How to Get Merchant Services if You Are Deemed High-Risk

As a business owner, accepting credit and debit card payments is essential for your success. However, if your business falls under the category of a high-risk merchant, obtaining merchant services may be challenging. But what exactly is a high-risk merchant account, and how can you get the merchant services you need? In this blog post, we will explore what high-risk merchant accounts are and how you can still obtain merchant services if you are deemed high-risk.

What is a High-Risk Merchant Account?

A high-risk merchant account is a type of merchant account that is designated for businesses that pose a higher risk of financial losses to the payment processor. Typically, this includes businesses that operate in industries with a higher rate of chargebacks, fraud, or legal compliance issues. For a complete list of high-risk industries, click here.

When a business is considered high-risk, payment processors and banks may require additional fees or reserves to manage the risks associated with processing transactions for that business. These additional fees can include higher processing fees, security deposits, or transaction limits.

How to Get Merchant Services if You Are Deemed High-Risk

Look for High-Risk Merchant Account Providers

Several merchant service providers specialize in high-risk merchant accounts. These providers have the expertise and resources to manage the risks associated with processing transactions for high-risk businesses. By working with a high-risk merchant account provider, you can access payment processing services with more flexibility and tailored to your business’s specific needs.

Consider Alternative Payment Methods

Another option for high-risk businesses is to offer alternative payment methods, such as e-checks or ACH payments. These payment methods are processed differently than credit and debit card payments and may have lower fees and less stringent underwriting requirements. Offering alternative payment methods can also help attract customers who prefer these payment options.

Having Solid Financials and/or a Co-signer

Another item that will really help high-risk businesses looking for processing solutions is solid financials and good banking history. Showing you have decent bank balances can present you as lower risk to potential processing partners. You can also get approved by having a co-signer with good credit. This doesn’t even have to be somebody that is associated with the business, it can be a relative or a friend.

Build a Strong Payment Processing History

If your business is new or has a limited payment processing history, you may be deemed high risk. To mitigate this, you can start by processing lower volumes of transactions to establish a strong payment processing history. Building a solid history of successful transactions can help reduce the perceived risk of your business and improve your chances of obtaining merchant services.

Work on Reducing Chargebacks

Chargebacks occur when customers dispute transactions with their credit card issuer, leading to a reversal of funds. High levels of chargebacks can be a significant concern for high-risk merchants. To minimize chargebacks, businesses can implement fraud prevention measures, improve customer service, and ensure clear communication of refund and cancellation policies.

Having a Professional Website

Before applying, have a look at your website. Is it professional looking? Does it have clear terms and conditions of sale? Is there a clear and fair refund policy and a secure checkout page? Be sure and have a detailed ‘About Us’ page outlining details about your company. Be sure to include your experience in your industry. These types of things will directly affect your approval.

Check Your Credit Score Before You Apply

Before you apply, be sure to know your credit score. If your score is low, consider hiring a credit repair company that can assist you in making your score better before applying.


If your business is considered high-risk, obtaining merchant services can be a challenge. However, by working with high-risk merchant account providers, offering alternative payment methods, working with payment facilitators, building a strong payment processing history, and reducing chargebacks, you can still access the payment processing services you need to grow your business. Don’t let the label of high risk hold you back – explore your options and find a solution that works for your business. For a complete guide to high-risk merchant accounts, click here. As always, if you have questions, we are here to help. (866) 415-2636.

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