High-Risk Merchants: Who Are They?


If you are a merchant high risk accounts or payment processors might sound familiar. They are the new-age revolutionary payment processors for businesses that run a high risk. With the advent of online payments and their eventual domination of the sector, it's high time every business owner knows about them. For those of you who are still new to the high-risk business game or are just thinking of starting a new business, this article checks who the high-risk merchants are!

High-Risk Merchants

What Is A High-Risk Merchant Account?

Before understanding the concept of a high-risk merchant account, we must understand what a payment gateway is. A payment gateway is a mechanism or a network connecting your account to the platform you are trying to transact. It is an unbiased third party that maintains the security of transactions during the transfer from a buyer's account to the merchant's portal. Hence, it is fundamental for a transaction to occur. It is an advantage that buyers can use several payment methods on these gateways according to their needs.

The primary benefit is that these gateways offer an extra layer of safety through data encryption, minimizing the risks of data theft or scams. It also acts as a protective cover for the merchant as it can save them from insufficient funds in the buyer's account or expired cards/cards exceeding their credit limits. Hence, you can understand that these gateways make up for the lack of a physical card-swiping mechanism and provide safety on their behalf. But how do we use these gateways? Exactly! Through high-risk merchant accounts!

High-risk merchant accounts are specially crafted accounts that can deal with high-risk payments and offer other unique features you can't get from regular savings accounts. For instance, traditional savings accounts cannot deal with chargebacks and similar risks that high-risk transactions possess. It is because they are not for such transactions, and their repertoire consists of different usage cases. For example, a chargeback occurs when your consumer cancels a pending order, which may be a loss for your business.

Who Are High-Risk Merchants?

Now that you understand a high-risk merchant account, let us check who qualifies as a high-risk merchant and who needs these accounts.

Firstly, merchants who deal with high transaction volumes or high average transaction rates may qualify as high-risk merchants. For example, if you are a merchant processing over $20,000 in monthly payments, or your average transactions are worth $500 or more, you may qualify as a high-risk merchant. Merchants selling internationally and having a global client portfolio may be eligible as high-risk merchants. Primarily if you cater to countries listed with a high risk of fraud (excluding the U.S., European Countries, Japan, Canada, Australia, etc.), your business may qualify as high-risk.

High-Risk Merchants

Additionally, newer merchants with a short history of processed payments or no history may qualify as high-risk merchants. It is because they lack a track record as proof of security. Merchants with low credit scores are also deemed high-risk.

Another major factor determining whether a merchant is in a high-risk business or not is the industry to which they belong. Even with spotless records or lower transaction volumes, sometimes a merchant can be classified as high-risk due to their field of business. It is because they work in an industry with a high risk of fraud, legal issues, returns, or chargebacks. For instance, subscription-based services or businesses may be high-risk as several people sign up for free trials but then must remember to cancel the payment. Hence, upon checking their statements, they often charge the fee back. Let us look at some of these "high-risk" industries:

  • Alcohol
  • Adult products/services
  • Auctions
  • CBD (Cannabidiol)
  • Delta 8/9/10
  • Vapes and e-cigarettes
  • Pawnshops
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services
  • Firearms
  • Forex
  • Debt Collection/ Consolation
  • MLM
  • Sports Betting
  • Subscription/Trial Offers
  • Travel
  • Supplements and many more!

Where To Get High-Risk Merchant Accounts?

If you feel intrigued by the proposition of high-risk merchant accounts and are thinking of getting one for yourself, the next question is, how do you do so? It is pretty simple. Many of the well-established banks around the world offer high-risk merchant accounts. Make sure to check the accreditations of the payment processor you choose. With suitable payment processors, you can opt for overseas transactions (off-shore high-risk transactions). Just make sure to check all the features of the account providers and how competent they are in dealing with rollback charges. Here are three formidable choices from our side:

Shark Processing

Shark Processing is a unique high-risk payment provider offering merchant accounts for United States-based and International merchants. They have several payment processing solutions like high-risk credit cards and ACH processing. Depending on your industry, you can choose from their wide range of services. They have unique relationships with multiple banks and can help you start your business. With Shark Processing, you can handle the million denied forms from several banks.

Make sure you have a legal business, leaving the rest to the sharks! Shark Processing offers excellent rates and has simple and quick processes behind the scenes for a hassle-free experience. They accept most high-risk industries, have the best connections, and have exceptional support teams.

Stax Payments

Trusted by over 30000 customers in the U.S. alone, Stax boasts impressive records and receives excellent feedback regularly. With their transparent pricing policies and helpful schemes, you can save much of your hard-earned money, earning them a spot in our top 3 choices.

Chase For Business

Chase, by JP Morgan, is among the biggest names in the industry and has built upon years of experience and excellence in the field and hardly requires any introduction.


The digital revolution is responsible for several new changes around the globe, and online transactions are indeed a part of it. As a result, the previous standard, physical transaction, is slowly becoming a story of the past. However, like with any new revolutionary thing, online payments also have their share of cons. They already have the upper hand and provide the option of tracking every transaction seamlessly. Still, it is worth remembering that it brings many benefits as well. In any transaction, a risk is involved - whether online, physical, high or low risk, etc. Hence, with a bit of care and emphasis on security, we can perfect online transactions down the years.

Due to ease and accessibility, new customers are switching to online transactions every day, showcasing the vast potential. Banks are already investing massive amounts of money in perfecting these services, and the future seems bright for high-risk merchants and their accounts alike. However, keeping security in mind, we can make these transactions even safer with a few more changes.