Helcim's Acceptable Use Policy

Last Updated June 10, 2024

Previous version: September 2021

At the heart of Helcim is a core mission to make payments and digital commerce more transparent, fair, and welcoming. To assist with this mission, we've published this Acceptable Use Policy (the “AUP”) to provide our prospective and current merchants with transparency around prohibited businesses and business activities.

We're here to help!

If you suspect your business might be prohibited or restricted, or have information about other Helcim merchants that might be contravening this AUP, please contact us at [email protected] or 1-877-643-5246.

Updates to this Policy

Helcim may modify the AUP at any time by posting a revised version at https://legal.helcim.com/us/acceptable-use-policy/.BBy continuing to use the Helcim Services, or accessing your account after a revised version of the AUP has been posted, you agree to comply with the revised AUP. In the event of a conflict between the AUP and Helcim's Merchant Terms of Service (the “TOS” available at https://legal.helcim.com/us/terms-of-service/, the AUP will take precedence to the extent necessary to resolve the conflict.

Initial and Ongoing Monitoring

In the course of reviewing your initial application, and also when approved to use the Helcim Services, your business will be subject to continuous monitoring for compliance with this AUP and Helcim's other legal, regulatory and contractual obligations. In connection with continuous monitoring, our team may reach out to you from time to time to verify your business and transaction activity.

Helcim may, at any time, and without notice, remove any Account Content (as defined in the TOS), or suspend or terminate your account or access to the Services if you engage in activities that violate the letter or the spirit of the AUP, including activities outside your use of the Services. Helcim has the right, but not the obligation, to monitor or investigate any Account Content and your use of the Services for compliance with the AUP and the TOS. Helcim's determination of whether a violation of the AUP or TOS has occurred will be final and binding, and any action taken with respect to enforcing the AUP or TOS, including taking no action at all, is at Helcim's sole discretion.

Prohibited Businesses

If your business engages in any of the following activities, your business is considered a “Prohibited Business” and, unfortunately, Helcim is unable to approve your business to use the Helcim Services.

Additionally, you are not permitted to use the Helcim Services for any illegal activities (including any dealings with sanctioned persons or locales, or sponsoring terrorism directly or indirectly) or for any product, service or activity prohibited by law in the jurisdictions where you or Helcim operate, or where your customers are located.

Helcim provides payment processing services to businesses selling goods or services. You cannot use the Helcim Services for other purposes, such as collecting proceeds from private equity investments in your business (for example).

The types of businesses listed below are examples of prohibited categories, but this is not an exhaustive list.

Prohibited Category Examples
Adult Content and
  • Adult services, including prostitution, escorts, pay-per-view, sexual massages, fetish services, mail-order brides, phone chat lines and adult live chat features
  • Adult video stores
  • Gentlemen's clubs, topless bars, and strip clubs
  • Online or in-person dating services
  • Pornography and other mature audience content (including literature, imagery and other media) depicting nudity or explicit sexual acts Account Content (as defined in the Helcim Merchant Terms of Service) that contains any of the above themes or activities
Charities - Unregistered
  • Unregistered charities or for-profit third party charitable fundraisers
  • For-profit adoption agencies
Delayed Delivery
  • Businesses with a delayed delivery greater than one year on more than 25% of sales volume
  • Predatory mortgage consulting
  • Real estate investment services
  • Loan services
  • Real estate down payment or mortgage payment services
  • Debt refinancing, collection agencies, credit restoration, credit reporting agencies
  • Identity theft protection services including monitoring and recovery
  • Money transmitters, remittances, currency exchange services, and other money service businesses (check cashing, traveller's checks, money orders)
  • Shell banks and any entities who issue bearer shares
  • Investment services including buying, selling and brokering of any securities or commodities
  • Online or in-person educational courses, videos, booklets, newsletters etc. offering cryptocurrency or similar investment advice
  • Payday lenders; auto title lenders
  • Debt and financial counselling (when it is the primary service; not part of a larger service offering)
  • ATMs
  • Bill payment or accounts receivable financing services
Firearms, weapons,
explosives and
dangerous materials
  • Assault weapons, military grade weapons, and related accessories
  • Wholesale firearms and ammunition
  • Any 3D-printed weapons or 3D weapon components
Gambling and Games of Skill
  • Games of chance including internet gambling, casino games, sweepstakes and contests, and fantasy sports leagues with a monetary or material prize
  • Games of skill including video game and mobile game tournaments or competitions, darts, card games, and board games with a monetary or material prize
  • Arcades or amusement machines, such as video game machines, jukeboxes, pinball machines, mechanical games, instant photograph booths, and similar types of amusement equipment
  • Sports forecasting/ Oddsmaking
  • Operations of gaming or betting establishments associated with hotels, restaurants, riverboats, and resorts
  • Payments of an entry or player fee that promises the entrant or player will win a prize of value; prize giveaways
  • Lotteries
  • Pay-to-play or penny/bidding fee auctions
  • Horse race and sport betting operations
Goods - Technical
  • Game console circumvention devices
  • Gaming chip makers
Intellectual Property
  • Sales or distribution of music, movies, software, or any other licensed materials without appropriate authorisation
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Illegally imported or exported products
  • Unauthorised sale of brand name or designer products or services
  • Any other products or services that directly infringe or facilitate infringement upon the trademark, patent, copyright, trade secrets, proprietary or privacy rights of any third party
Legal Services -
  • Consumer bankruptcy lawyers (if consumer bankruptcy is the firm's principal practice area)
  • Bail bonds
  • Law firms collecting funds for purposes other than legal service fee payment
Medical and Drugs
  • Supplements or compounds banned by Health Canada or the United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Non-prescription drugs that are not nationally available over the counter or not prescribed by a licensed practitioner with a brick and mortar establishment
  • Chemicals, drugs, and compounds used for intoxicating effect (except alcohol)
  • Pseudo-pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals focused on significant weight loss or sexual performance
  • Pseudo-pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals making unsupportable or harmful claims (“Wonder Drugs”)
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Telemedicine and telehealth services provided by unlicensed practitioners
  • Diet and weight loss marketing
  • Medical and recreational cannabis products
  • Peptides, when not sold directly to providers and researchers
Non-fiat currency and
stored value
  • Cryptocurrency (i.e. bitcoin, ethereum) mining, exchanges, and wallets
  • NFT minting, sales, and marketplaces
  • Electronic coupons (i.e. Groupon)
  • Quasi cash
  • Sales of in-game currency or game items
  • Digital or physical preloaded payment cards, gift cards, virtual credits, etc.
  • Informal value transfer systems such as hawalas or unregistered money transmitters
  • Prepaid phone cards, SIM cards, prepaid cell phones
Services - Other
  • Drop shipping and freight forwarding
  • Lead generation and data brokerage
  • Businesses that fill subscriptions or orders on behalf of third parties; indirect selling, shopping services and clubs
Services - Personal
  • Fortune telling, including tarot card readers and mystics
Services - Technical
  • Internet service providers
  • Internet access and computer networking
  • Cyberlockers (online/cloud file sharing and storage is the primary service offering)
  • Website hosting (if it is the sole service offering)
Services - Travel
  • Major airlines, charter airlines, cruise lines, bus lines and bus tours, car rental agencies
  • Travel agencies and tour operators, travel clubs, travel wholesalers
  • Central reservations services (i.e. AirBnB or Outdoorsy)
  • Motorhome and recreational vehicle rentals
  • Truck and utility trailer rentals
  • Timeshares
  • Online, mail order or telephone order e-cigarettes and vapes (including devices, equipment, and liquids)
  • Tobacco and nicotine product sales (except physical store sales)
Unfair or deceptive
practices; practices and
acts prohibited by
consumer protection legislation
and regulations
  • Multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes
  • “Get rich quick” schemes, including cryptocurrency schemes
  • Sales involving outrageous claims, deceptive or falsified testimonials, high-pressure upselling, hidden pricing, unrealistic incentives or rewards as an inducement to purchase
  • No value-added services
  • Sale of social media activity including pay for followers, likes or subscription
  • Sales of online traffic or engagement
  • Telemarketing or infomercial sales
  • Cash advancing
  • Enabling or transmitting unsolicited commercial messages (spam)

Restricted Businesses

If your business engages in any of the following activities, your business is considered a high risk “Restricted Business” and will be subject to additional scrutiny, due diligence, verification and document requests, and risk assessments by Helcim. If you think your business falls into a restricted category, please contact us. Helcim is subject to card network rules, bank partnership agreements, and legal obligations that may limit our ability to approve a Restricted Business to use the Helcim Services. If we do approve a Restricted Business, note that the approval may be modified or revoked by Helcim at any time.

Read more about Restricted Businesses in our help article here:

The list below includes examples of Restricted Businesses, but is not exhaustive.

Restricted Category Examples
Charities - registered
  • Non-profit adoption agencies
Door-to-Door Sales and
Direct Selling or
  • Large appliances; HVAC; water filtration
  • Cosmetics
  • Household items
  • Foodstuffs
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Catalog goods
  • Insurance
  • Crowdfunding and patronage platforms
  • Debt resolution or counselling
Firearms, weapons,
explosives and
dangerous materials
  • Online, mail order or telephone order guns and firearms sales (excluding accessories)
  • Any firearms sales that are not FFL firearms sales or transfers (or similarly regulated transfers)
  • Weapon components such as firing pins, magazines, clips, and firearm conversion kits
  • Gunpowder, fireworks and other explosives
  • Improperly marked replicas of modern firearms, including toys
  • Pepper spray and stun guns
  • Swords and katanas, unless they are meant as replicas or for the practice of martial arts
  • Machetes
  • Disguised knives and knives with opening mechanisms designed for quick deployment of a blade
  • Pesticides requiring application by a certified professional Research chemicals
  • Toxic, flammable, combustible or radioactive materials
  • Unmailable goods, per the applicable federal postal service
Goods - Other High Risk
  • Auction houses including auto auctions (in-person and online)
  • Art dealers
  • Collectables and memorabilia
  • Luxury goods brokers and sellers
  • Furniture stores
  • Pawn shops
  • Precious stones and metals, watches and jewelry
  • Businesses in new or emerging industries without a demonstrated history in the market or for which laws, regulations and/or licensing requirements are ambiguous or under development
Goods - Technical
  • Hardware and software sales
  • Free-play video game sales and leasing
Medical and Drugs
  • Wholesale distributors of prescription and non-prescription medicine, proprietary drugs, vitamins and drug therapies that satisfy the requirements of the applicable association registration
  • Telemedicine and telehealth services provided by licensed practitioners
Membership or
  • Gyms, recreation, athletic and health clubs
  • Country clubs
Services - Non-licensed
  • Unlicensed professional services, such as unlicensed counselling services or unlicensed massage therapists
Services - Other High
  • Events or event planning, promotion and organization where ticket fees are paid for in advance
  • Ticket brokers and agencies; advanced ticket sales
  • Seminar marketers and seminar planning services
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Vehicle towing and mobile repair
  • Modeling and talent agencies
  • Businesses in new or emerging industries without a demonstrated history in the market or for which laws, regulations and/or licensing requirements are ambiguous or under development
  • Publishing services
  • Lodging, including hotels, motels, resorts, bed & breakfasts
Services - Technical
  • Remote technical support (without two years of established processing history)
  • Website hosting (as part of a larger service offering)
Third-party Sellers,
Payment Aggregators,
Fulfillment Houses
  • Marketplaces
  • Payment facilitation and aggregation (including receiving settlement proceeds for goods or services that you did not provide, on behalf of one or multiple third-party sellers)
  • Processing of transactions by service providers acting under contract to card issuers or acquirers
card-not-present is
  • Herbal cigarettes
  • Production equipment specifically marketed for the production of tobacco products

Prohibited Activities and Content

The following themes, behaviour and content, or promotion of same (“Activities or Content”) are prohibited. This prohibition applies whether your venture is a Prohibited Business, a Restricted Business, or not, and is grounds for denial of approval or account suspension or termination:

Child Exploitation
  • Activities or Content describing or depicting exploits or abuses of children and minors
Defamation and Threats
  • Activities or Content constituting harassment, bullying, defamation or threats against a specific individual or group
Hateful Material
  • Activities or Content that condones, promotes or threatens hatred or violence against any person or group based on race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, legal source of income, family status or sexual orientation
Intellectual Property
  • Activities or Content that infringes on the intellectual property rights of others, including but not limited to copyrights, patents and trademarks
Personal or Confidential Information
  • Activities or Content that contains personally identifiable information, sensitive personal information, or confidential information, unless you have consent from the person or entity to whom the information belongs
  • Activities or Content that promotes or enables self-harm

Additional High-Risk Factors

In addition to the prohibitions and restrictions above, we may not be able to approve your account, or we may require additional monitoring and documentation from you, if certain other factors are relevant. For example:

  • If your business is new and doesn't yet have a demonstrated a business history
  • If your business has a demonstrated history of financial instability
  • If there is a delay between the delivery of your products or services and the time you accept payments
  • If the industry or sector your business operates in has a high chargeback ratio
  • If your products or services have a lack of standardization
  • If your processing volume or expected volume is considered high
  • If your business relies on a supply chain, time, or materials that could be considered complex or prone to uncertainty