Inside the Credit Card Black Market

Feb 11, 2014

Credit and debit card accounts stolen in a recent data breach at retail giant Target have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card. This is disastrous, not only for those consumers but also for business owners who

There are literally hundreds of these shady stores selling stolen credit and debit cards from virtually every bank and country. However, this store has earned a special reputation for selling quality “dumps,” data stolen from the magnetic stripe on the backs of credit and debit cards. Armed with that information, thieves can effectively clone the cards and use them in stores. If the dumps are from debit cards and the thieves have access to the PINs for those cards, they can use the cloned cards at ATMs to pull cash out of the victim’s bank account.

This not only hurts the consumer whose information was stolen, but it also hurts businesses. While businesses strive to provide the best security for their customers, it is not always possible. So what happens if your business is hacked and customer card information is stolen? Well, you are more than likely going to be labeled as “high risk”. High risk is not necessarily bad; it just means that your company is at a higher risk of closure than other businesses. Legitimate businesses, such as car dealerships can be categorized as high risk, even if they are not hacked.

Being newly classified as high risk does not mean that your merchant account provider will drop you. However, if it does happen you can still find a merchant account provider. There are many high-risk merchant account services available, though it takes thorough research to find the right one for your company. Many high-risk merchant account services offer higher processing fees. The higher fees are a small price to pay when you think about the alternative of simply not having a merchant account and not being able to process plastic cards.

The Target data breach brought forth a new wave of black market credit card dealers. On these web pages, buyers can pay to purchase the information from stolen credit cards. This is not only harmful to those whose cards were hacked, but also to the businesses affected. While Target may not be classified as a high-risk merchant if the same were to happen to small businesses their merchant account may be tagged as such. If this was to happen to you, do not fret. High-risk merchant account services do exist, albeit at a slightly higher cost, and you can ensure your customers that you can still take plastic card payments without any further security issues.


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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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