Helcim Merchant Services & Credit Card Processing United States Helcim Merchant Services Canada

Understanding Qualified, Mid-Qualified
& Non-Qualified Credit Card Processing Fees

Deceitful Processors

What is Tiered Pricing?

Tiered pricing (also known as qualified / non-qualified pricing) is a pricing method used by nearly every payment processor in the US. This is the most common pricing method offered to small-businesses. Unfortunately that's in the benefit of the processor and not the merchant, as tiered pricing is often used as a 'teaser' pricing method that can actually be quite expensive.

How Does it Work?

The processor will offer you three tiers, such as:

Qualified Rate   1.69%
Mid-Qualified Rate   1.20%
Non-Qualified Rate   1.70%

On the surface 1.69% seems reasonable, and unfortunately that's the trick. Most merchants don't ask when the other rates will apply or how they will be calculated. Some processors don't even display the mid and non-qualified rates except in their fine print.

While there are hundreds of different types of credit cards in the US. For this example, let's simplify it by looking at 3 different credit card types:

Qualified Credit Card Mid-Qualified Credit Card Non-Qualified Credit Card
Visa Basic Consumer Visa Rewards Card Visa Signature Elite

The processor then will determine what 'qualification' each of these cards fall under. Keep in mind that Visa does not see 'qualifications'; these are tiers that are invented by the processor and are assigned at their own discretion. This means that each processor decides how each of the credit card types are qualified. They then add the mid and non-qualified rates on-top of qualified rates. For example:

Qualified Credit Card Mid-Qualified Credit Card Non-Qualified Credit Card
Visa Basic Consumer Visa Rewards Card Visa Signature Elite
Qualified Mid-Qualified Non-Qualified
1.69% 1.69% + 1.20% = 2.79% 1.69% + 1.70% = 3.39%

All the sudden the 'qualified' rate of 1.69% isn't as appealing as it first was.

How Does Tiered Pricing Compare to Cost+ Pricing?

Unlike most processors, we offer all of our merchants Cost+ pricing (also known as Interchange+ pricing). By passing the true Interchange cost and only charging for a single markup of 0.18%, Cost+ pricing gives you significant savings while creating a very transparent arrangement with your processor (you know our cost and margin!)

Qualified Credit Card Mid-Qualified Credit Card Non-Qualified Credit Card
Visa Basic Consumer Visa Rewards Card Visa Signature Elite
True Visa Interchange = 1.51% True Visa Interchange = 1.65% True Visa Interchange = 2.30%
1.51% + 0.18% = 1.69% 1.65% + 0.18% = 1.83% 2.30% + 0.18% = 2.48%

Helcim is Different,
We Respect You and Your Business

You shouldn't have to be in a constant battle with your processor to avoid hidden fees and high rates. Merchants choose us because they feel confident that we appreciate their business and honor our long-term commitments to meeting their processing needs through great service and fair rates.

Daily Bank Deposits

Transparent Pricing & No Cancelation Fees

When you visit our website, you quickly realize that we operate differently than other payment processors. To begin with our complete rates are listed on our website.

We are also proud to offer month-to-month service on all of our processing solutions. There are no early-termination fees or contract closure fees to cancel your merchant account with us. We also never lock our merchants into a non-cancelable equipment lease agreement. Leases are expensive and lead to angry merchants and wasted dollars. Learn why you should avoid terminal leases.

Interchange Plus

Cost+ Pricing for Transparency

By passing the cost directly to you and only charging for a single markup, Cost+ pricing gives you significant savings while creating a very transparent arrangement with your processor (you know our cost and margin!) Learn more about Cost+!

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The Helcim name and logo are trademarks of Helcim Inc. The Visa and MasterCard logos are trademarks of Visa International and MasterCard International Incorporated. Other tradenames may be trademarks of their respective owners. Helcim is a registered MSP/ISO of Elavon, Inc. Georgia [,a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, Minneapolis, MN]. New applicants are subject to conditions and approval of the application by Helcim and its partnering banks.