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3 Steps to Obtaining a High-Risk Merchant Account

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Owning a high-risk business means you need a high-risk merchant account to accept debit and credit cards, and a high-risk merchant account can sometimes be a challenge to get. Plus, even beyond the work it takes to find an equipped payments provider, not all account conditions and requirements are the same! Instead of stressing through the process just follow our guide to obtaining a high-risk merchant account fit for your business in 3 easy steps.


How to Get a High-Risk Merchant Account

There are several factors that can cause a merchant to be labeled as high-risk (like type of business, high transaction volume, etc.) but ultimately, it’s the fact that there is an elevated financial exposure for these specific types of companies. And, because every payment processor gets to decide if and how they handle high-risk merchants, it can be not only tough to find an account but even more challenging to find a good fit for your business. These are our best tips for those looking to get set up with a high-risk merchant account:


1. Research payments providers: merchant service providers, like Align eCommerce, are who provide payment processing abilities to businesses… but from fees, reserves, holding times, support, etc., not all processors are equal. In fact, there are many merchant service providers who can’t (or won’t) take high-risk merchant accounts because of the greater financial risk. This means it’s necessary to do extensive research, or even speak with similar companies, to figure out who offers the best services or who might be a good fit.


Because it can take a lot of work to find the right account, some businesses decide to use a professional merchant service broker. This is someone who works with multiple service providers in order fulfill the unique requirements each company might need. Be sure to work with a good broker though because filling out multiple applications with different banks can look bad….


2. Fill out application: speaking of applications, after finding the right processor there will be an application process (which can be complicated and expensive) plus specific requirements that will need to be fulfilled. Be as precise, truthful, and accurate as possible to help mitigate any unnecessary application declines!


3. Start processing: depending on the provider, it usually takes anywhere from one business day to a week before the merchant account is approved- then you can start accepting card payments right away. Congratulations!


High-risk merchants looking for high-risk merchant accounts demand special attention- attention that Align eCommerce is ready to give. For the best provider with the lowest rates, contact Align today!


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