As e-Commerce continues to burst at the seams with growth and profit, it is only reasonable that high-risk merchants would want a piece of that lucrative pie. 

Traditional payment processors do not want to engage in any type of business where great risk is involved, and therefore, do not accept high-risk merchants for payment processing. 

This dilemma has given rise to a new industry of high-risk credit card processing. By partnering with these providers, high-risk merchants can confidently proceed with accepting card transactions.

The Distinctions With High-Risk Credit Card Processing

To accept credit card payments, a merchant must seek a merchant account with an acquiring bank. The cost for this can vary, depending on the type of business it is, the way the transactions are executed, and its risk of loss.

For high-risk operations, fees are naturally higher. Since traditional payment processors avoid risk, a specialized payment processor or more aptly, a high-risk merchant account provider, would be best suited to handle these transactions. 

There are numerous factors that can help categorize a business as high-risk, however, the most prevalent threat is the increased potential for chargebacks. The risk of these chargebacks can be higher based on the type of products being sold, the average amount of monthly sales, the country the business sells to, and so much more. All this can leave processors and banks on the hook for millions in possible financial losses. 

Higher risk means higher fees for high-risk merchants seeking a merchant account. Here are more ways that high-risk merchants will need to pay more:

  • Excess fees: Since processors are well aware that high-risk merchants will have chargebacks, they enforce heavy fees from the start. Merchants can look at paying more than $300 for the initial setup. They could also pay higher monthly fees. Their processing fees could be more than double than normal processing fees. 
  • Rolling reserves: A common practice among high-risk merchant providers is to require a merchant account reserve. This is basically a “non-interest bearing” savings account where the acquiring bank will use as a type of insurance. 

If a chargeback were to be filed against the business and the merchant is unable to reimburse the issuing bank from their account, the reserve will be used to cover this cost. 

  • Higher chargeback fees: For every chargeback received, the merchant is charged a fee to take on the administrative costs involved in processing the chargeback. However, a high-risk merchant account provider will command higher fees for each occurrence. If there are excessive chargebacks, the costs will be even higher. 

The Benefits Of High-Risk Credit Card Processing

In spite of the excessive fees tied to high-risk credit card processing, high-risk merchants can enjoy many benefits thanks to their high-risk merchant account.

  • Expand globally: As the global economy continues to expand, so do opportunities to grow your business. Having a high-risk merchant account provider positions you best to accept multiple currencies, offer a wider range of products, and more flexibility with daily processing limits. All this will allow you to grow and expand your business, worldwide.


  • Endless earning potential: Thanks to the flexibility offered by high-risk merchant account providers, merchants can offer recurring payments, process more than $20,000 per month, and accept credit card transactions of more than $500 each. Recurring payments have become such a popular business model due to their sustainable source of income and potential for long-term growth. 

High-Risk Merchant Accounts Are No Longer Unattainable

High-risk merchants should not worry about being marginalized by the payments industry. Now, more than ever, specialized high-risk merchant account providers are equipped and willing to partner up with a business that is ready to join the ranks of global payments, building a business they would be proud of.