How to switch credit card processors - the easy 5 step guide for merchants
Are you looking to change payment processors or switch payment providers? Looking for an alternative payment processing platform, shopping around for the lowest transaction fees, or just confused about how switching credit card processor affects your merchant account? Navigating the payments infrastructure and the world of online payment processing can be difficult, and in this article, we will explore what it is like to switch credit card processing to Helcim. You can apply this advice when switching to other alternatives in the payment processing industry - although, they may not be as nice as we are ;)
We know choosing a payment processor is hard
Picture this: you're a small business who just wants to accept credit card payments (for both in person transactions and online sales) without paying monthly fees and exorbitant processing fees. You've done a merchant statement comparison and realized you're probably paying too much to process payments.
You've even gone as far as typing in terms such as "stripe payments competitors", "square vs stripe", "best stripe alternatives", and "square alternative" into Google and found the best available option with great customer support (let's face it: it's probably Helcim), and you're ready to make the switch to a new processor to start saving on transaction fees.
So - what happens next?
Our shameless recommendation: switch to Helcim
Helcim is the easy and affordable solution for small businesses accepting credit card payments in person or online, and even supports international transactions.
Our pricing is 100% transparent and flat out saves you money. We keep your rates low and give you innovative ways to save money, all with no monthly fee, no contracts, and no hidden fees in sight. Talk to a real human from our customer support team via email, or take advantage of phone support 6 days a week.
With one Helcim account, you get unlimited access to all of our payment solutions, and every software tool your business might need - such as inventory management, point of sale systems, invoicing, recurring payments, and online checkout, just to name a few.
Sign up in as little as 5 minutes using the information below, without need for complicated paperwork or signatures. You can sign up directly from our website using your computer or mobile phone, and gain access instantly to the platform.
How to change payment processor
Step 1: Check your contract
Before you get excited about savings on your payment processing fees, check your contract with your current merchant services provider. You may have to give notice, and there may be a penalty or cancellation fee involved (which is usually in the $250-500 range) and sometimes can be hidden in the fine print.
Dig into those T's and C's
Most payment processors including, banks, will have you sign a 3-year contract term for payment processing services. Depending on the processor, there may also be a monthly software fee for a specific payment processing tool, but this won't apply to all merchants. You may need to contact your merchant services provider to confirm the details of your agreement with them before switching, and request everything in writing if possible.
Canadian Code of Conduct
If you're based in Canada, make sure you read the Canadian Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry on the Government of Canada's website, or our summary in this blog article. You may be able to opt out of your payment processing services contract early if you haven't been notified of a fee increase without 90 days notice, or if your "effective processing rate" per transaction hasn't been communicated on your merchant statement. There are some limitations on auto-renew agreements to make sure to check the contract with you current processor against the Code of Conduct.
The no monthly fee solution - Helcim
There are no contracts, monthly fees or cancellation fees at Helcim, and your one free account gives you access to our full suite of software tools, while allowing you to accept payments with lower processing fees per transaction, no matter the payment method.
Step 2: Get your information ready, and sign up to your new provider
As you prepare to change processors, there are some essential pieces of information you'll need to provide to make sure your business dealings are legal and legitimate. You may not have needed all of this information when you signed up for a business account on a different platform, but some credit card processing companies require further information to reduce their risk, especially if there are certain industries or regions that they don't offer payment processing services in.
Your business information
Have these on hand: your legal and operating business names, your business address, and the type of registration you hold—whether it's a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or non-profit. You'll also need your tax ID, registration date, business phone number, and registered email.
Industry and product information
To verify your legitimacy, there may be some more information needed about the products and services your provide, and the industry that you operate in. Some payment companies have a tiered pricing system which can offer you lower rates per transaction, so don't be afraid to share some financial details such as your monthly card payment volume and average transaction size.
Your personal information
All payment processors require personal information by law, and some have restrictions in certain regions, so get ready to share your name, birthday, email, and phone number. If you don't have a Tax ID, you'll need your Social Security Number (SSN) or Social Insurance Number (SIN). You may also need to share your home address and some details about your ownership stake (if any).
Step 2a: Keep the same bank account
Although you'll be switching the company you use to process payments, you won't have to do the same with your account at the bank you currently use to collect payments. Keep this information handy though, as you'll need to send this to your new payments processor.
Once linked, Helcim automatically deposits profits earned from a successful transaction into your business banking account in 1-2 business days.
Sign up is simple and fast with Helcim
If you have all the information listed above, the sign up process with Helcim takes as little as 5-minutes, and you can begin using our platform along with our software tools right away.
Step 3: Get new equipment (skip this step if you only take online payments)
If you're primarily processing payments online, this may not apply to you, but businesses that accept in person payments will need to look into alternatives or equivalents for your current POS systems that are compatible with the payment processing company you are switching to.
Ditch the monthly recurring payments for rentals
With Helcim, there is no monthly fee to rent equipment - once you have purchased these devices you will own them outright. All Helcim devices allow you to accept in person payments (also called card present) with all major credit cards in multiple currencies.
There are many drawbacks to leasing equipment, but in general, leases are harder to cancel, and you end up paying more in the long run. Our recommendation is that you rip the band-aid off and purchase your equipment outright.
Introducing: The Helcim Smart Terminal
The Helcim Smart Terminal is an all in one standalone device, integrating a point of sale system, inventory management platform, payment tools, and receipt printer into a sleek, professional design for $329 USD or 5 monthly payments of $68 USD. The Helcim Smart Terminal is the premium solution for in-store or mobile payments, while also allowing you to take advantage of lower credit card processing fees with Helcim's Interchange Plus pricing.
The Helcim Card Reader
The Helcim Card Reader is the entry level device for small businesses looking to accept card payments. Priced at $99 USD, the Helcim Card Reader connects via bluetooth or USB to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, allowing you to process in person transactions without spending money on expensive point of sale equipment.
Savings > sunk cost
Buying new equipment can seem scary, but the sunk cost pays itself off very quickly, as you'll (hopefully) be saving enough on your processing fees with your new payments provider to repay this in a couple of months or less.
A note about payment gateways for online payments:
If you're taking payments online, you won't need a point of sale device, but you'll need something called a payment gateway to authorize online transactions, since a card chip won't be present to verify cardholder information. Payment gateways are the digital equivalent of POS systems for online transactions. Helcim, being both a payment processor and payment gateway, provides a range of pre-built software solutions, including a payment integration, which are adaptable to your specific business needs, and are available for free with your Helcim account.
You can learn more about payment gateways in this blog post.
Step 4: Use both providers at the same time
After you've signed up and ordered new equipment, you'll want to make sure that your payments infrastructure is intact, and you can still accept payments without any downtime. Some processors take some time to assess your application and verify all of the information that you've provided.
A low risk affair
Using both providers at the same time is allowed and encouraged, especially when switching to a credit card processor that doesn't have a monthly fee or contract like Helcim. This ensures you take the lowest risk when trying out a new processor, and if you decide to switch back, you can do so without minimal fuss.
A common occurrence
Most small businesses who want to make the switch use both providers for a few months, so they can also compare merchant statements and calculate if they are actually saving on their credit card processing fees.
Step 5: Check your first statement to see if you're saving on transaction fees
Is your new processor charging you a higher or lower processing fee per transaction, and are you saving money overall on credit card processing fees? You'll likely have done your research before switching, but depending on transaction and card type, you may be paying higher fees overall than your previous provider.
If you accept payments online, be sure to check your current and new processor's rate, as some have a different (usually higher) rate to process online payments. International transactions can also sometimes cost more to process per transaction than local payment methods, and card brand and type matters, so keep these in mind when analyzing your merchant statement.
A note about back billing
Depending on the processor, your first statement may contain perceived lower processing fees, but you will be back-billed in your second statement onwards for these lower premiums. If you are using two processors in conjunction, you may be able to spot this on your second statement, so proceed with caution when researching which processor to switch to, and make sure they are completely transparent with their pricing.
Merchant Statement Comparisons
At Helcim, we only receive our margin after a successful transaction takes place and has been settled within a batch, whether that be for online or in person transactions. These are reflected in monthly merchant statements, which also cover your savings compared to flat rates (we use a pricing model called Interchange Plus).
Feel like you're paying too much per transaction? Looking for alternatives to your current payment provider? Helcim has a YouTube series on merchant statement comparisons, keep an eye out on Tuesdays and see if your current provider gets a 'feature'!
Our recommendation for switching payment processor:
Navigating and managing your business' payment infrastructure for online payments and in person transactions can be a complicated matter, especially if you have multiple sales channels and accept multiple payment types. That's why at Helcim, we're here to equip you with an end-to-end payments service - whether you're looking for a payment gateway or a full on payments processor. If your business accepts payments, especially through credit card transactions, - we're confident that we have the solution to meet your needs.
From credit card payments to international payments, take advantage of our Interchange Plus pricing model, which automatically adjusts our margin per transaction. On average, small businesses save 25% on their processing fees by accepting payments with us. There are no monthly fees, no contracts, and no hidden fees with us, and we only charge you once a successful transaction settles.
Not just a payment processor
We also include a vast suite of software tools such as inventory management, customer management, sales tax calculation, recurring payments with payment links, and much more: all for free with a merchant account in our platform. We also have integrations with Quickbooks Online and Xero, which means Helcim seamlessly works in conjunction with the accounting software that you already use.
Helcim also prides on servicing small businesses and larger businesses alike, with top notch customer support and phone support 6 days a week.
Sign up takes as little as 5 minutes
So what are you waiting for? If you're looking for alternatives to your current provider, switching payment processing companies to Helcim takes as little as 5 minutes using the guide above, and there is no need for complicated paperwork or signatures. You can sign up directly from our website using your computer or mobile phone.