Sex Toy Merchant Accounts

As a high-risk payment gateway solution and as a high-risk merchant account provider, Bankcard provides all the services your business may need to accept payments, including access to advanced capabilities that will grow your company.

high risk merchant account payment gateway

Payment Processing for Adult Sex Toys Merchant Accounts

The adult sex toy industry is a tremendously lucrative one, with an estimated US market value of $33.64 billion in 2020. From 2021 to 2028, it’s expected to increase at an annual growth rate of more than eight percent, making it a booming business for savvy business owners everywhere.

With numbers like these, it may seem surprising that adult sex novelties merchant accounts are considered “high-risk” for most US payment processors. According to the nation’s major financial institutions, merchant accounts for adult sex products provide such a tremendous financial risk, it’s not economically viable to provide them with credit card payment processing services.

If you’re the owner or manager of an adult sex toys business, you’re probably already aware that you’re in a high-risk industry. And you’re not alone. Across the nation, dozens of industries are denied access to convenient online payment methods and merchant services. Just a few of these industries include:

  • Adult sex toys and novelties.
  • Adult websites.
  • Adult entertainment merchants and venues.
  • Subscription billing.
  • Nutraceutical products.
  • Cannabis.
  • Property management.
  • Online dating sites.
  • Fantasy sports.
  • Guns and ammunition.
  • Pay-day lending.
  • Independent health and beauty.
  • Collectibles/antiques.
  • Online gambling.
  • Pawnshops.

These are all businesses with a giant economic presence globally, yet because they’re considered to be high-risk accounts, they’re denied access to even the most basic online payment services by banks and credit card processors.

If you have an adult sex toys website or business, Bankcard can help you get the merchant account services you need for success. As a high-risk merchant account specialist, Bankcard enables you to offer your customers credit card, e-check, mobile app, and online payment options. Plus, Bankcard can give you a wealth of convenient, automated payment processing tools to help with tracking, invoicing, and billing. These tools will not only eliminate hours of bookkeeping and paperwork every month, but they’ll also help you boost profits and increase customer satisfaction.

Before we talk about payment solutions, you’re probably asking, why is the adult sex toys industry considered high-risk? Here’s a look at what this high-risk account designation means to adult toys merchants, and how you can get approved for convenient, streamlined gateway payment services across a variety of platforms for your adult merchant account.

Why Are Adult Sex Toy Merchants High-Risk?

Whether you sell sex toys and novelties, own an adult video store, or manage a strip club, you’re in the adult entertainment industry — an industry that is traditionally considered to be a high financial risk. If you’ve owned or managed adult entertainment businesses for a while, you’ve probably already tried to get gateway payment processing services and been denied. You may have even been accepted for a Stripe, Paypal, or Square account, only to see it quickly closed as soon as you tried to process your first credit card transaction. It’s nothing personal against you. It has to do with finances — and it’s all about financial backing and underwriting.

Merchant account providers are financed and backed by banks and credit card companies. This enables them to facilitate a variety of payment methods for consumers in a wide range of industries. However, as with every type of financing, payment processing approval comes down to whether or not a business is a good financial risk. In this way, it’s similar to a bank loan, because if the bank refuses to provide financial backing, then the loan won’t be made. Similarly, if banks and credit card companies refuse to underwrite certain industries, then gateway payment processors can’t accept merchant accounts within those industries.

What makes an account high-risk? Or more specifically, why is your adult sex toy business in that category? One of the primary reasons is chargebacks.

Chargeback Rates: Why They Matter

Chargebacks occur when a credit card holder disputes a credit card charge and asks for a refund. Among financial institutions, the adult industry is notorious for having a higher-than-average chargeback ratio. It’s normal for businesses to have chargebacks that approximately one percent of their revenues, but every facet of adult entertainment — from websites and video/bookstores to strip clubs, gentleman’s clubs, and sex toy companies — experiences a higher chargeback rate. Here’s why this happens so much in adult entertainment:

Fraud, Both Friendly and Not-So-Friendly

The term “friendly fraud” refers to transactions where the customer knew the charge, but denies this knowledge and reports the charge as unauthorized. This isn’t always done with fraudulent intent — sometimes it happens because customers decide to go straight to the credit card company for a refund, instead of going to the merchant first. Whatever the reason, friendly fraud is a major headache for every industry, with studies showing that, by 2023, one in every 10 chargebacks will be a case of friendly fraud. In recent years, it’s become an epidemic, with eight out of every 10 merchants seeing an increase in friendly fraud chargebacks. To make it worse, 31 percent of merchants say that they’ve encountered problems in trying to contest these fraudulent chargebacks.

In the adult sex toy industry, friendly fraud can happen when a customer makes a purchase and it’s discovered by a spouse or significant other. The customer might then disavow any knowledge of the purchase, call the credit card company, and claim that the charge is fraudulent.

The adult entertainment industry also attracts its share of bad actors in the form of people who are trying to get something for nothing. This can also lead to chargebacks, defaulted payments, and several fraudulent behaviors that can significantly impact adult novelties merchants. As we’ll discuss later, Bankcard can help you greatly mitigate your chargeback ratio each month, with tools that can prevent these excessive refunds from occurring.

Adult sex novelties merchant accounts are prone to other financial risks as well, including card-not-present transactions and security/regulatory issues.  

Card-Not-Present Transactions

card-not-present (CNP) transaction refers to credit card transactions that aren’t done in person but are done remotely through eCommerce sites or over the phone. With CNP transactions, none of the physical actions are performed — the card isn’t swiped and the EMV chip isn’t inserted. Instead, the information is typed in manually. CNP transactions are especially prevalent in online businesses, where it’s impossible to process credit cards in person.

CNP transactions are considered high-risk and more vulnerable to fraud because they don’t involve personal, physical verification of a credit card. And there’s good reason for these fears because around 45 percent of US credit card fraud cases involve CNP transactions.

Bankcard can also help you decrease the risk of fraud in CNP transactions, through tools that can track and match payment addresses and points of location.

Regulations

Like the cannabis industry, the adult entertainment industry is heavily regulated. With so many regulations, merchant account processors don’t want to spend the time and due diligence that it takes to ensure they’re compliant.

Cybersecurity Threats

Historically, the adult entertainment industry has been rife with cybersecurity issues, primarily in the form of hacks and security breaches. One reason cybercriminals target adult websites is that, given the underground nature of the industry, they’re banking on not getting reported to the authorities. For honest vendors and entrepreneurs, however, these cyberattacks wreak havoc on the industry and also play a major part in why adult entertainment accounts can’t get credit card processing. To take adult accounts, gateway payment processors have to add several layers of extra security, making it less cost-effective and more work-intensive for them to accept these high-risk businesses.

Social Reputation

Even though we’ve reached the 21st century, many financial institutions are still afraid to associate their organizations with the adult entertainment industry. This is primarily due to societal stigmas that remain in place. It’s also unfortunate because the adult industry has its share of bad apples — including adult entertainment businesses with a less-than-stellar reputation for honesty. Just as one bad apple can spoil the entire basket, these dishonest vendors can make the entire industry look bad and are a major reason why banks and merchant account providers shy away from doing business with the adult entertainment industry as a whole.

Payment Gateway Approval for Sex Toy Businesses

The good news is, businesses in high-risk industries actually can get approved for payment processing. If you’re an adult entertainment merchant, you can be proactive in making this happen, but you can speed things up considerably by working with a high-risk merchant account company.

Bankcard specializes in working with high-risk merchant accounts in all types of industries, including the adult sex toys industry. Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar or online business, Bankcard can help you provide credit card, debit card, e-check, and mobile app payments so you can better serve your customers. In addition, Bankcard offers a wide range of payment processing tools to help you streamline your business.

Before we look at the benefits of payment processing, here’s how you can work towards getting processing approval:

Save Every Scrap of Paperwork

Whether it’s an invoice or a receipt, you need to save all your paperwork and documents. When you apply for merchant account processing services, you typically have to provide bank statements with credit card processing history going back six months or more, as well as tax returns going back several years. This information will give banks an idea of how successful and stable your company is.

Decrease Chargeback Rates

It may not seem possible, but you might be able to decrease your chargeback rate by trying a few strategies. For example, make sure to provide full disclosure about all your sex toy and novelty products, with detailed descriptions so that customers understand exactly what they’re getting and aren’t disappointed. The more that customers know about a product, the least likely they are to return it. Likewise, make your return policy crystal clear. Many sex toys aren’t returnable, and your customers need to know this before they make a purchase. Also, be willing to communicate with your customers and if there’s a problem, see if they’ll accept an exchange or store credit instead.

Bankcard offers several tools that will help you decrease damaging chargebacks. These tools include Address Verification Service, which matches billing addresses in every transaction, credit card security code tracking, and 3D Secure Protocol, a tool that validates identity across a variety of platforms.

Use Discretion in Billing

There’s a reason why sex products are typically mailed in plain packaging. Customers typically don’t want their private lives to become public knowledge. For that reason, many adult entertainment companies use a different name on their billing and invoicing. For example, if your business has the words “sex toys”— or anything related to adult entertainment — in its name, consider using a discrete name for your billing that has no association with your industry. This adds an extra layer of privacy for your customers, so they won’t be “caught out” and embarrassed by a spouse, friend, or employer. Customers who are caught out are often the ones who commit friendly fraud chargebacks.

Benefits of Merchant Accounts for Adult Sex Products

Automated Payments

You probably already know how convenient it would be to offer your customers credit card payment options. With payment processing services, your customers can pay via credit card, debit card, mobile app or even e-check, making payment easier and more convenient for them. Plus, a payment processor enables you to take payments in other currencies, so you can sell internationally.

Payment Tracking and Tools

If you’re running a business, you don’t have time to manually track payments. A payment processing account provides real-time payment tracking, from point of sale through payment acceptance.

Billing and Invoicing Tools

A merchant account will give you access to automated billing and invoicing tools, so you can eliminate tedious bookkeeping and paperwork.

Payment Security

There’s nothing worse than chasing down customers because of bad checks — but you can solve this problem by offering convenient credit card or e-check processing options for your customers. Plus, all automated payments are fully protected against fraud and cybercrime.

Finding a High-Risk Payment Processing Specialist

Several high-risk payment processing companies specialize in working with merchant accounts for adult sex products. These companies provide the know-how that it takes for high-risk companies to get approval and to keep their merchant accounts active. Before choosing one, however, be aware that some of these companies offer limited services and may not offer all the payment options that you need. In addition, they might not work with the adult entertainment industry — or if they do, they might only work with certain sectors of it.  Toward that end, be sure to choose a company that specifically works with adult sex novelties merchant accounts.   

Here’s what you should look for in a high-risk payment gateway specialist:

Consistent, Fair Pricing

It’s unavoidable. As a high-risk merchant, you’ll be charged higher fees than merchants in traditional industries. But these fees should still be reasonable and should not significantly impact your revenues. A reputable high-risk merchant account specialist will charge acceptable rates and will disclose all fees upfront, so there’s no sticker shock.

Bankcard offers affordable rates for its services, as well as full disclosure so you know exactly how much you’re paying, and why. Plus, we charge the same fees for Mastercard, VISA, Discover, and American Express, unlike some companies that charge varying rates for each card.  

Multiple Payment Options

A good high-risk merchant account specialist will provide you with a variety of automated payment options for your customers, including credit cards, e-checks, mobile app, and other types of online payment methods. And the more options you offer your customers, the more satisfied they’ll be.

If you’re interested in boosting your business and increasing customer satisfaction by offering a full roster of payment options, Bankcard can help. Bankcard is the number-one merchant payment processing specialist for all types of adult businesses, including the adult toy industry and adult novelties merchants, strip clubs, gentleman’s clubs, bookstores, adult cam sites, and adult eCommerce sites. Bankcard was one of the first payment processors to work with the adult entertainment industry and we understand the unique payment solutions that work best for your business.

If you’re ready to boost sales and streamline your business with secure, up-to-date automated payment options, contact Bankcard to find out how we can take your business to the next level of success.

Bankcard was referred to me by my developer. From the jump, they were impressive. They were super responsive, they asked great questions and their solution was really robust. Also, working with Katherine and Hanna is a dream!
High risk merchant account
Emily Wallace
CEO

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Integrations

Bankcard Connect plays nice with others

Bankcard Connect integrates seamlessly with ISV software to simplify payment processing for merchants: any payment type, on any device, anywhere. 

Bankcard integrates with over 99% of the tools you are already using, including popular accounting software and e-commerce apps, regardless of your industry. Our payment services were designed to be adaptable to provide seamless integrations for our customers.

merchant account integrations c

BigCommerce
Formsite
Infusionsoft
Keap
Magento
Microsoft Dynamics
Network Solutions
SalesForce
Shopify
Volusion
Web.com
Weebly
WIX
WooCommerce
WordPress
Yola

Cart66
Checkfront
EASYCART
eShop
Event Espresso
events manager
GetShopped.org
GRAVITY
Jigoshop
Paid Memberships Pro
Shopp
SHOPPERPRESS
templatic
TheCartPress
WishList MEMBER
WooCommerce
WORDPRESS eSTORE
WP GATEWAYS
WpInvoice
wpmudev

Drupal Commerce
Ubercart

HikaShop
Miwisoft
VirtueMart

911 Software, Inc.
ACR Systems
Activant
Aldelo Systems, Inc.
Applied Micro Technology
Advanced Retail Management Solutions (ARMs)
Auto star
Cantaloupe Systems
Data Business Systems
Datacap Systems, Inc.
DataTech Corp
DataVantage
Edgil Associates
Elavon*
Epicor (CRS, NSB)
Freedom Pay
Gateway Ticketing Systems
Idalica Corp
IJN Systems
IT Retail
KWI
Main Street Softworks
MBS Textbook Exchange
Medasyst, Inc.
Microsoft
/n Software, Inc.
PC America
POSiFlex
RATEX Business Solutions
Retail Data Systems
RTL Payment Systems
ScanSource, Inc.
Sicom Systems, Inc.
Slim CD
Tempus Technologies
Tender Retail Systems
The Software Mills
Tomax Corporation
Total Computing Solutions
TouchNet Information Systems
XProtean, Inc. (C-Payment Software)
XPient Solutions
Vista Entertainment Systems

911 Software, Inc.
Data Business Systems
Dinerware
Datacap Systems, Inc.
Main Street Softworks
Menusoft Systems Corp.
Micros Systems
Midnite Express, Inc.
/n Software Inc.
NCR
onePOS.com
Ordyx
Radiant Systems
Revel Systems
Sicom Systems, Inc.
Squirrel Systems
Tempus Technologies
XPient Solutions
XProtean, Inc. (C-Payment Software)
Elavon (previously Southern DataComm and Global Card Services)

Dresser Wayne
Excentus
Fuel Links
Fiscal Systems, Inc.
Gilbarco
LOC Software
Main Street Softworks
Petro RX
PetroVend
Radiant Systems
Retalix
VeriFone Ruby System

Datacap Systems
JPMA
LOC Software
Logivision
MTX/EPS
RORC
StoreNext
Torex

911 Software, Inc.
Hotel Software Systems
Slim CD
Elavon
Tempus Technologies

Government organizations face a growing need for secure payment processing services while managing highly specific needs for content management and security. 

We can work with popular technology products government agencies prefer, like Ciber and Cubic, to create an integrated solution that meets all your needs for processing payments, managing information, and more.

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High risk merchant account payment gateway

We partnered with Bankcard in 2017 and they've been there for us every time. Everything is super fast and I love how well they communicate with our staff. They really know their stuff, and we work in a very complex industry! My account executive knows our business inside and out.

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FAQs: Table of Contents

Accepted Industries and Countries​

The industries we accept for high risk merchant accounts include, but are not limited to the below industries.

  • Adult merchant account
  • Bad credit
  • CBD
  • Credit Repair
  • MLM
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Payday loans
  • Private airlines
  • Subscriptions
  • Travel
  • Vape & eCig
  • Illegal business activity
  • Businesses without the proper license
  • Illegal drugs (CBD with less than 0.30% THC is acceptable)

Bankcard can provide merchant accounts to customers in the below countries. Kindly note that many payment solutions are regulated based on location.

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Bear Island 
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Channel Island
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungry
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vatican City

Being a start-up business will not hinder a business from getting approved for a merchant account. While having a processing history helps your likelihood of getting approved,  the lack of processing will not necessarily stop you from getting an approval. Consult an experienced Account Executive today to learn more. 

There are never guarantees when it comes to the approval of a merchant account. However, we do work with merchants that have low credit scores. Reach out to an Account Executive today for a consultation. 

If you’re a United States citizen applying for a merchant account for a United States registered business, a social security number is required. 

A merchant account can be labeled high risk for many reasons. You can be labeled as such due to high average tickets, being in an industry that historically has high chargebacks, or an industry that tier one banks do not support.

Applying for a merchant account

To apply for a high-risk merchant account, you need to complete our pre-qualification form and upload all required documentation. Once the pre-qualification is complete your Account Executive will locate the best placement for your account, and send you a final agreement. Once that final agreement is signed, underwriting will complete a full package review for approval. 

There is no fee to apply for a merchant services account with Bankcard. However, If you get approved with us there may be a small setup fee for your gateway account.

Square, Stripe, and Paypal are all payment facilitators and do not accept high-risk merchant accounts. Signing up with Bankcard gives you a direct merchant relationship with a sponsor bank. The approval process requires more documentation, but you’re at a significantly lower risk of getting terminated.

This depends upon how quickly you, the merchant, completes our pre-qualification form. Once we have all of your documentation, we get to work. We can typically locate placement for your merchant services account in 48 hours.  

Once you get an approval, you’ll be able to accept credit card payments within 24 business hours. 

Depending upon the program, you will receive your funds anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the batch is settled. 

The industry type is a major determining factor when it comes to risk levels of merchant services. But, other factors such as credit, card-present vs not present, and chargeback ratios can also push an account into the high-risk category as well. 

Completing the Application

Your legal business name should match the business name on the state business registration or licensure. However, if you are a sole proprietor, your name would be the legal business name. 

If you’re not sure how much processing you’ll do, we recommend applying for $5,000 to $10,000 monthly. You don’t need to hit that number each month, but if you’re close to going over, reach out to your Account Executive for assistance. 

Your average transaction amount should be the average of all transactions you would accept with your merchant account. Your maximum transaction should be the anticipated maximum amount accepted in one transaction. If you attempt to process a transaction that is higher than the maximum amount provided, additional proof of purchase may be requested. 

You may provide personal bank statements in lieu of bank statements if your business bank account is new or does not have any activity. 

If you’re applying for a merchant account for ecommerce processing you will need a fully functional website with products or services listed with associated pricing. 

Yes, a credit check is required in order to obtain a high-risk merchant account. Once a final agreement is signed, a hard credit pull is done.  Credit scores are taken into consideration when underwriting reviews a full application for merchant services. 

If you’re a United States citizen applying for a merchant account for a business registered in the United States, your social security number will be required to apply. 

Documents

The first step to applying for a high-risk merchant account is completing the pre-qualification form. Three months bank statements, three months processing statements (if applicable), a voided check or bank letter, and driver’s license or passport will be required to apply. 

If your business does not utilize checks, we can accept a bank letter that includes your full account and routing number as well as the business or account holder’s name. The letter should be on bank letterhead, be dated within the last 30 days, and be signed by a bank representative. 

If you don’t have three months of business bank statements, don’t fret. We can accept three months’ personal bank statements from a business owner, or director. 

Bank statements show a lot about a prospective merchant, namely, processing activity, and the average monthly ending balance. If a merchant is currently processing, we want to know why they’re switching, if we know a merchant’s pain points we can find better solutions for their needs. The average monthly ending balance is also relevant to show financial stability within the business as well as validating the monthly volume requested.

If a merchant is currently processing credit card payments and successfully managing a merchant account this can increase the likelihood of getting approved. Some payment facilitators such as Paypal, Stripe, and Square might not supply monthly processing statements. Underwriting may request login credentials so they can get an overview of the processing activities. 

Equipment and Gateways

For in-person retail card acceptance, Bankcard can provide equipment that will arrive programmed and ready to accept payments. Discuss your equipment options with your experienced Account Executive.

Here at Bankcard, we do offer our own gateway solution that’s exclusive to merchants that sign up with us. Of course, if there’s a gateway you prefer we are willing to work with you as long as integration is possible. Please reach out to your dedicated Account Executive for details. 

Bankcard integrates with NMI, Authorize.net, and more. For specific gateway integration questions reach out to an experienced Account Executive. 

Your merchant account will be set up to accept Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and ATM cards. 

Load balancing is the strategy of spreading transactions over more than one MID. It’s not necessary for all high-risk accounts, but can be considered as a way to manage chargeback ratios with high-risk merchants. 

Existing Merchant Accounts

Not to worry, this number can be increased as needed. However, the bank underwriting your merchant account needs to be aware of the expected monthly volume to ensure they have capacity available for all merchants processing with that bank. 

If you go over by a small amount you might be asked for a copy of the invoice or receipt. However, if you go over the monthly limit by a large amount there is a chance your excess funds might be held temporarily. 

When it comes to high-risk accounts, banks ideally want chargeback ratios below the 3% threshold. If you can provide long term processing history the bank may take this into consideration. Lower chargeback ratios are ideal. Consult your knowledgeable Account Executive for assistance in lowering your chargeback ratio. 

Rolling reserves are a way to financially protect the processing bank from potential losses from chargebacks or refunds. Not all high-risk merchant accounts require a rolling reserve. The risk department will determine if and when a rolling reserve is required. 

Interchange fees refer to the issuing credit card brand fees such as Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American express. These fees vary depending on the card type, American Express tends to be the most expensive card to process. Interchange rates can range from 1% to 2.5%. 

Of course! Once you’ve established a healthy processing history, you may reach out to your Account Executive for a rate review. We recommend only doing this if your processing history shows low chargeback ratios and relatively low refund activity. 

You may request an increase in your monthly volume at any time. However, it’s recommended to wait until your merchant account reflects healthy processing history as well as financial stability from your bank statements. 

Reach out to our support team, or your dedicated Account Executive for any account-related updates you may need. 

Depending on the program your merchant account fees are either taken at the beginning of each month. Some programs require daily discounts. Program details will be notated on your final agreement and if you have further questions you can always consult your Account Executive. 

ACH payments

Bankcard can assist with ACH or eCheck services. An application and approval process still applies to this service, or it can be an added service with your processing account. Reach out to your Account Executive for details. 

The approval process requires less documentation than applying for a merchant services account. And if you’re already processing with Bankcard an approval can be expedited. 

Every account is different, however, most programs allow next-day settlements for ACH transactions. 

ACH payment acceptance can be integrated into most website platforms. Reach out to a dedicated Account Executive for more information. 

Pricing and Approval

High-risk merchant accounts are priced higher than low-risk accounts because fewer banks are willing to work with businesses labeled “high risk”. Banks also need additional financial protections from loss on these accounts.  

Bankcard will always provide fair pricing based on the risk level of every merchant. And if a current processing statement is provided we’ll do everything in our power to beat the merchant’s current rates. 

While we love working with merchants that are considered high risk. There are limitations put in place by bank and card brand rules. If a merchant does not abide by the specific program rules described by the Account Executive assisting them we cannot ensure an approval.

Think of merchant accounts as a loan or a line of credit. And processing banks take on the risk of transactions getting charged back. Banks can end up liable for the actions of merchants, a problematic merchant can damage the reputation of the bank funding and processing the transactions.