How high risk merchants can open a merchant credit card account

High risk merchants may find it hard to open a merchant credit card account, since most banks and processing companies are unwilling to take the risk of approving merchants with high sales volumes.

However, while a high risk merchant cannot open a merchant account many merchant credit card account providers actually work to provide high risk merchants the ability to process payments.

This type of processing company is the third-party processor that will allow high risk businesses and individuals to accept online payments through the use of its own merchant account.

The high risk merchant would apply for a merchant credit card account through the third-party processor. The processor would then create its own set of terms and conditions to decide whether the merchant is eligible to use its services. Once approved the payment gateway is usually provided and all sales are processed through the third-party processor's system.

Businesses that would be considered ‘high risk’ and should opt for a third party merchant credit card account processor would fit in at least one of the following categories.

  • The merchant does not have a registered business.
  • The merchant has been blacklisted by credit card processing companies [card processing companies share a Match List that contains any company associated with fraud/bankruptcy etc].
  • The merchant poses a high risk e.g. sells online tickets or downloadable software. The credit card processing business is risky on its own and combining it with the undependable Internet environment increases the risk.  
  • The merchant does not have a stable credit history.
  • The merchant only processes small volumes of transactions. Most merchant accounts are expensive as payment gateways and fraud screening softwares have to be purchased as well. This means the associated fees would make a merchant account inconsequential in comparison.
  • The merchant processes a large volume of sales. Many processing companies are unwilling to take the risk of being liable for a large number of transactions that may end with fraud.