Document Preparation Merchant Accounts

high risk merchant account payment gateway

If you own or manage a document preparation business, you probably already know how hard it is to get credit card processing services for your industry. For a variety of reasons, merchant service providers are usually unwilling to approve a document preparation merchant account, no matter how successful the business might be. If your business has been declined approval for payment processing services, don’t take it personally. It’s most likely a standard reaction based on the industry you’re in and not a reflection of your company’s reputation or success rate.

Why are industries like yours denied approval from payment processing companies? And is there a way to finally get the credit card payment options you need to successfully run your business? The good news is yes, some gateway payment services are specializing in taking on higher-risk accounts, but it takes a bit of know-how, plus some expert guidance, to choose the right one for your business.

Why Are Document Preparation Companies Considered High-Risk?

If you didn’t even realize until now that you were in a high-risk industry, don’t be alarmed. A lot of business owners and managers don’t even know that their industry is considered high-risk until they apply for credit card processing services. Often, it’s not until they’re declined approval that they realize that their industry is creating this obstacle.

At this point, you may be wondering, why are document preparation merchant accounts on the high-risk list?

To explain this, it’s a good idea to first look at the nature of the industry, and why it might be impacted by chargebacks and other issues.

Document preparation companies typically deal with all types of business documents, including those involving wills, name changes, business incorporations, bankruptcy, and divorce. Doc prep companies work with everyone from major corporations creating mergers, to teenagers applying for student loans. It’s a vital business, and as an independent industry, it takes a great deal of the paperwork hassles away from bankers and lawyers.

Why is a document preparation merchant account considered high-risk? One primary reason is due to chargebacks, which are at an especially high rate in the doc prep industry. These stem from customers who try to get their doc prep services for free by abusing the company’s refund policy. Sometimes they’ll claim dissatisfaction after the work’s already been done, leaving the doc prep merchant with no choice other than to issue a refund.

Another problem has to do with the legalities and regulations concerning the documents themselves. In many cases, documents have to be prepared under a huge roster of state or federal regulations. This can cause a major headache for the credit card processor because it might involve hours of extra due diligence to meet industry compliance.

Because of these reasons, many merchant processors will refuse to work with a document preparation merchant account. This results in a blanket denial for the entire industry so that even if you work with relatively simple documents, you’re still likely to be denied by a merchant processing company.

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High risk merchant account
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Document Preperation Merchant Account Overview

How The "High-Risk" Designation Affects Your Business 

Merchant processing companies are somewhat like bank lenders, in that they look at a variety of factors before they agree to take on an account. Before banks approve a business loan, they look at a client’s credit scores and sales ratings. However, before payment processing companies accept a new account, they first look at what kind of industry you’re in.

How does that affect you? Significantly, as it turns out. There’s a whole list of industries that are nearly always automatically denied approval by standard payment processing companies. This may not make sense until you understand the reasons why these are designated as “high-risk” industries.

For payment processing companies, a high-risk industry differs from traditional industries, such as most retailers, because it may deal with certain elements that pose a higher payment risk. For example, property management is considered a high-risk industry because tenants often default on rent payments, either through insolvency or because of disputes with their landlords. Likewise, tourism-related companies, such as vacation home rental businesses, suffer from a high rate of cancellations (especially during this pandemic era). This results in an unusually high number of chargebacks, as vacation companies are compelled to refund deposits (and sometimes entire vacation rental payments) back to the customer’s credit card. And speaking of chargebacks…

How Do Chargebacks Impact Merchant Processing Approval?

High chargeback rates are one of the primary reasons why certain industries are designated “high-risk.” As one example, subscription box services — including some of the monthly product deliveries that are so popular today — are subject to a high number of chargebacks because customers can cancel their subscriptions at any time. And as we discussed before, a document preparation merchant account is especially prone to higher-than-usual chargeback rates.

The more customers cancel or get refunded on a credit card payment, the more money is lost by the credit card processing service. If a certain industry typically suffers a higher-than-normal amount of customer chargebacks, it’s automatically put on the high-risk list.

Having trouble getting approved somewhere else? We specialize in high risk. Apply today.

Which Industries are Considered High-Risk?

Here’s just a partial list of industries designated as high risk by credit card processing companies:

  • Document preparation services
  • Cannabis vendors
  • Adult entertainment
  • Property management
  • Vacation and tourism
  • Online dating
  • Fantasy sports
  • Privately-owned health/beauty companies
  • Collectibles/antiques
  • Pay-day lending services
  • Gun retailers
  • Nutraceutical retailers
  • Subscription billing services
  • Online gambling and gaming
  • Pawnshops

One thing to note: When it comes to merchant processing approval, it’s not always an even playing field, even within an industry. For example, travel and tourism businesses are considered high-risk, but not if they’re owned by a major, nationally-known corporation, such as a major airline. The same goes for beauty and health vendors and retailers. In the end, a lot of it comes down to underwriting.

Merchant processing companies are typically funded or underwritten by major banks and credit card companies. This means that the financial entity that’s doing the underwriting withstands the risks of taking on a new account, as well as any losses that might come from chargebacks or other payment defaults.

However, even for these major financial corporations, underwriting doesn’t provide a limitless flow of financial backing. If a specific business is part of a high-risk industry, then no matter how successful that business might be, it will generally be declined approval by a standard merchant processing company. However, there may be exceptions if the company is owned by a major nationally-known corporation — such as, in the travel industry, an airline, or a hotel chain.

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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Can Payment Processing Services Benefit Your Document Preparation Company?

If you’ve already been denied approval by a payment processing company, then you’re probably operating without the benefits of credit card processing and automated payment options. Whether you’ve applied yet or not, now’s a good time to take a look at some of the benefits you can get from expert high-risk merchant processing services:

The convenience of credit card payments

No matter what kind of business you’re running, your customers will thank you for offering credit card payment options. Statistics show that credit cards and debit cards are the most popular payment method in the US. And by offering credit card and e-check payment options, you’re providing your customers with a faster, easier way for them to pay you. This can result in quicker payments for your services, as well as higher customer satisfaction.

Also, by accepting credit cards and electronic payments, you’re greatly mitigating the risk of getting bad checks. There’s nothing more exasperating or embarrassing than having to track down customers to let them know that, usually through their bad bookkeeping, their checks have bounced.

A more professional image for your business

As a business, you’ll look far more reputable and businesslike if you can provide multiple payment options, including a variety of electronic payment options, for your customers. This not only adds more convenience for your customers, but it also adds a higher level of professionalism for your company’s reputation.

As a doc prep service provider, you’re dealing with important, life-altering documents for your clients, and you know how important it is to project an image of trustworthiness and reliability. The ability to offer a full roster of automated payment options will help you maintain your reputation as an industry professional who offers the highest level of service to your customers.

The ease of mobile app payments

If your business isn’t yet accepting mobile app payments, then you might have some catching up to do. Mobile app payments have become the industry standard for a variety of businesses, with more than 44 percent of transactions worldwide being made via mobile apps. With merchant account processing services, you’ll be able to offer your customers convenient payment options through multiple devices.

Tracking and management tools

Payment processing services provide real-time payment tracking of all payments, from the minute they’re received until they’ve been fully processed. Merchant processing companies also offer a variety of management tools that can help you eliminate tedious weekly and monthly bookkeeping.

High-risk Merchant Processing Companies

In recent years, several high-risk merchant processors have appeared on the market, thanks to the demand from burgeoning (and booming) industries such as cannabis and nutraceuticals. These specialized merchant processors work with credit card companies and banks to take on these high-risk accounts.

Because of the risks, however, it’s an unavoidable fact that these companies will charge a higher fee than a standard merchant processing company. This fee helps absorb the cost of these risks while ensuring that you’ll be able to enjoy the same services that traditional merchant processors provide. Likewise, a reputable company will give full disclosure on all fees, and keep them as low as possible for their merchant account clients.

While this is all a plus, it’s important to know that high-risk payment processors aren’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Some of them tend to focus on one trending industry — such as cannabis — while others might offer only limited services to high-risk businesses. Likewise, some high-risk merchant processing companies might still deny applications for certain industries like property management or doc prep services.

Finding The Best High-Risk Merchant Processing Company

Before you start searching for a payment processing company that will approve your document preparation merchant account, it’s important to look for some qualifying factors that ensure you’ll be getting the services you need. Here’s what to look for:

Does the payment processing company accept accounts in your industry?

The payment processor you choose may not accept a document preparation merchant account, so be sure to first find out if they’ll work with your industry.

Does the company offer fair pricing and reasonable rates?

While higher fees are unavoidable for high-risk merchant processors, there’s no excuse for ridiculously high fees, or a multitude of fees tacked on to every single service. For example, some merchant processors add extra fees for chargebacks, while others don’t. Look for a company that keeps these fees to a minimum, and offers full disclosure on what it charges, and why.

Equal fees for credit cards

In the eyes of some merchant processors, not all credit cards are the same. For various reasons, they’ll charge different fees for MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover; but in reality, these fees should all be the same. If they’re not, then ask why not; and if you’re not satisfied with the answer, then find another payment processing company.

A variety of payment options

Even with high-risk merchant processing services, you should be able to enjoy the same benefits that standard merchants enjoy, including a variety of online payment options for your customers. A good processing service will offer automated payment options for every major credit card, as well as e-checks and mobile app payments.

If you’d like to provide credit card and electronic payment options for your customers, Bankcard can help. Bankcard helps high-risk merchants get the payment processing services they need to stay competitive and successful. And for your document preparation business, Bankcard can help you increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as eliminate tedious monthly bookkeeping. To find out more, contact us for a free consultation, and discover how our experts can help you get the payment processing services your business needs — and deserves.

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. 

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