If you own one of these 6 businesses, you need a high-risk payment processor STAT!

All businesses come with a varying degree of risk, and managing a business isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Every business has some basic requirements like proper office space, a payment processing account, and proper licensing and documents, among other things. For most types of businesses, meeting these requirements is not an issue at all. However, if your business comes in a high-risk category, you may face a hard time selecting the payment processing account. Read further if you wonder what high-risk business is and why banks are reluctant to open a merchant account for them. High-risk businesses are those where the risk of chargebacks and credit card transactions is high such as in e-commerce and other online firms. These businesses mainly use merchant accounts for smooth payment transactions. In this article, you will find the top 6 businesses for which opening a merchant account in any domestic bank in the United States is quite tricky. If you own one of these 6 businesses, you need a high-risk payment processor STAT!

High-Risk merchants

Many businesses don’t realize that they are in the high-risk category until it becomes too late. Due to this, sometimes their payment processing accounts also get frozen, leading to insufficient funds for the company’s day-to-day operations. In addition, chargebacks also start accumulating, which can shut down your payment processing account; however, a merchant account can protect you from all these complications.


To open a high-risk merchant account, you will need an acquiring bank that can underwrite your business. Because merchant account applications often get rejected, it’s crucial to have a reliable payment service provider with you. You can get help in opening high risk merchant accounts at Shark Processing. These high-risk businesses are:

1.   Adult Industry:

The adult entertainment industry is one of the leading industries in the high-risk business domain, but it often faces the wrath of authorities due to ever-changing laws. While every processor has its criteria for designating high-risk businesses, the adult industry always comes in the high-risk category irrespective of the payment processor. High-risk category businesses are more prone to fraud, but their overall transactions volume is also higher than most other industries. However, the adult entertainment industry often struggles to get a merchant account to accept payment through their clients’ credit cards.

2.   Tour & Travel business:

If you have a tourism business, you will also find it hard to get a merchant account because banks consider travel and tourism related services a high-risk. While most customers use credit cards for making a payment, banks attribute that the tourism industry sees a vast amount of booking cancellations initiating a high number of chargebacks. However, travel businesses can get a high-risk travel merchant account to receive credit & debit card payments, although these accounts have higher fees than a regular merchant account.

3.   Cannabis and CBD drugs business:

Cannabis is not fully legal in the United States; CBD products derived from Cannabis are federally legal if they THC below 0.3%. There are several states where even selling CBD is illegal. The FDA regulations and other regulations from overseas also affect the relationship of B2B firms with CBD companies. Due to these restrictions, the US banks consider Cannabis and CBD business a high-risk one and refrain from allowing a merchant account. However, offshore merchant accounts can help CBD sellers in selling their products online.

4.   Cryptocurrency:

Unlike the stock exchanges, the crypto market is highly unregulated and sees lots of scams and frauds. Additionally, the volatility and lack of market understanding further convince the bank and credit card processors to not work with these cryptocurrency exchanges. While the cryptocurrency market is gaining momentum among the masses, it still lacks proper regulation to stop cryptocurrencies from money laundering and fraud. Due to these factors, banks and payment processors rarely provide merchant accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges.

5.   Gaming business:

The gaming business is part of the gambling industry, and it is available online as well as in physical casinos. However, these businesses are considered high-risk due to the high volume turnover, a risk factor for these banks and payment service providers. Another factor that makes the gaming business a high-risk one is its location. These companies are located offshore, making them an easy target for money laundering and other illegal business transactions. Also, the products offered by these gaming businesses have a high risk of chargebacks and fraud, which increases the liability of payment processors. It is quite tough but not impossible to get a merchant account for the gaming business; however, you will need an expert payment service provider like Shark processing as they offer offshore merchant accounts with easy terms.

6.   Subscription services:

It is pretty shocking to believe, but online subscription services of videos and magazines also fall into the high-risk business category. The main reason behind this is negative option billing which means that once approved, merchants can charge you automatically every week or month as per the subscription terms  unless canceled otherwise (recurring payment method). Sometimes this leads to a high chargeback percentage, eventually flagging the business as a high-risk one. Although subscription services are not new, the industry has seen a significant boom in recent years, and due to the arrival of new players in the market, banks are hellbent to make profits for themselves. It also contributes positively to making online streaming and other subscription services a high-risk one. Any new business can’t show gains and good credit history unless it spends some time in the market.



While these are the top 6 high-risk businesses, the list doesn’t end here. Any business with global customers and a high chargeback and fraud rate can be considered a high-risk business by banks. These banks are reluctant to allow a merchant account for these businesses, but you can opt for an offshore merchant account. These offshore merchant accounts can help you save a fortune and keep you from much of the paperwork.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here