Matt Moore

Do you run a business that’s considered high risk? Maybe you already knew that your business was considered risky by merchant services providers, or perhaps you only found out when you had an application rejected by a potential provider.

Download our free payment processing guide for high-risk merchants.

If you’ve been having trouble finding a provider for your high-risk business, don’t worry. High-risk merchant services providers do exist. You just have to find them. Luckily, that’s the easy part.

Do Your Research

Research may seem very easy; a quick Google search will likely turn up plenty of results if you punch in “high-risk merchant services provider.” Plenty of companies will tell you that they accept high-risk merchant accounts or that they specialize in providing services for high-risk businesses.


Instead of simply searching for providers, however, search for “top ten” or “best of” lists from reputable sources, such as newspapers or industry publications. Chances are there are plenty of third-party sources that have rated or ranked various providers.


You can also do an inverse search, where you seek out information about the worst providers. Always check several of these sources; if you see the same companies listed over and over again, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where they stand.

Dig a Little Deeper

The next step after surveying the landscape is to actually find out a little more about each provider. Create a “short list” of companies that you think you’d like to work with.


Then, take a tour of their websites. What do they have to say about high-risk merchant services? Do they offer additional resources for you, or do they have information about their rates?

List what you like and don’t like about each company. Some companies may offer you very good rates, but others will offer you more security. Look for the best overall provider; a good high-risk merchant services provider is well-rounded, not necessarily the one offering the lowest price.

Ask the Right Questions

Now that you know a little bit about each company, you should send queries. While you might be tempted to simply fill out an application (and some companies will want you to do that instead of asking questions), give your preferred providers a call. Ask them some more questions about the services they offer and how they work with high-risk merchants.


Some providers will ask you to submit an application before giving you a quote, but a representative should be able to tell you if they will consider working with your business.


They should also be able to tell you about how they work with high-risk merchant accounts: What kind of protections do they offer? What kinds of additional fees do they charge? You need to know about minimums for transaction volume and fee structures before you can decide on a provider.

Submit an Application

Once you have gathered enough information to make a decision about which high-risk merchant services providers fit with your business, fill out and submit applications. Keep in mind that this may be the only way to obtain a quote and contract terms from some providers.


Just because a provider works with high-risk merchants does not mean it is obligated to extend terms to your business, and some will want to see your application before they can tell you what terms and fee structure they can offer you.


This is not the mark of a bad provider; this tells you the provider is seriously considering the unique situation of your business. These providers do not offer a “one-size fits all” solution—which is good news for you!

High-Risk Merchants: How to Get Reliable Payment Processing to Grow Your Business

Matt Moore

As the President and Co-Founder of BNA Smart Payment Systems, Matt is responsible for the company’s strategic direction, daily operations, and growth. Entrepreneurial by nature, he brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience earned from over 36 years in business. He has developed, implemented, and directed international sales and marketing strategies, established strategic alliances with international companies, and demonstrated leadership in the electronic payments market. Prior to BNA, Matthew served at the senior levels of major EFT/POS companies, helping them increase sales and optimize customer service. Matt is also a father of three, a fitness enthusiast who does power lifting and CrossFit, and he enjoys weekends at the cottage.
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