Merchant Account for Call Centers

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High risk merchant account
Emily Wallace
Call Center Merchant Account

How to Set Up a Merchant Account for Call Centers

Call centers provide vital services for companies across the business spectrum. Although the definition of a call center can vary, generally speaking, call centers can answer customers’ questions, provide customer service, conduct research, or solicit new business from potential customers. While they are sometimes considered part of the customer service arm of a business, more often than not, the specialized call centers will contract with businesses to handle these customer service functions. 

This occurs because call centers can often run functions for multiple businesses at the same time. As a result, they can provide customer service functions that operate 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately, as any call center operator knows, it is often not easy to manage a call center. There are a variety of obstacles to deal with, including high staff turnover, a wide variety of client projects and objectives to meet, and challenges at conducting the basics of business. Indeed, that last item can be particularly burdensome, as many call centers have trouble obtaining basic tools of business, such as establishing a merchant account.

Fortunately, there are many businesses that can provide high-quality business services to call centers, but there is no question that finding access to affordable business services can be a challenge for many call centers.

What Is a Merchant Account for a Call Center?

 A merchant account is what allows a call center to do business. It lets any business accept credit card payments, bank payments, and other merchant services.

As any business knows, the idea of accepting money is not simply a matter of taking cash, making the occasional bank deposit, and watching your money grow. These days, there is a huge array of how businesses collect payment. Cash is barely the smallest fraction of them. There are also credit cards, ACH payments, eCommerce, eChecks, crypto payments, and more. Furthermore, the rise of cybercrime and fraud has created an entirely new need for fraud protection services, and a merchant account provider is critical to not only keeping vases of fraud at a low but also protecting both the merchant and customer from when these instances of fraud occur.

If you are new to this line of work, you may think that opening up a bank account is all that you need. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Banks and bank accounts can help you make payments, store your money, and provide you with financial services. That being said, a bank account is not enough to accept payments, manage the records related to those payments, and more. For that, you need the more advanced financial services that only a merchant account provider can give you. 

As such, any call center needs to go out of their way to ensure that they find a merchant account provider who is capable of giving them high-quality merchant account services. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for call centers for reasons that are often specific to their industry. 

Why Do You Need to Establish a Merchant Account for a Call Center?

This can be a challenge for any call center. In theory, all you have to do is call up a merchant account provider and find out how much it will cost you to have them process your payments, set up payment gateways, and manage any other services that you need. However, many merchant account providers consider call centers to be high-risk businesses. 

A high-risk business is a business that has certain unique credit card challenges that are specific to how it processes payments. They occur because a company is at a higher risk for either fraud or chargebacks. Fraud occurs when someone makes a payment with your account that is not actually authorized by the cardholder. 

Since all major credit cards have fraud protection, the credit card company will refund the fraudulent payment. Someone other than the cardholder will then have to bear the burden of the cost. This will result in a chargeback. Chargebacks hurt everyone involved but can be particularly expensive for vendors and merchant account processors, as they have to engage in additional paperwork, investigate the situation, and ultimately refund a charge.  

In order to offset the greater risk associated with processing payments for high-risk merchants, merchant account providers will often charge vendors — such as call centers — a greater fee with every transaction that they make. They may also engage in more extensive paperwork or charge greater set-up fees. 

Avoiding making greater payments for high-risk vendors is unavoidable. However, all merchant account providers are absolutely not the same, and many work with a wide array of industries to help reduce their risk — and ultimately the money that they pay.

Why Is a Call Center Considered High-Risk?

The high-risk classification rarely occurs as a result of just one or two factors. Generally speaking, this classification is only given to businesses that meet many of these criteria. Indeed, there are many reasons call centers are high-risk. These include:

  • Fraud: A call center will often take payments over the phone, verifying the identity of the cardholder may be difficult. This makes call centers far more likely to inadvertently be participants in making unauthorized charges on a credit card.
  • Volume: The sheer volume of calls that a call center processes — and the elevated-risk nature of many of these calls — dramatically increases the odds that higher-than-average volumes of fraud will occur during these calls.
  • Subscription-based services: Call centers will manage many subscription services, and these centers often help to process cards or otherwise handle customer service issues. Subscription-based services face elevated risks of chargebacks because many people don’t understand when or why they are being billed for subscription services, resulting in refunds.
  • Foreign transactions: Many call centers are either located outside of the United States or deal with customers that are foreign. This increases the likelihood of fraud occurring, and this means that there may be more chargebacks incurred by your call center. 
  • Product-specific: A vendor is more likely to get tagged as high-risk if they work with products that are of questionable legality. There are also business-specific concerns with products that may have illegal uses. A high-risk business classification is more likely if you work with any of these examples, which may include adult products or products related to drug paraphernalia. 

How Can a Merchant Account Provider Work With a Call Center?

Thankfully, there are many ways that a merchant account provider can work with a call center, and in doing so, help a call center reduce its overhead, incidents of fraud, and chargebacks.

The most important thing that a merchant account provider can do for a call center provides them with a high-risk payment gateway. This means that a merchant account provider will actually set up the software and integration that enables a call center to process credit cards, ensuring that the money will wind up in the appropriate bank account. However, in many cases, this may extend beyond traditional credit cards. Your business may also need ACH payments. ACH payments are payments from one bank to another, and call centers will often utilize these types of payments. Depending on the nature of a call center’s business, a call center may need to incorporate alternative payment methods, including checks, eChecks, or Crypto payments. This is particularly true for Crypto payments, which have grown in popularity and are being used more and more frequently by many types of industries. Your call center business should be looking at expanding the methods of payment that you collect.

A slew of other eCommerce options may also be necessary. For example, many merchant account providers are expanding their reach in order to touch more digital payment methods, including Stripe, PayPal, Venmo, Shopify, and more. If your call center does business with any of these payment methods, you will need to make sure that your merchant account provider is capable of handling these transactions.  

Finally, you will want to make sure that a merchant account provider has ample experience in dealing with foreign banks or currency exchanges. Call centers often deal with international customers, and this means that the money will either have to travel through foreign banks or will arrive in your bank account via a foreign currency. As a result, you may incur additional transfer fees, and you should work with a merchant account provider that has experience in managing these fees and keeping them to a minimum. 

What Should I Look for in a Merchant Account Provider?

At the end of the day, your call center business is going to need more than just the basic services. Merchant account providers will often offer extensive services for your business. You will also likely need an array of other services that are exclusive to your particular industry. 

First, you want to make sure that you locate a merchant account provider who has ample experience in working with high-risk merchants or call centers. Call centers have a variety of needs that are highly specific to their industry, including handling a massive volume of calls, managing fraud reduction, working with out-of-the-country clients, and more. This means that you will need a merchant account provider who has accumulated a set of skills and experience that is unique to this sector of the economy. 

You will also want to make sure that your merchant account provider offers you some form of chargeback protection. This means that they will not only help you limit the number of chargebacks you incur but potentially cover a certain number of chargebacks before you have to take the financial hit yourself. These services may come with a flat fee or may be part of an overall package tailored towards high-risk merchant needs, and it is worth investigating whether or not such a protection service is right for you.

Next, make sure that you are working with a merchant account provider who can integrate their software with yours. If your business is already established, odds are good that you have a long history of working with a platform that manages your accounting, customer relationship manager, tax records, and more. As such, you will want to make sure that your merchant account provider has the expertise to integrate the software that they provide with the software that you already have on hand. This will minimize both your expenses and the amount of training time your staff may have to incur.

The additional software you may need to purchase may also come with additional needs in terms of physical equipment. Point-of-service equipment may be necessary for your business, so make sure to find out what sort of equipment you will have to purchase. You will also have to investigate the fees on that purchase. Additionally, if maintenance or customer service is necessary on the equipment that you purchase, make sure to find out right away what sort of fees you will have to pay. Nothing is worse than a lack of transparency on the part of your merchant account provider, and they should be upfront with you about how much it will cost to use their equipment. 

There are many merchant account processors out there, and you have to be extremely careful and judicious in what you look for and what services your merchant account processor can provide you with. You will need a business that has extensive experience in dealing with other high-risk merchants, can provide you access to additional products, and is capable of integrating with your already existing software in order to ensure a minimum of work and a maximum of functionality. At the same time, you’ll need prices that are fair and affordable.

If this is what you are looking for, reach out to Bankcard, and learn more about how we can help your business grow


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

Microsoft Dynamics
Network Solutions

Event Espresso
events manager
Paid Memberships Pro

Drupal Commerce


911 Software, Inc.
ACR Systems
Aldelo Systems, Inc.
Applied Micro Technology
Advanced Retail Management Solutions (ARMs)
Auto star
Cantaloupe Systems
Data Business Systems
Datacap Systems, Inc.
DataTech Corp
Edgil Associates
Epicor (CRS, NSB)
Freedom Pay
Gateway Ticketing Systems
Idalica Corp
IJN Systems
IT Retail
Main Street Softworks
MBS Textbook Exchange
Medasyst, Inc.
/n Software, Inc.
PC America
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
Datacap Systems, Inc.
Main Street Softworks
Menusoft Systems Corp.
Micros Systems
Midnite Express, Inc.
/n Software Inc.
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
Fuel Links
Fiscal Systems, Inc.
LOC Software
Main Street Softworks
Petro RX
Radiant Systems
VeriFone Ruby System

Datacap Systems
LOC Software

911 Software, Inc.
Hotel Software Systems
Slim CD
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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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.

Alexandria, CMO
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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. 


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,, 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.