High Risk Merchant Accounts Guide & Info

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Reasons you may need a high risk merchant account...

Any successful business in our increasingly digital and cashless economic world will need to accept credit and debit card payment transactions. High risk merchant accounts allow your business to do this! However, applying and getting approved for a merchant account isn’t always a simple matter, especially for businesses that – for any of several reasons – are considered “high risk” by financial institutions.

Consider this post a sort of primer on high risk merchant accounts. We hope to provide the basics of how merchant accounts work, what you need to do in order to be approved for an account. We’ll also touch on how to present information on your website to maximize customer satisfaction. Plus! Protect your business from unnecessary chargebacks and other fraud risks.

Do you need a high risk merchant account? We’ve got you covered! You’ve contacted the experts.


Durango Merchant Services has been in the business of placing high risk and other hard to place merchant accounts for over twenty years! We’ve found that many applicants seeking a high risk merchant account have a good business model with bright prospects. Unfortionately, they may still fall into the high risk merchant category and never get a fair shot at success.

We believe in peoples’ desire to live their dreams and improve their lives. Our expert merchant account specialists help you navigate the entire high risk merchant account application process. Once approved you will have a dedicated account manager for the life of your account so if you have any questions, you can get in touch directly!  You can rest assured that we will utilize our considerable experience to make sure we’ve explored every option and have found a unique solution that works for you.


Processors label all types of merchants “high risk”. If your merchant account has been terminated or rejected, Durango Merchant Services can help you get it reinstated with a new processor. Our diverse network of processors allows us to find the BEST solution for you and your business. Not only do we work for fast approval for all our merchants, but we also provide an account manager that will work with you over the lifetime of your account. Our goal is to help you restore or achieve a trustworthy merchant processing relationship.

Is a low credit score making it difficult for your business to obtain a credit card processing merchant account? Our rates are competitive regardless of the method of payment. We provide solutions for card machines, mobile pay options, ecommerce gateways, telephone or mail order.

Industries such as annual memberships, bail bonds, online electronics, gaming, mlms, debt services, fortune telling, firearms, and MORE, you may have trouble placing your merchant account. This “high risk” merchant status is applied despite your customer history or long standing reputation. A few of our solutions include cryptocurrency processing, high speed ACH & Echeck processing or offshore or shared hosting accounts. However, whenever possible we aim to get your hard-to-place account approved for operation within the U.S.

The 21st century and the expansion of the web have allowed global potential for businesses looking to expand their services. Durango Merchant Services specializes in helping high risk merchants around the globe open multi-currency merchant accounts that permit varying currencies. Our one-on-one consultations allow us to review all aspects of the application process and ensure the best chance of approval.

Our years of networking and our experience with a diverse portfolio of merchants means we help mitigate the higher rates many processors attempt to place on high risk merchant accounts. We can help you find lower rates and also make sure the appropriate risk management tactics are put in place to ensure your low rates stay low. If your processor requires a cash reserve, we help to analyze how much money you need in reserve and develop a plan to reduce that reserve to zero over time.


Find chargeback and fraud solutions for your high risk business.

Fraud protection and prevention is a crucial concern for you and your customer. Our EMV 3D Secure 2.0 adds an additional layer of security for ecommerce transactions.

Process crytocurrency at your high risk business.

Accept cryptocurrency and receive dollars! Durango Merchant Services serves as a transactional hub for processing cryptocurrency. Seamless integrate cryptocurrency payments into your business today! 

We have echeck & ach solutions for high risk businesses.

We’ve partnered with a leading check verification service to provide a fast, no hassle pathway to accepting check payments with small or non-existent reserves and Guaranteed approval!


A special type of bank account that you open with a payment card processor. This account first clears transactions from your customers’ card issuing banks, and then settles the funds into your business checking account. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop with point-of-sale terminals, mobile terminals for accepting transactions on the road, an e-commerce store on your website, or any combination of these, the transactions are all processed by your merchant account provider.

You may have heard of aggregate payment providers like, STRIPE, PAYPAL, and other similar services. These don’t require you to apply for your own account. Essentially, these companies aggregate the credit transactions of hundreds of individual, unrelated businesses and process them all through their own merchant account.

As you can see, aggregate payment providers can be convenient. However, if any irregularities arise, these providers often just cut their losses and terminate your account. This is because they would rather be rid of your business than try to work with you to figure out what’s going on.

Applying for your own direct merchant account ensures that you will not experience unexpected processing interruptions due to a lack of proper underwriting.

  1. Your customer enters their card information on your website.
  2. Data travels through your payment gateway – a secure and direct connection to the payment processor. The cardholder’s information is used to determine if he or she has the available funds to cover the transaction.
  3. The payment processor transmits information to the customer’s bank or credit card company. This network of communication arranges for the funds to be deducted from the customer’s balance and deposited into your checking account.
  4. If something goes wrong at any point in this process (for instance, if the customer later disputes the card transaction), the payment processor is ultimately accountable for the funds involved. ** THIS is why  proper underwriting is required UPFRONT before you start processing payments, instead of AFTER the payment processor is holding your money.

Payment processors take on a certain amount of risk with every transaction they process. For this reason, processors want to protect themselves as much as possible in order to minimize their losses to bad transactions. As part of this effort to insulate themselves from risk, they classify certain businesses as “high risk.” A high risk business is more likely to have a higher number of chargebacks, fraudulent transactions, or other problems. These problems create a huge financial liability to the processing company.

Here are a few of the traits that can get a business labeled as high risk:

  • An individual’s financial history
  • The business’s financial history
  • The type of industry a business is in
  • The reputation of a similar business
  • The products or services a business offers