An Adult Dating Merchant Account is necessary for a secure and profitable online dating business.
Online dating has dramatically changed the way singles find each other and fall in love. With the launch of the first commercially successful dating site, Match.com, it has paved the way for many more dating websites and apps, creating a multibillion dollar industry.
In October 2019, a Pew Research Center study revealed that 30% of U.S. adults have used a dating site or app.
According to IBISWorld, an industry research firm, the online dating service industry, a $3 billion market, has enjoyed an average industry growth of 11.5% from 2014-2019.
In order to properly launch an online dating business and remain profitable, you will need to obtain an adult dating merchant account.
The High-Risk Challenges As An Adult Dating Merchant
Before you begin your research to find an adult dating merchant account provider, you need to familiarize yourself with its challenges.
The first aspect to know is that adult dating merchants are considered high risk according to banks and traditional merchant account providers.
Here are some of the reasons:
- Increased Risk For Fraud – According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), online dating websites are ranked at the top for “total reported losses”. The “median reported loss” was listed at $2,600. This is seven times higher than any fraud category. In order for an acquiring bank to mitigate risk, they would need to increase their rates and fees. Some acquiring banks, however, will outright refuse to work with these types of merchants.
- Chargeback Risk – First, there are no physical products being sold, so the “chargeback ratio” within this industry is dramatically higher. The chargeback ratio is calculated by taking the number of chargebacks in one month and dividing it by the number of transactions within the same month. Merchant account providers require that merchants keep their chargeback ratio under 2%.
As sticky and complicated as human relationships can be, especially when it comes to love, singles come into an online dating website with certain presumptions. They presume that they are “guaranteed” to find love online. If this does not materialize, they are likely to become frustrated and demand their money back. If good customer service is lacking, this will drive the customer to demand their money back from the bank. This will mean a penalization for your adult dating merchant account. If your chargeback ratio surpasses the limit, your account can be shut down.
- Reputation For Risk – Each bank evaluates risk differently. On one hand, there are banks who will simply refuse to take on merchants in this particular industry. Other banks may be willing to take on these merchants, however, the tradeoff will be pricier rates and fees to offset any risk.
The aforementioned difficulties should not dissuade you from moving forward with your adult dating business. On the contrary, they are the very reasons that you should endeavor to seek a reputable and reliable high risk merchant account provider that will help you navigate the choppy waters of this industry with ease. Let’s take a look at what you should be seeking in a high risk merchant account provider.
How To Secure A High Risk Merchant Account
Now that you are well-acquainted with the challenges inherent within your industry, you need a high risk merchant account provider that has a solid reputation in working with the adult dating industry.
Beware of any merchant providers that approve your application automatically. This should be an automatic red flag. A merchant account provider worth their salt will take you through a thorough and professional underwriting process to ensure both you and the bank are protected.
Here are more tips to finding the best high risk merchant account provider:
- Seek Affordable Fees For Credit Card Processing – It is without question that high risk merchant account providers will charge higher than normal fees and have strict contracts. However, there are some that offer more affordable rates. Do your research, check reviews, look at the Better Business Bureau reports, talk to others in the industry and you will find exceptions to the rule.
- Find Those That Truly Specialize In High Risk Processing – Many high risk processors in this space use gimmicky marketing to lure you into thinking that they specialize in the high risk industry when they don’t. Don’t get sucked in. It is best to seek providers whose specialty is exclusively in the high risk space, or better, in the adult dating industry. They will be better equipped to advise you on mitigating fraud and chargebacks. Also, they will provide better account management.
- 24/7 Support – Just by the very nature of your business, an online dating site, you will be processing credit card payments around the clock. Therefore, it is critical that you have access to top-level and professional support available, should something go wrong or your systems suffer a glitch.
- Sensible Contracts – Typically, this industry is known for having “iron-clad” contracts, complete with punishing and outrageous fees if you happen to break the contract. What is also standard is for contracts to offer three-year lengths that renew automatically. You may be able to find providers that offer shorter or even month-to-month contracts. Again, as mentioned before, do your research, ask around, and seek reviews.
Now that you have the resources needed to find the best adult dating merchant account for your dating business, you can begin your search.
When you have made your choice, the first step to move forward to secure your adult dating merchant account is to fill out an application. Most providers have these applications available online and they are easy and quick to fill out.
There is some required documentation that you will need to provide for the merchant account provider. It may include:
- The DBA (Doing Business As), and official name of your business
- Personal or business bank statements for the last 3 months
- Your current EIN (Employee Identification Number) or Tax ID
- Some information about the kind of business you have, how you will charge customers, and all marketing materials used to attract customers
The Endgame: Accepting Payments
Once all this documentation has been successfully vetted and submitted, you will undergo a “compliance process” and will get notification of approval within a few days. Upon approval, your provider will assist you with setting up your payment gateway and begin processing credit and debit card payments through a shopping cart on your website.