You can’t add guns to your Google Merchant Account because Google restricts many items for sale, and guns are among these products.
Not to worry: You can still work with a merchant account processor that’s familiar with working with a high-risk company, including weapons merchants. The expertise of merchant processors can be critical to your business.
Many stores have seen incredible benefits from the Google Merchant Center. A merchant account allows stores to manage in-store and online product inventory. It also lets business owners alter how their products appear in search results, making it easy for customers to purchase.
Google’s Merchant Account is a popular ecommerce solution that takes advantage of the billions of daily searches conducted using Google. Since Google is the behemoth of the search engine and ecommerce world, it can drive business directly to your website. This reality means you must fully optimize your Google Merchant Account and connect it with other financial solutions.
Google Merchant Account restricts what you can sell on its platform. Unfortunately, these restrictions can make it harder or impossible for some companies to use the service. Google’s restrictions on gun sales prohibit gun merchants from processing payments.
You’ll need a high-risk merchant account provider specializing in payment processing for gun merchants. Bankcard can help your business access these needed merchant account solutions.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Google Merchant Center?
- What Restrictions Are on a Google Merchant Account?
- Why Do Some Merchant Account Providers Avoid Gun Merchants?
- Can I Sell Gun-Related Products With a Google Merchant Account?
- Where Can I Sell Guns?
- What Can I Do To Reduce My Financial Risk and Expenses?
- Partner With Bankcard
What Is the Google Merchant Center?
A Google Merchant Account allows businesses to showcase information in ads and other information on Google.
A Google Merchant Center account lets businesses:
Tie product data directly to search results
This connection lets users figure out what people are searching for when they find products. You can enhance your search engine optimization and make it easier for people to find your products.
Offer essential information about a product
Product information you can share includes title, price, images and more. You can also add or remove products at any time. This feature is highly flexible since it allows you to update information about what’s in your store and which products might be on sale.
Tie inventory to search results
Users can easily see what’s in stock and where they can get an item. Businesses can also hide items not currently in stock.
Create free product listings
These free listings let business owners advertise their products and display detailed product descriptions at no charge.
Link to a landing page or website of your choosing
Additional links offer another way customers can interact with you, and you can highlight special promotions. If you create landing pages for SEO or inbound marketing, you can tie those landing pages directly to your Google Merchant Account.
Display contact information for a location
This information will also appear in Google search queries. Results will appear in the shopping tab of a Google search.
The best part? Your business can run these services for free. A Google Merchant Account can increase your business, steer more people to your website or blog and help you get contact information.
Keep in mind the end goal of the Google Merchant Account: The company wants to sell you more ad space. Your merchant center account can help with this, giving you information on the best ads and lowest prices. Your business can also maintain precise control over your ad spend, as you can budget on a per-click basis or create a monthly cap. Once you hit this cap, Google pulls down the ad, ensuring you only spend what you can afford.
Bankcard can fully integrate with a Google Merchant Account and other shopping sites like Shopify and WooCommerce. Gun merchants should check Shopify and WooCommerce’s list of allowed products before setting up shop. Reach out to see how Bankcard can help you set up a merchant account for gun sales.
What Restrictions Are on a Google Merchant Account?
If you get value from your Google Merchant Account, the last thing you want is a policy violation or an account review. Google notes that there are restrictions on the following:
- Adult-oriented products
- Gambling-related products
- Alcoholic drinks
- Political products
- Counterfeit or “misleading” products
- Dangerous products
- Healthcare, medicines or drugs
- Other “inappropriate” content or content that promotes “dishonest behavior”
Google offers a long explanation for each of these restrictions. There are exceptions within each section. For example, in its Gambling section, Google notes that businesses can’t use its Merchant Account Center to sell bonus codes, vouchers or lottery tickets. You can still sell poker chips or other gambling-related merchandise.
Why Do Some Merchant Account Providers Avoid Gun Merchants?
You may need help accessing other financial tools like retail credit card processing because weapons stores are designated high-risk businesses. A high-risk business is a business that poses an added risk to credit card companies. This risk may exist for numerous reasons, including a high potential for chargebacks.
A chargeback occurs when a consumer wants a charge reversed on their card. They may seek this reversal for many reasons, including fraud or a misunderstood purchase. Chargebacks are more common in some industries, such as MLM Merchant Accounts, when consumers don’t understand what they’re buying.
Merchant account providers consider weapons stores high risk due to concerns over reputational damage. Credit card companies are under intense pressure from activists to stop processing credit cards from gun merchants. Thus far, companies like Visa and Mastercard have rebuffed these efforts. The processing challenges associated with weapons purchases require additional compliance work from credit card companies. Merchant account processors will classify weapons stores as high-risk businesses to recover some of the money they spend for this extra work.
These processing challenges have dramatically expanded in recent years. Major credit card companies recently agreed to adopt a new credit card code when processing transactions at weapons stores. The move came after years of pressure from gun violence advocates, who say that a code can allow law enforcement to recognize dangerous weapons trends. But even those advocating an end to gun violence believe the benefits of the new code will be limited. Implementing the code will require more work from credit card companies and merchant account processors. This move further justifies why weapons stores are often considered high-risk.
Finally, credit card processors may face criminal or civil liability for their involvement in gun sales. For example, if a merchant account provider offers services to a weapons vendor and unknowingly processes transactions involving gun sales. If the merchant sold a weapon later used in a crime and was unlicensed, the merchant account provider may be criminally and civilly liable.
These significant risks can result in massive fines or jail time. Many merchant account processors are unwilling to take this chance. If you manage a gun business, you must find a merchant account processor who understands your business and what you need to manage your business legally. Bankcard can provide you with the help you deserve to get the merchant account you need.
Can I Sell Gun-Related Products With a Google Merchant Account?
You can find information on other guns in the “dangerous products” section of Google’s website. These restrictions apply to a wide range of products. Google defines a gun as anything that fires a high-velocity projectile. This definition stops you from selling other gun-related products, like paintball guns.
It’s also not just whole guns that you can’t sell. These restrictions also apply to gun parts, information about making 3D guns and other weapons.
Can you sell anything related to a gun?
Yes. There’s one relatively small exception: Small businesses can sell items that “increase the safety of the gun.” For example, you can sell safeties, safety videos or gun safes.
As you can imagine, these restrictions dramatically limit what you can and can’t sell via the Google Merchant Account Center. However, suppose you own a gun store and want to sell weapons safely, legally and securely. In that case, you may find this is symptomatic of a broader problem: Accessing financial and business tools can be extremely difficult if you operate a weapons store.
Why? Weapons stores are usually high-risk businesses. This classification makes it more difficult and expensive to access essential financial services. High-risk businesses often need specialized financial products like high-risk credit card collection and a high-risk internet payment gateway.
Bankcard offers all the solutions gun merchants need to begin selling products and processing payments.
Where Can I Sell Guns?
You can buy and sell guns in many locations, including:
- Private websites
- Brick-and-mortar stores
- Certain shooting ranges
- Gun shows
- Private sales
If you use any of these options, you need a merchant account processor that handles weapons transactions.
You can also sell guns via a gun broker. Gun brokers are licensed to purchase and sell weapons and understand legal risks. Many of these websites allow you to create a virtual storefront to sell guns. You can also open your own website once you’ve obtained the licensure needed in your area.
Creating your own website may be the best alternative, although there may be challenges. Many credit card processors may charge you a higher rate to process weapons-related transactions. These processors may also lack the experience to manage your gun business appropriately.
Finding such a processor can be challenging since many processing companies avoid gun sales altogether. Bankcard can help you access a merchant processing account and ensure your business meets all compliance rules and regulations.
What Can I Do To Reduce My Financial Risk and Expenses?
Reducing financial risk and lowering expenses requires an experienced high-risk merchant account provider. A processor familiar with weapons sales can show you how to reduce costs, turning their experience into your profits.
Finding a merchant account processor is just the first step. Once you do, this partnership provides constant assistance to help you:
Adhere to all relevant laws
Failure to do so may result in losing access to card processing services. It may also expose your company to legal liability and criminal charges. A merchant account provider can help you meet local, state and federal guidelines for gun merchants. Merchant account services can also help identify outside experts that can assist you with compliance efforts.
Confirm the purchaser’s identification
This confirmation isn’t just necessary to operate within the confines of the law, but it’s essential to prevent chargebacks. You should also ensure that only an authorized user completes credit card purchases.
Communicate your refund policies
Clearly displaying your refund policies, if there’s a time limit and how customers can initiate a refund can reduce misunderstandings, confusion and chargebacks. You can add this information to any paper or electronic receipt, post it at your physical checkout or place it on your website and checkout pages.
Protect all confidential customer information
Allowing customer data or identifiable information to get into the wrong hands can put you, your business and your customers at risk. An experienced merchant account provider updates your point-of-sale devices and payment gateways with the most recent software and security patches. Updated POS systems reduce the odds of stolen financial information, thus protecting you from legal and financial liability.
Develop a record-keeping system
Firearms merchants need a record-keeping system that complies with legislation governing gun sales. A merchant account provider can help you integrate your financial records system accordingly.
Partner With Bankcard
Your business deserves access to affordable financial products. At Bankcard, we offer a range of safe, secure, affordable financial products specifically tailored to high-risk businesses. Contact us today to speak with one of our high-risk payments experts.