What to Know Before Getting Started
The adult entertainment industry’s expansion into the digital marketplace has made merchant accounts essential for online adult entertainment vendors. Within the credit card processing industry, however, adult merchant accounts are generally classified as “high risk” merchant accounts, and many merchant account providers will therefore refuse to offer credit card processing for adult entertainment websites. The reasoning behind this varies. Some processors tend to worry that adult entertainment merchants may be fronts for illegal activity. In addition, online adult vendors may have a high rate of chargebacks or exclusively engage in card-not-present transactions.
There are some merchant services providers, though, that not only provide but specialize in high risk credit card processing, and some of these providers are willing to offer merchant accounts for adult entertainment businesses. To assist you in your search, we have compiled the following list of the top five businesses that provide credit card processing for adult merchants. Many of these companies are partnered with offshore banks and are also willing to offer offshore merchant accounts, but only some of them are known to process payments for escort services at this time. As a rule, adult merchants should anticipate paying higher than average processing fees in addition to one-time setup fees due to their high risk business type. Merchants are encouraged to click through each provider’s page before choosing one in order to find the right fit for their business type.
Advertising Disclosure: Our unbiased articles are supported in part by helping you find highly reviewed merchant accounts. You can learn more here.
Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers
eMerchantBroker.com is a Los Angeles, California-based company that offers high risk e-commerce processing solutions including card-not-present tobacco merchant accounts. The company’s products include ACH processing, an online payment gateway, merchant cash advance, and a chargeback management system to help merchants dispute and resolve chargeback claims. eMerchantBroker specializes in serving both retail and online adult stores of all types. The company can also provide an offshore merchant account for escort services as long as they are operating legally, such as in Nevada or Amsterdam.
eMerchantBroker.com offers custom pricing for each merchant and maintains a low complaint rate relative to its size and merchant portfolio. Our review of eMerchantBroker gives the company an “A” rating overall and the BBB assigns the company a rating of “A+.”
Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving high risk business types. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, mobile phone swipers, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, EMV-compatible terminals, and merchant cash advances. PaymentCloud is a good option for adult-oriented online businesses.
PaymentCloud provides a dedicated account rep to all new merchants for the life of the account. The company has not received any negative complaints on consumer forums, and it customizes its pricing according to each merchant’s business type and processing history. The BBB does not maintain a profile for PaymentCloud at this time, but CPO gives the company an “A.”
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is capable of processing payments for U.S.-based adult content providers. The company’s products and services include online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, merchant cash advance, and offshore merchant accounts. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce solutions and provides a free website and email address to interested merchants.
Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. Host offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to all of its merchants, meaning that users will enjoy the most transparent pricing model and can cancel service without penalty. The BBB gives Host an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives the company an “A+.”
Secondary Merchant Account Options
The providers below may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Please exercise greater due diligence.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data is a fast-growing merchant account provider that offers adult merchant accounts as part of its high risk merchant account program. Payline specializes in processing for online and retail business that sell physical goods like sex toys, movies, magazines as well as digital services like chat and webcam. Payline can also provide processing for physical locations like strip clubs, but cannot process payments for escort services or any business that even remotely implies that it is an escort service.
Payline provides a customized pricing option for its adult merchants, which means that the terms of each contract will depend on the merchant’s specific business type, size, and time in business. Our review of Payline Data awards the company an overall rating of “A+,” while the BBB gives Payline a score of “A” due to two complaints having been filed in the last three years.
Durango Merchant Services
Based in Durango, Colorado, Durango Merchant Services offers traditional credit card processing and offshore payment processing for high risk businesses including adult vendors. The company, which was founded in 1999, provides credit and debit payments, e-commerce solutions, payment gateways, and eCheck processing services to high risk and TMF merchants. Durango specializes in online and retail adult businesses that sell physical goods but can also provide accounts for medium-to-large established business that sell online content like webcams, chats, online galleries, or video on demand.
Durango Merchant Services offers custom pricing to its merchants depending on processing history and business type, and its sales and support staff routinely receive positive reviews on this website and elsewhere. Our review of Durango Merchant Services awards the company an “A+” rating at this time, and the BBB is also currently granting Durango an “A+” grade.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Vantage Payments is a merchant account provider that can provide both domestic and offshore merchant accounts for high risk merchant types, including adult businesses and digital downloads. The company’s products and services include remote deposit capture, European direct debit, call center services, multi-currency support, web design, and SEO assistance. Vantage is an especially good option for retail locations that sell adult products face-to-face, strip clubs, and online sellers of adult toys.
Vantage Payments currently has a clean complaint record across all review websites, which is an impressive feat for a company specializing in offshore merchant accounts. Our review of Vantage gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives Vantage an “A+.”
Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Instabill is a credit card processor specializing in high risk merchant accounts. The company advertises offshore merchant accounts, a payment gateway, payment processing in over 160 currencies, and a dedicated account supervisor as services that are available to all of its merchants. Instabill’s website claims to offer services for streaming videos, webcam, online dating, legal escort services, photos, and adult toys.
Since 2003, Instabill has maintained a very low complaint rate relative to its size and merchant portfolio. Our review of Instabill currently awards the company an “A” rating, and the BBB is also assigning Instabill a score of “A” based on six complaints in the last three years.
BankCard Central is a merchant account provider headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The company specializes in high risk credit card processing for adult merchants, and its products include an online payment gateway, a virtual terminal, customized reporting, recurring billing, payer authentication, web hosting, SSL certificates, and merchant cash advance.
BankCard Central offers custom pricing depending on a merchant’s business type and processing history and does not have any complaints filed against it on any of the usual consumer protection forums. The company has an “A” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com and an “A+” rating with the BBB.
If your business offers merchant accounts and payment solutions to adult entertainment merchants, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.