Your Guide to High-Risk Processing for ISO Merchants

Your Guide to High-Risk Processing for ISO Merchants

A high risk merchant processing account is necessary for businesses that are considered “high-risk” to accept debit and credit payments. A company with an increased risk of chargebacks, fraud, and other issues exhibits these traits.

In contrast, no centralized organization or structure in the payments sector assesses the risk considerations related to a company. However, each bank and payment processor has a unique set of requirements.

High-Risk Processing for ISO Merchants

Some payment solutions vendors could be open about the sectors they do not support. Others will often look for specific details about a company to assess risk, based on which their proposal may be approved or denied. Ultimately, everything gets down to a payments processor’s internal standards and perspective on risk management.

What Elements Establish A Merchant’s High-Risk Status?

Firms from particular sectors may be automatically labeled high-risk businesses since they pose significant risks. Listed below are a few instances of high-risk professions:

  • Vaping, e-cigarettes, and CBD (Cannabidiol)
  • Tasers and stun weapons
  • Repairing credit
  • Network Marketing (MLM)
  • Adult goods and services
  • Pawnshops
  • Nutraceuticals and supplements
  • Tech assistance
  • Services for search engine optimization

In addition to this, several additional elements might cause a company to be “high-risk”:

If you are a new participant and have never handled payments previously, specific processors may classify you as “high-risk.”

Other crucial criteria include lousy credit history or poor credit ratings due to loan defaults. Your sense of danger may also rise if a company has already added you to the list. The same is true for companies that sell contentious goods or operate on shaky legal grounds. High-risk ratings may also apply to companies whose overseas sales are highly reliant. This factor results from the foreign economy’s somewhat unpredictable economic processes. High-risk industries are those that are heavily controlled by law or by the government.

How Do High-Risk Accounts For Online Payments Differ From Regular Accounts?

Being classified as a high-risk company might seem quite intimidating. A processor can reject your application. However, a payment service may decide to enforce specific regulations to reduce your organization’s risk.

Protracted Application Process

When you apply for a high-risk payment processor, a merchant services company could request extensive information to assess your risk profile or examine previous financial trends. They look out for poor credit and payment processing businesses and often evaluate your company’s partnerships, processing history, and personal credit history.

Higher Processing Costs For Payments

Although interchange costs may vary from business to business, increased risk often entails higher prices. Payment processing costs for typical small companies maybe 0.3% more than the interchange rate. However, this might grow to 1.5% + the interchange fee for a high-risk payment processor.

Requirements For Cash Reserves

Some suppliers of payment solutions may even hedge a particular amount of money for a company. They have many options for maintaining the reserve’s thresholds, including rolling funds. Every transaction you handle is placed away by a high-risk payment processor, and you will subsequently get that percentage. It may be as much as 10%. For example, if you have a six-month rolling agreement, you get the remaining amount in July.

The maximum reserve: The processor keeps a percentage of each transaction until the reserve fund reaches a specific amount. 

Forward reserve: The merchant pays a predetermined sum to a high-risk payment processor beforehand. The processor may sometimes halt all transactions till the retailer pays the specified amount.

Increased Chargeback Costs

Businesses must pay chargeback costs to their payment gateway while processing refunds. These fees could be more significant for companies with a high chargeback percentage to cover the potential risks of numerous chargebacks. These prices might range from $20 to $100 per unit. Clothing brands and other companies with high chargeback rates can fall consequently under pressure.

Caps On Credit Card Processing Volume

If business sales volume surpasses a certain threshold, some credit card companies may stop letting you process any further transactions. Processors believe that while working with large quantities, hazards may increase.

Additional Conditions

Depending on the kind of company, some processors may have additional restrictions for offering services to high-risk merchants. The processor could urge you to utilize methods that ensure you are not selling to minors if you offer age-restricted products. They may only authorize your processing account if you meet all the requirements.

What To Do If You Need A Payment Platform But Are A High-Risk Business

What is the best method to approach your hunt for a payment gateway if you’re a high-risk merchant? Here are a few simple guidelines you have to follow:

Maintain enough monetary reserves- Most processors prefer to see a solid cash balance in your company’s bank account. This factor portrays an image of financial stability, which reduces the impression of danger.

Attempt to reduce chargebacks- A variety of circumstances might cause a surge in chargebacks in your company. This factor may result from a discrepancy between product details and the actual product in sectors like eCommerce. Or it could be because of the lengthy delivery periods. Whatever the cause, you may always investigate it and work to lessen chargebacks.

Be open-minded- During the application procedure, make all documents and pertinent information available. It might hurt your cause and undermine your credibility if you don’t. In contrast to low-risk merchants, processors could request much more specific information about your company and finances. Be honest, sincere, and open-minded.

Keep your papers on hand- This factor may include having a couple of years’ worth of tax returns and six months’ worth of bank statements. Nevertheless, each CPU has a unique set of specifications, so review them.

Observe the rules set out by your payment processor- In addition to your company’s demands, the processor’s capacity for taking on risk is a factor when registering for a credit card processing service. So, be adaptable and ask them for advice to see if you could do anything to lower your risk. Then, do what they suggest.

High-Risk Processing for ISO Merchants

Finding High-Risk Merchant Service Providers

You may not be able to discover the specific price information for high-risk merchant services on a provider’s website or other open platforms if you run a high-risk company. Instead, you may need to set up private consultations or meetings with company representatives to convey your case. List a few payment services likely to serve your industry as a starting point. Many well-known companies focus on high-risk merchant accounts.

When you have several choices, you must consider what each offers. Inquire about the following details:

  • What background do they have in dealing with companies in your sector?
  • How how long does it require for funds to deposit?
  • Do they have to keep any reserves?
  • Do they accept ACH and eChecks payments in addition to credit and debit cards?
  • How reliable and approachable is their customer service?


The explanation above makes it evident that certain firms have built-in risk elements. The term “high risk” has different meanings for merchants and processors. More significantly, while many payment processors have simple access points, businesses constantly face the danger of being disconnected.


Nabeel is an SEO and Content Marketer at, specializing in technology topics. With a profound interest in all things tech-related, he channels his enthusiasm into creating engaging and informative content. Nabeel's writing is focused on delivering valuable insights to readers, ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and trends in the tech industry.

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