Guide To High-Risk Merchant Accounts

Apr 28, 2017

In the modern world of business, you cannot do without a merchant account to successfully run and grow your business. Below you can read some important issues related to finding a processor and opening a merchant account for your business if you’re classified as high risk.

If you’re looking for a payment processor to open a merchant account for your business, you need to decide whether to apply for a domestic or offshore merchant account. This is an extremely important issue for a high-risk business, which could have a major impact on the merchant’s long-term credit card processing prospects.

On the one hand, choosing an offshore merchant account means you should pay much higher processing fees. On the other hand, applying for a domestic one and enjoying all of its benefits may prove to be a short-term experience since soon your processor could find the risks associated with your industry unacceptable.

So how to make the right choice?

With almost all high-risk processors, there is a lower limit on the processing volumes of the merchants they would consider working with. That limit doesn’t refer to well-established merchants, the ones that have been running their business for years. However, with, the #1 high risk processor in the US, merchants of any type and size can easily get approved for high-risk merchant accounts.

Businesses with years of experience and, importantly, volume realize how crucial it is to keep decline and chargeback rates as low as possible. If you, as an experienced business, can keep these under control, and if you aren’t categorized as “unqualified” by Visa and MasterCard, you should apply for a domestic merchant account and you’ll be able to find a processor without any challenge.

In case, you are classified as “unqualified”, you should apply for an offshore merchant account. However, EMB, a reputable high risk merchant services provider, has helped thousands of “hard-to-approve” merchants get a domestic merchant account without challenges.

When it comes to businesses that are new, an offshore account wouldn’t be the right option as inexperience and lack of existing volume would disqualify you immediately. However, if you’re not black-listed, chances are you can find a processor that won’t mind working with you.

The application process would differ from what low-risk businesses go through, with some minor additions like requests for financial statements and tax returns. If there aren’t any problems with your paperwork, you’ll be approved for a merchant account. Be aware, there are cases when the processor decides that the given business is too high-risk and gives a termination notice.

Turning to EMB, which is rated A+ by the BBB and A by Card Payment Options, you can get the lowest possible rates and the best services in your high-risk industry.


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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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