A Hookah is an oriental tobacco pipe with a long, flexible tube that draws smoke (the tobacco used is known as Shisha) through water contained in a small bowl. Hookahs date back to ancient times in India and the Middle East. Much more than a custom, Hookahs were a matter of prestige.
Today, Hookah smoking has gained popularity in the United States. As a result, there are many entrepreneurs trying to fulfill the increasing demand for hookahs and flavored tobacco products. Websites, bars, restaurants and stores are beginning to pop up that offer a wide variety of tobacco flavors.
Challenges for Hookah Merchants
Like other types of tobacco, these hookah merchants have a lot of issues finding lenders and providers willing to work with them, due to the “high-risk” categorization of the industry. They not only seek out alternative providers like emerchantbroker.com for business funding, but also for payment processing services and merchant accounts. In addition to finding merchant services, hookah establishments are incredibly difficult to open. Depending on location, there are both state and city-wide “no-smoking” legislation and regulations that must be navigated – just another one of the many reasons why this business type is considered risky.
Other reasons for a high-risk categorization include:
- Mostly online transactions
- History of high-chargebacks
- Irregular high-ticket sales,
- Unusually large volumes of transactions
The Benefits of a Hookah Merchant Account
As a high-risk specialist, hookah merchants can easily secure the merchant services they need to safely and efficiently operate with emerchantbroker.com. A Hookah merchant account allows these businesses to secure higher monthly volume limits, fewer restrictions and faster authorizations, all while eliminating the risk of the account being terminated (a huge probability when working with traditional providers).
In addition to affordable, secure credit card processing, merchants can take advantage of ACH processing, secure payment gateways, integrated fraud protection and chargeback mitigation programs. Applying for a hookah merchant account also provides the opportunity to receive business funding. EMB’s funding options allow merchants to secure cash in as little as 24 hours.
What You Need to Get a Hookah Merchant Account
Unlike working with a traditional provider, the process does not involve a long wait time and endless documentation requirements. When you submit your application, you will be asked to provide a straightforward list of documents:
- A valid, government-issued ID (e.g. driver’s license or passport)
- Three months of your most recent bank statements
- Three months of the most recent processing statements (if applicable)
- A bank letter or pre-printed voided check
- A SSN (Social Security Number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- A chargeback ratio below 2%
- A secure, working website
It is also imperative that your hookah business is in full compliance with all rules and regulations. In 2016, the FDA finalized a rule that extended regulatory authority to cover all tobacco products, including hookah tobacco. The FDA now regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of hookah tobacco. To secure a merchant account, it is vital that merchants in this industry be in compliance with card associations and state and federal government agencies.
If you have struggled to secure – and/or hold onto – your merchant services, a hookah merchant account with EMB could be the solution you have been looking for. As the leading high-risk merchant account provider, the ever-changing rules and strict regulations of the industry are not an issue. In as little as 24 hours, your business can have access to an account tailored to meet its unique needs. There are no application fees and no VISA/MasterCard registration is required. Your business will secure competitive rates and have access to multiple secure payment gateway options.