The Best High Risk Merchant Accounts

Here's the illustration visualizing the concept of a High Risk Merchant Account.

“High-Risk” Merchant Services Explained

What is a high-risk merchant account anyway? A “high-risk” merchant account is a category of credit card processing that banks or merchant services providers use for businesses and industries that they have determined pose more risk than other types of businesses. This categorization is based on several factors, which can include issues with the business itself or the ownership.

Several factors can lead to a business being classified as high-risk:

  1. Industry type: Some industries are considered inherently riskier than others due to higher rates of fraud or chargebacks. This includes industries such as adult entertainment, online gambling, travel services, telemarketing, e-cigarettes, and numerous others.
  2. Business history: If a business has a history of excessive chargebacks (when customers dispute a charge and it's returned to them), this can lead to a high-risk designation. A high rate of chargebacks can indicate a problem with the product or service being provided.
  3. Financial stability: A business that has poor credit or unstable financials may be considered high-risk. This is because banks and merchant services providers want to ensure that a business can cover the costs of chargebacks and refunds.
  4. E-commerce: Businesses that operate within new industries and are primarily online are often considered high-risk because of the increased potential for fraud and chargebacks. This is especially true for businesses that sell internationally, where there is an even higher risk of fraud.

High-risk merchant accounts are often the only choice for businesses in these categories because traditional merchant accounts will not approve them. While high-risk merchant accounts often come with higher fees and stricter terms to mitigate the increased risk, they also provide businesses the opportunity to process credit card transactions and operate effectively.

Additionally, high-risk merchant account providers often offer more specialized support for businesses in high-risk industries. They may provide tools and services to help manage and reduce chargebacks, navigate industry-specific regulations, and more.

Merchant Accounts For Hard-To-Approve Businesses

It's hard to find quality credit card processors for high risk business types. Many large merchant account providers will refuse to process transactions for high risk businesses, which limits the options that are available to hard-to-place merchants. With so few processors to choose from, merchants can find themselves simply signing up with the first provider that will accept them instead of shopping around and looking for reputable, experienced processors that specialize in high risk merchant accounts. This leads to headaches down the road, as high risk merchants are especially vulnerable to chargebacks, fund holds, excessively high rates, or placement on the TMF/MATCH list.

Find A Flexible High Risk Credit Card Processor Below

To help you find the right provider for your business, we've compiled the following list of the top high risk merchant account providers. Each of these processors is able to place a wide range of high risk business types, but we've included a specific list of industries that each provider serves so that you can narrow your search to companies that suit your business needs. Legal and banking regulations are constantly shifting, so these industry lists should only be considered current as of this article's publication date.

In addition to having significant experience working with high risk merchants, these providers also maintain positive reputations among merchants and are known to offer fair pricing and quality customer support. As always, the best way to ensure that you receive a great deal on your high risk merchant account is to contact multiple providers and compare their pricing and service packages.

How to Select the Best High-Risk Credit Card Processor

When selecting a credit card processor for a high-risk business in the USA, there are several important factors to consider.

Experience with High-Risk industries

Look for a payment processor that has experience working with businesses in your specific high-risk industry. High-risk industries can include businesses such as gambling, adult entertainment, CBD products, and others. It is important to choose a processor that has experience in your industry and understands the unique challenges and requirements.

Security and Fraud Prevention

High-risk businesses are more susceptible to fraud and chargebacks, so it is important to choose a payment processor that offers robust security and fraud prevention measures. Look for processors that offer 3D Secure technology, encryption, and other security measures to protect your business and your customers' data.

High Transaction Limits

Many high-risk businesses have higher transaction volumes and values than traditional businesses, so it is important to choose a processor that can handle high transaction limits. Make sure to check the processor's limits and ensure they can accommodate your business's needs.

Chargeback Management

Chargebacks can be a major problem for high-risk businesses, so it is important to choose a processor that has experience in managing chargebacks and can provide tools to help you prevent them. Look for processors that offer chargeback alerts, representment services, and other chargeback management tools.

Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees

High-risk businesses often face higher rates and fees than traditional businesses, but it is important to shop around and compare rates and fees from different processors. Look for processors that are transparent about their rates and fees and offer competitive pricing.

Excellent Customer Support

When running a high-risk business, it is important to have access to reliable customer support from your payment processor. Look for processors that offer 24/7 support and have a reputation for providing excellent customer service.

Overall, selecting a payment processor for a high-risk business in the USA requires careful consideration of the specific needs and requirements of your industry. By choosing a processor with experience in your industry, strong security and fraud prevention measures, high transaction limits, chargeback management tools, competitive rates and fees, and reliable customer support, you can help ensure the success of your high-risk business.

We Recommend These High-Risk Merchant Accounts

PaymentCloud Logo

#1 PaymentCloud

Strong Reputation For Fast Approvals

Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving high risk business types. This includes CBD and Kratom businesses. 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 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.”

High Risk Business Types Served By PaymentCloud

Adult, Airlines and Jet Charters, Bad Credit, Bail Bonds, CBD, Kratom, Cigars, Pipes, Tobaccos, Collection Agency, Debt Consolidation, Diet Programs, Educational Seminars, Electronic Cigarette, Electronics, Gaming, High Ticket, High Volume, Moving Companies and Transportation, Multi-Level Marketing and Bizops, Nutraceutical, Online Firearm Sales, Prepaid Calling Cards, Software and E-Books, Sports Betting Advice, TMF Merchants, Tech Support, Travel & Timeshares, VOIP & Telecom.

Why PaymentCloud is the Best High Risk Merchant Payment Processing Option

If you're a small business owner dealing in high-risk products, finding a suitable credit card processing service can be challenging. Fortunately, PaymentCloud offers tailored solutions for businesses like yours that deal with high-risk merchandise, allowing you to accept credit card payments securely and efficiently.

High Risk Merchant Specialization

PaymentCloud specializes in high-risk merchant payment processing and understands the unique challenges that come with accepting credit card payments for high-risk products. Their team of experts works diligently to help businesses like yours overcome these challenges by providing reliable and secure payment processing solutions.

Flexible Solutions

PaymentCloud offers flexible solutions that cater to the unique needs of your business. Whether you require recurring payments, multi-currency processing, or virtual terminals, PaymentCloud has a solution that will work for you. Their payment processing solutions are highly customizable, allowing you to tailor them to your specific business needs.

Security and Fraud Protection

As a high-risk merchant, you need to protect yourself and your customers from fraud and chargebacks. PaymentCloud's advanced fraud protection tools help detect and prevent fraudulent transactions, minimizing the risk of chargebacks and financial losses. Additionally, PaymentCloud's secure payment processing systems ensure that your customers' sensitive information is protected and handled in compliance with industry standards.

Competitive Rates

PaymentCloud offers highly competitive rates, making it a cost-effective solution for small businesses. Their transparent pricing structure ensures that you know exactly what you're paying for and helps you avoid any surprises or hidden fees.

PaymentCloud is an excellent option for small businesses dealing with high-risk merchandise. With their expertise in high-risk merchant payment processing, flexible solutions, advanced security and fraud protection tools, and competitive rates, PaymentCloud is a reliable and trustworthy partner for businesses looking to accept credit card payments for their high-risk products.

For more information, visit the PaymentCloud website or call (888) 506-7859.

eMerchant Broker Logo


An Established High Risk Processing Veteran is a Los Angeles-based credit card processor that primarily serves high risk e-commerce business types. The company's high risk processing services include chargeback dispute resolution, an online payment gateway, ACH processing, merchant cash advance, and MOTO processing options. has maintained a low complaint rate since our first review of the company and appears to offer custom pricing plans depending on each business's type and processing history. Our review of currently awards the company an “A” rating, while the BBB gives it an “A+.”

High Risk Business Types Served By eMerchant Broker

Adult Merchant Accounts, Airlines and Jet Charters, Bad Credit, Bail Bonds, Cigars and Pipes, Collection Agency, Credit Repair, Debt Consolidation, Diet Programs, Ecig Merchant Accounts, Educational Seminars, Electronics, Furniture, Gaming, High Ticket, High Volume, MLM and Bizops, Moving & Transportation, Nutraceutical, Online Firearm Sales, Penny Auctions, Prepaid Calling Cards, Software and E-Books, Sports Betting Advice, Tech Support, Ticket Brokers, TMF Merchants, Travel and Timeshares, VOIP and Telecom, Water Purifiers

EMerchantBroker: High Risk Merchant Payment Processing Solution

EMerchantBroker (EMB) is a leading provider of credit card processing services for small businesses that sell high risk merchant products. If you operate in industries such as adult entertainment, gambling, CBD, or firearms, you likely face a higher risk of chargebacks, fraud, and other payment-related issues. This can make it challenging to find a credit card processing service that can accommodate your needs while also providing competitive rates and reliable service. Fortunately, EMB is here to help.

Comprehensive Tools and Services for High Risk Merchants

One of the primary benefits of working with EMB is their expertise in high risk merchant payment processing. They understand the unique challenges that come with selling high risk products and have developed a suite of tools and services to help mitigate those risks. For example, they offer fraud prevention and chargeback mitigation services, as well as 24/7 customer support to help you resolve any payment-related issues quickly and efficiently.

Flexible Solutions and Payment Processing Options

In addition to their expertise, EMB also offers flexible solutions tailored to meet the needs of high risk merchants. They offer a variety of payment processing options, including traditional credit card processing, ACH payments, and eChecks, so you can choose the option that works best for your business. They also offer customizable payment gateway options that can be tailored to meet your unique needs and integrate seamlessly with your existing systems.

If you're a small business owner selling high risk merchant products and need a reliable and flexible payment processing solution, look no further than EMerchantBroker. Their expertise, flexible solutions, and commitment to providing exceptional service make them the ideal partner for any business looking to accept credit card payments from customers buying high risk products.

For more information, see the eMerchantBroker website or call (877) 301-3442.

Host Merchant Services logo

Host Merchant Services

High Risk Processing For Most Business Types

Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is well-suited for most general business types as well as domestic high risk merchants. The company's products and services include point-of-sale solutions (with specific packages for the restaurant, salon, professional service, and contractor sectors), 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 businesses and provides a free website and email address to new merchants who require them. The company has received exclusively positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company's customer service for praise. The BBB gives Host an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives the company an “A+.”

High Risk Business Types Served By Host Merchant Services

Web Hosting and Telecom, SEO, Events and Tickets, Furniture, E-books, Electronics, High Ticket, Vape Shops, Drop Shippers, Glass/Head Shops, Pawn Shops, Real Estate, Travel, Tours, Software Downloads, Replicas, Weapons, Credit Repair, and some international/offshore merchants.

Why Host Merchant Services is a Top Choice for High Risk Merchant Payment Processing

High risk merchants often struggle to find reliable credit card processing solutions due to the perceived risk associated with their business. Host Merchant Services understands the unique challenges faced by high risk merchants and provides tailored payment processing solutions to meet their specific needs.

Customized Solutions for Hight Risk Merchants

One of the key benefits of Host Merchant Services is their ability to offer customized solutions for high risk merchants. They work with businesses in a variety of industries, including firearms, CBD, and adult entertainment, to name a few. By understanding the unique needs and risks associated with each business, Host Merchant Services is able to provide a payment processing solution that works best for their clients.

Zero Hidden Fees

Another advantage of Host Merchant Services is their commitment to transparency and honesty. They provide upfront pricing without any hidden fees, so businesses can accurately predict their costs and avoid any unexpected expenses. Additionally, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so businesses can feel confident that they are receiving the best service possible.

Diverse Payment Processing Options

Host Merchant Services also offers a wide range of payment processing options, including mobile payments, online payments, and point-of-sale (POS) systems. This flexibility allows businesses to choose the solution that best fits their needs and helps them stay competitive in a rapidly changing market.

Host Merchant Services is a top choice for high risk merchants looking for reliable and flexible payment processing solutions. With their customized solutions, transparent pricing, and commitment to customer satisfaction, they are an ideal partner for businesses looking to grow and succeed in the long term.

For more information, visit the Host Merchant Services website or call (888) 727-4538.

Additional Options

national processing logo

National Processing

Great For High Risk Point-of-Sale

Based in Lindon, Utah, National Processing is a merchant account provider that serves both standard-risk and high risk merchant sectors. The company offers a wide range of retail and e-commerce solutions for most business types, including adult, auto parts, collections, credit repair, diet programs, e-cigarettes, electronics, extended warranties, fantasy sports, financial services, firearms, online furniture sales, multi-level marketing, nutraceuticals, online gaming, precious metals, self storage, and travel.

National Processing customizes its pricing depending on each merchant’s size, business type, and processing history. The company has earned an “A+” rating in our review as well as an “A+” rating with the BBB.

National Processing: The Ideal Choice for High Risk Merchant Payment Processing

As a small business owner dealing with high risk products, you face a unique set of challenges in accepting credit card payments. Fortunately, National Processing provides a reliable, secure, and affordable solution for high risk merchant payment processing.

Specially Designed Services for High Risk Merchants

Firstly, National Processing understands the intricacies of high risk industries, including adult entertainment, gambling, and travel. They have designed their services to specifically cater to the needs of high risk merchants, providing an easy-to-use platform that facilitates seamless transactions while maintaining the highest levels of security.

Unique Payment Solutions

Secondly, National Processing offers a range of customizable payment solutions that meet the unique needs of each merchant. Their payment processing services include virtual terminals, mobile payments, recurring billing, and fraud detection tools. With National Processing, merchants can be confident that their transactions are secure and compliant with industry regulations.

Offers Competitive Pricing for Small Business Owners

Thirdly, National Processing offers competitive pricing and transparent fees, making them an affordable option for small business owners. They offer a range of pricing plans, including interchange-plus pricing, flat-rate pricing, and subscription pricing, allowing merchants to choose the option that best suits their business needs.

National Processing is the ideal choice for small business owners dealing with high risk products who need to accept credit card payments from their customers. With their industry-specific expertise, customizable payment solutions, and competitive pricing, National Processing offers a reliable and secure payment processing service that meets the unique needs of high risk merchants.

For more information, visit the National Processing website or call (385) 777-1235.

Bottom Line

Businesses in hard to approve industries often choose the above-listed high risk credit card processors due to low rates, fast approvals, and excellent customer support. If you have had a positive experience with a high-risk merchant services provider, please tell us about it in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions: High Risk Merchant Accounts Credit Card Processing

What is a high-risk merchant account?

A high-risk merchant account is a payment processing account for businesses considered high risk to banks. High-risk designations depend on various factors such as the industry the business operates in, its credit history, its operational regions, and whether it's prone to chargebacks

Why would a business need a high-risk merchant account?

If a business is designated as high risk by banks or credit card processors, it may face difficulties opening a standard merchant account. In such cases, a high-risk merchant account becomes necessary to allow the business to accept card payments.

What industries are typically considered high risk?

Industries often considered high risk include gambling, adult entertainment, pharmaceuticals, travel agencies, e-cigarettes, cannabis, and online dating sites.

What factors should I consider when searching for a high-risk merchant account?

When searching for a high-risk merchant account, consider the following factors: 
– The provider's reputation
– Rates and fees for transactions
– Contract terms and conditions
– Security features and fraud prevention 
– Customer support services 
– Ease of integration with your existing systems

Are the fees for high-risk merchant accounts higher than those for traditional merchant accounts?

Typically, the fees for high-risk merchant accounts are higher than for standard accounts due to the increased risk taken by the provider.

Can a high-risk merchant account be beneficial to my business?

Yes, having a high-risk merchant account can be beneficial as it enables your business to accept card payments which might not have been possible with a standard account. They often come with more robust fraud prevention systems. Additionally, once your business is labeled high risk, you'll potentially have more freedom to venture into products or services that a traditional bank may have found too risky.

Are there specific high-risk merchant account providers I should consider?

There are many providers in the market, but some well-regarded ones include Durango Merchant Services, Instabill, and PayKings. However, this isn't an exhaustive list and it's important to research and find the right provider for your specific business needs.

How do I apply for a high-risk merchant account?

The process to apply for a high-risk merchant account typically involves completing an application form and submitting documentation about your business. This can include financial statements, business licenses, processing histories, and more.

What can I do if my business is labeled as high-risk?

If your business is labeled as high-risk, you can consider seeking a high-risk merchant account. If you believe your business has been misclassified, you can try discussing this with your provider or shopping around with other providers to get different assessments. Improving your credit score, reducing chargebacks, and maintaining a positive processing history can also help.

Can my high-risk designation be changed?

Yes, it's possible. If you maintain a good credit history, reduce chargebacks, and grow your business responsibly, you may be able to renegotiate your status with your merchant services provider. However, note that some industries are almost always classified as high risk due to their inherent business nature.

Reader Comments

Tell Us What You Think

3 User Reviews

  • Daniel

    I want to express my deepest gratitude for the enlightening and thorough article you crafted on “Best High Risk Merchant Accounts”. As an entrepreneur operating within a high-risk industry, your guide has been an indispensable resource for me.

    Your careful analysis of each account, emphasizing their unique advantages, potential downsides, and special features, was insightful and well-articulated. You have a knack for simplifying complex topics, which made this intricate subject much easier to understand.

    Your focus on crucial elements like transaction fees, chargeback policies, fraud protection, and customer support was incredibly helpful. Additionally, your observations about the need for high-risk merchant services due to industry type, business history, or operational practices provided an insightful context to the discussion.

    The diligence, research, and expertise that are evident in your guide are sincerely appreciated. You’ve cut through the complexity and confusion that often surrounds the selection of a high-risk merchant account, providing clarity and helping business owners like myself to make informed decisions.

    Thank you again for your invaluable contribution to this field. Your commitment to providing accurate, detailed, and useful information is highly commendable.

  • Sam

    Wondering about your thoughts on CCBIll for high risk/adult sites?

    I’m in Australia and it seems to be the main one used here. There is also Safe2Pay that allows high risk with a merchant account at an AU bank.

    Thanks for a great blog and article.

  • Erica

    Hi Phillip,
    Excellent website, clarified a lot for me.
    Running a high risk company, I am always looking for better credit card rates and other non-creditcard payment options (like Payza and Skrilll – which are currently not my best choice I learned through your reviews). I’d love to see that section expanded on your website. Especially for European countries such as France, as it continues to be a very difficult country to do business with.
    It’s a bit of a bold request, I am aware, but I really love the way you put things in order in credit-card-country!
    Best regards, Erica

Tell Us How They Treated You

Sharing your experience influences our rating and helps other business owners make informed decisions. Promotional content and contact information will not be published. Please provide a detailed summary of your experience.


Copyright © 2024, Inc. (Digital Fingerprint: 0d38c6720f0d78a701b74d58653af608). Getting paid to re-write this page? Click here to earn a reward.

Any unauthorized copying and reproduction of the content of this page, including all meta data and computer code, is strictly prohibited. While the information in the above article is believed to be accurate as of its publish date, the author and publisher make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents. The author and publisher shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this material, which is provided “as is,” and without warranties. Any and all use of trade names and/or marks are for identification purposes only and shall not be construed as a claim of affiliation, or otherwise, with, Inc. ("CPO") in any form. The sole purpose of the material presented herein is to alert, educate, and inform readers. It is not intended as legal or financial advice. We may earn revenue if you obtain services from a provider that we recommend. See this page to learn how we support our operations.