Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A High-Risk Merchant Account

Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A High-Risk Merchant Account
5 min read

Not all businesses are created equal, and that applies to payment processing whether it is high risk payment or low-risk payment processing. For businesses operating in industries deemed "high risk" by traditional banks and processors, standard merchant accounts simply won't cut it. This is where high-risk merchant accounts come into existence. These specialized accounts allow businesses to accept credit and debit card payments despite the increased risk of chargebacks or fraud associated with their industry. Choosing the right high-risk merchant account solution is necessary. A reliable partner can ensure smooth transactions, competitive rates, and most importantly, the ability to keep your business growing. However, navigating the world of high risk payment processing accounts can be tricky. To help you avoid common pitfalls, let's now explore the top 3 mistakes businesses make when selecting a provider.

Top 3 Mistakes: Common Pitfalls To Avoid

Now that we understand the significance of choosing the right high risk merchant solutions provider, let's look at some common pitfalls businesses generally face:

Mistakes1: Focusing Solely On Cost.

While cost is undoubtedly a factor, getting caught up in the initial quoted rate can be a trap.  There might be certain hidden fees and unexpected charges for things like monthly statements, PCI compliance audits, or even chargebacks that can quickly erode any perceived savings. Hence, look for transparency  and be clear to all hidden details. Look for providers that clearly outline all fees associated with the account. However, along with cost and hidden charges, ensure to probe the following factors.

Customer service: When issues arise, a responsive and knowledgeable customer support team is invaluable. Make sure to check whether provider offers reliable and accessible support.

Account stability: Frequent account holds or terminations can disrupt your business flow. Choose a provider known for account stability and clear communication regarding potential risk management actions.

Mistake 2: Not Understanding Your Business Risk Profile.

As we earlier mentioned, Not all "high risk" businesses are created equal. Factors like industry, average transaction value, and chargeback history all contribute to your risk profile. Understanding your specific risk factors is crucial. Be honest and upfront with potential providers about your business activities and target market. A good provider will work with you to tailor a solution that meets your needs and risk level. Misrepresenting your business can lead to account termination, hefty fines, and difficulty securing future processing services.

Mistake 3: Rushing Into Decision Without Proper Research.

Do not settle for the first provider you come across. Take the time to compare different options. Research online reviews, and industry publications, and consider contacting other businesses in similar industries for their recommendations. When comparing providers, look beyond just the headline rate. Consider the below mentioned factors:

Payment processing speed: Faster processing times mean quicker access to your funds.

Supported payment methods: Ensure the provider offers the payment methods your customer's preferences (e.g., credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets).

Customer support availability: Does the provider offer 24/7 support? How fast can you reach a representative if you encounter an issue?

Security features: Choose a provider that prioritizes secure payment processing technology to protect your business and your customers' data.

Tips For Choosing The Right High-Risk Merchant Account

Being aware of the aforementioned top 3 mistakes is a great start, but choosing the best high-risk merchant account involves certain considerations. Below are some additional tips to ensure you select the perfect high risk merchant solutions provider for your business. These are as follows:

  • Negotiate rates and fees: Do not be afraid to negotiate! While some fees may be fixed, there might be wiggle room on others.
  • Security matters: In today's digital landscape, robust security is paramount. Choose a provider that utilizes cutting-edge technology to safeguard your business and your customers' financial information.
  • Think long-term: Consider the provider's reputation and experience in serving high-risk businesses. Look for a partner that can support your growth and adapt to your evolving needs.
  • Maintain a healthy reserve: Some providers might require a rolling reserve on your account to cover potential chargebacks. Be prepared to maintain a designated amount in reserve.


Probing the world of high-risk payment processing can be daunting, but avoiding the pitfalls discussed is key to securing a smooth and successful payment processing experience.  Rushing into a decision without proper research leaves you with vulnerable services and limited functionalities. Choosing the right high risk merchant account provider offers a multitude of benefits.  You will gain access to secure and reliable payment processing, enjoy competitive rates and transparent fees, and receive responsive customer support when you need it most.  A good provider becomes a partner in your success, adapting to your evolving needs and supporting your long-term growth.

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Adale Brown 2
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