March 3, 2021

High Risk Credit Card Processors

3 min read

When a merchant accepts credit cards or debit cards to pay for a product or service, the transaction goes through a credit card processor. Some companies have a particularly high level of risk, which may be indicated by the nature of the industry, with a high rate of chargebacks, returns or other canceled transactions. Some credit card processors do not work with companies considered to be high risk in processing credit cards, but a number do.

Examples of high risk processors

Credit card processors all offer similar services, such as point-of-sale, telephone and online debit and credit card processing, reimbursement assistance, and the ability to process checks. identifies iPaytotal, eMerchantBroker, and Host Merchant Services as examples of high-risk processors that consistently receive high ratings for the breadth of their coverage, products, and customer service.

iPaytotal boasts of endorsing 98% of high-risk businesses that request its services. Their clientele isn’t limited to just one industry or a few industries; they range from adult entertainment and online dating to credit repair, nutritional supplements, and more.

The services include:

  • Processing debit and credit cards
  • No installation or application fees
  • Payment Card Industry Compliance (PCI)
  • Advance of merchant funds
  • Virtual terminal
  • Check services
  • Equipment rental
  • Gift and loyalty program

eMerchant Broker

Claiming to accept 95% of applicants, eMerchant Broker is one of the few companies to process credit cards for dispensaries and marijuana delivery services in the United States. The company also claims to accept high risk merchant processor that other high-risk credit card processors avoid, such as online gaming, surety bonds, adult products, and guns.

The services offered include:

  • Processing debit and credit cards
  • Check treatment
  • Automated Clearing House (ACH) Payments
  • Advance of merchant funds
  • Online payment gateway
  • Virtual terminal
  • Repayment assistance
  • Point of sale material

Host Merchant Services

Host Merchant Services appears to be one of the few to advertise their pricing structure, called interchange-plus, on their website, along with an explanation of what that means for a merchant. Prior to launching HMS, the founder of the company launched, operated and sold a successful web hosting service. As a result, many of its merchant customers are web hosting companies and cloud computing service providers. In fact, HMS offers its customers web hosting and services, in addition to processing credit card transactions.

HMS offers services including:

  • Processing debit and credit cards
  • Online payment gateway
  • Basket integration
  • Check treatment
  • Acceptance of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)
  • Gift and loyalty programs
  • Advance of merchant funds
  • Judgment of market risk

The basic process of processing credit card payments is the same for all businesses, but the level of risk can vary widely by industry. The more chargebacks and other issues a merchant faces, the more money the merchant and the card processor are at risk of losing money. Therefore, card processing company’s judge risk based on their potential to lose money or not make as much money as they want from the merchant. Processors judge risk based on two general factors:

  • The industry in which the trader operates
  • The relative security of the transaction itself

High risk industries Certain industries are more likely to reduce the bottom line of processors and possibly cost them money. There is no hard and fast rule to determine whether a trader will be considered high risk in all cases and for all processors. The processors themselves decide whether to offer services to industries or particular merchants. Many of them make it easier to find an available and affordable credit card processor by posting lists of areas they consider high risk and areas that will not be useful.

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