Helcim Review for 2022: Features, Pricing, Alternatives

We’ll break down the offerings of Helcim — including features, pricing, reviews and top alternatives.

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4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Helcim is a merchant services provider that offers transparent, competitive pricing and an all-inclusive platform. While it's not the most affordable option for businesses with low sales volumes, it's an excellent choice for most other small-business owners. Here's what you need to know.

Deciding factors

Payment processing fees

  • Interchange plus 0.3% and 8 cents per in-person transaction (if <$25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per online transaction (if <$25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per manually keyed transaction (if <$25,000 in monthly card transactions).

  • 0.5% plus 25 cents for ACH payments.

Monthly fee

$0.

Hardware cost

$109 for a mobile card reader (with stand).

$79 for a mobile thermal printer.

Accepted payment methods

Debit/credit cards, ACH, international.

Contract length

No contracts.

Customer support

Phone, email and online ticket system.

How does Helcim work?

As a full-service merchant services provider, Helcim offers several features and capabilities, including:

  • Merchant accounts, which allow you to accept credit and debit card payments from customers.

  • Hardware, such as the platform's NFC-enabled mobile card reader.

  • A mobile app for iOS or Android, which allows you to accept payments on the go.

  • Virtual terminals, which allow you log in from any device that has internet access and accept credit card transactions.

  • Point-of-sale software, through the platform's web-based software and mobile app.

  • Hosted payment pages, which allow you to accept payments, register customers, add QR codes, save credit cards and subscribe users to recurring payment plans on your business's website.

  • A payment gateway API, which can integrate with a shopping cart, billing system or other compatible third-party software.

Helcim

Helcim
NerdWallet rating 
Shop Now

on Helcim's website

How much does Helcim cost?

Payment processing rates

Helcim operates on an interchange-plus pricing structure, meaning you pay a specific rate plus cents per transaction above interchange (0.25% plus 8 cents per transaction over interchange, for example). The interchange rate itself varies depending on the card issuer, and can change over time. For businesses processing up to $25,000 in credit card sales per month, Helcim charges:

  • 0.3% plus 8 cents per in-person transaction (in addition to interchange).

  • 0.5% plus 25 cents for each keyed and online transaction (in addition to interchange).

Your exact costs depend both the type of transactions you process and your sales volume. E-commerce transactions are generally pricier than those taken in person, due to the riskier nature of accepting payments online. Additionally, Helcim offers volume-based processing discounts, so as your sales volume increases, your cost margin decreases.

Hardware

Helcim offers a mobile card reader, which costs $109 and includes a free countertop stand. You can also add an optional thermal printer for $79.

If you'd like to use additional POS hardware (like a cash drawer or barcode scanner), you can purchase these from third-party sellers, and you may be even able to use hardware you already own.

Fees

Helcim does not charge many of the typical fees associated with merchant service providers, and it's transparent about the few fees it does charge:

  • For each transaction with non-sufficient funds, the fee is $25.

  • Any returned or rejected ACH or EFT/PAD transactions are charged a $5 fee.

  • If you have a chargeback, you’ll have to pay a $15 fee — but Helcim will reimburse this if you win the dispute.

Pros

Transparency

Helcim lists all its pricing information and fees on its website, and breaks down individual processing costs. Although the interchange-plus rates may not be the most affordable for all businesses, this transparent model is one of the best options you’ll receive from a merchant service provider.

Additionally, PCI compliance (which is another common monthly cost required by other providers) is included with a Helcim merchant account.

All-inclusive platform

Helcim merchant services truly is all-inclusive, giving you one-key access to the resources you need to run your business. Unlike many other payment processing companies, Helcim provides you with a merchant account, credit card processing, a point-of-sale system, hosted payment pages, invoicing and business management tools.

Cons

Potentially expensive for low-volume businesses

Helcim’s pricing is probably not the most cost-effective for smaller businesses that process lower volumes each month. Smaller businesses might not need all of Helcim's features and might save money by using a provider with flat-rate pricing, like Square.

Alternatives

Square: Free software option and free hardware

Square offers a number of tailored software options — Square Point-of-Sale, Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants and Square Appointments. You can also order one free magstripe card reader for processing in-person payments. You also have the option to purchase additional hardware directly from its website. The most basic option, Square Point-of-Sale, is free and includes inventory and employee management capabilities.

All of Square’s credit card processing fees are flat-rate, making them more predictable and potentially more cost-effective for low-volume businesses.

Square
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on Square's website

Payment Depot: Unique pricing structure

Payment Depot is a merchant account provider that offers a variety of payment processing options including a merchant account, payment gateway, virtual terminal, POS system and more. Payment Depot does not charge a per-transaction fee on top of card network interchange fees, which is unlike its competitors. So with each of its three plans you pay a monthly subscription fee, and then your processing rates are calculated with a no-percentage markup model.

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See our payment provider recommendations that fit your business.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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