How to Find a High Risk Merchant Account Provider

How to know when you need High Risk Merchant Accounts

Do you know about High Risk Merchant Accounts? Many merchants don’t know they need High Risk Merchant Accounts until they are cut off by their payment processor.High risk merchants sell things that banks, payment processors and credit card companies consider to be risky? What does risky mean? If you’ve been refused by PayPal or some other payment gateways you may be a high risk merchant account. If you have high chargebacks you may be a high risk merchant and need a high risk merchant account. But what does this all mean and what should you do? Here is some information to help you.

Risky means there is a high chance that your customers will ask for refunds or dispute the products that you sell them. Risky also means that the type of product you’re selling have legal regulations or some moral judgement involved. Here are some examples:

  • Get rich quick products or “Business Opportunity Products”
    Adult theme content
  • Gambling
  • Foreign Exchange Investments
  • Nutrional Supplements

For a bigger list please see the high risk merchant categories listed here.

What products are services are often labeled high risk?

If you’re selling something that people don’t want to talk about in comfort, you’re selling a high risk product. If you’re selling something with regulations (e.g. only used by customers who are older than 18 years of age) then you’re selling a risky product. If you’re selling a service that has varying degrees of success (e.g. information products to help guys get dates, make money schemes) then you have a product that will tend to have higher refunds. This makes your product risky because banks, credit card companies and payment processors do not like refunds.

Will you pay more for payment processing if you are a risky merchant

You will pay more for payment processing than other merchants who sell less risky items. But you can help yourself by being proactive.
Here is how.

Payment Processing Fees

To reduce payment processing fees for a high risk merchant the first thing is to make it easy for customers to get refunds. Put a toll free number on your website. Make it easy to find the refund policy. Offer online chat to help resolve the customer’s problem. Instead of a refund offer the customer more products or services for free. The more you can show your payment processor that you’re ready to be customer friendly and handle refunds, the less risk and lower fee you will pay for payment processing. Here is the recap.

  • Make it easy for your customers to get refunds
  • Show your refund policy online and make it easy to read and understand
  • Provide a toll free customer care number and online chat
  • Offer free products to the customer in lieu of a refund when it makes sense


A reserve is when your money is held by your payment processor for a specific period of time. High risk merchants generally have high reserves or reserves that are held for long periods of time. When negotiating with your payment processor you will need to be willing to accept a reserve. Allow your payment processor to hold your money. But over time you can ask the payment processor to reduce the reserve as you prove that you can manage a high risk business.

It may seem difficult to get a high risk merchant account but if you show you can manage your business payment processors will generally understand the needs of your business.

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