Shopify High-Risk Payment Gateway

As a high-risk Shopify payment gateway partner, Bankcard provides all the services your business may need to accept payments, including access to advanced capabilities that will assist in your company’s growth.

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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

High-Risk Payment Gateway Overview

If you have a business that takes payments online, you know that you need to gain access to a wide array of merchant accounts in order to make sure that your customers can make a payment in a manner that best suits their needs, interests, and preferences. One example of a valuable and growing eCommerce platform is Shopify. Shopify is an eCommerce shopping platform and merchant vendor that allows users to create eCommerce stores. It comes with a variety of benefits and features, including the ability to use its merchant-only services for payment processing, establish branded stores, take advantage of its customer service experts, customize sale options, and more. The platform is not free from disadvantages, but vendors across many business services have found that it can be a valuable part of their overall eCommerce strategy. 
Unfortunately, some merchants find themselves in the unenviable position of being classified as “high-risk” merchants. This can be a big problem for these merchants, as it may mean that they have to pay added fees in order to gain access to eCommerce solutions, or may have issues getting approved altogether. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce the fees associated with being a high-risk merchant.

What Makes A Business Get Classified as High-Risk? 

One factor is usually not enough to result in a vendor being classified as high-risk. Instead, it is usually a series of factors. These include:
  • The industry that a vendor uses. This can include a variety of industries, including CBD, adult products, credit repair companies, private airline charter services, and more. Generally speaking, these industries will have a higher than normal risk of fraud or chargebacks.
  • The amount of fraud and chargebacks in an industry or to a specific business. Chargebacks are what occur when a refund is given on a credit card purchase. A high amount of chargebacks can cost all parties involved money, and in order to offset this risk, payment processors – like Shopify – may classify a vendor as high-risk. 
  • Working with clients who may have financial problems. This is the case because these individuals are more likely to seek a return on their product, be victims of fraud, or commit fraud in the first place. 
  • Use of recurring payments, as is the case with many subscription payments. This is because many people will not realize that they have a subscription service and seek a refund of a charge.
  • Extensive use of foreign currency. This is because it is far too easy for fraud to occur using foreign payments. 

What Advantages Does Shopify Have?

There is, of course, no shortage of third-party vendors that can allow you to set up online stores, integrate those stores with your website, and more. This begs the question: Why is Shopify worth using, particularly for high-risk vendors? Thankfully, there are real answers that can help explain Shopify’s various advantages.

First, Shopify comes with more options than you could ever need. You can use a slew of its services, including its payment gateway, a full online store, and everything and anything in between. All of the content is highly customizable, meaning that you can add or remove features as best suit your needs. You can also customize it based on built-in brands and templates, or you can use your own programming expertise in order to create your own custom-designed storefront.
Importantly, Shopify also has shopping cart support. It uses a robust and highly secure program that enables users to put items in their shopping cart, then check out. Carts can be set up so that individuals can save items for later, meaning that they can easily leave the store and return at a later date, picking up exactly where they left off. Stores can be set up in multiple languages and set up so that they offer free shipping, alternative shipping rates, automatic taxes, and more.
Shopify also understands that users need more than just a store: They may need help steering potential customers to that store. As such, they offer a variety of SEO boosts, Google Ad credits, discounts, social media integration, and more. Shopify is also known for having extensive Facebook integration, so users can set up stores that can be easily accessed via Facebook.
It is also worth noting that Shopify has extensive analytics that is available to users. It can give you a dashboard that shows who is accessing your store and where users are coming from, give you access to Google analytics, export reports, provide product reports, and more. 
In other words: Shopify is so much more than just an online store, and the above barely scratches the surface of the variety of advantages that Shopify has to offer any user. That being said, the use of Shopify can still be a serious challenge for users who are high risk. Fortunately, integrating your Shopify account with a third party can help to reduce this risk and give you access to Shopify’s extensive payment options. 

What are the Disadvantages of Using Shopify?

While Shopify unquestionably comes with a series of excellent advantages that make it easy to use for many merchants, there are challenges that exist from using it. 
First of all, the nature of creating a Shopify storefront will lock you into using this platform at the expense of others. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you find that Shopify works for you, but Shopify is not designed to easily integrate with other platforms. As a result, you can lose the portability that comes with using Shopify exclusively. This can also result in more problems later down the road. For example, say you decide to move from one Shopify to another. Switching platforms can be a challenge, as Shopify does not export the necessary data easily.
Shopify, like many other similar programs, will take a chunk out of your profits with every sale it makes. As if that isn’t bad enough, Shopify will also charge you for use of certain widgets designed to increase sales in your online storefront. Many of these widgets are virtual requirements for operating many stores, such as inventory management. These added fees make Shopify more expensive than other similar options, like WordPress. They also can leave many users with a bad taste, as the platform simply makes it appear as if they are just trying to nickel and dime users. 
Shopify does have extensive customizability options. However, it is not a blank slate. This means that creating your own options and customizing everything simply isn’t possible. For many merchants, this will never become an issue, as the array of customizability options is often enough. However, if you have extensive programming skills or want to create an option for yourself that extends beyond the menu that Shopify presents you, you may be out of luck. 
Furthermore, as a massive conglomerate within the eCommerce space, Shopify often has faster loading speeds and access to better technology than you would be able to obtain on your own. Indeed, the size of Shopify can truly be leveraged for a variety of vendors. 

How Can I Use a Third-Party Merchant Account with Shopify? 

Shopify has support for two types of third-party merchant accounts. One is a direct provider, meaning that customers can just make a payment in their online store. Vendors also have the option of using third-party accounts, meaning that individuals can complete a checkout on a third-party’s page. This software should be able to be easily integrated into your Shopify account.
This is yet another benefit of Shopify: It allows businesses to easily configure their Shopify store to enable these types of payments. Furthermore, the integration is seamless. This means that users can easily make a purchase and then be taken right back to someone’s store. Most users won’t even notice the difference between the use of a direct payment or a third-party account.
Third-party accounts can be particularly beneficial for any user, but particularly for high-risk merchant accounts, who may need access to a variety of services and protections that are not commonly offered by regular vendors. In this situation, users could set up a high-risk payment gateway, then integrate that gateway with their merchant account. 

What Should I Look for in a Third-Party Merchant Account?

Third-party merchant accounts can be exceptionally useful to your business and may be able to provide you with an array of services. This goes double for businesses that have been classified as high-risk, as a high-risk business means that you will need additional supports in order to keep your payments as low as possible. 
As such, when making the decision to look for a third-party merchant account, there are many factors and services that you should keep in mind.
First, what sort of services does your vendor offer? Remember, any vendor can process a credit card, but if you are looking for a third-party merchant account that offers more, you need to determine what additional services your third-party merchant account offers and how those services can help you. For example, in addition to payment processing, what sort of fraud protection or security measures do they have in place? What programs do they have that can eliminate or reduce chargebacks? Do they offer any sort of chargeback protection services? How easily do they integrate into other programs, like your own website or Shopify? How robust is their customer service? What happens if you have some sort of emergency, like a data breach, that requires an immediate resolution? Do they offer an array of payment methods, not only including online but also include in-store or mobile devices? Do they have check or eCheck processing? Can they work directly with your banks to identify custom financial solutions that will work explicitly for your business and within your industry? 
If you are a high-risk business, you’ll need to make sure that a third-party merchant account has solutions that are explicitly designed to help your business. What sort of fees or fee protections do they offer? What experience do they have in working with high-risk vendors, or vendors in your industry? That last question is particularly important, as all high-risk vendors are not the same. This means that you need to find a vendor who has ample experience in your industry and can use that experience in order to benefit you. If you are considering hiring a new vendor for your high-risk merchant services, you should ask specifically for examples about how that vendor has worked with others in your industry. 
Last, what about broader services? Does your merchant account provide a point of sale equipment, and can they give you support on that equipment? How is their support for things like loyalty programs or gift cards? Can they offer you access to ATMs that you can put in your physical locations? If you are looking to expand your business and need access to capital funds, can they help you? Do they provide you with analytics that go beyond just one store, allowing you to use the information that they provide to make determinations about where to put your limited marketing dollars? 
For high-risk merchants, the need to find a vendor who can work with third-party vendors has never been higher. Chargebacks are expensive and can eat into your already thin profit margins, and is classified as a high-risk vendor means that using platforms like Shopify can get even more expensive than they already are. Thankfully, there are vendors available to you that can help reduce your risk, provide you with world-class customer service, and make sure that you keep as much money as possible in your pocket. For more information, reach out to Bankcard today.

Getting started takes one minute

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


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.

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Microsoft Dynamics
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Event Espresso
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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
High risk merchant account payment gateway

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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.