Helcim is the best credit card processor for established small businesses because of its transparent rates and rate-lock guarantee.
We chose Helcim as the best credit card processor for fast-growing businesses — particularly those that want to accept payments from more customers. Helcim charges low, transparent rates in its interchange-plus pricing model, and offers automatic volume discounts, which help high-volume merchants save more money. There are no contracts or separate fees for gateway access or PCI compliance.
9.4 / 10
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Helcim prides itself on its quick and easy approval process, transparent pricing, and its human approach to customer support. Its interchange-plus pricing model scales with the size of your business, rewarding merchants who process $25,000 or more in monthly sales with automatic volume discounts, so they can save money as their businesses grow.
On Helcim’s virtual terminal, you can key in or void transactions, accept ACH payments, and issue refunds. Image source: Helcim
A wide range of free tools are available to help you manage your business. We particularly liked the virtual terminal, which allows merchants to process payments from any location via a smartphone, tablet, or computer without needing a physical terminal or any additional hardware. We also found its round-the-clock, hands-on, live customer support beneficial, which other vendors in our review, like Chase, didn’t offer.
As part of its efforts to bring its hardware and technology up, Helcim plans to release a smart terminal for merchants to process more in-person transactions. The stand-alone terminal will offer everything from a POS, inventory, a built-in thermal receipt printer, and customer management tools all in one device.
During our demo of the Helcim software, we found its interface easy to use and navigate. You can sign up directly on the Helcim website from your mobile phone or computer without filling out and signing lengthy, complicated contract paperwork. If there are incomplete, missing, or outdated details in your application, you’ll receive prompts to complete each required action. That way your account settings will be correctly configured and your deposits won’t get delayed.
Upon completing Helcim’s easy onboarding process, you’ll be taken to the merchant dashboard where you’ll find the built-in Helcim shop. From here, you can use the available self-service options to link a bank account, order equipment directly, view your statements, manage employees and more. You can pin the tools you use more often than others to the left side for easier accessibility.
We were impressed with how easy it is to add employees as users and assign default or custom roles and permissions. Helcim intends to expand this function to accommodate merchants in the restaurant industry, so their employees can easily access their accounts and authorized role-specific tools. And if you no longer want an employee to access your account, you can easily deactivate or delete them using the provided options.
Whether you accept and process payments in-store or on the go, you can connect Helcim’s card reader to any device you already own and accept tap or chip and PIN payments quickly and securely. Though optional, you can add Helcim’s lightweight thermal printer to provide customers with receipts.
Helcim’s lightweight, portable card reader connects to multiple devices so you can accept payments wherever you are. Image source: Helcim
Helcim’s integration options are limited for now, as it’s smaller than vendors like Square, Stripe, or Chase, which have more dedicated time to build out their integrations. However, the company plans to build out its hardware, technology, and current integrations to make them a bit more robust.
Automatic volume-based discounts
Helcim offers discounts based on your business needs and the volume of transactions you process.
A secure way to accept payments online using a web-enabled mobile device or computer.
Helcim’s POS software helps you accept in-person payments through a workstation or mobile device.
Free invoicing software that simplifies billing and payment management and saves money.
QR code payments
Print and display unique QR codes customers can scan to access your quick-service menu or make payments.
Add Helcim’s hosted payment pages to your website to accept online transactions.
Transaction and processing fees can rack up quickly, which is why we think this feature, along with Helcim’s free business management tools, gives it an edge over other providers. It favors high-volume merchants processing over $25,000 monthly in sales, helping them lower their processing fees as their monthly transaction volume increases.
A really great benefit when you sign up with Helcim is that you can log on to the virtual terminal and accept payments from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can manually enter your customer card or invoice details to your payments, set up onetime or recurring payments, and accept multiple currencies.
Helcim offers a standard POS software, such as what you’d see at a restaurant or coffee shop. You can: key in different prices you’re looking to charge customers; add tipping and payment tracking options; and perform manual entry, credit and debit split payments, and more. It works on any device or workstation so you can accept in-person payments, saving more time and money.
Invoicing is a critical part of any business, and we like that Helcim offers free invoicing software, complete with templates that can be customized with your branding. You can create professional invoices, quotes, and purchase orders while managing and tracking your payments in real time.
Add your logo, brand colors, or custom greetings to Helcim’s invoice templates to create invoices that reflect your business. Image source: Helcim
From our Helcim demo, we also found that you can add payment links or a “Pay Now” button to your invoices and send them to your customers via email or SMS. Plus, you can print off 1099s for tax purposes and track everything to ensure all your finances are in order.
Many credit card processing services we’ve reviewed offer this feature as well, but Helcim uses a unique approach to QR codes by allowing you to create a code for different denominations or link to a blank payment page with tipping options to meet different business and customer needs. This makes the checkout experience smooth, more convenient, and fast.
This feature isn’t available on many other providers we reviewed — except Stripe, which offers prebuilt, checkout payment pages. But we like it because it lets you create payment links, turn them into QR codes and buy buttons, and link them to ACH and credit card purchases. So, you have more ways to accept payments online securely.
You can sync the Helcim app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer with Helcim’s card reader to process sales and accept payments. Beyond credit card processing, the Helcim app also offers capabilities like invoicing, customers’ products and services, and payment pages.
Helcim offers an interchange-plus pricing model, which displays how much you’re paying the credit card processor. We like the company’s transparency and honesty in the rates and margins they charge merchants, which you can always find on its website.
During our demo, a Helcim representative explained to us how they implement the interchange rates. Merchants pay a certain portion — the interchange rate tied to the credit card company — while the Plus portion or margin goes to Helcim. These rates typically vary across different credit card companies, the individual cards they offer, and rewards programs, among other factors.
Helcim only takes the rate on the merchant’s card at the time of the transaction and passes it on to them, along with a small margin. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing and terms:
Helcim automatically lowers your rates as your transaction volumes increase, helping you save money. Image source: Helcim
The platform is good for ACH payments because there’s no credit card or interchange rate associated with it, so merchants get lower fees. Its online payment processing option also offers a low barrier to entry because there are no contracts or monthly fees.
We found Helcim’s automatic volume-based discounts beneficial for growing businesses, which vendors like Stax don’t offer, and instead add the processing costs to your monthly subscription fees.
While Helcim takes two business days to deposit funds to your account, compared to Clover and Stax, which offer same-day fund deposits, you still benefit from lower, transparent rates and round-the-clock support.
We found Helcim’s merchant three-part sign-up process simple: apply, get verified, and get approved. This process typically takes about a week, depending on how quickly you’re onboarded.
When applying, you’ll first create your login credentials (username and password), then fill out an online form, which takes about five to 10 minutes.
Helcim’s onboarding team will email you requesting some business information, such as your tax ID, DBA, processing history, and more. After about two days, the team will manually review your application to verify your details and perform a soft credit check just to make sure they can work with you.
U.S. merchants will need to provide a Social Security number, which helps Helcim’s trust and safety team with their due diligence — especially for new businesses with no processing history. It also helps ensure they’re not bringing on a lot of fraudulent businesses.
Standard approvals take two business days, but the timings can vary depending on the information you provide and the nature of your business. At this point, you’ll be prompted to link your bank account and begin processing online. You can also order equipment like a credit card reader or thermal printer, which typically arrives in about one to two business days (depending on the weather).
Helcim’s friendly merchant experience team is available seven days a week (Mon-Fri 7.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m MT and weekends 9.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m.). You can call (877) 643-5246, email, or submit a support ticket through Helcim’s mobile app.
We found the email option slower than calling support directly, as we received a reply about six to seven hours later. Helcim doesn’t offer a live chat option either, which other vendors like Stax, Square, and Chase (via the Chase Mobile app) provide.
Fortunately, Helcim scores well in its human approach to customer support in what’s often considered an “inhuman” industry. Instead of chatting with a bot, you’ll speak to a friendly human agent from the company’s merchant experience team. We appreciated how friendly, knowledgeable, and their readiness to help with any troubleshooting issues.
If you operate a seasonal business with high-volume transactions at specific months of the year, Helcim is a great choice because it doesn’t lock you into a contract or charge any monthly minimums or fees.
While we love Helcim’s simple and quick signup process, transparent pricing, and volume-based discounts, it has a few limitations you should consider before deciding whether it’s right for your business.
One major drawback is Helcim’s third-party integrations. The company is still quite small, so you won’t get robust integrations with popular software as you would with vendors like Chase or Square. However, the representative we spoke to during our demo said they’re looking to build out their integrations as they move forward and grow their merchants.
Also, Helcim isn’t favorable for low-volume merchants processing small regular payments or transaction volumes below $5,000. And, like other vendors, Helcim doesn’t work with high-risk businesses. If that’s what you want, read our ProMerchant review to find out whether it supports your type of company and its offerings.
We spent 30 days researching eight credit card processing companies. We looked closely at each company’s hardware and software offerings, considering their usability, target audience, contract terms, rates, fees, and transaction volumes. Plus, we tested each vendor’s customer service, evaluating their available support options, response times, and knowledgeability.
Helcim’s application-to-approval process typically takes about a week, depending on how quickly the merchant is onboarded.
For in-person transactions, Helcim charges 0.3% + $0.08 above the interchange rate (average 1.56%) and for online transactions, it’s 0.5% + $0.25 above the interchange rate (average of 1.9%). For international transactions (ACH bank payments), it’s 0.5% + $0.25 above the interchange rate.
Without holds or processor delays, your funds should appear in your bank account within two business days.
Yes. Helcim offers automatic volume-based discounts for transactions of $25,000 or more.
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