Report Card beside text saying First Data Honest Review
  1. The Helcim Blog
  2. Merchant Guides

An Honest Review of First Data

Author Image

Danny Randell | December 19, 2022

“We review Fiserv's (formerly FistData) fees, software & hardware options. See how Fiserv measures up to Helcim.”
4 min read
  • Content


    Founded in Omaha in 1971, First Data is the largest merchant service provider in the United States and, according to Wikipedia, processes 45% of all card transactions in the country. First Data was also the first processor to accept Visa and Mastercard bank issued cards. In 2019 they were acquired by Fiserv.

    Overview of First Data Merchant Services

    First Data is one of the most well-known payment processors in the credit card industry, but unfortunately they aren't always known for the best reasons. Steep fees, convoluted contracts, and bad customer service are just some of the complaints listed in reviews online. Check out some of their ratings below:

    Merchant Maverick - 3 stars

    Card Payment Options - 1.5 stars

    Now while you can't always trust online ratings, you can usually get a sense of what a company is like when you read real, personalized reviews. In the comments of the Card Payment Options review (linked above) you'll find over 600 opinions on First Data's services from customers who've actually used them, and we highly suggest this as a resource.

    Don't just take our word for it-read the reviews-but First Data seems to embody all of the things merchants generally hate about bad payment processors. From what we've read, "stay away" seems to sum up how most merchants feel about this company.

    Break up with bad rates.

    Feeling stuck with your provider? We'll waive $500 of your processing fees when you switch to Helcim.

    First Data Pricing

    First Data offers different pricing for different businesses but does not disclose on their website the metrics they use to assign pricing to businesses that sign up. Apart from their merchant fees (which can vary) First Data does not have the most competitive pricing in the industry. This is because they also charge fees on top of their processing fees. We've already mentioned cancellation fees, but First Data also charges monthly PCI fees, chargeback fees, and AVS (address verification service) fees, among others.

    First Data Plans

    First Data does not offer subscription based pricing, but merchants will typically have to sign up on a four year contract, which is a long time to be tied down if you don't like their service. You can also have to face extraordinarily steep cancellation fees if you want to get out of your contract and process somewhere else.

    It's time to feel good about your payments

    First Data Software & Hardware Offerings

    First Data is a legacy processor and as such they've been a little behind the eight ball in developing cutting edge merchant focused software. The way they've gotten around this though is through acquisitions, such as Clover in 2012. Clover's POS is famous among merchants, but the pretty POS is backed by First Data's merchant services, so merchants will need to consider if the nice equipment is worth a partnership with First Data.

    When it comes to hardware, First Data often offers equipment leasing, but you will be better off buying their machines rather than renting. Their equipment leasing payment plans will actually end up costing you more than the price of the machine, and you can't cancel them, even if you were to stop processing altogether. Just one of the reasons why you should avoid equipment leases.

    "Despite its enormous reach and a wide variety of payment tools for businesses, First Data has never been friendly to small businesses."

    ~ Merchant Maverick

    "If you are searching for a professional, competent, and reliable payment processing company, look no further. After briefly trying out the services of another major payment processor, I knew my business would need something much better. I am very pleased to have found Helcim. Their support team is stellar! They promptly reply in a personable manner with solutions to problems. They offer many additional business tools to make your life easier. This was important to me. Let's face it. No one is jumping up and down about paying merchant fees - but it's part of doing business and you might as well go with a transparent pricing structure at a solid company. I feel confident growing my business with the team at Helcim."

    ~ Anna E., Care Bento

    Experience Better Payments

    At Helcim, we're on a mission to become the world's most loved payments company, and that's why we put our merchants first in everything we do. When it comes to choosing the best payment provider, you have options fro First Data to Global payments merchant services. At Helcim, we work hard to provide you with the resources, software, hardware, and customer service offerings your business needs, while at the same time offering some of the most competitive pricing in the industry. If you're tired of overpaying for credit card processing, or working with a processor that just doesn't seem to care about you or your business, switch to Helcim and see the difference that having a payments company in your corner can make.

    Thinking about switching to Helcim?

    Now that you understand the benefits of Helcim over First Data, you might be wondering how to make the switch. Good news! Helcim's Merchant Buyout Program can help you transition smoothly and hassle-free.

    Here’s what you can expect:

    • Receive personalized support on how to migrate your data to Helcim.
    • We’ll waive up to $500 in processing fees to cover your cancellation costs including early termination fees or equipment leases.
    • Need POS hardware? Helcim offers payment terminals available for a one-time purchase or through payment plans.
    • Save ~25% on processing fees with our interchange-plus pricing and enjoy our exceptional customer service.

    Break up with your current provider for better service, lower fees, and many free payment tools. Switch to Helcim with our Merchant Buyout Program.

    Helcim buyback program illustration

    Break up with bad rates.

    Feeling stuck with your provider? We'll waive $500 of your processing fees when you switch to Helcim.

    It's time to feel good about your payments.

    Sign up instantly with no paperwork or commitments.

    Call to action background version 2 image

    We're always
    here to help.

    New to accepting card payments? We take the time to help you understand how it all works so you can make the best decisions for your business.

    • Speak to a real person, fast
    • Experts you can trust
    • No commission = no pressure
    Show more

    Have us contact you.

    Contact name cannot be blank
    Business name cannot be blank
    Please provide a valid email address
    Phone number cannot be blank

    The form was sent successfully!