Don’t worry if your business is considered higher risk than other types of businesses. There are now secure and reliable payment solutions for high-risk merchants. That hasn’t always been the case. Sadly, many providers of payment gateways for high-risk merchants are using underhanded tactics that hurt business owners. 


If you get nothing else from this article, please put plenty of time and research into choosing the right provider. Hasty choices could mean your payment gateway isn’t as secure as it needs to be, and you could also end up paying higher fees than you were promised.


Let’s get into it (be sure to note upcoming bonus tips guaranteed to help you avoid lost sales – immediately).


Understanding Payment Gateways For High-Risk Merchants

You may have read our other article on high-risk merchants. It goes deep into what makes a business high-risk and gives a robust list of example businesses categorized as “on the risky side.”


All you need to know for now, though, is an overview of what makes a business high-risk. It could be:


  • Types of products sold
  • Delivery / shipping method 
  • Certain sales tactics
  • High chargeback rate for that industry


Some aspects of a business can’t be altered by the owner. Yet, some things, such as number of chargebacks, can be managed by the owner. 


If you lower your chargebacks, that is a favorable signal to your payment processor and could result in lower fees in the future (beyond immediate reduced costs and hassles of chargebacks!). 


A top-tier processor helps by providing a secure payment gateway for high-risk merchants to reduce chargebacks and fraud (details ahead).


Essential Features Of Payment Gateways For High-Risk Merchants


Your payment processor manages the banking connections that get transaction funds moved to your merchant account then to your bank account. But the first step happens as the payment gateway encrypts then transmits the transaction data from your business’s website (or POS) to the payment processor. 


To cut out technical jargon, here’s an analogy for payment gateways. A payment gateway is like a restaurant waiter who takes the customer’s order then brings the food and drinks from the kitchen to the table. A good gateway, like a good waiter, ensures the order is correct and delivered securely, without delay, confusion, or errors. 


Now, if you have the highest level of payment gateway security, then you reduce your risk of fraud, cyberattacks, chargebacks, and data breaches. This goes back to choosing the right payment gateway for high-risk businesses. Choose a company with legitimate experience in gateways – set-up and ongoing customer service. 


Look for these security attributes, too:


  • Preventative mechanisms
  • Ultra-fast fraud detection
  • Reliable connections
  • Seamless, easy-to-use e-commerce platforms integration


How do you know which payment providers offer the top payment gateways for high-risk merchants?


Evaluating High-Risk Payment Gateway Providers


Don’t hesitate to look at all payment providers with a healthy dose of skepticism. The merchant services industry has gotten a black eye from bad actors in the space who hide fees and take advantage of business owners.


That’s one reason, at National Processing, we back our promises up with a $500 Guarantee!


We believe in transparent pricing, world-class customer service, and we know that no processor can beat our rates.


Those are a few reasons our customers stay with us long-term – many since we launched in 2007.


Plus, as our high-risk merchant solutions help them scale, our company also grows when they refer other business owners to us for processing and payment gateways. 


How critical is scalability with high-risk businesses?

payment gateway for high-risk merchants

Billions Of Dollars Left On The Table

When you partner with a provider that understands how businesses can utilize payment platforms to scale, your revenue naturally rises. This is critical since a high-risk business pays higher processing rates than low-risk businesses. 


Increasing your revenue helps overcome that hurdle. 


Yet, even low-risk businesses leave money on the table when it comes to payment gateways. Did you know roughly seven out of ten shoppers abandon their online carts and don’t purchase? 


There are several reasons shoppers abandon the checkout process. 


One gigantic reason? They hesitate to enter their credit card information on the website or e-commerce shop because they don’t trust the site. This often happens at the last minute – when the sale is on the final step. Painful…


But not hopeless. There are simple ways to increase trust on your business website. One is to use a proven payment processor. Their platform should have built-in features that not only protect you and your customers from security risks but should highlight your business’s trustworthiness. 


How? Showing security seals, SSL certificates, industry certifications, etc.


Behind-the-scenes security mixed with upfront visuals showing a focus on security means higher sales and scalability!


There’s more to payment gateways, though.


Streamlining Payment Gateways For High-Risk Merchants


Not only should your payment gateway for high-risk merchants be and show trustworthiness – it should help streamline operations. 


For example, you want your processor and payment gateway to fit perfectly with the e-commerce platform you already use. Ideally, they will fit nicely with all major e-commerce platforms because you could decide to change platforms in the future, right?


Also, you want your payment gateway for high-risk businesses to work smoothly and be speedy. Not just most of the time, but all the time. The reason? Shoppers also stop checking out when the process is overly complex, or there are too many steps (more lost sales!).


Today’s online shoppers want convenience and will shop elsewhere if a website is slow to load or payments do not go through on the first try. 


By the way, false card declines are a common problem that also stop sales. According to Mastercard, using 3D Secure authentication helps avoid the majority of those false declines that cost businesses revenue.


Secure, Reliable Payment Solutions For High-Risk Merchants

Payment security and compliance are a must for both low-risk and high-risk merchants. However, high-risk business owners should seek every security measure and innovation possible. Anything that reduces risk gives them an advantage because they gain more trust (from customers and payment providers).


Plus, higher security reduces odds of costly fraudulent purchases, chargebacks, and even new returns scams.


What high-risk merchants may not realize is that payment security does more than protect sensitive payment details such as a debit or credit card number. A secure payment gateway is designed to keep all data away from bad actors or from simply ending up where it doesn’t belong. 


All gateways should be PCI-DSS compliant while providing standard data encryption. Don’t forget that any software connected to your payment processing platform should utilize security measures such as two-factor authentication – to prevent data leaks.


Enhancing Risk Management Capabilities


Another step business owners can take with high-risk processing is to build a great case for being approved for a high-risk payment gateway and account. Three ways to do so:


#1 Detailed Business Plan: It may be wise to get a professional to assist with writing your business plan or have them critique your plan. The more detailed, the better in the eyes of banks and processing providers. Back up your plan with stats, facts, and any business history you have amassed.


#2 Compliant Website: Determine which regulations apply to your high-risk business based on your location, customer base, and data you gather (or gather via third-party tools). Provide clear information about cookies used and allow users to manage preferences. Ensure screen reader compatibility, alt text, resizable text, etc., for users with challenges. 


#3 Understand Underwriting Process: Your financial documents will be under review as well as operational procedures (i.e., refund/return policies, billing cycles, fraud prevention measures). Even after initial approval, high-risk merchant accounts are subject to re-evaluation by underwriters. Changes in chargeback rates or transaction volumes may trigger an adjustment of account terms!


Solutions For High-Risk Merchants Summary


Running a business has huge upsides. Yet, ignoring the pitfalls guarantees trouble. So do yourself a favor…


Find dependable vendors, employees, and partners that help you avoid running your business all alone. Stick with those reliable people and companies for the long haul. It will make your life easier. Your business will run smoother, too. 


This matters most when it comes to merchant services. We hope you will lean on National Processing’s experience helping high-risk merchants overcome processing challenges and difficulties inherent to riskier transactions. 


Our modern tools and platforms make certain your high-risk payment gateway is as secure as any gateway on the internet! Furthermore, our solutions fit seamlessly with your e-commerce platform of choice. Plus, these solutions are reliable and user-friendly for you and your staff. 


If that isn’t enough to convince you to choose National Processing, we can’t imagine what will…


oh, our $500 Lowest-Rate Guarantee should do it! Sign up now to save from day one.


Below are those questions we often get on this topic.


Solutions For High-Risk Merchants FAQ  

What features should a high-risk payment gateway have?


They should offer the latest fraud detection and prevention tools, risk management processes, seamless integration with in-place business platforms, and reliable/secure processing.


Do high-risk payment gateways charge higher fees than low-risk gateways?


Yes, banks won’t take on extra risks without passing on the costs to high-risk businesses. Banks make their decisions based on risk evaluation (even outside the payment arena).


Is an essential feature of high-risk payment gateways integration with e-commerce platforms?


Yes, because it’s smart business for platforms and processors. Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, etc., want to work with the millions of high-risk businesses that need their services. Same goes for payment processors that want to work with this enormous base of merchants.

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Shane McLendon

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Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.

Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.