that this is, indeed, the real deal. I can’t tell you how rare this is. Helcim also offers a bunch of brief blurbs and client logos on their site, many of which are verifiable. I have absolutely no doubts about this company’s customer satisfaction levels.

Some in-depth case studies might be nice, but that’s not really the gig here. The solutions Helcim provides are fairly basic – the real magic is in how flawlessly they execute these basics. (But I really do love the very fair Square vs. Helcim comparison they provide.)

Final Verdict:

If you’re Canadian, for the love of all that is holy – check these guys out! They’re paving the way for the future of merchant account marketing and execution. For small and medium-sized businesses, you’ll find everything you need here. And for you US-based merchants – again, check these guys out! They’re delivering top-notch service in the good ol’ US of A, too.

When it comes to full disclosure, fair pricing, and common sense practices, I’ve found my true love at Helcim. There are only a handful of other providers that make this much sense to me. (We’ve reviewed almost 200 providers here… so this is really saying something.) They charge very fair prices, all interchange-plus rates, and – best of all – Helcim provides you a REAL education so you can make an informed decision. Their industry articles are almost as good as ours, and we’re a watchdog!

If I had to find a complaint, it would be their mobile app. It’s not quite as feature-rich as others on the market, although it does seem to perform well enough. I also think that a $30 monthly fee for mobile when retail only carries a $12 fee (in the US) seems a little off (probably requires gateway access). But aside from that, I’m simply speechless. In my opinion, you’d be insane not to short-list Helcim. Please leave your thoughts in a comment below!

Tom DeSimone
Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit card processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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184 Comments

    Tami

    I am considering Helcim after reading Merchantmaverick.com review. I have been with Prodigy for 8 years. I have watched the rates rise and now they want me to lease a new machine. Flagship offers lower rates and a free machine. After reading here, I am scared of Flagship.

    I have an Repair shop and my monthly average on cards is $4000.00. I can not keep paying these high prices and cards are here to stay. I am considering a 3% or $3.00 charge on cards. Help !!! Who to choose???

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Tami,

    Helcim is going to be a more reliable and transparent processor. They have no hidden fees and good customer service. I would recommend getting a quote from them. I would also suggest taking a look at CDGcommerce. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

    Julia

    Hi Tom,What a thorough review in simplistic terms. I feel confident that I would like to move forward with helcim for my merchant processor, however I am struggling to find a compatible POS. For background, I am opening a brick and mortar retail pet supply store. I am also located in Alberta Canada. While I have explored Shopkeep, I would prefer to have a POS that is both in the cloud, offline compatible, and suitable for a desktop computer. It is important our POS also offers a loyalty option, as well as gift cards. As well, I would like it to pair with Helcim. My concern is that none of the POS options I have found are paired with Helcim. Could you perhaps offer some advice on which POS (that fits or is compatible to the criteria above) would be a good fit for Helcim? Thank you!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Julia,

    Thank you for your inquiry, I am happy to help you with this. Based on the information provided, LivePOS would be able to accommodate all of your criteria. I hope this helps, and if you have further questions please let me know.

    Julian

    I am torn between using Helcim and using Payfirma bundled in with a scheduling app called JaneApp. Payfirma said they run a flat fee of 2.75% with no other fees and no cancellation fees. It is hard to know how the costs will compare. any thoughts out there?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Corey Stricker

    Hi. I’m a bit confused about the standard fee you have listed. It shows, for Retail sales, 0.18% above interchange + $0.08 per transaction. But what is the interchange rate?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mable

    Interchange is what the actual cards charge you. So it varies by card, but is fixed.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Leigh Milleur

    i have a bed&breakfast in Napa Valley. A group of 4 checked into my beautiful Tuscan villa. As advertised on VRBO, it states it is a country estate with animals abound. On the description for vrbois only has one place to refer to "pets" As i state, not suitable for children, i also state No pets.These 4 guests checked into my villa at the rate of 2400. for 3 days. They emailed me within 1 hr and said 2 of the guests had allergies and were leaving. Then they proceeded to do a "charge back" for the 2400. Their complaint stated that they had asked if i had pets as they had allergies, A blatant lie, I would never say i had no pets with a cat sleeping on my deck. They also said i advertised it was a pet free home, well there is NO place to advertise it is pet free, only that they can't bring their pets.Anyway, my 11 pages of explanation and description of my property on vrbo went to their bank.Their bank found in my favor. The people then disputed that and now it goes to Visa in their bankto arbitrate it at a cost to me of 500. to start and possibly 1000. if i loose to Visa. then it can goback to the card holders again and do the same process over again. (not the arbitration decision)Elevon has advised me by 5 different persons in their chargeback dept, that I will loose to Visa asVisa ALWAYS sides with the card holder. Of course Visa sides with the card holder, they want him to continue to use that Visa card, so they give him back his money. Elevon, still charged me the48. fee to run the card and the 15. fee for the charge back. That this situation is rigged by Visa isobvious to anyone who reads this account. I am letter Elevon know, i am switching to anothermerchant and they in the end will be the big looser, as many thousands of dollars go thru myaccount that they charge me interest on. Just so all you people know who are reading this....

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Adam

    Hi ,

    I would like to know for a US based merchant account processing international payments ( outside U.S ) .

    How long it might take for Helcim to remit the fund in my US account
    How much is the average fee and foreign exchange fee if the transaction was in other currency than USD

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Adam,

    These are great questions. The customer is going to be charged in USD. The exchange rate will be applied to the customer’s card at the time of the transaction. Here is more information. Now, for receiving payment into your US account, it is going to depend on where the customer is purchasing from, so your best bet would be to contact Helcim directly for a better idea of time frame. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

    Marilyn Loken

    We have used Helcim/Elavon for 2 years. It works very well. We have no trouble with support and the same person has been available for the whole time. I like the Cost Plus, We are considered a small account even at close to a million in credit card use and no one else would offer it to us. We have both a US and a Canadian account. We use Gateway which means we don’t have the card information AT ALL. Some customers seem to have trouble (we often have 2 -3 declines before the transaction is accepted) but so far no one has refused to use it.
    The 2 day for deposit is a bit annoying, but not a deal changer. No start and cancel fees, affordable rental on machines, very reasonable monthly rates. Great company.
    Moneris charged us $300.00 even though we did not leave in the middle of a contract.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tina R. Rickman Ballarda

    Sorry, I just made a comment but then realized I had the pricing for Helcim mixed up with the new pricing for Payment Depot. So, I really just need, based on my other info I just sent, an opinion of the cost for Helcim vs. CDG for my particular business and using a terminal for check out. Thank you so much!!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    maggie

    Hi Tina – I’m an antique shop that has many times in the past done onsite estate sales. I was with Merchant Services thru Sam’s Club for 14 years and they got impossible to deal with to track the charges. I wanted something very simple until I found a new provider so I’ve been doing the Square thing for 2+ years now. I’m android, so I bought my own tablets, I use a regular old fashioned cash register – I only use the tablets for the the actual charge itself. I’ve been researching for a couple of years now for a new provider – in my opinion most of them are the same – they take your money and make it so confusing that you don’t even get if it’s accurate! I may be a bit on the lazy side too but at least with Square I know exactly how much I’m paying! I don’t do the apple thing and my tablets work just fine – I see no reason to purchase an entire set up from square to do anything different. If I were you I’d decide if you want to go the Apple route or android and get yourself the freebie phone attachments, then pay the 30 bucks for the chip attachment too. Give it a shot for a while until you find a good provider – it’ll get you over the hump. I only buy my terminals (in the past of course) I don’t believe in leasing anything. My total volume is roughly 25,000 per month at my brick and mortar and the onsite side is about where you’re at. It’s very frustrating, I’m not the least bit techie either but I really don’t have any issues with the square – I did have an $843.00 chargeback because we didn’t use the chip reader and my employee didn’t bother asking for ID on a card but that’s my bad (or more accurately, hers!). Square doesn’t hold back anything for any length of time for me – I always get the money in my bank account w/in 1 day unless holiday is involved. I’m happier than I’ve ever been although I still don’t consider it a long term solution for me, but it’s sure as heck easier than putting my bookkeeper through the old way. Don’t be too hard on yourself, give yourself time to do thorough research on what’s best for you. Tom did NOT recommend Helcim for my because apparently our business is considered “high risk” and they would not be the best fit for me. He did recommend a couple of others though. Good luck! I wish you the best – I love my business! I’m in the Atlanta area, if that matters! Best, Maggie

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tina R. Rickman Ballard

    Hi, I have been reading your reviews and trying to narrow down which company to use for merchant services. I will be holding onsite estate sales. I probably won’t have any volume the first month, then every 6-8 weeks I will most likely have one sale over the course of 2-3 days with a total volume of 8,000-15,000, give or take a couple thousand. The transactions will vary from very small to perhaps over 1,000 or more and everywhere in between. Many variables. I hesitate buying a terminal rather than renting, but haven’t ruled it out. I would definitely want it insured. I am considering my local credit union (but the fees are not looking great so far). Ruled out Payment Depot due to reviews and using First Data. Leaning toward CDGcommerce and Helcim. I would have to negotiate terms with Helcim because of the variance from month to month. It would be nothing, or under 10,000 or over 10,000. CDG has free terminals (with the charge for insurance) but much higher rates it seems, compared to Helcim. I want a company not likely to hold funds simply because of the frequency of my transactions (nothing, then lots of transactions over the period of a few days) or for other reasons. They need a good reputation for not doing this. Good customer service since I am not a techie. And I have observed that terminals seem to work better than the gadgets people hook up to their phones or an Ipod. I have a friend who just signed up with Square and used a tablet (something they provided I think, not sure) and she had to key in at least half of the transactions because they wouldn’t process correctly and had one double charge even though the process was not completed. I don’t know if other companies have better success with the mobile devices, but I’d feel more comfortable with a terminal and maybe a (free would be nice) gadget for phone as a back up when the check out line gets long. Can you offer a suggestion? This is all new to me, I am almost in tears and my brain is about to explode.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Tina,

    I am going to send you an email right now.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tina Patterson

    Hi Tom
    A year ago I was looking for a different credit processing company. I was leaning toward Helcium which ended up being the one you guys thought would be the best for me. Now I am receiving phone calls from Harbour Touch and they are telling me that there is more fees being taken out than what I should be paying. They are telling me that they can do it for quite a bit lower. Do you know anything about Harbour Touch? Is this true or is it just a sales pitch. They say I am paying about 4 %. Can you help me? Tina

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Tina,

    I highly doubt that Harbortouch will give you lower rates than Helcim. Harbortouch is primarily a point-of-sale company, not a merchant account provider. They bundle payment processing in with their POS systems. Helcim gives low interchange-plus pricing with a minimum of unavoidable additional fees, and no “junk” fees whatsoever. So while I’m hesitant to say anything is impossible, it is very unlikely that Harbortouch can actually follow through with these claims. Very few companies have contracts and pricing as fair and as transparent as Helcim’s. Marketing calls like this are a common tactic in merchant account sales.

    Hope this helps,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Roman

    Hello Tom,I like your site and highly appreciate your work! Thank you very much.I have the key issue, which took three days of my time and hope for you help.We are a recently established company and are going to sell cloud-based web application builder and in prospective Enterprise Resource Planning solutions (application for accounting, management, logistics etc.) through our website. We plan to register our company in Canada and accept payment by cards from clients worldwide. So we are looking for an internet merchant provider or a payment gateway for such a service. As I correctly monitored your reviews, Helcim is the best solution for US/Canadian clients as they offer the service of internet account opening, card payment processing and are online payment provider and gateway at the sane time what minimize the cost expense. Tell me if I am wrong.But other question is that, what should we do with clients from the rest of world, especially from Europe or Asia. Which providers should we apply for that purpose or should we use Helcim as well?The average payment sum is about $15 and payment volume is hard to predict, so we are looking for the expense reducing. I would be grateful for any suggestion and some calculation at most if possible. :)Thank you in advance and wait for your reply!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lisa

    I’m doing some research on what company to use for processing our customer payments. We are located in Canada and are currently utilizing Paypal.
    Are there transfer fees to put the money into our business bank account? Are there any funds to process refunds to customers? If we get paid in USD, do we receive USD into our account?

    Thank you!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Marilyn Loken

    We have both a US and a Canadian account. They go into separate accounts the US dollars go into a US dollar account and the Canadian account. Works well. We then exchange the US dollars to Canadian as needed.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mohammad Ali

    Hi,

    I’m in the early stages of establishing my restaurant Ramini’s in Vancouver, BC.

    I would like to know 1) what is the best plan for me? 2) what are the cost associated with my sales? 3) how long does I take to collect my sales done through credit cards?, knowing the following:
    1- My sales forecast is between $200K and $500K
    2- 75% of sales are via credit cads at restaurant
    3- 5% of sales are via credit card online
    4- I’ll need 2 hand held machines at the restaurant

    Kindly advise,

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kelli

    Hi ,
    I to am very confused with processing companies. I have 2 brick and mortar stores that are seasonal businesses I currently process with Cayan on a 4 tiered system and flat rate for debit/pin. I have been with this company for 10 years and still don’t understand their charges. Our new EMV terminals take twice as long to process a transaction as the old ones. I’m at a cross roads and ready to switch, but can’t compair rates or understand if moving my business will be a better deal for me. What is your opinion on Cayan? and If your processing between 50,000 -100,000 a year, is cost plus a better option?…. And flat rate with debit?
    Thank you!
    Dazed and Confused
    Kelli

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Kelli,

    Cayan can be a good solution for some businesses, but you would be able to make more meaningful pricing comparisons if you had an interchange-plus quote. Tiered pricing rarely works in a business’s favor, even with a separate debit rate. For low volume businesses it will sometimes make sense when coupled with a very low monthly fee and no monthly minimum, but not always even in those cases.

    Unfortunately the slow EMV transactions are an industry-wide problem. The networks are working to improve speeds slowly but surely.

    I’d suggest you take a look at a company willing to offer you an interchange-plus pricing plan. Helcim might be a good solution. No need for a flat-rate debit price. You’ll get a better deal on debit with interchange-plus. For more information on making price comparisons, check out this article.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mike

    Helcim in its application incorporates the Elavon TOS which seem to lock you into a 3 year agreement. Has anyone cancelled and what was the result? Also, anyone have any thoughts on the reserve account?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Dan Fortner

    Tom,

    Really incredible reviews on this site! I am currently speaking to Helcim based on your review as well as Payscout.

    I am looking to take security deposits when my customers sign. So we are looking at transactions around $1500-$5000 and around 4 to 10 a month. Occasional recurring monthly processing as well for some special-case customers; lets say 5 – 10 customers at $250 to $3k.

    Cards will only be taken over the phone, so it will always be CNP. With my small volumes, am I looking at the correct merchants?

    Thanks again, great site!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Christy

    Thanks for the info. I have a small handmade jewelry business in BC I've just started up. Looking for card payment systems to use at local markets, sometimes outside with no access to Internet and no data plan on my iPhone. I usually make average + or -$400 per month and hoping to link a payment system with my website also. Other merchants have been recommending Payd (moneris) but I'm thinking this may not be my best option. Thanks in advance for any advice 🙂

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Margaret

    Hi Tom – I’ve been looking for a good credit card processor since canceling my Sam’s Club processing after 14 yrs. as a customer. I’m a relatively small retail shop and my average transaction is probably $80 or thereabouts but I do at times have them in the $1000.+ range. As an established business I’m ok with waiting a couple of days to get the cash in the account so would rather have to pay less. My monthly volume ranges from 20,000 – 30,000. and I’ve been using Square for the last 3 years. Although I still think I pay too much with them based on my volume finding a provider is so frustrating. I can’t understand the gibberish they tell me and after being so “over” Sam’s Club I’ve stuck with Square if only just because I know what I’m getting. I used to have to be so vigilant with Sam’s Club that I was spending way too much time trying to figure out the statements and all the misc. fees. I’m ready to take on a new provider now since the chip reader technology is here and I haven’t bought any product yet. I still just swipe – I prefer to outright buy the terminal with the chip reader but perhaps with Helcim that’s not a good way to go? I wonder if Helcim is a good fit for me, I don’t do online sales and probably never will – (I’m an antique shop). Any suggestions? Hoping my volume will increase to about 400k by end of 2016. Thanks for all you do so the average person can really understand this stuff! You really get me all fired up to get out there and slay the dragon!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Margaret,

    I’m so glad you find our website helpful! Antiques are considered a “high risk” industry so unfortunately Helcim won’t be a good fit. I would recommend Durango Merchant Services and Payline Data. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    John

    Your information is extremely invaluable. I notice on the Helcim reviews that you mention aDiscount by Volume amount. Is that per month or per year? (I am unable to find that info on the Helcim site.)

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    richad

    thanks for the read. just wondering...would "tender retail" pos go well with helcim for a medium/large scale grocery?any suggestions for a pos here?i live in ontario, canada.

    5

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    Marlene Fast

    I just recently became a Helcim customer and I am very pleased with them! My question is, I did purchase a terminal from my previous supplier. What do I do with that terminal? Is there information stored inside it? Do I smash it and throw it away? Thoughts?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Marlene,

    Helcim can probably reprogram the terminal for you, or offer an equipment exchange. Here are some more details.

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    Rick Scarborough

    Great info. Thanks

    If my seasonal business processes $500k in 4 month between terminal, phone and online ticket and retail sales for a show w/supper, retail shops, and CD/DVD sales, would Dharma or Helcim be a better fit?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Rick,

    It would be very similar. You might save a bit more with Helcim, especially is you are thinking of switching gateways too. Helcim also has posted volume discounts, which you might qualify for despite your seasonality. Dharma would likely be willing to work with you on this as well, but they don’t have these numbers published.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    shirley

    Hi Tom,
    Would you have any insight for me concerning costco (canada) vs helcim? Thanks!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Shirley,

    Helcim’s rates and fees will be much lower and more transparent than Costco. Take a look at the Helcim site. You’ll be impressed.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kate

    As a Canadian business owner Helcim sounds like a great option – however, I am wondering your opinion/recommendation for a company with our needs. We are a flooring retailer and installation company. At this point we for see our needs including off-site/on-the-road sales, over the phone, and in-store transactions. The dollar value per transaction most likely would range from $2000 to $6000 with 1-5 transactions/month.

    In your opinion, are we better suited to mix our payment options or go with one that may be able to cover all of those needs? And is there another Canadian Option out there that may be better suited for us?
    For example:
    – wired and virtual
    – wired and mobile
    – just mobile… etc.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    It’s hard to say without more precise numbers, but Helcim will be the safest bet for all of those types of transactions, and in all likelihood the least expensive as well.

    For over the phone sales, you can use Helcim’s free virtual terminal included with the “retail” account. If you need a more complex virtual terminal (with recurring billing and other such tools), then you’ll have to upgrade the the “virtual” account, which includes a payment gateway. Upgrading to the “virtual” account should also allow you to use their mobile processing app at no extra charge.

    If you do not want to pay the higher fee associated with the virtual or mobile accounts, then I would recommend simply key-entering the on the road transactions into the browser-based virtual terminal. Any internet-connected device with a web browser can access the virtual terminal. Yes, your interchange rates will be a little higher this way compared with swiping the transactions, but if this won’t make up a large portion of your volume anyway then it shouldn’t be much.

    Hope this helps!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bill

    I’m looking to add credit or debit to our payment options. As a propane retailer, I understand MC might qualify us as a utility but Visa would not. Are dual MCC something Helcim might be able to do for us? We current accept ACH online and receive 15-20K$ thru that with low fees, are debit only acceptance something Helcim might allow? We eventually would accept payments in our office for merchandise too, does that interfere with a utility MCC? This is a new thing for us as we have never accepted credit/debit payments.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jonathan

    I just created a business and am looking at different merchant options. I have two that I have come down to: Inkas Payments (who also use Elavon) and Helcim (because of your stellar review on them). I couldn’t find any solid reviews on Inkas Payments. What is your professional opinion regarding Inkas Payments as a merchant provider, compared to Helcim?

    Thank you! Your review has definitely given me perspective!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jonathan,

    Inkas does NOT look good to me. Very few public disclosures, which is usually a bad sign. Helcim uses Elavon as the backend processor as well, and Helcim has some of the best public advertising I’ve ever seen and the best no-negotiation rates you’re likely to find anywhere. It’s a great company. I recommend them with absolutely no hesitation, especially to Canadian businesses.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Rishnak Daknath

    I own a pizza franchise with $50000+ credit card transaction. My POS is from Revention. The credit card processing company I use charges between 2.65-2.8% in fees. The agent through whom I signed up says he is only making a dime per transaction. I cannot seem to compare the statements of any two companies because it feels like I am comparing apples and oranges. Can I get a better rate? How would I know if I am getting a better rate? Why does this seem so complicated? Maybe, Congress should regulate this business so that all statements can read alike and we know exactly where companies make money. I am not opposed to profit, but I am concerned how confusing the statements are. Any help would be appreciated.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Risknak,

    I completely agree with you! It’s impossible to make meaningful comparisons without a price quote that separates the wholesale cost from the markup. That’s why we ONLY endorse providers that use interchange-plus pricing, which allows for real comparisons and overall increases pricing transparency. You still have to watch out for fees of course, but the rate quote tends to be the most confusing part. I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that your current provider makes WELL over $0.10 per transaction on you.

    Most providers with fair rates will start giving volume discounts at about $50K monthly, so you’re on the cusp. Helcim’s markup is 0.18% + $0.08 for accounts processing $0 – $50K. For $50K to $100K, it’s 0.16% + $0.07. Either way, I am pretty confident that they will save you money if you’re paying 2.65-2.80% total per transaction at the moment. I would recommend switching.

    To learn more about rates and fees, check out this infographic.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mark

    Regarding Helcim:

    Unequivocally the top merchant services provider I have utilized and I have used many since 1981 on both sides of the USA/Canada border. The founder of the company himself (Nicolas Beique) has personally walked me through technical issues with equipment, replaced equipment without a fuss, helped us understand and navigate PCI compliance, clarified and confirmed Elavon billing, and I could go on. Nicolas was also supportive and helped ease the process of closing out our accounts (with Helcim and Elavon) when we retired our business last year. Myself and members of my staff consistently experienced the same level of attention and courtesy from all the employees of Helcim that we on occasion reached out to – that is just the customer service aspect of Helcim A+++! Their rates (as a package) are also the best I could get from any service provider bar none and this was without any contract, never once an unfair or unexpected charge and not a penny levied against us when we retired our accounts and business – Helcim even couriered prepaid packaging (absolutely zero cost to us) so that we could return the card processing equipment – a courtesy we never had to ask for. Companies that try to change the landscape of business through ‘real’ transparency, old world customer service and solid values are hard to discern in a sea of marketing hype but Helcim is such a company – and they do it all with no strings attached and no self-aggrandizement. Highly, highly recommended.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ron

    Question, I’m a small business that vary from $500 to $6000 in transactions per month and am currently getting hammered on fees, I am pci compliant and under contract with current provider do you think that this would be a problem tryng to go with Helcim or could you recommend an other provider, really love the info on this sight, thanks for any help

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Ron,

    Helcim is a good choice for that volume! Definitely give them a shot.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Debie

    Hello, just started a business, where we attend Biker Events and conduct seasonal business via a canopied space. Sales range from $200-$300/day x 2-3 days, with items selling from $5-$30/each. Going to attempt to attend 2 events/month from March-Sept, every year, with down time being from Nov-Feb. Looked into Flint; which seemed to be the best fit, price-wise, but then became alarmed with all the negative remarks, regarding non-payment and poor to no customer service.
    I need a service I can cancel in down time, low to no monthly charges, and of course, low per transaction charges…PLEASE HELP!!! The confusion is boggling!!!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Debie,

    People are much more inclined to leave feedback about a negative experience rather than a positive one, so please don’t let the comments dissuade you from checking out Flint. They have no monthly fees, no early termination fees, and have a pay-as-you-go service so it sounds like it would be a great fit for your business. Please check out the review here. I hope this helps!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Victoria

    Hi Tom,

    Great article! I have a quick question I was wondering you could shed some light on.
    I am opening a frozen dessert store next month and in the process of trying to decide which merchant services to go with. Helcim definitely looks the best overall based on reviews etc. My only concern is that we will be a low ticket (probably around $6), high volume business and due to the 8 cent fee on top of the percentage we would actually likely pay less in merchant fees with Square or Paypal due to the fixed %. However, reluctant to go with Square or Paypal due to their customer service issues and freezing of accounts complaints. Any advice? Kind regards, Victoria

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Victoria,
    For your volume I would recommend taking a look at Flint. I hope this helps!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lisa R

    I am currently looking for a processor and Helcim looks great on paper it seems that your are actually signing a contract with Elavon and are complying with Elavon’s terms and conditions which seem to lock you into a 36 month contract with two year auto renewals. Whats up with that?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Lisa,

    The terms you agree to with Helcim will waive the early termination fee in the boilerplate from Elavon. I’m yet to hear of a single merchant who had any trouble canceling with Helcim when the time came. Hope this helps!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jeff

    Hi, thanks for all you do, to help sort out this very confusing part of the business. At least it is for me. I am currently month to month for my PNC merchant service in my brick and mortar store. But thinking of switching to Helcim as I have to buy a new EMV machine, and PNC is charing an exorbant amount for a processor, plus a monthly PCI compliance fee. My concerns are that I’m US based and leary of dealing out of the country with personal info. Also, monthly card sales may avg. $2000 sometimes less. I read a few reviews saying Helcim is good if the business averages over $2500.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Jeff,
    Helcim is an excellent choice. They are very transparent with their pricing so you won’t need to worry about any hidden fees and will work with your average monthly volume so I would definitely recommend checking them out.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gary Hopps

    Jeff,

    Although HELCIM is Canadian based they also have a US Office. Insofar as the less than $2500, my monthly submissions are usually less than $2500 and there have been no problems. HELCIM stands by their contract. I’ve seen no difference in rates whether above or below $2500.

    Gary

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    dred

    hi i have a question. do i need to have a good credit score to be approve at helcim? pls reply thank you.

    5

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    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Dred,

    Yes, you will need to have a good credit score to be approved for Helcim. If you don’t have a good score, I would recommend checking out Payline Data or Durango Merchant Services.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Landon

    Tom,Thank you for the information. I have recently started a law firm in Texas. I bank with BOA, and was considering Banc of America Merchant Services. After meeting with the sales rep, I was not satisfied with the rates/services they were offering and their lack of willingness to negotiate. I anticipate credit card transactions to range from $500-$5000 per transaction. Initially, I expect less than $10,000 in transactions monthly. However, I eventually expect to generate more than $10,000 monthly in CC transactions. Based on these numbers and your research, do you think Dharma or Helcim is a better fit?

    5

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    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Landon,

    Helcim will be better, especially at first while your volume might be below $10K monthly. But there’s no early termination fee, so if you want to switch at some point down the line you are free to with no penalty.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jessica

    I recently had a very positive experience with Helcim's customer service. It's very rare to get good customer service and tech support in general however this was not the case with Helcim. Adelia listened to all my concerns, provided me fast and accurate help and advice and completely over exceeded my expectations in getting my site payments back up and running problem-free. A+++ on all accounts.

    5

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    Peggy

    Tom,Discovered your site in July when I finally decided to dedicate time to finding a better carrier. Mine was going to charge me $500 for the new machines and absolutely couldn't (wouldn't) get me a better plan. I was between 5%-6%. I decided to give Helcim a try based on your comments and reviews. After a few months of steady use I am very happy. Have stayed between 2.11% - 2.37%, statements easy to access and read, and deposits made timely. Thank you for your very educational site and for helping small business with their bottom line.With gratitude,Peggy

    5

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    Neil Shah

    Hi Tom - great article - living in Canada I was searching for a 'less inexpensive' solution to our current card processor - and you have given this to me - merci merci merci. We are a seasonal business - and was informed today by our current processor that they no longer have the option to have a seasonal closure - and that they will be charging me $20 per month for having an account with them - even if we have returned the machine!!cheersNeil

    5

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    Gary Hopps

    BTW - Forgot the 5 Star Rating. Would make it 10 Star, if available.

    5

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    Gary Hopps

    Tom,I was getting a royal treatment (not the nice kind) from two CC Processors, one processing our fixed automated terminal and the second processing our Sales Counter terminal. We'll call them ONE (Rhymes with Sun) and TWIRLED (Rhymes with World). I was with ONE for almost eleven years due to being ignorant of the practice of CC Processing. I started with a multi-tiered rate structure of 1.9% for a Swipe which elevated over time to 4.6% plus all the absurd fees added after the 2008 market/banking collapse. In addition they concocted a Customer Protection Plan priced at $19.95 per month. I opted out of the protection plan immediately, upon being informed of its enactment. Even though I opted out, they began charging me the $19.95 per month and did so for ten months. When I complained, they offered to "see if they could" credit me with 3 months back fees (but apparently "couldn't"). Additionally they charged another $19.95 per month for not being PCI compliant, (which I was) but, apparently, no one bothered to note it on my account. Foolishly, and shame on me, I never gathered the proper documentation to refute their claim. Their CSRs promised to make things right, but the only payback I received was "lip service".The second CC Processor, TWIRLED, started me out at a similarly low Swipe rate and kept elevating it until, with all the absurd fees, I was paying just under 10% on the dollar. With the inception of the new EMV terminals they were going to charge me an additional $14.99 a month for an "Encryption Fee" associated with their new terminal. This would have brought my monthly rate to just under 14%. I requested a rate review and their reply was "Absolutely Not", but they were kind enough to charge me an early termination fee $95.00 . Had only been with them for 29 months. Between ONE and TWIRLED i was paying approximately $203.00 monthly in fees and percentages based on submitted amounts of about $2100.00 Finally I had the incentive to seek out a new processor. Blessings must have guided my web searches and the stumbling upon Tom''s site. Reading all his reviews, I inquired of Helcim and one other recommended provider. I spoke with a Helcim rep in Calgary and got on really well. Polite and informative, he sent me the rate structure and their promises. Sounded very lucrative , but after enduring the rasp of ONE and TWIRLED, it was difficult to believe. Helcim sent out the paperwork, all straight forward and basic. Reluctantly I signed on. Upon receiving my first Helcim invoices, I was in shock: $62.71 on submitted amount of $1885.02 the first month and $56.84 on submitted mount of $1767.16 the second, all Swipes. Cost reduction of about 67% monthly. I am overjoyed. THANK YOU TOM and THANK YOU HELCIM. If you have doubts, the proof is in these results. At our Laundromat, we now welcome Credit & Debit Cards. Before Helcim, I was trying to discourage their use.This information is factual and I have the documentation to justify it. I have no affiliation with Helcim other than as a new customer and know no one employed there. I don't know Tom or any of his affiliate but certainly owe him a ton of thanks for his kind reviews. Hope this helps you make a decision.

    5

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    Tong S.

    Hi Tom, I was reading up on all these reviews and I am impressed with Helcim so far. I am opening up a new restaurant business so I will need a reliable cost effect POS. I contacted Helcim and the customer service rep was very helpful and I would like to get their Ingenico iCT220 terminal. However, they do not sell the rest of the POS hardware items needed to connect the terminal with (touch screen, cash register, receipt printer, etc). I have looked at all those hardware everywhere and they come with a mandatory software that has to be purchased together with the hardware. Where can I find a stand alone hardware without having to purchase their software because I want to be able to download Helcim software?Thank you in advance,Tong S.

    5

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    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Tong,

    There’s no reason to have to purchase POS software and POS hardware from the same place, except with certain proprietary systems like Clover Station. And even then, the printer, cashdrawer, etc. are all third-party items. They just need to be compatible with the system, but don’t need to be purchased as a bundle. For most tablet-based POS systems, you can purchase the tablet (often an iPad) anywhere.

    Helcim will work with a ton of POS systems. Check out our POS reviews, and let us know if you need any more help!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom Jones

    Do you work for Helsim?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Nope!

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    Kimberly Kunes

    So happy to find your sight and to finally make sense of credit card processing. Currently using Cayan. My cheap rate is actually about 4%. Every transaction on my last bill had a non qualified rate. Wanting to switch before I am charged a pci fee in December. Looking at Helcim. I process anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 in any given month. We are a small auto repair facility. Any other one to consider. The 2 days to get funds is normal I assume even if in the US. Any problems with fees for sending those funds to me in the US from Canada? Looking for a speedy response. Would like to be set up by Monday 11/30.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Kimberly,

    Helcim would be a good choice for your business. All of your funds will stay in US banks if you process in the US, so don’t worry about international funding delays. Helcim is Canadian, but its processor has offices in the US and Canada.

    Given your processing volume, you might save money using Payline‘s low-volume plan instead. But honestly the math will likely work out pretty evenly between that and Helcim.

    Depending on your needs, you might also consider a service like Flint instead.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Laurie

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for your incredible reviews! We own a computer sales and service business, processing approx. $40,000 a month, with most cards swiped at our counter terminal. We are currently using First Data through Wells Fargo, and they are charging us an effective rate of almost 5%! I am considering switching to Helcim but am concerned that they use Elavon. I have not heard good things about them. I want a company I can reach on the phone without a great hassle. Would Dharma be a better choice for us? Any help you can give would be much appreciated!

    Laurie

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Laurie,

    Either Helcim or Dharma would be able to find significant savings for you, and both companies will help you to understand and resolve any issues that arise with the backend processor (First Data in the case of Dharma, Elavon for Helcim). Because both of these companies do a great job setting up accounts properly, processor issues are not as common as with other merchant services companies. Both will do everything in their power to help resolve any issues that arise.

    So I’d say you should consider both. Either would be a great choice.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tong S.

    Hey Tom, Thank you for the impressive and unbiased information you presented. After reading all these reviews, I am still stuck between the 2 companies. Helcim and SquareUP. I am looking to open up a small restaurant inside a mall. I am projecting $20K to $30K in monthly sales and maybe more since the holidays are coming up. Helcim has so many positive reviews but they only have a transaction terminal that you can buy from them. I need the whole kit. Square has a complete hardware kit for my need...cash register, IPad Air LCD screen, printer for receipts and contactless reader. Pricewise for Square is around $1100/kit that I need.What would you recommend? If I go with Helcim, what brand of POS kit should I get that would be most compatible with Helcim?Thanks in advance,Tong

    5

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    Mark

    Hi Tom:

    I am starting up an online store where all sales will be drop shipped from China. Initially, the average sale will range from about $8 to $15. I anticipate that sales should hit $10,000 per month within the first two months then go up from there. My personal credit score is very good, but this store is a first for me. Would Helcim be a good fit for me and are they likely to accept me? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks for all the great info.

    Mark

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Mark,

    I think there’s a pretty good chance that Helcim will accept you and that it will be a good fit. If you’re denied, try Payline Data instead.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mark R

    Thanks Tom. You are doing great work here and I really appreciate your feedback.Cheers!

    5

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    Tong S.

    Hello Tom,
    First of all, great job on explaining how all this works. Very impressive and informative stuff.
    I am researching companies on the best POS system. It looks like either Helcim or Square would fit my need. I am opening up a small restaurant business inside a mall. I am projecting anywhere between $20K to $40K monthly…maybe more as we approach the busy holiday season. I am leaning on Square but I read here that Square can hold up your fund for 180 days.
    as for equipments, Square has the best deal.
    Helcim only comes with a transaction terminal. I still need to look into touch screen display, cash register and printer for receipts.
    What do you think I should go with?
    Thank you and keep up the great work.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Tong,

    It’s a tough choice. Square will be simpler and likely cheaper in terms of setup at least, but Helcim will be more reliable and you’ll have more POS options to choose from. If you can afford to pay the monthly fee for a full feature restaurant POS, that’s what I’d do. But if you’re looking for a basic POS with no monthly fees, Square could be your best option.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Andre

    Dealing with Helcim was great! Everything was smooth until I had to deal with elavon who decided to just shut my account down out of nowhere smh. Apparently they don't know anything about my business and what im doing so im risky but a quick google search on my company would solve that issue. They never answer the phone either. Good thing I have a couple backup processors or I would be out of business.

    5

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    Jean

    Helcium uses elavon? I was going to go with them but elavon is a nightmare.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jean,

    I definitely understand your concern, but your experience will depend a lot on what company you sign up under and who sets up your account. The truth is that there are only about five major processors that almost everyone uses, and all of them have hundreds of horror stories to their names. But the company you sign up with has a lot of power to prevent issues down the line if they do their jobs right, regardless of the backend processor. And Helcim does its job very well!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Erin

    I did a very recent switch of terminals within Mercury Payments (due to a change in POS software) but am now on a US-based non-integrated system, since I am a Cdn business. The terminals or servers are so incredible slow that I have actually lost customers over the issue. And in less than two weeks, at least one of the terminals has been non-operational (approx every two days, I am operating on only one of the two terminals) b/c of some sort of error message. Because my issues cannot be fixed, Mercury is allowing me to leave with no fees attached. This allows me to shop around now, and your glowing report on Helcim makes them a no-brainer for me to contact them. We do over $50K in a very slow month, and usually operate at about $75-80K/mo.

    Just a question: Have you ever heard any feedback regarding speed/efficiency of non-integrated credit terminals used by Helcim? We are currently on ethernet cables and high-speed internet. I have never had any issues with the speed of my computer internet (plugged into same box as terminals), so I am assuming the problem is with the provider.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Amad Ebrahimi

    Erin,

    Honestly I can’t speak about the processing speed for Helcim. They generally use Elavon as their back-end processor so it’s hard to tell. I think this would be a better question for Helcim.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jack Wu

    Thank you merchant maverick for recommending Helcim. They have been very helpful and keep the paper work to a minimum. One thing they should do though is work on their brand messaging because their welcome packet was pretty generic. I would like to get some Helcim branded stickers or decals to show everyone I use their services. But they probably don't give that stuff away in order to keep costs low. 😉

    5

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    Paul

    Hi Tom,
    Banks must hate you! We likely would have signed on with a big bank if not for Merchant Mavericks. Looking at Helcim vs Dharma for a brand new retail business. We expect monthly revenue of 10,000+ within first few months. Although I love Dharma’s story, it is hard to ignore Helcim’s lower rates. Also like their blue tooth terminal. We are pressed for time- opening in 17 days- so hoping to avoid delay of applying and then being denied.

    Is either Dharma or Helcim more likely to accept a brand new retailer? With a new business, do they judge you based on biz bank balance? or personal credit rating? or ???
    Thanks so much,
    Paul

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Paul,

    Both Dharma and Helcim can set up accounts for new businesses, but approval depends on a number of factors including business type and projected volume. Personal and/or business credit do play a role in the application process, but the specifics of your business will be more important generally speaking. Basically the application process is designed to decide how much risk your business poses, and a risky business type is more dangerous for the processor than a business owner with less-than-perfect credit.

    I’d say Helcim would be a good bet for you. As a backup, Payline Data has a “high-risk” department that can get previously denied accounts up and running, so I’d say your chances of approval go up with Payline.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Paul

    Hi Tom,
    I am involved with a new brick and mortar retail business and one of my tasks is to find the best Merchant Account provider. We expect to have sales of $20,000+ per month and average transactions of around $2,000. I find myself liking Helcim and Dharma, but we will use QuickBooks so are also considering Intuit QuickBooks Payments which advertises 1.75% for swipes (including American Express) for a $19.95/month fee. The fee will be only one tenth of a percent based on our sales. Seems good, but here is where I get stuck:

    1] QuickBooks own website is confusing about whether or not the 1.75% applies to ALL swiped transactions or only “qualified”. Their pricing agreement is here: http://quickbooks.intuit.com/legal/payments/pricing-schedule
    It has a lot of extra fees which may only apply for international cards?

    2] How does 1.75% flat rate compare to an expected interchange plus fee from a company like Helcim or Dharma. Our customers will be upper middle class and above- not sure but might that increase the chances that they carry “fancy” rewards cards?

    3] Is there any risk for American companies using a Canadian provider such as Helcim?

    4] Are there any providers which you would recommend given our high average transaction?

    Thanks you!

    PS: Have you even heard of a provider called ChargeItPro?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Paul

    Tom,
    Before you waste a lot of time on comment above, we have kind of decided against Intuit QuickBooks Payments. I find bad feedback from current customers and their web site lacks the clear transparency of Dharma and Helcim. I told them that if they are really and truly providing a flat 1.75 for ALL credit cards including Amex for 19.95/month with no exceptions, that they should be explaining just that very clearly on their site. I did send in a newer question which you will see as well and that one I do hope you can find time to address.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Tell me about it! We reviewed QuickBooks Payments (Intuit Payments), and found the pricing information to be very confusing. The truth is that most transactions will likely not process at 1.75%, and instead will be hit with “non-qualified” surcharges.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Carol

    Thank you so much for offering a better understanding of merchant fees. I have a U.S. retail store and need to update my terminal by October. We are currently with North America and are paying 2.15% after all is said and done. We process an average of $100k/month with average transaction around $65. Is a lower rate feasible? What processing company would you recommend for us?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Carol,

    Helcim would be a good bet for you. At $100K per month in card transactions, you’ll qualify for a discount on the standard markup, either 0.16% + $0.07 or 0.14% + $0.06. I’d expect your effective rate (the rate you pay with all other fees accounted for), to be about 2% or less. But it really depends on the kinds of card your customers use and other specifics of your business. My suggestion would be to talk to the people at Helcim. They’ll be able to take a look at your statements and give you an accurate picture of what switching would do for your rates. The good thing about Helcim is that if it ends up not working out, you can walk away without penalty. They’re honest and if they can only match your current rates but not beat them, they’ll tell you.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    JENNY

    What about for a pawn shop?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jenny,

    Helcim might be worth trying for a pawn shop, but I think you have a better chance of approval going with Durango Merchant Services. They specialize in accounts that are hard to place. Another option along those lines is Payline Data. If neither of those work out, come back and we’ll see if there’s another option for you.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mike Lipsky

    Helcim rocks! Thanks MerchantMaverick for the recommendation. Helcim proves that great customer service and open, honest business practices do exist in the often sleazy world of merchant services.I can comfortably run my business knowing that my rates are rock-bottom low and won't suddenly change. I know a really nice person will answer the phones when I call and handle any issue I have. Call em today! A++++

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Greg

    Hi Tom, what a great work you have done for us getting through smokes and mirrors. I have been just denied by dharma due to ” new business” and ” high risk” etc. I got completely bummed out been denied and loosing hope of finding ethical processor which can be a good fit for home improvement company with no processing history. Any advise?
    Dharma account executive sent me to some Larry guy who is an ISO for First Data. Larry has no reviews I can find. how ethical is it for Dharma to just give my information(name,cell, email and god knows what else from the whole application i filled out online including scans of the check and incorporation docs they requested) to some random FD ISO who is going to get in touch with me tomorrow?. For all i know i may be signed up already and worrying for nothing happily accumulating fees without single swipe, right?
    Anyway, I would love to go around and try to sign up with every 5 star place you have here but just dont have the time to wait around getting denied every 3-4 days.
    what is your gut feeling for best ” new business/high risk”.
    Best
    Greg

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Greg,

    You might want to check out Payline Data. You can apply for a normal merchant account with them first. If that doesn’t go through, it will be transferred to Payline’s high-risk account wing, which is one of its specialties. If Payline can’t get the account going (I’m pretty confident that they can), come back and I’ll give some suggestions for difficult to place accounts.

    It sounds unusual for Dharma to pass info along like that without permission, but I’m confident that only very basic information (contact information) was likely sent. Dharma’s posted privacy policy leaves room for this, as do most merchant services providers. If it turns out that information was shared inappropriately, I’d encourage you to file a complaint with Dharma. The management would absolutely want to know if a rep acted inappropriately. But either way I can promise you that the account itself with this new ISO could not be set up without your reapproval.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Doug Ryan

    Tom,
    Thank you so much for all of the info that you provide. I have looked at much of it extensively in my quest to open my store, which will happen in the near future. I am opening a Dollar Store, and anticipate probably $7000 to $10000 per month in debit/credit transactions. I anticipate that the vast majority of these will be in the $5 to $10 range. Would your opinion that Helcim would be a good fit for me based on my low average transaction? I see their website claims the average total rate for retail to be 1.8% plus 8 cents…but that is based on a $75 average transaction. Mine will be much smaller than that.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thanks, Doug

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sunil Bhanage

    Hi Tom,Thank you for reveiwing the credit card processors. They are a major expense in ay industry especially retail. I am opening a convenience store and would like to know your opinion as to which one to go with initially. I am considering Dharma, Helcim or payment depot based on your reviews.Thanks,Sunil

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Sunil,

    Glad the reviews have been helpful. Honestly all of those options would work more or less equally well for you. All offer affordable credit card machines, low monthly fees, interchange-plus pricing, no early termination fees, no monthly minimums, and good customer service. Based on what you’ve mentioned in your comment, my first reaction is to suggest Helcim. They’re extremely affordable for businesses just starting out, regardless of volume.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    grace

    Hi Tom!
    I’m so glad I found your reviews after being in business almost 9 years. We are a family owned restaurant currently going through First Data but we need a new terminal by Oct. and decided to shop around. What would you suggest as the best merchant service for us- (we average around $10,000 with average tickets ranging from $25-50)? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Grace,

    It sounds like Helcim would be a great choice. They offer very affordable hardware and the rates are compatible with the type and volume of transactions you run. They are also compatible with most POS systems, so if you use POS software you can likely continue to use the same system.

    Hope this helps!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bill Williams

    Tom, Found your site today and it has been a big help. I have a small tour company and need to start taking deposits/payments through my website for tours. Some months I have few transaction deposits/payment (checks) and other months it could be $25,000 or more. I was going to go with PayPal and have been reading all the horror stories across the web (and here).

    HELP! Really need to find a company that is smart, low fees and great customer service…would love your feedback as well as others here on your review site. Thanks

    Bill

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    C Snyder

    We have a brick and mortar retail shop in a small town and also do a large show twice a year. It is a long show which would span into 2 months each time for credit card processing. We have been with First Data for about 6 years now and I am really getting tired of the fees. We currently have both a fixed terminal and a mobile terminal for the shows. Since things are about to change to the EMV system in October and we are going to have to get new equipment, we were thinking about moving away from First Data and considering only having a mobile device. For 8 months out of the year our monthly processing could range from $50 – $3000 because we primarily receive either checks or cash but for those 4 months while at the shows, we may process $5,000 – $10,000. I would like your advice on what might be the best system for us. I have spent quite a bit of time researching it and came across your site. I have tentatively narrowed it down to Helcim and the Square but we are open to whatever thoughts you might have. Thank you for your time.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Glad to help! Given your volume and needs, I think Helcim is the better option. Yes, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee (unlike Square), but because the transaction cost will be lower with Helcim, over the course of the year it will end up being less expensive in all likelihood. Helcim has both wireless credit card machines (which are pricey) and a mobile card reader (similar to Square, very inexpensive). If you can get by with the mobile card reader instead of the wireless terminal, you will save a lot not just in the purchase price, but also the month data plan that is required to use the wireless terminal. (This is assuming you have a smart phone or tablet already.)

    Depending on a few factors, a mobile processing service like Flint or Square might be a little less expensive given the numbers you’ve described. But you’ll have better luck in terms of reliability and overall quality of service by using Helcim.

    Good luck! Let us know if you have any other questions.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Shannon

    Hello Tom, I am a complete newbie to the whole merchant provider subject and we own a small Canadian Business. After countless hours of Google reviews and then finding your incredibly informative and very helpful review of Helcim, I decided to go with them. I just submitted my application but have a few concerns. The application requests you to fill out a 'personal guaranty' as a "primary inducement to us to accept this Merchant Application" The terms of it say the guaranty will not be released, even in the event of death, and that it is binding even on our heirs. Needless to say, this has me very concerned and I don't plan on signing it. Is this normal? Also you were right when you said you basically sign away your rights as the TOS state they can put a lien on your bank account and they can freeze funds in your bank account from your access. Also states they can request yearly financial statements from you such as your P&L. As a newbie, I'm curious as to whether these terms are the norm? Or should I be running in the opposite direction in sheer horror? 🙂 Thanks so much in advance for taking the time to answer Tom!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Shannon,

    Unfortunately, this type of language is in literally every merchant agreement I’ve seen. Helcim has a lot of control over how much you pay, but unfortunately many of the boilerplate contract terms are fixed by the processor’s legal department and cannot be amended. Exceptions to this come up with contractual obligations like the early termination fee, which Helcim waives for all accounts.

    Processors want to minimize their risk as much as possible, so they really go to town in the contract. The reality is that the processor is unlikely to enforce the vast majority of the contractual stipulations, but in order to be absolutely certain they don’t lose money on fraudulent businesses they do as much as possible to matin access to as much collateral as possible.

    I have never heard a complaint about Helcim’s customer experiencing any abuse of this power, which gives me the confidence to recommend them wholeheartedly.

    Hope this helps!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Shannon

    Yes, that helps a great deal Tom! Thank you 🙂 The TOS do make me uncomfortable as it feels like you never know when they could come in and wreak havoc with their crazy stipulations 😉 But given that this is the norm for all providers, we will go with it. I guess by signing the agreement we wouldn’t legally have a leg to stand on if they did choose to enforce their ‘rights’? Thanks again for the excellent info and service you provide, its much appreciated Tom.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Cindy

    Tom,

    I just came across this site & blog while researching merchant services. After 30 years in business I wasn’t aware that a business could go direct to merchant svs as opposed to going through a bank. I don’t understand how this would work i.e. how deposits/debits get to your account if you aren’t transacting through your bank.
    What prompted me to do research is we are unhappy with our bank and looking at changing. We transact about $300k in credit card transactions. However we are implementing an ERP system that has a seamless credit card processing module (no more virtual PC transactions – we are wholesale so no swiping) that works only on the gateways TGate, CenPos and INTRIX. Ok this is all Greek to me! I’m realizing that the merchant services use these “products” to process.
    My questions are: 1) Can we or should we go ‘direct’ for our merchant services rather than through our bank; 2) Does Helcim use either of these gateways as these are our only choices for our new software?
    Currently we are with US Bank who uses Elavon (a US Bank entity I’m told) and yes we are nicked and dimed to death.
    Thank you in advance for all of your help on this matter – and to all of the other bloggers for their input and insight.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Cindy,

    It’s confusing, I know! There are actually a number of banks involved in the process. Often the bank that you sign up with is not actually the bank that is processing the transactions. Regardless of what company you sign up with, it is easy for them to route the transactions to your checking account. You simply provide your account and routing number, and voila! The money goes to your account.

    Interestingly, Helcim uses Elavon as their backend processor. This means that your fees are determined by Helcim (which is a good thing!) but the behind the scenes work happens via Elavon. So you wouldn’t have to worry about the fees. But if you absolutely want to avoid Elavon, I would suggest checking out Dharma Merchant Services. Again, I have full confidence in Helcim, but I understand that you might be hesitant to work with the same backend processor you are using now.

    Most processors can accommodate all of the major gateways, but you should be sure to ask about this point blank before signing up.

    So first and foremost I would recommend that you talk to the folks at Dharma Merchant Services. I’m pretty confident that will be a great fit for you.

    If you need any more help, please come back and let me know.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Cindy

    Ok you asked, so I’ve got a few more questions…

    We have decided to change banks, leaving US Bank after 20+ years and bringing our business to the largest Northwest, locally owned Umpqua Bank.
    After meeting with them yesterday, they do their own processing through Tsys (not your favorite, or anyone’s!) have their own fee schedule with a savings of .47% rate less. Though their per transaction fee for Visa/MC authorization is double ($0.06 higher), their Amex rate is $0.05 lower. Ultimately there will be an average of $500/month savings based on the three months we analyzed.
    How do you feel about local banks processing their own, i.e. being their own Merchant Service? They tout that handling these processes at the local level allows them to control their costs and fees.

    Thanks Tom!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Cindy,

    In terms of fees, the local banks don’t have any advantage. The one thing they do have as an advantage is local, in-person customer service. But the efficacy of that customer service varies greatly from bank to bank. I’d say you should talk to Dharma to see what they can do for you. I’m very confident in their customer service and fees. The most important thing you can do is to compare at least a couple of quotes and sales experiences to see which feels like a better fit. While it might seem intuitive that going with the local bank will be more reliable and less expensive, this is not always the case.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    chris

    We are Canadian based but sell a lot in the US (in US$), but usually are paid by cheque (large dollar items). We would like to offer credit card payments for smaller items, but uncertain as to volume and we are seasonal.

    The biggest issue seems to be that so many providers will not take a US$ payment and deposit it to our Canadian based US$ bank account without first converting to Canadian dollars. I have no desire to be hit for credit card fees and US$ conversion fees (I trade the fx at a far far better rate than the providers offer).

    Helcim seems like one of very very few providers that offers US$ deposits from the US into a US$ Canadian based account. Does anyone know of any others?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Vivian

    Hi Tom,

    I accidently came across this site while researching for merchant service. Thank you for doing what you do! Currently I process with Huntington which uses First Data as the processor. There are fees popping up on my statement with no explanation and this has been going on for the past 3 months. So I am looking to change processor. I have looked into Helcim and Dharma and I like both, but not sure which one is a better fit for me.
    I own a restaurant that open 7 days a week. A terminal is used and I average around $25,000/month. The lowest ticket is $10.00. THANKS in advance!

    Vivian

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Amad Ebrahimi

    Vivian,

    For a restaurant, Helcim is definitely the way to go. 🙂

    Best,
    Amad

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Vivian

    Hi Amad,

    Thank you, I feel the same!

    Vivian

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Herb

    I have a first date managed terminal run by a private small business that “passes along” the fees. However looks like the fees are constantly going up and new unknown fees get charged. I have a medical practice we run about 200k through credit cards and end up paying like 15k in credit card fees.
    Will square be cheaper? Occasionall phone line goes down or terminal stops working and payments cannot be run,

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Herb,

    Definitely don’t use Square with that kind of volume. They are not reliable enough. But you should DEFINITELY not be paying $15K on $200K. That’s over 7%, which is just way too much. Any of our higher-rated processors could easily cut that in half, including Helcim. The cost of switching will be minimal (depending on your early termination fee on your existing contract). Even if you have say a $500 early termination fee on your current contract, you should just pay it and get out ASAP. You will earn it back in savings in your first month (and then some).

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Socius

    I was shopping around for a payment processor. For a previous online-only business that did 100k+ a month I used PayPal which had great rates when you hit the merchant rate discounts. This time I was tasked with setting up payment processing for a brick and mortar store. The first thing I did was check with my bank, which forwarded my contact info to Moneris. After getting their pricing back, I felt like it could be better. Looking around at many places, they were all quite similar. Until I found Helcim. While Moneris wants $45/month minimum ($25 base, $5 PCI, and $5 Account Services Package…whatever that is, and minimum $10/month in transaction fees) with an additional $25/month to include Virtual Terminal along with the POS terminal, Helcim is charging just $12, with basic Virtual Terminal support (so you can accept phone/web orders).

    So the monthly fee difference for a small business is quite substantial. $70 vs $12. And then when you look at the rates, you find that Helcim has much better rates across the board as well. And there’s no contract to lock in to. Best of all…they were very forthcoming with information and pricing on their website. Going through their site, I came out far more informed than I did from looking at 10 other payment processor’s sites. I’m very excited to have found this company and seen this review.

    Imagine my surprise when I also found out they’re based right out of my own city! I haven’t signed up yet so don’t have any experience with them, but I can say that I’m very excited. Which should be obvious by the fact that I took time to post this comment.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jose

    Right now im stuck between Payment Depot and Helcim. They both seem good. I’m using bank of america at the moment paying 200 USD monthly. My only concern with payment depot is that they process through first data. Which is why im leaning more towards Helcim. Any recommendations?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jose,

    In terms of value, they are very similar. Don’t let First Data scare you off of Payment Depot, though. All of the contract terms are pre-negotiated by Payment Depot, so you don’t have to worry about getting a bad deal. But if you’d feel more comfortable not dealing with FD at all, then Helcim will give you similar results via a different processor. The other nice thing about Helcim compared to Payment Depot is that even if you have a lower volume month, you don’t end up paying extra via the subscription fee. But honestly, both of them provide good service and value.

    Good luck,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jose

    Wow, thank you so much! Since we are a small convenience store we only generate about 2,000-5,000 max per month. I can’t give an exact number because it always varies. I don’t think 200 is a good rate for this business, but I could be wrong. The reason I’m considering payment depot is because they offer POS systems, which is something I’m planning to also get. (By the way I couldn’t find a review on the Clover POS, any plans in making one in the future?)

    In any case Tom, I just want to say thank you so much for doing what you do. You’re honestly one of the greatest humans I’ve ever came across. You offer VALUABLE information most people would charge thousands for, and you HELP people without demanding something in return. Seriously THANK you so much and I know your acts of kindness will not be overlooked. Thank you from myself and thousands of others. You deserve more recognition!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    David

    Paymeny Depot is great, bu yes DO let first data scare you off, we were harrassed by them for PCI compliance that they make impossible to pass, our hosting was going nuts trying to have us become PCI compiance and had to nearly shut everthing down. Once first data realized they had to accept we were finally compliant, suddenly they argued that our superfoods were a problem, while they were not before. Sadly as long as PD deals with first data I would stay away…

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the comment. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for PCI compliance related complaints in regard to First Data. I haven’t heard reports of this problem in relation to accounts setup with Payment Depot, but will be on the look out for trends.

    If you don’t want to deal with First Data, Helcim is a great processor (uses Elavon on the backend), and Fattmerchant has similar pricing to Payment Depot (and uses Vantiv on the backend).

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tina

    Hi Tom,
    So glad I found your website. I now have North American Bankcard and today someone from Central Payment stopped by our inn to try and get us to switch over. Which got me researching other companies tonight. I like Helcim and was wondering if you thought it would be a good fit for me. We have a lodging business in NY that is open 6 months but also charging and taking reservations the other six months. I average around $10,000/month. With the summer months being higher and the winter months being less. Thanks in advance.
    Tina

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Tina,

    Helcim would absolutely work for your business. They offer all the tools to accept payment in-person or over the phone without charging crazy monthly fees (you can buy the credit card machine for about $200 or reprogram your existing equipment for free assuming it’s up-to-date – and the basic virtual terminal is free). So I’d say definitely give Helcim top-priority consideration. I’m more confident in Helcim than Central Payments or North American Bancard.

    Good luck,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tina

    I called Helcim today to see if they would be a good fit for me. I just wanted to let you know that they told me that they no longer charge the $20 IRS settlement fee. So this is an extra plus for them. I already liked everything else about them so I will probably sign up with them.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Thank you Tina! We’ll be updating this review today.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Betsy

    Hi Tom,
    We are currently TransFirst and authorize.net sold through NFIB. We have a virtual terminal as well as an ecommerce account. I have recently realized that we are probably being charged too much when it comes to fees. We have fluctuating sales due to the fact that we are mostly a wholesaler of perishable commodities. We have around $7,000 for our ecommerce site annually and $62,000 for our virtual terminal. The virtual terminal is used seasonally from May through December. Can you make a recommendation as to which system would work best for us.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Betsy,

    Helcim is definitely worth considering for your business. The virtual terminal is free with the e-commerce account. So as long as you are using the e-commerce account year-round, there’s no reason to worry about activating or deactivating seasonally. There are no minimums with Helcim, so you also don’t have to worry about monthly minimum fees during the slow season.

    So I’d suggest you start by looking at Helcim. If for some reason they don’t seem like a good fit for you, come back and we can figure out another option.

    Good luck!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tiffany T.

    So much of this merchant credit card stuff is incredibly confusing, but Helcim makes it a piece of cake!! incredible customer service, amazing mobile app. It's so easy, it's shocking. I did days and days of research before choosing a company, and once I came upon Helcim, the answer was easy. Once I signed up, my choice was validated. This place sounds too good to be true, but it's not!!! If you're unsure of what company to choose, stop your search and sign up for Helcim. You'll never look back.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Dave

    Hi Tom,
    We will be opening a small Oil & Vinegar Retail and tasting room in Canada. In addition to one bricks and mortar store, we will sell outside at farmers markets and other locations at certain times of the year. I am a little overwhelmed by the choices available!
    I found your site and am hungrily digesting as much information as I can.
    Helcim seems like a good choice for a Canadian business for merchant services. What about POS? Do you have any suggestions for Android/Ipad based systems with lots of integration and mobile ‘satellite’ capabilities. I’m currently bookmarking Vend, Zing, Revel, (& others)for further research. Can you point me to a few favourites.
    Your help and experience are greatly appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Dave

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Dave,

    So glad the reviews have proven helpful! You’re definitely on the right track with Helcim. They are incredibly reliable when it comes to setting up Canadian accounts. As for the POS, that’s a trickier question to answer. My first suggestion would be to check out all of our preferred providers. You might also want to take a look at some of our articles. If you’d like a more personalized recommendation after that, send us a message and we’ll get some more information from you and help you find the best system for your needs.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Todd

    Hi Tom,

    Your site has been a big help so far. I’m opening a chiropractic clinic next month – average transaction of about $50 and total monthly transactions of around $20,000. I’ve checked out Dharma and Helcim and can’t decide (my business bank also offered merchant services but with tiered pricing). Do you have a recommendation for my situation?

    Thanks so much,
    Todd

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Todd,

    Glad we’ve helped you so far! You’re on the right track with Dharma and Helcim. Both provide excellent service and affordable equipment options. I’m leaning toward Helcim given the information you provided, but really I’d recommend that you contact both of them. Talking to their account reps will likely give you enough additional information to make a more confident decision.

    Good luck,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    C Clem

    Can’t figure out the best option for our new small retail business. All tickets under $100. Probably only 2 or $ 3000 per month. Must be a “sit on the counter” type reader, no internet/website payments. Because of low volume I’m thinking low fees more important than swipe cost. But need a good retail interface. Is Helcim a good fit? Thanks

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    You are absolutely right. Your rates will not be as important as your monthly fees give your volume. Helcim performs well for lower volume businesses looking for a more traditional processor (as opposed to a mobile-based processor). As a point of comparison, you might also check out Payline Data.

    If it turns out you’re looking for a low-cost tablet-based POS too, consider PayPal Here. They’ll set you up with no monthly fees, and that includes the POS software. (You have to purchase the hardware.)

    Hope this helps,
    Tom

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    James Cercone

    We are looking for a card reader or mobile pay option that would work in The Bahamas. We would like to offer small merchants this service, like square, but operating in bahamian dollars. any suggestions? thanks in advance

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi James,

    Unfortunately I’m not familiar with any mobile processing solutions for the Bahamas. You might try talking to Payline Data. They might be able to do something for you.

    Good luck,
    Tom

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    Marc

    I have nothing but good things to say about Helcim. After having a pretty nightmarish experience with a well known card processor, it was a breath of fresh air to have such a transparent pricing scheme. They told me rental was X dollars per month, and that's all I was ever charged. No hidden fees, no GOTCHA clauses in their contract. Customer support was nothing less than stellar.I recently had to close my account with them and that process was as easy as the rest of my experiences with Helcim. They sent me a simple one page cancellation form and a box to send the machine back. And that was that, No fuss. With my previous processor, I had to argue with a very mean spirited person for well over an hour to cancel my account. I would use Helcim again in a heartbeat!

    5

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    KennHarvey

    Very impressed with all your efforts and the information on Helcim! Thank you!I am with Encore Payment Systems now, and found out about the auto renewing contract, so I have until April... I have been with them for 7 years, so , dummy me, I thought I could just cancel. Do I need to USPS a certified letter "Not to Renew"? They said I could fax this in as long as it is 90 days prior to my auto-renew, but then how do I have proof that they received it?Will Helcim assist me in cancelling my account "safely"? Or is there anywhere else that can help the mind-numbed paperwork challenged to cope and comply?

    5

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    Jodi

    Hi Tom,

    I am opening a new business in Canada this coming April 2015 and I have been researching POS machines and credit card processors. I find it all very overwhelming, but your site has been amazing and informative. Thank you.
    I am opening a massage clinic where transactions will be between $45 and $115.
    I anticipate anywhere from 5 to 25 transactions a day.
    Right now at the top of my list is Helcim and Square.
    Would there be any reason to go with one over the other? Originally I was thinking to go with a POS machine as it appears more secure, but more and more people seem to be going with companies like square.
    Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jodi,

    I’m going to send you an email right now with some more information!

    Best,
    Tom

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    Rick Lee

    I'm also a Massage Therapist in Canada. Our clinic is thinking of having each therapist (all individually self employed) possibly set up credit card transactions through our phones. Of course, Square is always the first to be mentioned, but the reviews are all over the place. May I have also get your opinion on this?Thanks

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Rick,

    Helcim will be able to set you up with a credit card machine that has multi-merchant capabilities. This means that you can use one credit card machine for many different merchant accounts. Before you run the transaction, you just select the account you’d like to run it through. You could buy the credit card machine from Helcim or rent it at a reasonable monthly rate (no commitment). Each therapist will of course have to apply for a merchant account and pay the $12 monthly fee. You would have to talk to a sales rep at Helcim to see how many merchants can be programed into their machines, or buy the machine elsewhere.

    Square is usually the less expensive option overall for volumes of less than $2500 monthly each. But there are many shortcomings. Firstly, Square readers cannot process debit cards in Canada. Also account stability, customer support, and overall reliability are not anywhere near what you’ll get at Helcim. But for some, especially those with very low volumes (say under $1000 monthly), the trade off feels worth it.

    Let me know if I can help you further! Feel free to email me.

    Take care,
    Tom

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    Alex

    Hi Tom, I think your reviews are very informative and I’m so glad I found your website as I’m so new to all this terminal stuff! Lol. I’m opening a fitness club in Canada and have been researching a few terminal companies like Elavon, Pivotal Payments, Chase Paymentech and your recommendation of Helcim.

    I want to offer debit/interac payments in person at the fitness club (for the service) but need to have the reoccurring membership payments (which I’ve found physical terminals don’t offer) so I don’t have to key them all in repeatedly each month (that’s a waste of time!). I know I need the virtual terminal to have the reoccurring payment feature but I don’t want to pay the monthly fee of renting a physical terminal AND pay the monthly fee for the virtual terminal too.

    Do you recommend getting the mobile payment service since I think it might give me the virtual terminal feature for free?

    If the virtual feature is free with the mobile payment, does it offer all the options I would need like reoccurring, printing/emailing receipts, or is it downgraded?

    Also what services do you recommend I get for my business (like mobile, virtual etc)? I would likely do about $50,000/month in sales. I know Pivotal didn’t get a good review on your site so I’m kinda leaning towards Helcim.

    Thanks so much Tom!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for reading! I just sent you an email with some more information.

    -Tom

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    Jessica

    I am so glad that I found this site! Through the entire process of opening a small business decision about POS systems, merchant accounts, and accounting software have proven the most difficult for me.
    We are opening a paint your own pottery store in the US, and have a rough estimate of about $5,000 in sales monthly (average ticket is $30-$50). I obviously want something affordable but more importantly something that will work for us and be easy to use. My current plans include Shopkeep, Helcim, and undecided accounting software (probably QB online though) but I am definitely open to suggestions. Is there anything that might work better for us or work better together that I should check out before committing?

    Thanks for all the awesome reviews and being so helpful!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Amad Ebrahimi

    Jessica,

    I honestly think that you have a great combo going already, but if you’d like I’d be happy to help you consider some other options.

    I’m going to send you a direct email right now.

    Best,
    Amad

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    Michel D

    We are property managers and own property in Mexico. We have come back to live in Canada and want to promote our business from here. We process an average of $25,000 per month and our average ticket is $2000. Our customers are from the U.S., Mexico and Canada. What merchant company do you recomend?

    Thank you for any help you can give us.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Dee Appleby

    I just signed up with Helcim and wanted to let you know how pleased I am with your service so far. Your virtual terminal is incredibly easy to navigate. I had no issues at all. Within a few days I was approved and ready to start processing. Helcim proves that technology doesn’t have to be complicated!

    3

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jason Judge

    I put a PHP OmniPay driver together for the Helcim Hosted Pages API, and that is now in production.

    While doing this, I found a few issues with the API (e.g. not being able to fetch a transaction by its ID alone), and these were quickly fixed by the helpful dev team at Helcim. That’s not an experience I have every had with other gateway providers, which is certainly encouraging.

    https://github.com/academe/omnipay-helcim

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jason,

    That’s great! Thank you for the link.

    -Tom

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    Terri Thate

    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for your coverage of this confusing subject. I’ve been reading your reviews and trying to decide for a couple months. I like Helcium so far, just spoke to a service rep but am wondering what info you may have on First Data? Their website seems to be lacking on fee information, however one of the biggest businesses in my area use them. THank You!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Terri,

    Thank you for checking out our site! First Data (review here) is the absolute biggest payment processor in the industry. They definitely have the tools to set up any business with processing, no matter how big or complex. Unfortunately, they can also be a headache to deal with and can be expensive for smaller business owners. It will depend to some extent on who your account representative is and how carefully you negotiate your contract terms, but overall I don’t usually recommend First Data for most businesses.

    Hope that helps!

    Good luck,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Catherine

    Hi Tom,
    I am a craftsperson, and usually just attend fairs locally once or twice a year, as well as occassionally sell from my home. i am wondering if you could offer any advice on the best way to go for processing credit cards. i used to rent a terminal from chase-paymenttech, but it was very expensive as during the winter months when i wouldn’t i wouldn’t be selling. i have a high end product, so it’s possible that my sales at any given show would come in at over $2000+ per day. i am also a little technologically challenged, but i’m more concerned with finding the right solution for me. i would greatly appreciate any feedback. Also, i am in canada. Thanks very much!
    catherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Catherine,

    Thanks for checking us out. I’ve been giving your situation some thought. You need a relatively high transaction limit, which will make pay-as-you-go (mobile) options like Square risky. It also sounds like compared to your high average transaction, your monthly/annual card payment volume is likely low. You’d definitely benefit from is seasonal downtime. If you don’t need any processing capability during certain months of the year, you can have those fees reduced/eliminated with this option. Being in Canada reduces your options, but I think we can still figure out a good solution.

    Based on what I know about your business/processing habits, Helcim could be your best bet. They’ll set you up with a full merchant account (instead of an aggregated account, which wouldn’t be a good idea for someone with $2000+ transactions), and offer interchange-plus instead of tiered or fixed-rate models. Plus they specialize in Canadian accounts, rather than offering them as an afterthought. I’d recommend using their mobile processing option, which costs $30 per month. During your off-season, you will not be charged that fee. (You’ll have to let them know in advance which months you’d like to have the account paused). They will give you the card reader and app access for free. This also provides you with access to a virtual terminal, which allows you to very easily type card info into the computer for processing (great if you take orders over the phone sometimes, no tech-savvy needed!).

    The only problem with this might be if you don’t use a smartphone, since that is how the mobile processing option works. If that’s the case, things get a little more tricky – but still doable. Let me know if that’s the case, or you can talk it over with a rep at Helcim.

    Good luck, and keep us posted!
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Hannah

    Hi Tom,

    My husband is starting a business in security system installation in homes and small businesses. We are looking at providing the option of payment by credit card. A lot of the transactions will be one-time charges, but we may also have some monthly recurring charges eventually. At this point we have no idea of average payment amount or monthly volume. My husband does not use a smart phone, and so it seems that our options are mostly limited to keyed-in transactions (which I understand carry a higher interchange rate) by him calling me and having me enter the info into the computer. We would also like to offer automatic debit from the customer’s checking account. Obviously we want to keep our costs down as much as possible. What service would you suggest?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Hannah,

    Offering recurring ACH payments is a great idea. Since accepting money from a checking account will generally only cost about $0.25 and doesn’t require a percentage fee, the saving really add up when compared to card processing rates. Here are my thoughts:

    My first thought is Forte Payments. Although they unfortunately don’t use interchange-plus for most accounts, they specialize in ACH/eCheck acceptance so I’m very confident in their ability to set you up with the recurring ACH debit option without a hassle.

    My next thought is CDGcommerce. While I’m not sure that their free gateway can handle recurring ACH, I know that you can set this up at reduced cost through their partnership with Authorize.Net. They do use interchange-plus, which you can get without any negotiation through our custom affiliate offer in the review.

    And since we’re on the Helcim page here, I should note that they might be able to do this also, and they do offer interchange-plus pricing as you probably already saw. I know that their gateway can do recurring billing, but I’m not positive they do recurring ACH currently. They might have a partner who does.

    Aside from the recurring/automatic ACH, all you really need is virtual terminal access in order to enter the information from your computer, and all of the providers I’ve mentioned here offer solid web-based virtual terminals.

    Let me know how it goes, or if I can be of any additional help!

    Good luck,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gracie

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for responding. I appreciate you breaking down the terms so that it would be easy to understand. It has been a crazy weekend of learning about the business world. While researching merchant accounts, I have also had the task of researching business checking. I noticed that the banks offer merchant services and was wondering what your take is on it. What I did notice is that they don’t show you fees and you have to call and inquire. Personally I like to see things in writing. Any advice or information is greatly appreciated.

    Gracie

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi again Gracie,

    Sorry for the delay! I often find that there are few benefits in signing up for payment processing with banks. In some cases you can get faster deposits, but many payment processors are able to provide next-day funding regardless of who you bank with. Banks are mostly just trying to cash in on name recognition, brand loyalty and their enormous customerbase I think. Which is not to say they all provide poor merchant services – just that they are sometimes not very competitive and generally don’t provide any real benefits over getting your merchant account elsewhere.

    Best,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gracie

    Hi Tom,
    I am new to all of this and find myself paralyzed at the thought of making a decision. I’m in the process of setting up an online store selling T-shirts. For the life of me I can’t seem to grasp the idea of it all but what I do know is that I am in need of the perfect Ecommerce account as well as being able to make transactions at events. Honestly I don’t know what the monthly volume would be. I do have a few questions if you don’t mind answering and please don’t judge me for my newbiness. LOL. Are the percentages per transactions or are they for the entire month? (ex. 2.99% + .30)
    How do I know if the monthly fees are fair or overly priced? Most important question: Who would you recommend for my small business? By the way, finding you was the best thing ever. Hopefully I will be able to add this knowledge under my belt because it can certainly be ruthless out here without the correct information. Thank you so much for the time you put into informing and educating us. WE truly appreciate it.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Gracie,

    So glad we can be of help! I can fill you in on some of the info you’re looking for, no judgment of newbiness whatsoever.

    The rates are based on per-transaction math. So a $100 transaction at 2.0% + $0.30 will be 2.00 + 0.30 = $2.30. There will be usually other fees that you must pay monthly, such as gateway fees, admin fees, FANF fees, PCI fees, etc., some of which vary depending on the provider.

    The best way to make sure you are not overpaying is to follow these rules:

    1. Get interchange-plus pricing
    2. Do not agree to a monthly minimum
    3. Get a month-to-month contract (no early termination fee)

    Monthly admin fees should not be higher than $20, or $30 if payment gateway is included in this charge.

    I think the best, most affordable option for you is probably with CDGcommerce. They’ll get you set up for e-commerce and mobile payments (for events) at a great price, especially if you decide to use their gateway which comes free with the account. Helcim is another great option, but may end up costing slightly more depending on the specific processing volume of your business.

    Good luck, and please come back and let us know how it’s going, or if you have any more newbie questions! 🙂 If you need help with account setup, we can help.

    Take care,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jen

    Tom,
    I am so happy I found this site to review merchant account info. I feel as though the credit card processing situation is almost a foreign language to me. This is the first site that has actually helped me to understand the chaos.
    I own a small salon in New Mexico and currently have Intuit Merchant Services. I found out that as of Aug 1st they no longer add new merchant accounts to terminals. That makes my business tough since I occasionally I have new stylist to add to my business and terminal.
    Would you suggest Helcim for a small salon with independent contractors who each need their own merchant ID number for processing on one terminal? We each do under $5000 a month in credit card business. I also am very concerned with credit card protection for our clients.
    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!
    Jen

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Jen,

    I’m so glad you’ve found the reviews helpful! Let me see if I can help clear this up for you.

    If each stylist will have their own merchant account (i.e., the transactions they process with go directly to them), then the only real issue should be a matter of hardware. Some credit card machines can handle multiple merchant accounts and others cannot. And of the ones that can, there will be a limit to the number of accounts each can handle. This capability is called “multi-merchant” functionality. If you use a computer/tablet/phone-based POS system, that may also have an effect on multi-merchant capability.

    Helcim (and most other providers) can set up an individual merchant account for each stylist, and then help you to program a capable credit card terminal to work with multiple merchants. They will definitely be able to tell you which equipment makes the most sense for your needs.

    You can create a similar setup by having each stylist open an account with a mobile-based payments provider like Flint or PayPal Here. Since these providers use smartphones as card terminals, you eliminate the need for a multi-merchant-capable terminal altogether.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if I can give you more info.

    Take care,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bob

    Hi Tom
    Thanks for your highly informative reviews. Could you tell me which if any merchants will work with an offshore company – I am setting up an online store registered in Sychelles. I don’t need the store to handle transactions from customers Seychelles, but am aware that some merchants gateways are geography specific in terms of what they will accept
    Any insights much appreciated!

    Bob

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for reading! Glad the reviews have been helpful. The only provider I’ve reviewed that is likely to find a processor to set up an account in Seychelles would be Durango Merchant Services. They can get an account up and running in most countries. I’m not sure who they will use to process the transactions, but I can tell you that Durango will treat you fairly, get you as good a contract as possible, and give you honest input. The nice thing about Durango is that, since they work with a lot of different processors, they’ll take care of the comparison shopping for you.

    Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Adam

    Hi Tom,Could you please update the article because as of today, I'm not seeing a $10 Retail monthly fee but $12. Thank you!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Thank you Adam! You are indeed correct. Helcim also changed its Canadian pricing info so that terminal rental is separate from account fee (for those interested). Mobile pricing changed as well.

    Now updated (including fixing some formatting conversion errors).

    -TD

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    Bing McLoughlin

    Hi Tom,
    I tried Dharma as you for my merchant services as you mentioned in my previous message but because of my low volume it sent me to its affiliate Flint.I wasn’t crazy about the 2.95% fee and it uses a mobile phone to do transactions.I need a credit card terminal to give customers their receipt with their food items that were ordered. Is there any companies that can offer a terminal with my volume? And lower fee’s? I don’t want to pay 2.95% and .20 per swipe!

    Thanks,
    Bing

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Bing,

    For low volume, your biggest concern should be monthly fees and monthly minimums. For instance, if your volume is say $2500 per month, then $20 in monthly fees would be equivalent to an additional 0.8% per transaction, which is substantial.

    For this reason, pay-as-you-go processors like Flint often provide a savings for low-volume merchants. But I wouldn’t recommend Flint for you, since they don’t offer receipt printer/cash drawer connectivity for the Flint app.

    Have you spoken to Helcim yet? They charge a very low monthly fee with no monthly minimum, and will sell you a credit card terminal at a fair price (starting at $199). They have interchange-plus pricing, which is almost always better than fixed rate or tiered pricing.

    My next suggestion might be to talk to CDGcommerce. They also have a very low monthly fee and no monthly minimum alongside interchange-plus pricing. They offer free USB card readers if you choose to process at a computer, or will provide you with a dedicated credit card machine for $79 per year (not to own).

    Or – if you are interested in other pay-as-you-go (no monthly fee) options, check out PayPal Here and Spark Pay. Both offer receipt printer and cash drawer connectivity, and can be used with an iPad or smartphone.

    Good luck!
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Izzy

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks very much for the reply. I have squeezed a little more info out of Helcim, and because of the cross-border fees they are starting to look too expensive for me. For e-commerce their site estimates 2.27% + $0.25. Which is pretty good. But add on the cross-border fees, either 1.4% (Visa) or 0.9% (MC) and I’m up to 3.67% or 3.17%. Plus $30/mth. I do expect a lot of customers from outside Canada, so for that rate I’m better off going with one of the generic providers like Stripe or Braintree, which has surprised me. I had been considering an authorise.net reseller but there may be issues there if I decide to charge in US$ but am registered in Canada. Shame there’s no simple/obvious solution!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Ah, I didn’t realize you were located in Canada. You’ll have to do the math for specific processing volumes, but the money you save on non-cross-border-fee-bearing transactions with Helcim might equal out to a savings versus paying 2.9% + $0.30 on every transaction (although, as you mention, you save the monthly fee as well with Braintree/Stripe). Canadian processing isn’t my specialty, but I plan to look into this further and will report on any solutions I find. Please keep us posted on how this works out for you. I’m interested to find out what the best solution is.

    -Tom

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    Izzy

    I’ve been looking for a payment processor for what seems like forever, and when I found Helcim (and your review) a few days ago I thought I’d found the answer. However, I’m starting to find it very frustrating getting answers to the questions I need before opting to sign up! I know they list all their rates on their site, but if you’re not sure what is going to apply (recurring billing through woocommerce, international transactions) it’s hard to decipher. Waiting a day for an email response that, when it comes, doesn’t answer my question is a little frustrating, and has me considering looking elsewhere again 🙁

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Izzy,

    I can definitely see how that would be frustrating. You should try giving them a call if you haven’t already, since this will give more immediate responses.

    But maybe I can help you with this. With Helcim, there’s only one figure you really need to know: the markup over cost. There are hundreds of different interchange classifications that dictate how much a transaction will cost to process, but these numbers are exactly the same for all processors. The extra charge you will receive for international transactions is charged by the card networks, and Helcim will pass this along to you at cost. The only number that processors have any control over is the amount above cost they will charge you for processing, and Helcim makes this easy to decipher by offering Cost-Plus pricing. You can read a little more about cost-plus (aka interchange plus) in our article here.

    Hope this helps!

    -Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bing McLoughlin

    Hi Tom,
    The information you are providing is most grateful as I have no experience in this at all.I am opening a small café/restaurant and don’t expect to set records in sales.Average sales would guestimate at about $12.00 and who knows how many transactions!! Would you recommend Helcim for a really small company or another processor?Thanks so much!

    Bing

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Bing,

    Helcim’s monthly fees for retail accounts are among the lowest you’ll find, especially with interchange-plus pricing, which makes them a great option for small and low-volume businesses in particular. Aside from Helcim, Dharma Merchant Services does a great job of setting up accounts for businesses like yours.

    Good luck!
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Marlisa

    Hi Tom,
    First of all I want to say thank you for all of the awesome reviews you’ve done, they’ve helped me out so much!
    I currently use Intuit’s Quickbooks and was in the process of applying for their mobile card reader when I came across TopTenReview’s website, telling me that Flagship’s ROAMpay was the best way to go. This intrigued me to do some further research as I was not aware of the many options available to me. After looking at Flagship’s page, I was quite confused about how much it actually cost for everything, which led me to your page!
    After coming across your page I feel overwhelmingly grateful, as I have learned in great detail, about the truly unique pros and cons of each product and how they affect my company specifically. Other pages had (quite falsely) led me to believe other products were the “best” according to vague overall ratings and prices. After researching through your reviews and the websites, I have gained so much knowledge, and have saved myself future pains as I did not take into consideration, points that you have mentioned in your reviews. Sorry for the long introduction (yes that was my introduction), but here are some of the considerations I have now been taking (thanks to you) and am looking for your inputs on (please and thank you):
    The business I have recently started is in construction, and currently, we have been averaging about $5000 per transaction. As I said earlier, I was in the process of going with Intuit’s GoPayment, but after learning about the qualified/unqualified details, they are definitely out of the picture as I am very certain most of my clients will want to be using rewards cards for points on their big purchases. I have currently narrowed it down to Helcim and Spark Pay, due to their low interests. I really wish I could go with Flint, as their Quickbooks integrations, and other features are super cool, but their charges are too high for the amount of money the company will be doing.
    So what do you think I should do? I am Canadian, so I do have a tiny biased towards going with Helcim, but other than that the prices seem to be about the same.
    Thanks so much again!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Marlisa,

    That’s so great to hear. We love to help, and I’m always relieved to hear when readers make it here after originally reading one of those Top Ten reviews. They are definitely not unbiased!

    I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that Spark Pay does not currently work for Canadian businesses. There are relatively few really great providers who work with Canadian businesses and charge reasonable rates, unfortunately, especially if you’re looking for a mobile processing option. But here’s the good news: Helcim could be ideal for you! They offer some of the most consistently low interchange-plus rates I’ve seen from any processor setting up Canadian accounts.

    You’ll pay a $20 monthly fee (no other monthly fees) if you sign up for their Mobile Payment service, but I think it would be worth it for you. This service includes the mobile app as well as what is called a Virtual Terminal, which allows you to accept payments at your computer in case someone wants to call in a payment. You will have to pay for the card reader, which is $45. This is technically an optional add-on, but it’s worth buying. Swiped transactions will cost less to process than keyed-in transactions, so the card reader pays for itself very, very quickly. The only other scheduled fee is the IRS reporting fee of $20 that is charged once per year. For transactions averaging around $5000, Helcim is a safer bet than any mobile-only provider. I’ve heard from businesses that PayPal Here works in Canada, but I wouldn’t trust them with transactions of this size, plus their rates are fairly high.

    Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!

    Best,
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    ken

    Helcim looks good ,but,they have sent me the contract to sign which includes an agreement with Elavon in which there is a reference to another document . I called Elavon and they told me the document is 400 pages long!!Why don’t they just say you are signing your life away.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Ken,

    Since Helcim uses Elavon as their processor, you’ll be entering into an agreement with both parties. But a 400-page peripheral document sounds strange to me. Could you tell me the title of this document?

    Payment processing contracts are mostly designed to protect the processor and to give you as few rights as possible. They get you to sign most of your rights away in just the primary contract, no peripherals needed. It’s disturbing, but usually true. This is why it’s so important to sign on with a trustworthy provider. While you’ll still have to deal with the standard boilerplate self-preserving merchant agreement legalese when you sign on through Helcim, at least you don’t have to worry about outrageous liquidated damages fees for early termination or non-cancelable leasing agreements tacked on, or confusing tiered pricing surcharges.

    If there’s any documentation that you get a hold of and would care to share with me, I’d love to check it out. You can email me at tom@merchantmaverick.com.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
    Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    La

    Hi Tom,

    I’m responding to your June 29, 2014 post. Here are the two documents included in Helcim’s Elavon contract:
    https://www.merchantconnect.com/CWRWeb/pdf/TOS_ENG.pdf
    https://www.merchantconnect.com/CWRWeb/pdf/MOG_Eng.pdf

    Only 217 pages, not 400. I searched on your highlighted terms and the non-cancelable lease one is in there, but only for Canadian merchants, or for leasing property.

    I was wary as well, of the Elavon connection — another site rated them average. Your reviews of them are giving me the confidence to go ahead and jump in with Helcim. Thanks!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Stefan

    I am opening a spa and I am looking for a merchant in Canada. I was wondering if you can let me know if this company is the best out of all. Or if you can list best merchants in Canada I would appreciate it. Helcim looks good but I just like to know if there anything out there better than them. Thanks

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Stefan,

    Helcim is my absolute favorite provider for Canadian businesses. They work especially well for in-person businesses like yours, plus will allow you to take orders over the phone through their virtual terminal with no added fee. This would probably be my first choice for you.

    Dharma Merchant Services also will set up Canadian accounts, and they perform very well in my experience. If for whatever reason you don’t want to work with Helcim, this would be a good option.

    Based on what I’ve seen, those two are the best for most Canadian businesses.

    Good luck, and please come back to let us know how it goes!

    -Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katey Kirkconnell

    I have just gone through the process of setting a card payment system for the first time. The whole process was a bit intimidating for me until I found Helcim. They were helpful, gracious, and supportive. Their website was clear and answered many questions; they made things as easy as possible for me. Their cost + structure provided the transparency I was looking for. I have no hesitation in recommending them. In fact, I would love to see their model become the industry standard.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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