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Natural Supplement and Nutraceutical Merchant Account

Natural Supplement and Nutraceutical Merchant Accounts & Payment Processing

How Did Nutraceutical Companies Become High Risk Merchants?

Today’s business environment has produced immense opportunities for growth in the nutraceutical industry. Daytime television personalities regularly sing the praises of natural remedies and supplements, and the internet both enables the rapid spread of new trends in natural health products and makes it much easier for customers to purchase them. That’s why it’s so important for nutraceutical merchants to have the ability to accept credit cards – being unable to offer customers the ability to use their preferred form of payment results in enormous missed opportunities to increase sales.

As you know, being approved for a merchant account isn’t always easy for health supplement businesses. The nutraceutical industry is considered “high risk” by credit card processing companies, and many traditional financial institutions won’t even talk to you once they hear what kind of products you sell. Looking at the few payment processors that are interested in your business, it can be hard for a start-up or growing business to find one offering affordable fees and favorable account terms.

Who is Durango Merchant Services?

Durango Merchant Services is a dedicated payment processing firm that specializes in serving businesses deemed high-risk, a category often bypassed by traditional banking institutions and payment processors. Our clientele spans a diverse range of industries, including but not limited to ecommerce, herbal supplements, travel agencies, subscription-based services, e-commerce platforms, and more. Established in 1997, we are committed to assisting businesses that encounter difficulties in obtaining dependable payment solutions. With over 25 years of experience we provide a variety of services specifically designed to meet the distinctive requirements of these sectors.

What Sets Durango Merchant Services Apart from the Rest?

What is a High Risk Nutraceutical Merchant Account?

A Nutraceutical Merchant Account allows business owners to accept credit card payments for the high risk nutraceutical industry. Nutraceuticals encompass a broad set of dietary supplements, natural medicines, health supplements and health maintenance substances that are free from FDA regulations and are widely available over the counter.  The philosophy is rooted in using food as medicine and working with potent extracts to provide targeted benefits in health, wellness and disease prevention. Below we outline in greater detail what makes them considered high risk.

Why are Nutraceutical & Herbal Product Companies Considered High Risk?

Challenges and Opportunities in Securing Payment Processing for Nutraceutical & Supplement Companies

Payment processing companies classify certain types of businesses as “high risk” based on a number of factors, most of which boil down to the possibility that doing business with a merchant in that field will end up costing the financial institution money. There are a few reasons that nutraceutical merchant accounts are considered high risk. Below are some challenges and possible solutions to help you overcome the difficulties that can come with owning a nutraceutical merchant account.

Challenge 1: Regulatory Scrutiny

The nutraceutical and herbal products industry is subject to significant regulatory oversight, but the regulations can be complex and vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. This inconsistency can lead to challenges in ensuring all products comply with local laws, increasing the risk for processors concerned about legal compliance.

Strategy Chess

Durango Merchant Services offer support to nutraceutical and supplement companies facing regulatory scrutiny by providing expertise and guidance derived from or extensive experience helping place companies like yours. A few other things we are able to consult on are tailored payment solutions adaptable to regulatory changes, and advanced risk management tools. This approach helps nutraceutical companies navigate the complexities of legal compliance, manage risks effectively, and maintain operational smoothness in a challenging regulatory environment.

Challenge 2: High Chargeback Rates

Supplement & nutraceutical companies tend to experience higher than average chargeback rates. Consumers may dispute charges more frequently due to dissatisfaction with the product’s effectiveness, issues with recurring billing models, or longer delivery times. High chargebacks are a red flag for payment processors, as they can lead to financial losses and increased scrutiny from credit card networks.

Strategy Chess

High-risk merchant services providers can assist and advise nutraceutical and supplement companies in overcoming high chargeback rates through a multifaceted approach. This includes implementing advanced chargeback prevention tools, coaching on clear and transparent communication with customers about product details and billing, stepping up your customer service game to resolve issues promptly, employing sophisticated fraud detection systems (which come with us), and optimizing delivery and fulfillment processes. Additionally, they can provide customized billing solutions and educate merchants on best practices for reducing chargebacks. By adopting these strategies, companies can minimize disputes, enhance customer satisfaction, and maintain a stable relationship with payment processors, despite the high-risk nature of their industry.

Challenge 3: Product Claims and Efficacy

Many nutraceutical and herbal products make health-related claims that may not be fully supported by scientific evidence. This can lead to disputes if customers feel that the product did not deliver the promised benefits, thus increasing the likelihood of chargebacks and legal issues.

Strategy Chess

To mitigate risks associated with product claims and efficacy, nutraceutical and supplement companies should ensure their health-related claims are substantiated with credible scientific evidence, provide clear and accurate product labeling, and maintain transparency about ingredients. Additionally, educating consumers on the products' benefits and the science behind them, adhering to regulatory compliance, establishing mechanisms for customer feedback, offering satisfaction guarantees, and encouraging professional consultation can build trust and reduce the likelihood of disputes. These practices not only enhance customer satisfaction but also safeguard against legal issues and chargebacks, fostering a credible and reliable brand reputation in the marketplace.

Challenge 4: Reputational Risk & The Supplement Industry

The industry has, at times, been associated with misleading marketing practices and the sale of products with questionable efficacy. Such reputational risks make credit card processors wary of associating with businesses that might engage in practices that could attract negative attention or legal challenges.

Strategy Chess

Dedicate yourself to becoming leaders in the nutraceutical and supplements industry! You have given yourself an amazing opportunity to leverage scientific evidence and obtain certifications for your products, setting a gold standard for product integrity and providing real benefits for thousands and possibly millions of people. By committing to transparency in marketing and labeling, you can define industry norms and foster consumer trust. Compliance with regulations not only minimizes risks but also positions these companies as benchmarks for best practices in the sector.

Investing in quality control and engaging with the community showcases your companies dedication to excellence and well-being, distinguishing you from competitors. Proactively gathering and acting on customer feedback, along with securing endorsements from professionals in the health and wellness field, can amplify their reputation and influence. Furthermore, a robust crisis management strategy underscores their resilience and capability to navigate challenges effectively. Embracing these strategies offers nutraceutical and supplement companies a unique chance to not just participate in the industry but to lead it, shaping consumer perceptions and driving the sector towards higher standards of quality and integrity.

Challenge 5: Subscription & Recurring Billing Needs

Many companies in the herbal supplements and nutraceutical sector use recurring billing models, which can lead to disputes if customers find it difficult to cancel or did not understand the terms of the subscription. This model adds another layer of risk for payment processors.

Strategy Chess

Durango Merchant Services can support nutraceutical and supplement companies in mitigating the risks associated with subscription models by emphasizing clear communication, straightforward cancellation processes, and exceptional customer service. By ensuring that subscription terms are transparent and consent is explicitly obtained, offering easy and accessible options for subscription management and cancellation, and maintaining open lines of communication through regular updates and dedicated support, these providers can enhance customer satisfaction and reduce disputes.

Additionally, our payment gateway has highly customizable subscription options and advanced fraud detection measures further safeguard against chargebacks and unauthorized transactions, fostering a trustworthy and customer-friendly subscription environment. Our payment gateway also handles every facet of recurring billing. Some of these features include pausing subscriptions, automatically updating debit card info, setting any level of billing schedule, and much more.

How Can a Herbal & Nutraceutical Business Accept Credit Cards?

Despite having worked to maintain good credit and an honest business reputation, you may have trouble finding a payment processor. Still, the ability to accept credit and debit cards – especially through an online payment portal – opens a nutraceutical merchant up to a much broader customer base than he would otherwise be able to access. You want the greatest number of people to have the opportunity to benefit from your health remedies, and don’t want to be charged a high percentage rate and a higher than necessary reserve term.


That’s why you need a nutraceutical merchant account provider who is not only willing to approve businesses in high-risk industries, but is also open to discussing with you what your business needs, and is invested in your success. Durango Merchant Services has a well-earned reputation for being responsive to our clients and working with them to find nutraceutical credit card processing solutions that fit their needs and will help their business flourish.

Some Products in the Herbal Supplement, Vitamin and Nutraceutical Industry

Table of Contents

Range of prices for supplement & Nutraceutical merchant accounts:

Typical Terms in a Credit Card Processing contract:

NIC, NCAIS and MCC Codes Related to Vitamins, Supplements & Nutraceuticals

The code you are classified under has implications on processing rates, fraud prevention measures, and compliance with payment network regulations. Your account manager can help you understand how it affects your merchant account.

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Dive Deeper Into Payment Processing for Natural Supplement and Nutraceutical Companies

Credit card
How Do I Open a Supplement & Nutraceutical Merchant Account?

Durango Merchant Services has created a detailed and digestible guide to help our potential clients understand and prepare for what to expect when trying to get approved to process credit card in the nutraceutical and supplements industry. As always, our sales team and account managers are experts in all things payments and are here to help guide you through and clarify the process.

How Do I Integrate Durango Pay Gateway into My Business?
Durango Pay Gateway stands as a pinnacle of modern payment processing technology, offering unparalleled versatility and efficiency. With the capability to integrate seamlessly with over 150 shopping cart platforms, ranging from WooCommerce to Shopify, it’s designed to cater to a wide array of e-commerce needs. This gateway is immediately equipped for omni-channel operations, ensuring a smooth and unified payment experience across various sales channels. Additionally, it is fortified with advanced fraud detection and prevention mechanisms, alongside robust chargeback management functionalities, making it a comprehensive solution for modern business transactions.
How do I increase my credit card processing limits?

Seeking to boost your credit card processing capabilities? The strategy we will develop with you involves demonstrating a consistent and dependable transaction history and ensuring your business’s financial health is robust. Minimizing chargebacks and making sure your bank balance has a good cushion are key steps in positively showcasing your business to your transaction handlers. We encourage you to engage in transparent discussions with your account manager regarding your expansion objectives—this openness can be instrumental in securing more favorable terms as your revenue grows.

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

Some Resources to Help You Grow

Just like you, we understand that finding inspiration and expertise isn’t always a straightforward task, particularly when facing challenges head-on. While Durango Merchant Services can be of great service in helping you setup strategies and technology to accept payments, we aren’t health and wellness professionals. If you would like a little inspiration and guidance as you seek to implement best practices in the nutraceutical and herbal supplement industry, then dive into these organizations and remember that they are created specifically to help companies like yours! We hope they can provide tools and inspiration to never stop learning and never stop ensuring your products are effective, safe and sold from an unyielding focus on the science of health that is the spirit of your industry.

Natural Products Association (NPA)

The Natural Products Association is one of the oldest nonprofit organizations dedicated to the natural products industry, including dietary supplements, foods, personal care products, and more. It provides its members with education and compliance resources, advocacy for favorable legislation and regulatory environments, and certification programs such as the NPA GMP Certification. This program ensures that companies comply with Good Manufacturing Practices, helping them maintain high standards of quality and safety in their products, thus avoiding regulatory troubles.

American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)

The American Herbal Products Association focuses specifically on the herbal products industry, including herbal supplements and remedies. AHPA offers its members a wide range of services, such as educational resources, advocacy, and regulatory guidance, aimed at promoting the responsible commerce of herbal products. The association helps companies understand and comply with manufacturing practices, labeling requirements, and safety regulations, thereby minimizing the risk of legal challenges and ensuring the integrity of their products.

Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
The Council for Responsible Nutrition is a leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry. CRN offers its members comprehensive guidance on regulatory compliance, scientific research, and industry best practices. It advocates for science-based regulations and provides its members with updates on legislative and regulatory changes. Membership in CRN can help nutraceutical and herbal supplement companies stay informed about compliance requirements, thus minimizing legal and regulatory risks.

International Options for Supplement and Nutraceutical Merchant Accounts:

Durango Merchant Services works with several gateway processors and suppliers with sponsor banking relationships that provide both US based national and international credit card processing solutions. We can provide nutraceutical merchant accounts in the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, US & UK Territories as well as Puerto Rico. In addition, our Durango Payment Gateway is multi-currency ready, so if you are ready to ship internationally, you can accept payments from nearly anywhere in the world.

Additional benefits of our payment processing service for vitamin, nutraceutical and herbal supplement businesses:

If you get approved for a merchant account for nutraceutical company with Durango Merchant Services, then you will also be eligible for other benefits that we offer, we can set you up with electronic commerce and recurring billing via our online portal. Businesses can receive the following additional benefits:

Durango Merchant Services is here to help secure your natural health product Merchant Account:

Our dedicated team has negotiated on behalf of more than 35,000 clients.  We understand the back and forth and give and take of negotiating processing accounts for high risk merchants, including many of nutraceutical merchant accounts.

We know that there aren’t always easy answers. But remember, there is almost always a way forward and if you can make it through the first 3 years with a good track record, life will become much easier and your business will be better for it. Read our guide to how to open a supplement and nutraceutical merchant account below.

How to open a Nutraceutical Merchant Account

Applying for nutraceutical and herbal supplement merchant services, given the high-risk status of the health products industry, requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to increase your chances of approval:

how to open nutraceutical merchant account
Estimated Time Needed: 3 days
Total Cost: 0 USD

Required Documents:

-> Business License and Registration: Confirm your business is legally registered and possesses all necessary licenses, demonstrating compliance with local and federal laws.
-> Identification of Business Owners: Provide government-issued IDs (e.g., passports, driver’s licenses) for all principal owners to verify identities and prevent fraud.
-> Formation Documents: Submit Articles of Incorporation or equivalent documents to establish the legal structure and legitimacy of your business.
-> Federal EIN: The Employer Identification Number is crucial for tax purposes and confirms your business’s registration with the IRS.
-> Comprehensive Business Plan: Present a detailed plan that covers market analysis, marketing strategies, product pricing, billing models, and how your business intends to comply with specific regulations like the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in the U.S.
-> Financial Records: Include up-to-date profit and loss statements and balance sheets to showcase your business’s financial health and stability.
-> Recent Bank Statements: Bank statements from the last three to six months can help processors assess your cash flow and financial management.
-> Previous Merchant Statements: If applicable, showing past merchant account statements can provide insight into your sales volume and chargeback rates, indicating your business’s processing history.

Ensure Regulatory Compliance

-> Industry Regulation Adherence: Ensure your business operations fully comply with regulations specific to the nutraceutical industry, including accurate labeling, marketing practices, and product safety standards.
-> Website Standard Compliance: Your e-commerce platform should meet national e-commerce compliance standards, featuring clear product descriptions, a user-friendly privacy policy, an accessible refund policy, and transparent terms and conditions.

Detailed Roadmap for Opening a Nutraceutical Merchant Account:

Step 1: Identify Experienced Payment Processors
Begin by researching payment processors that are not only familiar with but also specialize in high-risk accounts, focusing particularly on those with a solid history of supporting businesses in the nutraceutical sector, such as Durango Merchant Services. These providers bring invaluable expertise, offering tailored advice to navigate the industry's unique challenges, from regulatory hurdles to market volatility, ensuring you align with a partner adept at managing the specific risks and compliance requirements of your field.
Step 2: Prepare and Organize Documentation Thoroughly
Diligently gather and organize all necessary documentation, which is crucial for payment processors to conduct an in-depth evaluation of your business. This includes detailed financial records, business licenses, proof of compliance with industry regulations, detailed descriptions of your products and services, and any previous merchant statements. These documents provide a clear picture of your financial stability, business integrity, and operational efficiency, forming the backbone of your application’s credibility. Reference the list at the top of this guide for a comprehensive list of best practices.
Step 3: Ensure Full Compliance with Industry Standards
Conduct a comprehensive review of your business operations to ensure they adhere strictly to all relevant industry standards and regulations. This encompasses ensuring that all product claims are substantiated with scientific evidence, marketing practices are transparent and ethical, and customer interactions comply with legal requirements. Demonstrating full compliance not only strengthens your application but also builds trust with payment processors and customers alike.
Step 4: Develop Chargeback Minimization Strategies
Given the propensity for high chargeback rates in the nutraceutical industry, it’s imperative to devise and implement effective strategies aimed at minimizing them. Strategies might include setting up clear and concise product descriptions, implementing a straightforward and visible refund policy, offering exemplary customer service to address issues before they escalate to chargebacks, and using fraud prevention tools to detect and stop fraudulent transactions proactively.
Step 5: Submit a Thorough and Detailed Application
Leverage the expertise of Durango Merchant Services to compile and submit an application that meticulously details every aspect of your business. This should include a comprehensive business plan that outlines your marketing strategies, revenue projections, risk management practices, and how you plan to maintain compliance with industry regulations. Our team’s guidance ensures that your application not only meets but exceeds the expectations of payment processors, significantly boosting your chances of approval.
Step 6: Engage in the Underwriting Review Process
Your application and supporting documents will be scrutinized during the underwriting process, evaluating the sustainability of your business model, financial health, compliance with legal and regulatory mandates, and overall risk level. This thorough review assesses the viability of your business and its alignment with the processor’s risk tolerance, making it crucial to present a well-documented and convincing case for your business.
Step 7: Negotiate Terms Thoughtfully
Upon receiving an offer, take the time to carefully examine the proposed terms, which will cover aspects such as processing fees, chargeback penalties, and any reserve requirements that might be imposed. This is the stage to negotiate for better terms that align with your business operations, financial fluidity and financial planning, ensuring you secure a contract that supports your business growth and sustainability.
Step 8: Integrate Payment Gateway and Setup Your Merchant Account
After finalizing terms, focus on the technical integration and setup of your merchant account. This includes ensuring that your payment gateway is securely integrated into your online platform or that your in-store payment systems are configured correctly. It’s essential to test these systems thoroughly to ensure a smooth, secure, and efficient transaction process for your customers.
Step 9: Maintain Regular Compliance and Chargeback Monitoring
Continuously monitor your business practices for ongoing compliance with industry standards and regulations, and keep a close eye on your chargeback ratio. Partnering with Durango Merchant Services allows you to access ongoing support and expert advice, helping you adapt to regulatory changes, manage chargebacks effectively, and maintain the integrity of your merchant account over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Securing a merchant account for businesses in the vitamins, supplements, and nutraceuticals industry is particularly challenging due to several factors: stringent regulatory oversight by bodies like the FDA, a high incidence of chargebacks due to customer dissatisfaction or confusion over subscription models, the risk of fraud with counterfeit or adulterated products, substantial product liability concerns, reputational risks associated with misleading health claims, and complex billing practices inherent to many business models in this sector. These issues lead payment processors to classify such businesses as high-risk, necessitating higher fees, stricter contract terms, and a more comprehensive underwriting process to mitigate potential financial and reputational damages. Businesses must therefore demonstrate robust regulatory compliance, transparent practices, and effective chargeback management to obtain and maintain these essential accounts.

When applying for a merchant account in the vitamin, supplement, or nutraceutical industry, anticipate a rigorous and detailed process due to the high-risk nature of the sector. This involves submitting comprehensive documentation to demonstrate your business's legitimacy and financial stability, including business licenses, financial statements, and a detailed business plan. The underwriting process will scrutinize your business practices, marketing materials, compliance with regulations, chargeback history and mitigation strategies, as well as your products and suppliers to ensure regulatory compliance and financial health. Expect a thorough financial review, risk assessment, and possibly negotiations on terms such as fees and processing limits. Even after approval, be prepared for ongoing monitoring to ensure continued compliance and low chargeback rates, as payment processors closely manage the risks associated with the industry.

A vitamin, supplement, and nutraceutical merchant account is a specialized type of business bank account designed for companies operating within the health and wellness industry, specifically those selling vitamins, dietary supplements, and nutraceutical products. Given the high-risk nature of this sector, due to factors like regulatory scrutiny, high chargeback rates, and stringent compliance requirements, these merchant accounts are tailored to manage the unique challenges and risks associated with processing customer payments for these products. They enable businesses to accept and process electronic payment transactions, such as credit and debit card payments, through online or brick-and-mortar sales channels. Providers of such merchant accounts often offer additional services, including fraud protection, chargeback management tools, and compliance assistance to help these businesses navigate the complex regulatory landscape and operate successfully within the market.

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