Helcim: Is It Right For Your Business?

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Helcim: Is It Right For Your Business?

Solid credit card processor, especially for those looking for interchange-plus pricing.

Good for

  • Those who want to avoid minimum monthly fees
  • Business owners looking for transparent credit card processing pricing

Bad for

  • Businesses with less than $17,647 in monthly transactions

Editor's Rating


Helcim offers competitive credit card processing prices for small-to-mid sized businesses. The company displays pricing upfront on their website, which makes it easy to compare their costs against some of their competitors. We've found this transparency to be rare among card processors, and believe it benefits Helcim customers.

Note: Credit card processing is complicated and pricing can vary greatly depending on the particulars of your business. You should use our review to get a sense of whether Helcim is a good fit for your business, but before you settle on a single option, it's important to obtain a few quotes and compare those as well.

Review: Our Thoughts On Helcim Credit Card Processing

Helcim is a good credit card processor, especially for small businesses that want to skip some of the overhead costs that come with more heavy-duty solutions. Unlike many other processors, this service has no monthly minimum. For example, one of Helcim's competitors, Flagship Merchant Services, charges a $25 monthly minimum. If your processing fees add up to just $10, you’d have to pay an extra $15 to meet the difference. If you assume a standard transaction fee of 2.07%, you’d have to process at least $1,208 each month to meet that minimum. Since Helcim is one of the few processors to waive this monthly minimum fee, it's well suited for businesses that are just starting and may not always have a need for card processing. If you’re processing less than $17,647 each month in credit card transactions, we estimate that Square may be the better vendor than Helcim. While Square has higher transaction costs – a flat 2.75% rate – it doesn’t charge you any monthly fee. Paying that higher rate is worth it, as long as you fall below that $17,657 threshold.

Good For…Bad For…
Those who want to avoid minimum monthly feesBusinesses with less than $17,647 in monthly transactions
Business owners looking for transparent credit card processing pricing

Like many other processors, Helcim also offers discounts for businesses with higher monthly volume that allow it to scale with your company. This is not something offered by Square. These discounts will vary based on things like your total monthly credit card volume and the average size of your transaction. Helcim has a custom rate calculator online that we recommend you check out.

Bottom Line: Helcim is a solid credit card processor for small-to-mid sized business. However, if your monthly transactions are below $17,647, consider going with Square.

Helcim Fees,Features & Benefits

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Helcim Credit Card ProcessingDetails
Transaction Cost (*Estimated)
  • Retail: 2.61% + $0.12
  • Online: 3.05% + $0.12
Monthly Fee
  • Retail & Mobile: $12
  • Virtual Terminal (e-commerce): $25
Monthly MinimumNone
Equipment Cost
  • Helcim Mobile Card-Reader Purchase: $30
  • Ingenico iCT220 Wired High-Speed Terminal: $199
  • Ingenico iWL220 Short-Range Wireless Terminal: $549
  • Ingenico iWL250 Wireless (3G) Terminal: $549
  • Poynt Smart Terminal: $849
Early Termination FeeNone

*Estimate based on a business with less than $50,000 in monthly transactions and an average transaction size of $75.

Helcim’s pricing, Cost+, follows an interchange-plus model. This is the most transparent credit card processing fee structure currently available. Depending on the type of credit card you accept, Helcim will charge you between 1.85% to 2.79% of each transaction, plus around $0.12 – this includes interchange fees and the markup charged by Helcim. If you consistently bring in more than $50,000 in credit card sales each month, you may qualify for additional discounts of as much as 0.8 percentage points.

If you are looking for credit card processing online, Helcim gets a little more expensive. Fees for online transactions will range between 2.36% and 3.31%. Most credit card processors charge higher fees for handling online transactions since they carry a higher fraud risk, so this increase in online pricing is not unqiue to Helcim.

How Much Can Helcim Credit Card Processing Cost Your Business

To give a better idea of the cost associated with picking Helcim as your credit card processor, we ran it through a few simulations for a handful of sample business profiles. These were the results. The following are based on an average transaction size of $100.

Transaction Volume (Monthly)Cost + Margin (Excludes Interchange)Total Estimated Credit Card Processing Cost (Monthly)Cost As a % of Sales
10,000$0.18 + $0.08$2272.27%
51,0000.16% + $0.07$1,0932.14%
101,0000.14% + $0.06$2,1232.10%

How Does Helcim Compare To Other Credit Card Processors?

It’s impossible to make a decision in a vacuum, which is why we directly compared Helcim against a couple of different credit card processing options. You should always obtain a few quotes and compare card processors before settling on one. This will ensure you get the best possible option for your business, and maximize your profits.

Helcim vs Square

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Square is the better credit card processor for small businesses that have less than $17,647 in monthly transactions. Though the per transaction cost is, for the most part, more expensive, you can save on a lot through Square by skipping some of the overhead costs, including monthly fees. Outside of that, Square also offers significantly cheaper card terminals. Unless you opt-in for some of the software solutions, Square doesn’t keep you to any monthly minimum, and it doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees. With Helcim, these charges can really add-up, especially if you are only processing a handful of transactions every month.

One interesting thing to note: Square can be less expensive than Helcim for processing American Express credit card transactions over $1,000, since it charges the same 2.75% fee for every sale. However, if your average transactions are lower than that, Helcim will be marginally less expensive (between 2.23% and 2.58%).

Square Details

  • Swiped, dipped, or tapped payments: 2.75% flat (includes American Express and Discover)
  • Online payments: 2.9% + $0.30
  • Card readers vary from free to $99

Helcim vs Flagship Merchant Services

Flagship Merchant Services is far less transparent about their pricing policies than Helcim, though they address this fact directly. On their website, this credit card processor claims to not offer quotes so that it can give tailored quotes to businesses based on their size, transaction volume and other needs. This, however, makes it difficult to truly compare Flagship Merchant Services to other credit card processors on the basis of price.

Be aware that Flagship Merchant Services may offer up tiered pricing when you call them for a quote. Unlike interchange-plus pricing, like the one offered by Helcim, tiered fee models make it difficult to predict your actual cost because they obscure the interchange fee you end up paying. Over the phone, we were quoted a flat fee of 1.58% + $0.19 that, on the surface, appears lower than Helcim. However, this applies to what is called “qualified” transactions only. Flagship can decide, on a per-transaction basis, whether a purchase is qualified, mid-qualified, or non-qualified. The latter two can be significantly more expensive.

We recommend businesses opt for interchange plus pricing. Flagship Merchant Services does offer it, so be sure to ask for it when getting your quote. Compare the interchange plus quote to what you’d be paying with Helcim to decide between the two.

Flagship Merchant Services

  • Tiered pricing that is less transparent than interchange plus (however they offer both)
  • $25 monthly minimum
  • $7.95 monthly fee

Helcim vs Elavon

We don’t recommend Elavon for most small businesses, since it offers higher costs than Helcim and offers fewer card reader options. It charges a simple flat per transaction fee (2.65% + $0.019 for card-present and 3.5% + $0.19 for online transactions) and a $10 monthly account fee. The monthly fee is slightly lower than Helcim’s $12 charge. If you are able to negotiate a lower per-swipe fee because you process a high volume of transactions, it may be competitive then. However, the baseline prices posted to Elavon’s site are relatively expensive.

Elavon’s site only shows two options for terminals – a $499 reader and a mobile $25 reader. Helcim, on the other hand, provides six different solutions ranging from $30 to $850. This may be something to consider, if you are especially particular about the hardware you want in your store.

Elavon Details

  • 2.65% + $0.19 per swiped retail transaction
  • $10 monthly fee
  • Only two card reader options, mobile ($24.99) and retail ($499)