If you’re looking for a merchant account and find out that you’re considered a risky merchant, then you’ll probably have to make do with a high risk merchant account.

That means you’ll get less favorable terms and higher rates, and you unfortunately won’t have much leverage for negotiating better terms and rates.


While some circumstances will definitely land you in this category, others will be less black and white, and will therefore depend on the merchant account providers concerned. So it definitely helps for you to look around to find a favorable merchant account that will allow you to accept payments online. Of course, it helps to know the factors and assessments that are used to determine whether your company raises any red flags.

There are a lot of factors a merchant account provider considers when deciding how to label each company. We’ve outlined some basic rules for determining whether your company may be deemed high risk:

Offshore: With your business operating under a foreign jurisdiction, merchant account providers will likely find your business to have too great a level of risk and will designate your company accordingly.

Questionable sales and marketing: If your sales and marketing strategies are not clear cut, straightforward and standard, you may be flagged when applying for a merchant account.

Bad credit: It’s no surprise that poor credit will have an impact on most of your business endeavours, and a merchant account is no exception. A poor credit score can follow you around for a long time, and is likely to qualify your business as high risk.

Risky business: Of course, there are certain businesses or industries that will automatically relegate you to the high risk merchant account line. These industries include, but are not limited to, auctions, check cashing services, automotive brokers, collection agencies, eBay stores, electronics and modeling agencies. The aforementioned list is really just a drop in the bucket since there are lots of high risk business categories that could require that you sign up for a high risk merchant account.

If you find yourself tagged with the high risk label, worry not. There are plenty of service providers out there that specialize in providing high risk merchant accounts so that you can process payments and get on with building your e-commerce storefront.

For more information on merchant accounts, contact our team of experienced professionals today.