Updated November 23, 2023

Helcim Review

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Helcim is a top-rated merchant account provider for customer service. It offers interchange-plus pricing with volume discounts. Is it right for you?

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Volume discounts
  • No monthly fees
  • Excellent merchant tools
  • Good customer service
  • Only one equipment option
  • Not for high-risk businesses

Bottom Line

Excellent interchange-plus provider if you're looking for overall value and service

Helcim doesn't have the lowest processing rates, but customers still love it for the excellent merchant tools and customer service.

And since Helcim got rid of their monthly fee and introduced new equipment in May 2021, it offers even better value now despite slightly higher rates.

Let's take a deep dive into Helcim to see if it's the right provider for your business.

What Is Helcim?

Founded in 2007, Helcim is an interchange-plus merchant account provider. It has no contract, no monthly fees, or other hidden fees. It offers discounts for higher volume businesses.

Helcim has a strong reputation for honesty and great customer service. It aims to simplify processing by offering transparent pricing with powerful built-in tools for merchants.

Another good thing about Helcim is that it serves businesses of all sizes. A lot of traditional merchant account providers only work with more established businesses, but Helcim also accepts new or smaller businesses.

The company is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, with a U.S. office in Seattle. Helcim has an A+ rating from the BBB.

Who Helcim Is Best For

In our opinion, Helcim works best for small-mid size businesses.

Helcim is good for:

  • New businesses: The interchange-plus pricing can help you reduce processing costs as opposed to using a third-party payment service processor like Square.

  • Seasonal businesses: Helcim has no monthly fees or software fees. So if there are months when you don't have sales, you won't be paying for a service you're not using.

  • Growing businesses: You automatically get the rate discounts as your monthly processing volume grows. You don't need to negotiate or look for another provider.

Who Helcim Is Not Recommended For

Helcim may not be ideal for:

  • Very high-volume businesses: For large businesses processing tens of thousands per month, a subscription-based provider like Payment Depot or Stax by Fattmerchant could give you better savings. But many high-volume businesses still prefer the overall value Helcim provides.

  • High-risk businesses: Helcim doesn't work with high-risk merchants. If your business falls into that category, check out these specialized high-risk providers instead.

Helcim Pros & Cons


  • Interchange-plus pricing with volume discounts
  • No contract or termination fees
  • $0 monthly fees
  • Powerful platform with tons of built-in features
  • Accepts international credit cards
  • 1-2-day funding
  • Highly praised customer service


  • Only 2 equipment options
  • Doesn't accept high-risk businesses

Pricing & Fees

Helcim offers interchange-plus pricing. There are several pricing tiers based on your processing volume. The more you process a month, the bigger discount you get.

Helcim offers all services and tools for no monthly fee. You have access to all Helcim's merchant tools with your account, including the payment gateway, virtual terminal, and invoicing features.

Here are Helcim's current processing rates. These are Helcim's markup fees over the standard Interchange rates.[1]

Monthly Processing VolumeSwipe PaymentsOnline & Keyed Payments
$0 - $50,0000.40% + $0.080.50% + $0.25
$50,001 - $100,0000.35% + $0.070.45% + $0.20
$100,001 - $500,0000.25% + $0.070.35% + $0.20
$500,001 - $1,000,0000.20% + $0.060.25% + $0.15
$1,000,001 and more0.15% + $0.060.15% + $0.15

At the lowest tier, your average processing rate will be 1.93% + $0.08 for swipe transactions and 2.49% + $0.25 for online transactions.

Your pricing tier is automatically applied based on your three-month processing average. So there's no need to call Helcim and negotiate a discount as your business grows.

Helcim also has:

  • No account setup fee
  • No PCI compliance fee
  • No bank deposit fees
  • No customer service fee
  • No cancellation fee
  • $15 chargeback fee ($0 if you win the dispute)
  • $6 fee cap for ACH payments (ACH costs 0.5% + 25¢ per transaction)

Want to save more on processing fees? You may want to check out Helcim Fee Saver. This lets you pass on credit card processing fees to your customers (also known as surcharging). It's most suitable for your business if you typically send invoices to accept payments.


Helcim does not require a long-term contract. All plans are month-to-month billing. There are no early termination fees, so you can cancel at any time without penalty.

Equipment Options

Helcim offers 2 equipment options: one card reader ($109) and one smart terminal ($349).

Card Reader:
The card reader is small and lightweight enough to use for on-the-go payment processing. It's also sturdy enough to work as a countertop terminal (by pairing it with the free countertop stand).

The device is EMV and NFC enabled. It lets you accept all major card brands, PIN-debit, and contactless payments. You can even email receipts and access inventory tracking and customer tracking features.

You do have the option to add a receipt printer for $79. The card reader has a built-in rechargeable battery, so you can also take it on the go.

Helcim Smart Terminal:
The Helcim Smart Terminal, on the other hand, is a great all-in-one POS option. You can access all POS app features, accept tap and chip payments, and print or email receipts.

The device works on Wi-Fi suitable for taking payments on the floor. This makes it ideal for retail businesses, professional services, healthcare, and on-the-go businesses like home services.

Merchant Tools and Features

Helcim really keeps their promise when they say "no hidden fees." All users get access to the full suite of merchant tools below for free.

Retail & Restaurant Features

Mobile processing
The Helcim payments app allows you to take credit cards from anywhere. It can be downloaded to an unlimited number of devices for all your employees.

Point of Sale
Helcim offers a robust POS with lots of great built-in features. It fully integrates with your Helcim account and syncs across all your devices.

Features include:

  • Automatically stores transactions and customer data
  • Create and send unlimited invoices
  • Set discount codes
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Send digital receipts
  • Track customer purchase history
  • Manage inventory and organize your product catalog
  • Create unlimited employee accounts and manage user permissions
  • See reports and sales trends

It integrates with Helcim's card reader or your own hardware. But the POS app features are also available from the smart terminal.

Online food ordering
Save on food app commissions with your own online ordering site. Helcim makes it easy to create a quick-order online store by uploading your menu items with pictures. Customers can open up the menu via QR code scan, self-order, and pay.

Helcim Deposit Time
Funds should be deposited within 2 days for U.S. merchants and within 1-2 days for Canadian merchants, according to Helcim.

eCommerce Features

Online store
The online store is hosted by Helcim, so you don't need to pay for hosting. It includes a shopping cart, tax calculations, discount codes, and shipping options. It's easy to set up with customizable templates, so there's no need for a developer.

Hosted payments
This lets you add payment buttons on your existing website or blog, and it'll take customers to a secure checkout hosted by Helcim. You can even add QR codes for contactless payments.

Payment Gateway API
Helcim's developer tools allow you to fully customize your payment solutions. There are over 80 API actions you can perform.

You can integrate with most popular shopping carts and third-party business software, including Quickbooks, Xero, and WooCommerce.

Invoicing & Billing Features

Virtual terminal
The virtual terminal lets you manually enter in credit card details on your computer or smart device. This allows you to process cards without any equipment or over the phone.

Create and send customized invoices with a convenient "pay now" button. You can also remind customers to pay through email or text messaging.

Recurring Billing
Generate unlimited recurring billing plans. You can customize with free trials, prorated plans, one-time fees, and add-ons. Customers can use a self-serve portal to manage their subscriptions.

Customer portal
Customers can access a self-service portal. They can view their order history, review invoices, edit their recurring plan, make payments and update their information. You have control over what customers can see and do.

Card Vault
Safely store your customer's credit cards for easy repeat billing. Helcim tokenizes the credit card information and takes on the risk of storing data for you.

How to Get Started with Helcim

You can apply and get started with Helcim in just minutes.

  1. Prepare your documents
    To apply, you'll need to provide your:
    • Business name
    • Business address
    • Federal tax ID number
    • Social Security number
    • Type of business, estimated monthly processing volume, and average transaction size
    • Business banking information
    • Photo of voided business check

  2. Set up account
    As soon as you sign up, you have access to Helcim's dashboard. You can't process payments yet, but you can start setting up your account.

  3. Wait for approval
    Meanwhile, Helcim will review your application. Typically, you'll get approval within 24 hours. Then you can start processing and order equipment.

Customer Service

Helcim has an in-house customer service team. You can reach them by phone, email, or even schedule a callback through the site.

You can get in touch with Helcim by:

Helcim's technical support is available Monday - Friday from 9am - 9pm (ET), and Saturday - Sunday from 11am - 7pm (ET). While it's not 24/7, the extended hours are more than what many other providers offer.

In general, customers give glowing reviews for Helcim's friendly and efficient customer service. It has a lot of happy customers who stay with Helcim long term.

In addition to customer support, Helcim also has an informational blog and YouTube channel with hundreds of tutorials.

Helcim Security & Compliance

Helcim is a Level 1 PCI-DSS compliant service provider, which has the most rigorous requirements. Helcim regularly performs on-site audits, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and inspections to maintain compliance.

Helcim uses these security measures to keep both your merchant and customers' data safe:[2]

  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication when accessing Helcim systems
    VPN requirement to all internal systems
  • Merchant data and customer data are stored separately from the Helcim web servers
  • Daily automatic back-ups to protect merchants against lost, corrupted, or stolen data

Helcim vs. Square

Square is one of the most popular choices for new businesses and small mobile businesses. It's a third-party payment services provider, which means that you don't get a merchant account.

Square offers simple flat-rate pricing. The rates are 2.6% + $0.10 per swipe and 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions.[3] This rate is higher compared to Helcim's interchange-plus.

For example, Helcim's average rate is 1.92% + $0.08 per swipe. On a $100 transaction, that's $2.00 in processing fees. In comparison, Square would come out to $2.70. That could add up to quite a big difference over many transactions.

But a big benefit for Square is the free mobile swipe reader. With Helcim, you do need to pay more for equipment. In this case, Square may be better for micro businesses, like market stalls, pop-up shops, etc.

How Helcim Compares

Let's take a look at how Helcim compares against other popular processing providers.

Helcim vs. Payment Depot
Payment Depot is a subscription-based merchant account provider. This option can help large-volume businesses save more.

Instead of a percentage markup for every transaction, Payment Depot only adds a small fixed fee. With the lowest-tier plan, the processing rate is Interchange rate + $0.18 for online transactions and Interchange rate + $0.08 for in-person, plus a $79 monthly fee.[4]

The 0% markup more than justifies the membership fee and can save you a lot in the long run. Payment Depot only works with larger businesses averaging $15,000 in gross monthly revenue and who've been in business for at least 6 months.

Bottom Line

Helcim is a great choice for just about all businesses. It has no contract, no monthly fees, and transparent pricing. One big pro point is that Helcim works with new businesses, so it could be a good option if you want to save on processing fees with interchange-plus pricing structure.

One thing to note. In our analysis, Helcim's processing fees are not the lowest - especially for smaller volume. You can definitely find lower interchange-plus rates (like from Dharma).

But Helcim does offer excellent customer service and great merchant tools at no extra cost. So you may still find that it has strong overall value and that the slightly higher cost is worth it.


  1. ^ Helcim Pricing & Fees, Retrieved 4/27/2021
  2. ^ Helcim. Securing Your Data, Retrieved 8/15/2022
  3. ^ Square. Square Payments Pricing, Retrieved 8/15/2022
  4. ^ Payment Depot. Pricing Plans, Retrieved 8/15/2022

Start Accepting Payments Fast

  • Interchange Plus Pricing
  • No Monthly Fees
  • No Contracts
Square Reader: Free Mobile Credit Card Reader

Square Reader: Free Mobile Credit Card Reader

  • Pay 2.6% + 10¢ Per Swipe for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express
  • Accept Credit Cards Anywhere
  • Fast Setup, No Commitments
Payment Depot

Save 40% or More

  • Wholesale Rates
  • Membership Fee Model
  • No Cancellation Fees
Stax by fattmerchant

Save Up to 40%

  • Flat Monthly Subscription Price, Starting at $99
  • 0% Markup on Direct-Cost Interchange
  • 24/7 Support

Eliminate Credit Card Processing Fees With Surcharging

Accept Credit Cards at 0% Cost and Increase Your Margins Instantly

Anna G is a research director at CreditDonkey, a credit card processing comparison and reviews website. Write to Anna G at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.


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