Calgary's Helcim announced this week that it would now be offering its credit card processing services without contract closure fees.
Helcim is a small, independent company that competes with large bank-owned processors including Moneris, TD Merchant Services and Chase Paymentech.
Credit card payments are a big part of Canadian business, but the industry has been under much scrutiny in recent years for its practices.
In 2010, the Minister of Finance announced a Code of Conduct for the industry and established a task-force to investigate. The Canadian Competition Bureau also opened its case against Visa and MasterCard in 2012 for anti-competitive behavior.
Nicolas Beique, Helcim’s co-founder, commented on the announcement: “When you start a new business, you don’t always know where you will be in 3-years and signing a long-term contract can be a scary decision to make. If you look at what’s happening in the payment industry, companies like PayPal and Square are lowering the entry barriers and allowing more small businesses a chance to accept credit cards. Helcim is proud to be at the forefront of that trend here in Canada.”
As part of its announcement, Helcim challenged the big processors to follow suit and get rid of their contract closure fees, stating that the move would send a clear signal to Canadians that these large processors are here to compete on price and service, instead of locking their clients into contracts.