Google’s Ban on Apps Selling Unsafe Drugs Impacts Supplement Merchant Accounts

Mar 19, 2019

Updates to Google Play’s developer policy aims to block apps that promote and sell unapproved ingredients, supplements, or pharmaceuticals, including the weight loss extract, ephedra.

The search engine’s move to ban the apps aims to promote responsible innovation, and protect itself from any future liability. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned products containing ephedra extracts in 2004, making them illegal to be sold in the nation.

Changes to Google Play’s Policy

Google Play doesn’t allow apps that promote or sell banned substances, despite any claims of legality. Products banned include those containing:

  • Ephedra
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) for the purposes of weight loss or control, or when marketed in conjunction with anabolic steroids
  • Herbal and dietary supplements with active pharmaceutical or toxic ingredients
  • Fake or misleading claims, including those that imply a product has the same efficacy as prescription drugs or controlled substances
  • Those not approved by the government, but promoted in a way that implies they are safe, legal, and effective for curing or treating a specific medical condition
  • Those that were subject to any government or regulatory action or warning
  • Those with strange names that sound very close to an unapproved drug, supplement, or controlled substance

Additionally, it bans all items on its non-exhaustive list of prohibited pharmaceuticals and supplements.

Google Constantly Cleaning Out Malware and Bad Apps

On pretty regular basis, Google makes changes and removes bad apps that impact end users and Android devices. In addition to its updates to supplement-related policy, Google removed 22 other malicious apps from its store. The apps were built with backdoors, which allowed them to conduct ad fraud. This was a persistent type of malware that not only causes serious problems for end users, but they lead to significant financial losses because of the fake clicks.

Earlier this year,  Google removed 85 dangerous apps from its Play Store that were listed on Play Store as games, TV, and remote control simulator apps but were discovered to be adware. Adware is a type of click-fraud app to repeatedly asks a user to push buttons over and over again on a full-screen ad after it’s downloaded and launched. This continues until the app crashes.

What This Means for Businesses

Like Google, payment service providers need to be vigilant when it comes to permitting what they allow to get sold and promoted. Violating state and federal laws is a quick way for merchant service providers to terminate your supplement merchant account. If you have an online or mobile business, this essentially shut down your business because you will no longer be able to accept credit and debit card payments.

Processors, e-commerce platforms, merchant service providers need to closely monitor any businesses that sell nutraceuticals or promote products that cure diseases without any evidence backing it up. Taking care of a merchant like this before it’s too late will save you from paying hefty fines.

When You’re Ready to Apply for a Supplement Merchant Account

If you operate a legal nutraceutical business that sells products that contain no harmful or illegal ingredients and you need processing, then contact (EMB). It specializes in working with high risk businesses, including this in the nutraceutical sector. Apply online today for a supplement merchant account. The process is simple and quick and eligible merchants get approved in just a few days.

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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.

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