Ben Smith

Moving forward, businesses without solid solutions for payment processing for debit and credit cards will be operating at a loss of significant revenue. Despite the trends of big data and consumer metrics leading to less privacy for Canadians, half of the country (or more) is ready for a cashless society. Business is rapidly becoming digital.


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


Obtaining a merchant account in order to process debit and credit cards is easier said than done for those operating in high-risk industries. For unconventional businesses, landing a merchant account through a bank or other traditional provider is a struggle, as those who take them on claim responsibility for their actions and financial history.


Curious about which of these high-risk industries have the most trouble getting payment processing solutions?

E-Commerce with Future Deliverables

Traditional merchant account providers like banks and Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) are wary of companies with inconsistent or poor financial histories. E-commerce sites like ticket vendors or travel agencies might not be the first types of companies that come to mind when you hear the term “high-risk industries,” but there’s a solid reason why both are assessed as such.


Many e-commerce sites operate on the premise of future deliverables, meaning the customers aren’t buying products or services they can immediately use. Although you’re often paying in full for things like concert tickets or a travel package, when you do so through an e-commerce platform, it’s more akin to a down payment. Your products or services will be delivered at a future date.


While there are many secure e-commerce businesses with respectable reputations, like Eventbrite for example, such businesses have a higher probability of being hit with chargebacks.


If an e-commerce site has an annual membership service, the chances for chargebacks are even greater. Chargebacks for many traditional providers mean unsustainability or even untrustworthiness.

E-Commerce with Reputational Risks

The second major category that struggles to get payment processing solutions consists of e-commerce sites that fall within industries considered disreputable, such as fortunetelling and adult entertainment, as well as those more likely to experience data theft, such as sites that sell expensive or custom products like e-cigarettes.


When an e-commerce site comes with reputation risks, traditional providers don’t want to be connected to the industry. Likely by nature of banks and low-risk ISOs being reliant on their public image, they don’t want their clients’ industry reputations to influence how potential customers view them.


For example, the medical marijuana industry still holds enough stigma for traditional providers to turn away up-and-coming licensed producers, even though cannabis will be legal next year. Even if new licensed producers are approved by Health Canada, by nature of operating in a grey market, those dealing in medical marijuana must seek providers that specialize in high-risk accounts.

Businesses Dealing with High-Priced Products

This last category might be the most surprising. Car dealerships fall into this category, as do realtors. Why? Both industries deal with some of the most expensive purchases a single customer will ever make.


As mentioned above, the higher the expenses paid in an industry, the greater the chance of chargebacks. If you’re a car dealer or realtor who’s also seen some hard times recently, the lack of sales reflects as poor financials to traditional providers. Providers offering services for either industry often sneak in hidden and extra fees as well. This helps them cope with the fluctuation in sales.


Luckily, business owners in these high-risk industries have access to reliable payment processing if they seek a provider willing to offer custom solutions!


merchant services provider

Ben Smith

Ben brings 20 years of experience to his role as IT Director for BNA Smart Payment Systems. Among his many directorial duties, he is responsible for the selection, acquisition, development, installation, maintenance, and support of IT infrastructure. Ben also establishes and leads a cross-functional architectural committee, acts as a technical expert and a critical technical resource across multiple disciplines, and consults on all system implementation, modification and integration activities. He graduated with Honours from Durham Collage in Computer Programming, and takes yearly training courses for security and development technologies to remain up-to-date. Outside of work, he loves playing hockey and skating with his family, and also enjoys gardening and cooking.
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