Choosing a payment processor that can provide you with a merchant account can be a complicated process for small businesses. You need to balance getting reasonable rates with ensuring that the credit card processing services work reliably for your business model.

However, things can get even more problematic if your company is deemed to be high-risk. Here are some useful tips that might help you open a high-risk merchant account quicker and without ruining your finances.

Your first order of business should be to learn the basics – what is a high-risk merchant and why it was classified as so. Once that’s done, start looking for a service that focuses specifically on high-risk merchant accounts. Next, it would be good to determine what sort of processing equipment you need and purchase it.

Finally, try to negotiate the prices and settle for the right type of contract. Read on and learn what’s important when setting up your high-risk merchant account!

Get Familiar with High-Risk Merchant Accounts

Before you start looking for ways to open up a high-risk merchant account, you need to understand why your company is so risky in the first place. For in-detail information, you can visit, but here is what you need to know in a nutshell.

There are two conditions that determine your status: a high risk of financial failure and a high-risk industry type. To determine your status, processors consider such factors as returns, chargebacks, sales volume, and fraud instances. Those factors may be more or less common, depending on the industry type. Moreover, a business may be considered high risk if it comes with safety and health concerns.

A good example here would be selling CBD. The high-risk status concerns the legal status of CBD. As a product made from cannabis, the industry is highly regulated on both state and federal levels. The regulations may also change over time as some people are still on the fence about CBD. As such, many consider the CBD industry to be of dubious legality, which in turn makes it high-risk.

Choose a Provider Specializing in High-Risk Accounts

Now, it’s time to start looking for a payment processor. Although theoretically, it is possible to get a high-risk merchant account from a normal provider, it’s very likely that you’d get enormous rates.

That’s why choosing a payment processing service specializing in high-risk accounts is a better option for you. This type of service is designed specifically for companies such as yours and will help you get a merchant account open quickly and reliably. It will also offer you more favorable terms.

It would be best to choose a provider that offers a wide range of services, from basic processing to more advanced ones, like e-commerce payment solutions or loyalty programs.

In addition, look for a provider that has been in business for at least a few years and has positive customer reviews.

Get Your Processing Equipment

The next step in the process is to acquire the right equipment. Before you purchase anything, ask yourself what your business might need.

Are you running a brick-and-mortar style of business? Then you will need a terminal with an NFC function to satisfy both those who pay with credit cards and customers who prefer to use contactless payment solutions like Apple Pay.

Will you sell your goods online? If so, you will need an e-commerce payment processing solution. This would be a good opportunity to look into a payment gateway that allows for integration with the online shopping carts.

Once you decide on your equipment, ask yourself if you want to get it purchased or leased. Leasing is an option if you don’t have enough cash flow to pay for the terminal upfront.

However, you will be required to make regular lease payments every now and then, so think carefully before going with this choice. Additionally, even if you decide to stop using the hardware, you will still have to pay the installments, as many contracts are signed for a few years. It might turn out that purchasing the equipment is ultimately cheaper.

Negotiate with the Merchant Account Provider

Once you’ve found a payment processor that offers high-risk merchant accounts, contact them and ask about the rates they offer for your specific needs. Then, compare their offers with those provided by other providers. Is there anyone offering better rates but still has a great reputation among the customers?

If yes, go with them! Remember – your goal is to get the best deal possible without damaging your finances too much.

Once you confirm that your chosen provider is the most affordable, you might still want to haggle. Sometimes it’s possible to get a better deal on processing rates or account fees by negotiating with the merchant account provider.

Read the Contract Carefully Before Signing

After choosing the right processor and negotiating the terms of your contract, it’s time to read it thoroughly before signing it on the dotted line! Don’t make any rash decisions – make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before signing anything.

There are two types of contracts you might be offered. A standard contract is usually signed for a few years and unfortunately has significant early termination fees. That’s less than perfect, as it means your business could face enormous costs if something happens and you’re forced to stop using the services abruptly.

The alternative is the month-to-month contract, which is a more flexible way to work with your chosen payment processor, but it’s also much harder to get for high-risk businesses.


Opening a high-risk merchant account may be hard, but it can be done. After you understand the ins and outs of your situation, you should find a company that is willing to provide you with a high-risk merchant account. Focus on those with reasonable rates and a good reputation among the customers.

When getting your equipment, choose between leasing it or buying it. Make sure to read the contract thoroughly before signing and ask for a better deal if you think you deserve one. Hopefully, these tips will help you open a high-risk merchant account quickly and without too much hassle! Good luck!