When it comes to credit card processing, there are lots of different options to choose from. You could spend endless hours searching the internet for different card processing companies, but let’s focus on three of the most prominent names in the industry – Helcim, Square, and Moneris.
We’ll take a deep look into what the three different companies have to offer and make a detailed comparison to help you decide which credit card processing company is the best option for your business.
What do Credit Card Processors do?
Few people pay with or even carry cash nowadays. In Canada, most people pay for purchases using either a debit card or a credit card. When paying in-store, you can use either one of these options. When online, you are limited to paying by credit card (unless you have a debit credit card, in which case you can use that as well).
To pay by credit card, whether it be in-store or online, a complex series of processes must be followed. And this is what credit card processors do.
How does Credit Card Processing Work?
As established, credit card processing is the process involved in making a credit card payment to a business. But how does it work? It all stems from a little card; The credit card.
Once a consumer has decided to make a purchase, the merchant selling the product or service provides them with a payment gateway. If you’ve ever swiped your card in a store to make a purchase, you’ve used a payment gateway.
Payment gateways are also used for online purchases where credit card information is entered manually. These gateways are a type of technology used to connect the merchant to a payment processor.
The payment processor then connects with the appropriate credit card company (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) to validate or approve the payment. The payment approval process depends on the security settings on your card, who the payment is being made to, and the balance on the credit card.
Once the payment has been approved, this information is then sent back to the terminal or payment gateway. From there, the gateway informs the consumer that their transaction has been approved. It also provides the merchant with all of the details of the transaction.
From here, the payment is moved from the consumer’s account to the merchant’s account.
And this entire process occurs in a matter of seconds. Pretty impressive, right?
Do I need to use a Credit Card Processor?
Whether you are a small or large business, you will eventually need to invest in a credit card processor if you are selling any type of service or product.
Regardless of whether you sell online or in-person, the majority of your customers are going to expect credit card payment options. If you don’t offer one, you could risk losing a lot of potential business. So yes, if you want your business to succeed, you will need to invest in a credit card processor.
What Should You Look for in a Credit Card Processor?
Credit Card Processing Companies each have their own benefits and downfalls, so which one you select will depend on the personal needs of your business. Every business is unique, therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
With that being said, there are a few things you should understand about a credit card processor before you select them. Here are five things to consider when looking for the most suitable processor:
1. Processing rates and fees
If you want to offer credit card payments to your customers, you will inevitably have to pay for the service. While some Credit Card Processing companies offer free tools, the technology and processing service is never free. But different processing companies charge differently.
Some companies charge a flat rate each month, while others charge based on usage. Credit card processing fees can be somewhat complicated, so you must take the time to understand how a company’s fees work.
You want to look for a pricing model that suits your needs and the needs of your business.
2. Payment Options
Again, every business has its own needs. Some are more storefront-driven and require the technology and tools for in-store purchases. Other businesses operate purely online and require online payment options. Other businesses require both.
And when it comes to credit card processing companies, you will find a plethora of different payment options out there. Whether you need mobile payment options, storefront options, website gateways, or contactless payment options, a processor out there can tend to those needs.
Every processing company will offer a long list of tools, some of which are included in your payment, others which will cost extra. Standard tools offered by Credit Card Processors include things like Customer Portals, Online Stores, and Point of Sale Technology.
You may also find tools like Virtual Terminals, Invoicing options, and Customer and Employee Management. The key is to find the processor that offers the right tools to advance your business.
Not everyone wants to be locked into a long-term contract, especially if they are new to using Credit Processing Technology. Some Payment Processors will, however, require you to lock-in. If you wish to cancel at any time, you’ll be subject to hefty termination fees.
On the other hand, other companies offer short-term contracts – and some are pay-as-you-go with no contracts at all. If you are happy with a particular provider, a contract isn’t always a bad thing.
But if you are new to the world of Credit Processing Technology, you might not be comfortable locking in for the long term. Choose a company that meets your contracting needs.
If you’re going to be offering credit card payments to your customers, security needs to be of utmost priority. Anytime your company offers credit card payments, they must comply with the PCI Data Security Standard.
These standards relate to all credit card security issues, including fraud prevention and detection. Any legitimate Credit Card Processing Company will automatically provide you with PCI Compliant Services that will help to keep your business and customers safe.
It’s highly unadvised that you select any company that does not offer this service.
Having said all of this, we understand that choosing the right processor can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve taken three of the top processors in Canada and made a comparison between them.
Helcim Vs. Square Vs. Moneris – Individual Review
The right fit for you and your business will depend on your individual needs. Let’s take a look:
Helcim is a processing company that has been in business since 2006. Founded by its CEO, Nicolas Beique, the company is one of the largest processing companies in Canada and has recently expanded its services to the United States as well. It currently processes for over 7,000 different merchants and works with over 3 billion dollars every year.
Helcim is trusted by some of the biggest names in Canada, including Michelin, 1-800-Got-Junk, Mavi Jeans, and even Unicef.
What does Helcim Cost? (Processing Fees and Rates)
Unlike some credit card processing companies, Helcim doesn’t charge a monthly fee. Instead, it charges a percentage on each credit card transaction made.
The price they charge varies depending on what type of card is used and where the card is used (in-store vs online). It also charges based on credit card volume. In other words, the more transactions are made, the more you save.
Many people enjoy that Helcim does not charge a monthly fee. You simply pay for the card reader, set up a free account, and pay as you go. It’s also free of cancellation fees, PCI fees, setup fees, user fees, and deposit fees.
What Payment Options does Helcim Offer?
Helcim covers all types of payment options. Whether you need in-person or online payment options, Helcim has you covered. It also offers additional ways to get paid, including bank transfers and email or text.
Helcim accepts all major credit card types, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
What tools are offered by Helcim?
Like any other type of business, credit card processors all offer different benefits and services. Here are some of the tools and services offered by Helcim:
Card Reader: The Helcim card reader comes with various payment options, including Tap, Chip and Pay, Pin Debit, and Debit Tap. The Card Reader is easy to set up and comes with all of the latest advances in payment processing technology. Advanced technology includes email receipts, inventory and customer tracking, analytics and reporting, batch history, and card on file.
Point of Sale: The Helcim Point-of-Sale Technology allows you to connect your reader to any device, including Smartphones, tablets, computers, and workstations.
The technology comes with invoicing, customer and employee management systems, inventory tracking, discount codes, automatic tax calculations, and so much more. And the best part? It’s included in your account package.
Virtual Terminal: Helcim’s Virtual Terminal allows you to set up unlimited user accounts with customizable permissions for your team. It uses Card Vault security to ensure the highest protection standards for sensitive credit card information and comes with its own Fraud Defender.
Invoicing: Helcim’s Invoicing option allows you to create and send invoices quickly and easily. The tool uses dropbox technology to help you create custom fields on your invoices and send automatic due reminders. It also offers built-in credit card payments and allows you to send payment requests through email or text message.
Hosted Payment Page – Helcim’s Hosted Payment Pages are designed to add secure payment functionality to your webpage. You can use this technology to create invoice payments, customer registration pages, or recurring subscriptions. You can also use it to create your own shopping cart, making it easy for customers to select what they want and checkout securely and effortlessly.
Customer Portals – Helcim’s self-serve customer portal makes checkout easy for your customers. The tool gives customers 24/7 access to their online order information and allows them to review orders, check their order history, make payments, and update their personal and payment information at any time.
Online Store – Helcim makes creating an online store super easy. The company offers ready-to-go page designs and templates and is fully hosted so that you don’t have to worry about hiring programmers or designers. Shopping carts, tax calculations, discount codes, and shipping methods are just a few of the many tools included in Helcim’s Online Store tool.
Online Food Ordering – Helcim’s Online Food Ordering Tool gives you everything you need to set up your own menu and allows customers to order straight from your website. This comprehensive, all-in-one tool allows you to quickly set up a shopping cart, discount codes, tax calculations, and even tip options.
What does Helcims Contract Look Like?
One of the most significant benefits of selecting Helcim is that it does not require you to sign a contract. That means you are never locked in. If you don’t like the service provided, you can change providers at any time without any cancellation fees or penalties.
Square is another major Credit Card Processing Company that offers both in-person and online credit and debit payments. Founded in 2009 by Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey, Square has long been noted for its reliable service and a long list of tools available for making business better.
What does Square Cost?
Like Helcim, Square does not charge any monthly fees. Instead, they follow a flat-rate pricing structure wherein you pay per transaction. Both Helcim and Square charge a set percentage plus a few cents per transaction. Fees for transactions may vary depending on whether the transaction is done online, keyed-in, or in-person.
What Payment Options does Square Offer?
Square allows you to accept payments in any way that works for you. As mentioned previously, they offer in-person, online, and keyed-in services. With Square, your customers can insert and swipe or pay with a tap when making payments in-store.
Online payments are also made easy, as are keyed-in payments when necessary. Square charges one rate for all credit cards, including Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. They also accept international cards.
What tools does Square Offer?
Point of Sale: Square offers Point-of-Sale Technology that is easy to set up and allows you to start selling wherever your customers are. The POS system is quick and easy to install and doesn’t require any in-depth training or knowledge.
It’s also completely customizable to meet the needs of your employees and your business. With the Square POS system, you can easily accept payments in person, remotely, or even over the phone. You can also create schedules and manage your team, send out emails, and run loyalty campaigns.
Online Store: Setting up your online store doesn’t have to be difficult, and when you use Square, selling online couldn’t be easier. With Square’s online store, you don’t pay a monthly fee – just pay a small percentage when you make a sale. Square’s online store allows you to offer things like local delivery, Google and Apple Pay, Curbside Pickups, Gift Cards, and so much more.
Square KDs: Different Credit Card Processors cater to different industries. And if you are in the restaurant industry, Square may be a reasonable consideration for you. Square’s Kitchen Display is an easy-to-use system that allows you to organize and fulfil orders when taken online. With this tool, you can set up notifications, customize layouts, oversee order fulfilment, and ensure that orders are delivered each and every time accurately.
Gift Cards: One way to boost your sales is to offer the option of gift cards to your customers. Square’s gift card option allows customers to purchase gift cards from anywhere. Email them to receivers, or send out plastic cards for in-store use. Then, use Squares technology to track gift card activations, returns, and redemptions.
Loyalty Programs: With the help of Square, you can thank your customers by enrolling them in a loyalty program. With this technology, you can view return customers’ points, reward history, and actions to customize their experience better and provide them with a more personalized experience.
What does Squares Contract Look Like?
Like Helcim, Square does not require a monthly or yearly subscription. There is no contract, and all services are pay as you go. This means that you can cancel at any time without penalty or a fine.
Operating its headquarters out of Toronto, Ontario, Moneris started its Credit Card Processing Business in 2000. The company is most well-known for being formed from the merger between the BMO and RBC payment processing divisions.
Today Moneris is a purely Canadian company and one of the largest Credit Card Companies out there. To date, it serves over 350,000 merchants and processes over 3.5 transactions annually.
What does Moneris Cost?
Moneris doesn’t tell you much about their fees and charges on their website. Though they have a rate sheet that can be downloaded on their website, the sheet looks pretty complex and confusing. For their POS system and services, they charge a flat rate that is determined as:
Total Processing Cost = Interchange/Wholesale Discount Rate + Network Assessment Fee + Moneris Transaction Fee.
In other words, rates can differ based on card type, transaction type, and business type.
If you would like any other information regarding additional tools and software fees, you’ll need to call the company themselves to obtain a quote.
What Payment Options does Moneris Offer?
Moneris accepts all payment options, including pay-on-the-go, online payments, and in-store payments. They accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, UCB, UnionPay, Diners Club, and Google and Apple Pay.
What Tools Does Moneris Offer?
Website Creation – Like most other large Credit Card Processing Companies, Moneris also offers its own website creation services. Their comprehensive website service allows you to accept online payments and incorporates the highest level of fraud prevention, including 3D secure and Moneris Kount Essential.
Moneris allows you to create your own website with Artificial Intelligence, meaning you can set up your shop in just a matter of minutes – even without in-depth computer knowledge.
Gift Cards – With Moneris, you can create, customize, and process your gift cards all in one place. Sell your gift cards online and make them easily accessible and instantly usable for your customers.
Digital Wallets: With Moneris’ Gateway API, you can allow your customers to pay how they want, when they want, on what device they want. Moneris’ Digital Wallet makes checkout faster and easier for your customers and reduces fraud.
What does the Moneris Contract Look Like?
Unlike Square and Helcim, Moneris does have a contract period. Though the contract is not stated on the website, renewal terms can be found in the 2016 version of their Terms and Conditions.
According to its renewal terms, the initial term of the contract will “continue for 3 years” and hold “renewal terms of 6 months each” unless otherwise notified.
If you do wish to cancel your contract, you must give 90 days’ notice. If closing your account before the contract is up, you will also be charged an early termination fee of $300 per location.
Helcim Vs. Square. Vs. Moneris Comparison Table
So – that was a lot of information. Let’s put some of that into a small comparison chart to make things easier:
|Contract||🅇||🅇||✅ 3 years|
|Accepts all forms of payment (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)||✅||✅||✅|
|Offers online and in-store payment options||✅||✅||✅|
|Meets PCI Data Security Standards||✅||✅||✅|
|Ideal for||International Sellers||Low volume merchants||Large Businesses|
Moneris, Square, and Helcim are all trusted choices when it comes to Credit Card Processing. Selecting the right one really comes down to the tools that you need, the rate you are looking for, and whether or not you want to sign a contract. You should also keep in mind that these three processing companies are far from your only options.
Our Recommendation – Helcim
We recommended Helcim because it’s Canadian-owned and you’re not tied to a contract. Importantly, Helcim is one of the most transparent payment processing companies in the market today so you’re not surprised by hidden fees or charges. In fact, Helcim does not charge a monthly fee and is free of cancellation fees, PCI fees, setup fees, user fees, and deposit fees.