Though not illegal, online tobacco sales worry banks and traditional lenders. The industry is not online heavily regulated, but laws differ in every state. These factors leave banks wanting no part of approving these types of businesses for online tobacco shop merchant accounts.
Without a merchant account, you can’t accept debit and credit card payments, which are processed through a payment gateway, point-of-sale system, or credit card terminal. For an online shop, you will need a merchant account and payment gateway.
Learning the challenges, as well as what to look for in a merchant account and payment gateway with an alternative lender can make the journey easier.
Things Considered When Applying for an Online Tobacco Merchant Account
Merchant service providers look closely at online tobacco businesses due them sell exclusively online and the unpredictability of the regulations surrounding the industry. When merchants apply for an account, expect underwriters to ensure you are complying with all rules.
If you are selling tobacco-related products, such as pipes or bongs, which can also be used for marijuana, expect to be further scrutinized. Be prepared to share your full list of products and how you intend to market them.
When you apply, be prepared to show a valid, government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, a voided check, several months of bank statements and processing statements, and a Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number. Additionally, online tobacco merchants must have secure, fully-operational websites with clear, easy-to-find refund policies and terms and conditions, and chargeback ratios below 2% to be considered for approval.
Know Your Needs
Due to the many risk factors, a secure payment gateway that integrates seamlessly with your website is vital for operating an online tobacco shop.
A payment gateway should be:
- PCI-compliant, which helps ensure transactions are encrypted and protected from malware and other threats
- Easy to use and offer functionality, such as automated or manual batching, seamless returns, quick order void, and complete reporting
- Offer easy load-balancing functions between acquirers and merchant accounts
Consider Billing and Functionality
Depending on your business model, it may be practical to offer recurring billing, annual payment options, and pay-as-you-go options. Not all merchant account providers will want to take the risk by allowing all those types of payment options. This is why it is critical that you look at what your lender will allow before you move forward with them.
When it comes to a payment gateway, seamless integration matters. A payment gateway should be dependable, secure, and quick. Look for an online tobacco merchant account that is able to offer a payment gateway that provide extensive reporting and transaction management. This will help you get ahead of chargebacks and help you better monitor your business, overall.
The Last Word
Now that you understand the challenges and issues facing online tobacco businesses, you can better determine the right merchant account and payment gateway that meets your goals and needs.
When it’s time to apply for a tobacco shop online merchant account, consider eMerchantBroker.com (EMB). EMB, which specializes in working with high-risk businesses, offers accounts and a high-risk payment gateway. Its gateway gives businesses the security and infrastructure needed for quick, safe transactions.
Though approvals are not guaranteed, EMB promises a quick application process. Merchants accounts can receive approvals within 24 to 48 hours. Apply today to experience an easy, streamlined application process.