Why You Need A GMP Certificate To Accept Credit Cards

What Is A GMP Certificate?

Nutraceuticals bottle with pills
© Depositphotos – Mario Cigic

Are you a supplement or nutraceutical vendor who has been denied a merchant account because you don't have a GMP Certificate? Short for “Good Manufacturing Practice Certificate”, a GMP Certificate is a regulatory certification that verifies a manufacturer's compliance with the FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations. These regulations apply to manufacturers rather than resellers, and they are designed to verify that a manufacturer has the facilities, equipment, and ability to create safe and effective drug products.

You Don't Need a GMP To Sell Supplements…

GMP certification is optional and only available to manufacturers. In other words, merchants who purchase their supplement inventory from a wholesale manufacturer cannot obtain a GMP. Instead, they can only verify that their manufacturer has obtained GMP certification. Merchants who manufacture some of their supplements in-house, however, can obtain GMP certification if they wish. Manufacturers themselves are required to operate within CGMP guidelines, but they are not legally required to obtain GMP certification.

…But You Might Need a GMP To Accept Credit Cards

If a GMP isn't mandatory, then why would you bother obtaining one? Because credit card processors may not approve your application unless you can provide proof that your products are sourced from a GMP-certified manufacturer. This is because nutraceuticals and supplements are more prone to chargebacks than other products, especially when they are sold over the internet. This has led the banking industry to classify supplements and nutraceuticals as “high risk” sectors, which in turn requires a more thorough underwriting process before supplement merchants can open a merchant account. Part of this underwriting process often involves providing proof of GMP certification.

How To Get GMP Certified

Credit card acceptance is essential in the modern economy. If your payment processor requests proof of GMP certification from you, we strongly recommend that you obtain it.

If You Are Not A Manufacturer

Remember, if you are simply a reseller who purchases supplements wholesale from a larger manufacturer, you cannot obtain GMP certification. Instead, you will need to request proof of your manufacturer's GMP certification. If your manufacturer is not certified or cannot provide this certification, then you will likely need to switch manufacturers in order to be approved for your merchant account. A relatively recent list of GMP-certified manufacturers can be seen here.

If You Are A Manufacturer

If you produce any of your nutraceutical inventory yourself, then your payment processor will probably request that you obtain GMP certification. This is especially likely if you sell your products online. Although the FDA is responsible for enforcing GMP compliance, GMP certification itself must be obtained from a third-party auditor. NSF International is one widely known GMP auditor, but it is not the only GMP auditor, so you may benefit from shopping around and comparing costs. The GMP certification process requires an on-site inspection and regular audits thereafter, so you will likely have GMP compliance obligations for as long as your business exists.

How To Get A Nutraceutical Merchant Account

Some payment processors that specialize in high risk industries will offer you a nutraceutical merchant account whether you are GMP-certified or not. However, just because a payment processor wants to work with you does not mean that it will give you a good deal. The high risk payment processing industry is full of unreliable credit card processors who will unexpectedly freeze your funds, and one wrong move can leave you stuck without cash flow for months.

If you're shopping for a merchant account, we recommend checking out our list of the top merchant accounts for nutraceuticals. These processors have positive reputations among high risk merchants and are known to offer quality customer support. In fact, we recommend that you contact multiple providers on this list and compare them to each other to see which is the best fit for you. Once you've obtained GMP certification and a quality merchant account, your nutraceutical business will be in an extremely advantageous position.

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