Adult Subscription Merchant Accounts: A Leap Into The Taboo

May 23, 2022

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people found themselves stuck at home, with little to no personal contact with others. With their only companions being the Internet and their smartphone, customers have helped the adult industry explode as it joined forces with modern-day technology to fulfill customers’ needs.

Today, the adult industry continues to be highly profitable, with some researchers estimating that the industry is worth as much as $97 billion worldwide. 

Adult industry merchants have a particularly difficult time juggling the many demands of this type of business. Between keeping it legal and accessible to only adults and having the latest products and services, merchants have yet another major hurdle in keeping their adult business afloat…finding a reputable merchant account. 

Why Are Adult Merchant Accounts Considered High-Risk?

The reason that adult merchants have difficulty finding a trustworthy merchant account provider is that the adult industry is considered high risk. Why is it considered high-risk? Here are the reasons:

  • CNP transactions: Most adult businesses are now online and therefore accept card-not-present (CNP) transactions. The majority of banks and payment providers will not partner up with these types of businesses since the form of payment is not presented in person.
  • Recurring billing: Offering subscription-based services. Any type of business that offers recurring or subscription-based services are considered high-risk because of its higher tendency for chargebacks. Sometimes a customer might forget that they are subscribed and will cancel and then ask for their money back, which initiates the chargeback process.
  • New business: Businesses just starting out will typically not have any type of credit card processing history or very little.
  • Strict regulations: Most banks and payment providers err on the side of caution and avoid providing merchant accounts to adult merchants due to the heavy regulation and legal restrictions tied to this industry. 
  • Reputation: Adult websites are known for their taboo and controversial topics and products. Most banks and payment providers don’t want to be associated with these types of businesses. 

How To Increase Your Chances Of Being Approved For An Adult Merchant Account

With the massive growth of the adult market, there are more adult merchant account providers than ever before. However, many claims to have extensive experience in certain verticals when it is not actually true. Every high-risk vertical has its own challenges and legal restrictions that the provider must be well aware of and be prepared for. 

A provider that is a seasoned professional in the adult industry will be equipped with the resources necessary to support its adult merchants when any problems arise.

Just like an adult merchant account provider must be fully equipped to support an adult merchant, you as the adult merchant must demonstrate that you are ready to take your business to the next level. Here is what you will need to demonstrate that:

  • Have documentation ready: Depending on the provider you choose, you might be asked to provide your business license, your business plan, your bank statements
  • Enhance your own personal credit score: It is vitally important that you demonstrate to your provider that you pay all of your bills on time, especially any credit card bills and loans you may have. All of this significantly improves your credit score
  • Honesty is the best policy: The adult industry can be rife with controversy and illegal activity (prostitution and human trafficking rings). Therefore, do answer any questions that the provider may have honestly and completely. Don’t withhold any vital information as the truth can eventually come out. Inform them what your company is about and what products and services it offers. 

What Do You Need Before You Apply For An Adult Merchant Account

Depending on the provider you choose, there will be a number of important documentation that you will need to give to your provider during the application process. Here are just some of the possible requests they might make for your business:

  • 3 months’ worth of the most recent processing statements
  • A bank letter or a voided bank check
  • A valid, government-issued ID, like a driver’s license
  • 3 months of  recent bank statements
  • SSN (Social Security Number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Ensure your Chargebacks are under 2%

Also make sure your website is fully functioning, has all the latest security tools, as well as being PCI Compliant. This will demonstrate to your provider that you are serious about running an upstanding business that wants to keep all customer data secure.

How To Apply For An Adult Merchant Account

Applying for an adult merchant account is not much different from any high-risk merchant account. You simply gather all of your important documentation when you are ready to fill out an application.

Your online application can be filled out directly on the provider’s website. Make sure that all the fields are filled out appropriately and completely. Once you complete the online application, make sure that you submit it with all the aforementioned documentation.

Underwriters will take the time to thoroughly review your application and evaluate its legitimacy, among other criteria. Typically, a provider will have a decision for you in a matter of days.

Once you have been approved for your adult merchant account application, you will have a representative help you set up your merchant account, along with your payment gateway. They will also set you up with their anti-fraud tools and chargeback mitigation systems. Now you are ready to process payments!

Open Your Adult Merchant Account Today

Although the adult industry continues to face many challenges with finding trustworthy providers and other legal difficulties, it continues to grow worldwide. All it takes is a little time and patience to seek out a provider that has everything your adult business needs to be successful. 

Luckily, there are adult merchant account providers ready to partner up with you by providing the best, most reliable merchant account in the industry.

Let us help you get a high risk merchant account today!

Get Started

Award winning.

  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016

Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.