High Risk Merchant Accounts

Nov 3, 2023 | Payments

High risk merchant accounts allow businesses that are considered high-risk, to process payments online. Businesses looking for instant approval in the high-risk space can apply through Signature Payments and receive competitive rates on their merchant accounts and payment gateways.

What are High Risk Merchant Accounts?
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What are High Risk Merchant Accounts?



  • High risk merchant accounts are a payment processing service for businesses in high risk industries.
  • A Paypal merchant account, for example, will only support businesses that are low risk.
  • Different factors would require you to find high risk merchant services
  • Factors from credit score and chargebacks to industry type can categorize your business as high risk
  • Instant approvals for high risk accounts are uncommon but possible for established businesses

Do I Need A High Risk Merchant Account?

How do you know if your business has been categorized as a high risk merchant? And why is it essential to ensure you have the correct merchant account for your business? It’s important to understand the difference because it can significantly impact your business. Find out more with our High Risk 101 downloadable. Businesses in this category must know who the right high risk merchant account providers are. Gateways like NMI, or Authorize.net provide solutions for high risk merchants. Whereas, Stripe merchant services and Square payment processing does not fully support industries like CBD, adult, and firearms.

Merchant Account Instant Approval

Merchants looking for a high risk merchant account for instant approval must find options fast. However, the approval process is an involved one. High risk merchants can improve their chances of getting approved by highlighting the best features of their business and sharing documents quickly. A cover letter should include relevant information, such as the industry insight of people involved in the project.

Merchants should also discuss anything that makes the business stand out, such as proactive fraud monitoring. Better yet, for longevity and financial success, they should avoid companies trying to sell high risk merchant accounts for instant approval. It’s not practical and will often hinder payment processing down the line.

high risk merchant account instant approval

How To Compare High Risk Merchant Accounts


Do your due diligence on high risk merchant accounts. Companies, like Signature Payments offer payment processing solutions and almost instant payment gateway approval. Find a customized plan that highlights what your business needs most.

Merchant account providers are high risk payment processing companies willing to accept the liability for the increased risk.

Surprisingly, most merchants who fall into this class are unaware of it. Luckily we have a list of industries that often look for application approval. View our list of industries to see if your business may require these custom services. Also, for an overseas merchant account, consider if you may need high risk offshore merchant processing accounts.


high risk merchant account instant approval

What are the Most Common Reasons a Business might Need High Risk Merchant Accounts?


01. The business sells products online

A high risk ecommerce merchant account is a type of service commonly referred to as Card-Not-Present merchants.

02. The business is in a highly regulated industry

Businesses that sell CBD oils online, e-cigs, firearms, and adults are among a few of the many that would fall in this category.

03. The business is in an industry that a bank may see as a reputational risk

Companies like IT or security services deal with customer information and could be considered a reputational risk. Additionally, adult merchant accounts qualify.

04. The business industry is known for having a high instances of chargebacks or fraud

Merchant accounts in this arena often experience increased chargebacks, identity theft, and account takeover.  This makes banks run in the other direction.

05. The business sells products or services using a continuity or recurring billing model

This type of business model brings a lot of chargebacks when clients are billed without consent or remembering they even signed up. Resultantly, many chargebacks will lead to your account shutting down entirely.

06. The person signing on to the merchant account has lousy credit

This one is a no-brainer. Banks are less willing to lend funds to those with bad credit. That’s when a high-risk processing company comes in handy.


How To Get Fast Merchant Account Approval


Address high trading volumes in a cover letter. Trading volumes impact the risk to the processing company. Showing a solid processing history with a great deal of money moving through the business can increase the chance of approval. Finally, high risk merchant accounts should have the plan to address long fulfillment duration. Fulfillment duration refers to the time it takes between when payment is collected and when the service or product is delivered. The longer the fulfillment duration, the higher the risk of chargebacks. Therefore, the riskier the business. Reducing the fulfillment duration or showing firm reserves lowers the merchant’s risk.

Approval For Offshore Accounts


International businesses who need offshore merchant account providers can gain insight into how to get approved for a high risk offshore merchant account. Other things to consider about finding a suitable payment processor include the ratio of chargebacks your company incurs.


High Risk Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateway Solutions


Our gateway gives you access to information regarding your new account. Including individual transactions and batch totals with comprehensive reporting tools. Signature Payments end-to-end solution offers flexible products and high risk merchant account services that enable merchants to accept nearly all types of electronic payments, including major credit cards: MasterCard®, VISA®, American Express®, Discover®, Diners Club International®, signature debit cards, Gift and loyalty cards, and even for a high risk ACH merchant account.