High-Risk Merchant Account Providers

High-Risk Merchant Account Provider Notes
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What is a High-Risk Merchant Account?

Major merchant account providers such as Streamline and the highstreet banks consider certain business sectors high-risk and generally refuse to provide merchant accounts to them.

A high-risk merchant account is a merchant account provided to a business in one of these sectors.

Some providers specialise in providing merchant services to these sectors.

High-Risk Sectors

Industries often considered to be 'high-risk' include, amongst others:

  • alcohol
  • tobacco and electronic cigarettes
  • drugs and drug products (including prescriptions)
  • nutraceuticals
  • airline, travel, tourism and lodging
  • debt management and collection agencies
  • payday loans
  • gambling
  • foreign exchange (Forex)
  • e-wallets
  • pyramid selling
  • dating and escort services
  • adult entertainment
  • timeshares and holiday clubs
  • tech support
  • money-making products and services
  • charities
  • monthly memberships and subscription services
  • insurance
  • jewellery
  • software
  • advertising services
  • online auctions
  • events and tickets
  • penny auctions
  • file sharing
  • VPN
  • affiliate marketing

What are the Downsides to a High-Risk Merchant Account?

Compared to a standard merchant account, a high-risk merchant account will impose one or more terms that are less favourable than with a regular merchant account.

For example:

  • setup fees
  • a minimum monthly number of transactions
  • higher transaction fees
  • a longer settlement period
  • a rolling reserve
  • an annual fee