High risk merchant services are payment processing services that allow businesses considered to be high risk by banks and standard payment processors to accept credit cards from customers. The best high risk merchant accounts for small businesses service a variety of industries and products for an affordable rate.
Top 6 High Risk Merchant Services 2019
High Risk Merchant Services Account
(Best overall) Small high-risk businesses needing fast approval and affordable rates, including topical CBD vendors
Online businesses that need chargeback monitoring
Small business owners with bad credit or who need mobile card processing
Businesses that sell CBD, hemp, and cannabis oil
High-risk brick-and-mortar businesses wanting interchange plus payment processing
High-risk businesses that want a merchant account that integrates with QuickBooks
How We Evaluated High Risk Merchant Services
High risk merchant services are necessary for some businesses to accept credit cards if the business is not approved for an account with a traditional merchant service provider. Businesses can be classified as high risk because of the type of products or services that they sell, poor personal or business credit, or a history of having lots of chargebacks. A high risk merchant account allows these businesses to process credit card payments but typically comes with higher fees and restrictions than other credit card processing companies.
We used the following criteria to determine the best high risk merchant services:
- Price: Although high risk merchant accounts are pricier than traditional merchant services, fees still need to be transparent and affordable for small businesses.
- Ease of use: Small businesses need a reliable credit card processor that is easy to use.
- Industries serviced: We looked at what type of high risk businesses each processor serves and which categories each restricts.
- Approval process: We considered how long the application process is for each provider, how long the average wait time is, and whether the provider is strict or lenient in approving small businesses.
- Contract terms: We prioritized high risk accounts that don’t require lengthy contracts, early termination fees, or monthly minimums.
- Hardware options: We looked at what kind of credit card processing hardware each solution works with.
- Customer support: Small businesses need to be able to contact their payment processor to resolve any issues quickly.
Based on the above criteria, PaymentCloud is our top recommendation for high risk merchant services for small businesses. PaymentCloud is a reliable payment processor that specializes in high risk merchant accounts. It partners with several banks and backend processors to help small businesses get the best rates possible quickly. PaymentCloud also works with a variety of companies, including cannabidiol (CBD) vendors, making it an excellent fit for almost every high risk small business.
PaymentCloud: Best Overall High Risk Merchant Services
PaymentCloud is a credit card processor that specializes in high risk merchant services. PaymentCloud works with many backend processors to service a wide variety of online, ecommerce, and retail businesses. PaymentCloud offers fast approvals, competitive pricing, and next-day funding, which is rare for high risk merchant accounts.
Like most high risk payment processors, PaymentCloud does not have any publicly disclosed pricing. This is common because pricing usually varies based on your individual business and its associated risks. However, PaymentCloud offers competitive interchange-plus pricing to many high risk businesses. There are no application fees, setup fees, or annual fees. Monthly fees or monthly minimums will be determined when you open the account.
PaymentCloud also offers merchant services for retail and ecommerce businesses but are best known for high risk payment processing. PaymentCloud can be used to process all major credit cards, debit cards, and automated clearing house (ACH) payments. It also has tools to accept online payments via gateways, virtual terminal payments, and online shopping cart integrations.
Businesses can process in-person payments with credit card terminals, POS systems, and mobile payments. PaymentCloud offers next-day funding for all credit and debit card payment types, which is rare for high risk businesses.
PaymentCloud Approved and Prohibited Industries
PaymentCloud has one of the most extensive lists of approved industries out of all the high risk merchant service providers on our list. PaymentCloud works with tobacco products, vape products, topical cannabidiol (CBD) products, hemp products, electronics, firearms, nutraceuticals, and other products. For high-risk services, PaymentCloud works with debt consolidators, diet and nutrition coaches, educational and online seminar providers, moving services, software and ebook providers, tech support, and more.
PaymentCloud Customer Support
PaymentCloud provides each business with a dedicated account manager. This is good for high-risk businesses, which tend to have more chargebacks and other issues. PaymentCloud also has phone support hours from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. There is also a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on PaymentCloud’s website.
What PaymentCloud Is Missing
PaymentCloud doesn’t have as many direct integrations with point-of-sale (POS) systems as compared to a traditional merchant account provider. There is also no published pricing information, including information on contract lengths or cancellation terms. Although PaymentCloud works with businesses selling topical CBD products, such as lotions and beauty products, they do not support retailers selling any ingestible CBD items.
PaymentCloud reviews are generally really positive. Many reviewers, particularly high-risk business owners, note that PaymentCloud’s onboarding process is comprehensive and that it works with you to get approved and to get a reasonable custom rate for your business.
Get Started With PaymentCloud
PaymentCloud is one of the best merchant account providers on the market for high-risk businesses such as topical CBD retailers, online service providers, and coaching businesses. Visit PaymentCloud to get started.
SMB Global: Best Ecommerce High Risk Merchant Services
SMB Global is a merchant service provider partner of Payline Data. SMB Global exclusively deals with high risk and international businesses. It is great for online businesses because SMB Global has chargeback prevention features and two popular payment gateway options which each integrate with more than 175 online shopping carts.
SMB Global Pricing
Like most high risk merchant service providers, SMB Global does not disclose specific pricing information. The rates you receive will depend on your individual business. The contract terms and any other fees will also depend on your business. Factors such as how long you have been in business, your processing history, proven cash flow or business model, and type of high-risk business can all impact your rates and contract terms. Similar to PaymentCloud, SMB Global partners with more than 20 other banks and backend processors to increase the chances of your high risk merchant account being approved.
SMB Global Features
SMB Global has a short application process. Like most other high risk merchant accounts, SMB Global send your application out to their many processing partners to find the best rates and contract terms. SMB Global can be used to accept all major credit and debit cards online and in person.
It also offers automated clearing house (ACH) or e-check processing and has tools to monitor and handle chargebacks automatically. SMB doesn’t provide details on what POS or countertop terminals it works with, but SMB does integrate with Authorize.net and Network Merchants Inc. to integrate with more than 175 online shopping carts.
SMB Global Approved and Prohibited Industries
Like PaymentCloud, SMB Global has a long list of products, industries, and services that they work with. It is worth noting that SMB works with many types of unconventional product sales, including auto parts, weight loss programs, electronics, firearms, supplements, and collectibles. SMB also works with a variety of online services such as online gambling, fantasy sports, online furniture, and travel sites. Although SMB works with electronic cigarette, vape, and tobacco products, there is no specific mention of CBD or hemp products.
SMB Chargeback Prevention
One of the unique features of SMB is the chargeback prevention platform. Chargebacks are a hassle for any business but are significantly more common for high risk businesses. Having too many chargebacks can also impact your processing rates and merchant account approval odds. SMB has an analytics platform to display your chargeback counts and ratios in real-time and forecast your month-end results in advance.
The platform also has a feature that responds to chargebacks automatically so that they can be fought quickly and accurately. If you are using a customer relationship management (CRM) or POS system, SMB’s chargeback platform can sync with that system to tie the chargeback with the original purchase.
SMB Global Customer Support
SMB Global offers dedicated customer support. They do have an in-house team that is available out of their Utah office by phone or email. However, there are no specific support hours listed, so the hours are likely limited.
What SMB Global Is Missing
SMB Global does not appear to work with CBD vendors. They also do not list what hardware options or POS integrations are available. There is also no specific mobile app for processing transactions. Meaning, SMB Global is only really a good fit for online businesses. Plus, the support hours are not specified.
SMB Global Reviews
SMB Global is a newer company, so they do not have as many online reviews as other processors. However, the ones available are positive. Users like that SMB is dedicated to just high risk accounts. Negative reviews cite a lack of POS information and mobile app. SMB Global’s sibling company, Payline Data, has very positive user reviews.
Get Started With SMB Global
SMB Global is a dedicated high risk merchant service provider that services a wide array of products and industries. It has many online shopping cart integrations and a chargeback monitoring platform that make it a great fit for online high risk businesses. Visit SMB Global to get a quote.
Durango: High Risk Merchant Services for Bad Credit
Durango is a merchant service provider that specializes in high risk accounts. Durango is one of the more lenient high risk merchant account providers, especially when it comes to helping small businesses with bad credit secure payment processing services.
Durango does not publicly disclose pricing on their website. Like most high risk accounts, the rates, fees, and contract terms will depend on your individual business and financials. However, Durango does typically offer interchange-plus pricing, which can be hard to find for high risk merchants. Durango also usually has a monthly fee ranging from $30 to $50.
Keep in mind that monthly fees are not typical for traditional merchant accounts but are usually unavoidable for high risk accounts. Durango also does not have an application fee and typically does not charge early termination fees.
Durango can be used to accept credit and debit card payments as well as ACH and e-check payments online, in-store, and over mobile. Durango stands out from PaymentCloud and SMB Global because it specifically works with business owners that have poor credit. Durango also has a proprietary payment gateway for online sales and works with iProcess iOS and Android mobile app for processing mobile payments.
Durango Approved and Prohibited Industries
All of the merchant account providers on our list accept a wide range of companies and Durango is no exception. The company works with membership businesses, horoscopes and fortune-telling, mail or telephone order businesses, multilevel marketing, online auctions, telemarketing or telecommunications, timeshare advertising, high-ticket businesses, pawnshops, and more.
Durango Mobile and Online Payments
Durango is one of the few merchant accounts on our list that offers a proprietary online payment gateway or a mobile payment processing app. The online payment gateway, called Durango Pay supports online sales, connects with third-party shopping carts, has an open application programming interface (API), offers dashboard analytics, and can be used to process recurring and subscription payments.
Durango also offers mobile credit card processing through a third-party app called iProcess, which is available on iOS and Android, and a Bluetooth mobile reader. It is one of the only high risk merchant service providers to advertise mobile card processing.
Durango Customer Support
Durango offers phone and email support out of their Durango, Colorado, office at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time Monday through Friday. Durango’s support hours are slightly limited, but the representatives are quick and helpful.
What Durango Is Missing
Durango does not offer 24/7 support. It also does not explicitly support businesses selling CBD or hemp products. Durango does not endorse any products that have an age restriction or companies selling remote computer support.
Durango user reviews are excellent, which is rare for a credit card processing company. Users report a fast onboarding process and being able to start accepting payments within a few days of applying. Business owners also commend Durango’s helpful customer support. There are not many negative reviews for Durango, but there are a few negative comments from businesses who were not approved for merchant services.
Get Started With Durango
Durango is a great fit for most high risk businesses, but especially business owners with poor credit as Durango will work with you to get approved. Once you are on board, the customer service is helpful, and the online and mobile processing tools are easy to use. Visit Durango for a free quote.
eMerchantBroker: Best High Risk Merchant Services for CBD
eMerchantBroker is a high risk credit card processing company that offers high approval odds and transparent processing fees. eMerchantBroker is also one of the few credit card processing companies that actively advertise working with CBD vendors, hemp products, and medical marijuana dispensaries.
Like the other solutions on our list, eMerchantBroker does not disclose pricing information. Specific processing fees and contract terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis. eMerchantBroker works with a variety of banks and backend processors to get the best approval odds and processing rates for each business.
However, eMerchantBroker does have lengthier contracts and hefty early cancellation fees. The company also uses a tiered payment processing pricing model, which is typically more expensive and unpredictable than the interchange-plus models available through PaymentCloud, Durango, and SMB Global.
eMerchantBroker offers in-person and online credit and debit card processing as well as check processing. eMerchantBroker has several payment gateway solutions including 1st Pay, Authorize.net, eProcessing Network, Network Merchants Inc., and a proprietary gateway. Similar to SMB Global, eMerchantBroker also has chargeback prevention tools.
eMerchantBroker Approved and Prohibited Industries
According to its website, eMerchantBroker has a 95% account approval rating, which is very high, especially for high risk merchant services. The company also works with CBD, hemp, cannabis oil, and medical marijuana businesses, which is uncommon, even for high risk credit card processors.
eMerchantBroker Customer Support
eMerchantBroker provides customer service via telephone, email, and live chat. Support is available 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday. eMerchantBroker has FAQs articles and other helpful guides on the website to answer common questions.
What eMerchantBroker Is Missing
The biggest flaw with eMerchantBroker is that the company has lengthy contracts with hefty early termination fees. While eMerchantBroker offers high approval odds, especially for CBD and related businesses, it comes at a higher price.
eMerchantBroker has positive customer reviews. It has an A+ rating on Better Business Bureau including many five-star reviews, which is unusual for payment processors. Some negative reviews cite long, three-year contracts and difficulty reaching customer support.
Get Started With eMerchantBroker
eMerchantBroker is a fast and transparent payment processor for high risk businesses, especially CBD and hemp vendors. Visit eMerchantBroker for a free quote.
Host Merchant Services: Brick-and-Mortar High Risk Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a traditional merchant account provider that also offers high risk credit card processing. Host Merchant Services is more selective than some of the other merchant account providers on our list but offers competitive interchange-plus pricing for businesses that qualify, making Host Merchant Services a good fit for brick and mortar businesses.
Host Merchant Services Pricing
Host Merchant Services offers competitive interchange-plus pricing. Most high risk merchant service providers’ default offer is tiered pricing. However, Host Merchant Services exclusively offers interchange-plus. Like the other solutions on our list, specific pricing details are not disclosed and may vary for each business.
Host Merchant Services Features
Most of the high risk merchant service providers on our list partner with many banks and backend processors to provide credit card processing services. Host Merchant Services operates a little differently. It is a registered independent sales organization (ISO) of Wells Fargo Bank and uses TSYS as the primary backend processor. Having one primary processor means that it can provide more specific pricing information. However, it also means that Host Merchant Services may be less likely to approve your account.
Host Merchant Services Approved Industries
Host Merchant Services provides high risk accounts for debt collection businesses, adult toy businesses and websites, coaching and consulting businesses, travel businesses, gambling and casinos, search engine optimization (SEO) services, and more. Host Merchant Services also works with e-cigarette and e-liquid sellers.
Host Merchant Services Customer Support
Host Merchant Services provides live customer support through phone, chat, and email during its business hours. Host Merchant Services is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. The company also has an extensive library of blog posts and helpful articles on its website.
What Host Merchant Services Is Missing
Host Merchant Services is one of the most selective high risk merchant service providers on our list. The odds of being approved for an account with Host Merchant Services are low compared to other providers.
Host Merchant Services Reviews
Host Merchant Services has very high customer ratings. Business owners say that the rates are competitive, and the customer service is fast and personalized.
Get Started With Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a traditional payment processor that offers competitive interchange-plus rates to qualifying high risk businesses, such as brick-and-mortar stores. Visit Host Merchant Services for a free quote.
Soar Payments: Best High Risk MSP for Integrations
Soar Payments is a high risk merchant service provider that specializes in working with businesses that have trouble getting approved for a merchant account. Soar works with a variety of industries and types of businesses and offers the most direct integrations with accounting, CRM, and ecommerce platforms out of all the solutions on our list.
Soar Payments Pricing
Like all of the other solutions on our list, Soar does not disclose pricing. Specific rates will vary for each business. However, Soar typically offers tiered pricing for high risk accounts. Soar works with about a dozen backend processors to set up high risk accounts. There are no application or setup fees.
However, Soar does charge a monthly fee of around $15 for online businesses that need a payment gateway to connect to their online shopping cart. There is also an additional fee for online transactions. The specifics will vary for each business, but high risk businesses should expect around an initial two-year contract with Soar Payments and an early termination fee up to $495.
Soar Payments Features
Soar Payments is one of the few high risk merchant account providers that offer instant online quotes. Once approved, businesses can use Soar Payments to accept credit and debit card payments online, in-person, and over mobile. Soar also offers ACH processing. Soar also works with Chargeback.com to provide businesses with chargeback management features, including alert emails and automatic response and document preparation for chargebacks.
Soar Payments Integrations
Soar directly integrates with accounting and CRM software, including QuickBooks, Salesforce, Zoho, and ecommerce platforms like WordPress, BigCommerce, and Shopify. Most high risk processors do not directly offer these kinds of integrations.
Soar Payments Approved and Prohibited Industries
Soar Payments works with more than 70 types of high risk businesses, including businesses selling collectibles and precious metals, firearms, antiques, vape products, magazine subscriptions, and more. Soar also works with businesses offering services that are deemed high risk, including SEO and advertising services, credit repair, document preparation, moving services, seminars and coaching, web design traveling, and more. Soar does not work with CBD vendors at this time.
Soar Payments Customer Support
Soar Payments offers excellent customer support out of its small Houston, Texas, office. Each employee has a direct line. Once you are approved for an account, the Soar customer support team will walk you through the process of setting up hardware or a payment gateway. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday. After-hours phone support is available for existing customers.
What Soar Payments Is Missing
Like many high risk merchant account providers, Soar has a long initial contract term and steep early termination fee. Soar also typically only offers tiered pricing to high risk providers. At this time, Soar does not work with businesses selling CBD products.
Soar Payments Reviews
Overall, reviews for Soar Payments are positive. Users like that there are no setup or application fees. There are also lots of integrations available. Negative reviews cite expensive tiered pricing and limited hardware options.
Get Started With Soar Payments
Soar Payments is a good option for high risk businesses that want seamless integration with QuickBooks or ecommerce solutions like Shopify. Visit Soar Payments for a free instant quote.
Navigating the process of choosing a credit card processor as a high risk business is tricky because there are few options for high risk merchant services. Choosing a provider that is easy to work with and that you can trust to charge fair rates is paramount.
PaymentCloud is a reliable credit card processor that specializes in high risk merchant accounts and works with many backend processors to service a wide variety of online, ecommerce, and retail businesses. PaymentCloud is also one of the only solutions on our list that works with CBD vendors. PaymentCloud also offers fast approvals, competitive pricing, and next-day funding. Visit PaymentCloud for a free quote.