Which Businesses Are Considered High-Risk Merchants?

Merchant accounts are important for businesses that want to accept electronic payment methods. Shoppers who do not carry cash are usually anticipating the ability to use a branded credit card at most establishments. Valued Merchant Services highlights several businesses that are considered high-risk for credit card processing

Desire for Merchant Services

A global reduction in the desire to carry cash has led to a greater demand for credit card acceptance.

Whether for shopping, paying bills online or just to have access to money, many consumers never leave home without a credit card, a debit card or a gift card.

This reality causes operational challenges for business owners who are unable to accept electronic payments.

Therefore, a business owner might decide to check out several companies that offer merchant services. A quick inquiry with a merchant sales representative can provide some details about the costs and the setup process.

High-Risk Businesses for Credit Card Processing

Entrepreneurs who operate certain high-risk businesses may have difficulty getting approved for a merchant services account.

If a high-risk business is approved for a merchant services account, the costs are generally above the average credit card processing rates.

Shown below are some industries that are deemed a high risk for merchant services

  • Adult Entertainment Products & Services
  • Airlines, Air Carriers, Air Charters
  • Bail Bonds
  • CBD / Marijuana / Hemp
  • Cigarettes/Tobacco Sales/E-Cigarettes/Cigars/Vape
  • Coins,Stamps & Collectibles
  • Debt Collection Agencies
  • Computer Network/IT & Software
  • Consulting, Management, Marketing and PR
  • Credit Repair & Restoration
  • Diet Programs/Vitamin Sales/Herbal Remedies / Nutraceuticals
  • Door-to-Door Sales
  • Firearms Sales
  • Fortune Tellers
  • Future Delivery of Product/Services beyond 6-12 Mo
  • Gambling / Gaming
  • Memberships/Clubs
  • Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
  • Pawnbrokers/Pawn Shops
  • Payday Lenders / Check Cashing
  • Real Estate / Mortgage
  • Shippers/Freight Forwarders/Motor Freight Carriers
  • Subscription Services – Magazines / Newspaper / Newsletter
  • Ticket Agencies (Theater/Concerts/Sporting Events)
  • Time Shares / Travel Agencies / Tours / Cruise
  • TMF/MATCH (case by case)

Why Are the Businesses Shown Above Considered High-Risk for Merchant Services?

The list above includes but is not limited to many of the most common high-risk merchants and high-risk industries for merchant services. These and others may be considered risky among banks, lenders and credit card processing companies.

High-risk merchants are often associated with businesses that have a high level of exposure to lawsuits, other legal actions, fraud, chargebacks and higher transaction sizes.

Additionally, a business owner who has bad credit, an unsatisfactory credit card processing history, low cash flow levels or higher sales volumes may be viewed as a high risk for merchant services.

Can High-Risk Business Industries Obtain Merchant Services?


Support does exist for businesses that are considered a high risk for merchant services.

While many merchant processing companies may deny a business from credit card processing support, Valued Merchant Services supports many high-risk merchants across the US

What Steps Can a High Risk Business Owner Take to Get Merchant Services?

Consulting with an experienced merchant services representative is a wise step toward accepting electronic payments for a business owner within a high risk industry.

A business owner can document their operating plans and safeguards to mitigate fraud.

Since the underwriting process to approve a high risk business is largely case-by-case, it is a good idea to have systems in place that reflect preparation and a reduced level of risks for banks and merchant processing companies.

Establishing a business checking account that has a sufficient amount of financial reserves to cover chargebacks, fraudulent transactions or refunds could help reduce the perceived risk for certain industries during the merchant approval process.

For businesses that are currently cash-based enterprises, it may help to make more frequent deposits into a business checking account.

A documented deposit history can provide some additional insight about the daily and monthly financial transactions for a high-risk business.

Get More Information About High-Risk Merchant Services

Many merchants will be presented with credit cards and debit cards thousands of times per year.

Business owners who can seamlessly create a pleasurable experience for shoppers may receive additional visits and referrals.

Speak with a merchant account representative at Valued Merchant Services about accepting electronic payments for your high-risk business.

Contact us today


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