Supplement Merchant Account

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

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supplement merchant account

If you’re the owner or manager of a business selling dietary supplements, you’re in a tremendously successful industry with great growth prospects. Economic reports indicate that a whopping 77 percent of Americans consume some type of supplement, and the industry is expected to reach revenues of 220 billion USD worldwide by the end of 2022. In fact, revenues from weight loss supplements in the US alone are expected to reach 40 billion USD by 2024. Supplements are a big success story for today’s entrepreneurs, yet banks and financial institutions are still wary of working with the supplements industry. And because of this, supplements business owners continue to have an extremely difficult time getting approved for basic payment processing and merchant services.

Why is it so difficult to get a merchant account for supplements businesses? The answer lies in a number of factors, all of them having to do with financial risks incurred by the banks themselves. However, the good news is that one payment processing company, Bankcard, specializes in providing a full roster of credit card and merchant account services for high-risk businesses, including businesses in the supplements industry.  

Why supplements companies are high-risk

If you’re trying to get a supplements merchant account and you’ve already been denied, chances are it’s because you’re in what’s called a “high-risk” industry. These industries are among some of the most lucrative in the world, so the high-risk designation has little or nothing to do with your financial success. Rather, it concerns a number of factors having to do with financial risk — especially for the banks and financial institutions that underwrite credit card processing services.

If you look at the lists of these high-risk industries, you’ll see that they typically have several things in common. For example, some of them require a lot of “card not present” (CNP) transactions, while others deal with items that still have strict regulations and usage limits in the US, such as alcohol or cannabis. Some high-risk industries have a higher potential for fraud and criminal activity, such as adult entertainment retailers and venues, while others involve a higher-than-usual risk for refunds, chargebacks, and cancellations, such as subscription services and travel/transportation companies.

Just to give you an idea of the types of businesses included in this designation, here’s a list of successful industries considered to be high-risk by payment processors:

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

Fortunately for these high-risk industries, Bankcard works with payment gateway companies and credit card processors to provide businesses with the processing solutions they need.  By working with a specialist company like Bankcard, you can rest assured that you’re getting all the essential payment processing services your business needs, at a fair and affordable price.

Unfortunately, without these services, too many business owners are unable to take debit, e-check, or credit card payments. And if you’re wondering why the supplements industry is on the high-risk list, it primarily has to do with the high rate of chargebacks, and how they negatively affect profit margins.

Why are chargebacks a problem?

“Chargebacks” is an industry term that refers to any type of refund issued on a credit or debit card. It doesn’t matter why the refund was issued; if it’s a return that involves refunded money, it’s a chargeback.

Why are chargebacks such a nightmare for the credit card industry? It all has to do with profit loss. Studies show that the financial impact of high chargeback ratios can be devastating to a business. In 2017, chargeback loss totaled a staggering 31 billion USD, and as remote purchasing becomes more prevalent, these numbers continue to increase every year.

Chargebacks occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a customer is simply dissatisfied with the product or service. But often, chargebacks are the result of something called “friendly fraud,” which for business owners, isn’t friendly at all.

“Friendly fraud” occurs when a customer makes a credit card charge, and then later disputes the charge and claims it’s unauthorized. Sometimes, customers commit friendly fraud without intending to be malicious. This often happens when a customer contacts the credit card company without going to the business first to request a refund. In many cases, however, friendly fraud happens because a customer is either acting fraudulently, or is embarrassed by the charge and is publicly disputing it to avoid being caught out. This is an especially common scenario with adult entertainment products and venues, especially if the wrong person happens to see the credit card statement. In recent years, friendly fraud has become so prevalent, eight out of 10 merchants say they’ve seen an increase in friendly fraud type chargebacks, while 31 percent say they’ve had problems in contesting them. Likewise, economic predictors indicate that by 2023, one in every 10 chargebacks will involve friendly fraud.

With supplements businesses, chargebacks — both friendly and not so friendly — often occur because customers decide that the product they purchased simply doesn’t work. This higher-than-normal rate of chargebacks is the primary reason why it’s so difficult for supplements companies to get a merchant account.

In addition to chargebacks, other high-risk factors include:

FDA approval issues

Supplements often aren’t approved by the FDA; and without this government stamp of approval, some banks and financial institutions are reluctant to work with the supplements industry, primarily because of the threat of lawsuits and consumer risk issues.  

Fraudulent activity

It’s an unfortunate fact that the supplements industry has its share of “snake oil” vendors, and one scam company can affect the reputation of dozens of honest businesses selling effective and trustworthy products. As a result, some financial institutions are reluctant to provide backing to the supplements industry.

And speaking of backing, why is it so important, and exactly how are banks and financial institutions involved?

Underwriting and how it works

“Underwriting,” which is merely a fancy term for backing, is an essential part of credit card processing. In order to successfully process payments, merchant account companies are underwritten by the nation’s major banks and financial institutions. It’s similar to a business loan, in that banks are only willing to give backing to businesses and industries that don’t pose a high financial risk. These risks include factors already discussed, such as high chargeback rates (which cut down on profits), reputational issues like high levels of fraud, or strict federal regulations on product usage or distribution. All of these are red flags to financial institutions, and are prime reasons why merchant accounts for supplements businesses are so hard to get.

Now that you know why you can’t get payment processing, it’s time to talk about how you actually can get it, including what you need to do, and how you can be proactive in reducing risks for your business.

Reducing chargeback rates

There are lots of ways you can be proactive in reducing chargeback rates for your supplements business. Here are just a few:

Give complete, accurate product descriptions 

When customers feel that products don’t meet expectations, they return them. You can try to prevent this by providing full and detailed descriptions of each product, with honest explanations of what it can and can’t do. There’s a fine line between underselling and overselling, and if you can keep to that line, you can create a successful product description.

Give accurate pricing information

No one likes getting sticker shock. If customers know exactly what they’re paying and how much they’re getting for their money, they’re less likely to request a refund.

Include lots of photos

When it comes to product descriptions, a picture really is worth a thousand words. People like to see what they’re getting before they buy it, and in this e-commerce age it’s especially important to provide lots of images of products and labeling, as well as videos on how to use supplements properly.

Provide full disclosure on your return policies

Be completely clear about your return policies, and make sure they’re written clearly so customers can understand them.

Offer alternative solutions

If one nutritional supplement product doesn’t work, talk to the customer and offer an alternative product as a replacement. Sometimes this can help you prevent the profit loss that comes from having to issue a full refund.

Provide great customer support

Customers appreciate great customer service almost as much as they do a good product. Be sure that someone is on hand to answer customer calls and emails about product use, safety concerns, and other issues. By offering fast, friendly, and helpful communication, you can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary refunds and returns.

Another way you can provide great customer service is by offering a full roster of online payment and billing options for your customers. And the only way you can provide these essential services is by having a merchant account.

Advantages of a merchant account

As a provider of supplements and probiotics, you depend upon a certain level of customer loyalty and retention. A Bankcard merchant account can help you provide the kinds of services your customers want, plus the tools you need for streamlining your business operations. Here are some of the advantages of a merchant account for supplements businesses:

Multiple payment options

Studies show that 90 percent of consumers prefer having a variety of payment options for their purchases — so much so, in fact, that not having these options can actually impact their purchase decisions. With a high-risk merchant account, you’ll be able to offer a full roster of payment methods for your customers, including credit card, debit card, and e-check payments.

Payment tracking

As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to spend your life bookkeeping; but tracking down missing or problematic payments can take up hours of your working day. With a merchant service provider, you’ll be able to instantly track payments every step of the way, from point of sale to processing and approval.

E-check convenience

No one likes to deal with bounced checks, but a merchant account can provide you with the option for convenient e-check payments, so you’ll never have to track down a bad check again.

Billing tools

Manually sending out invoices isn’t just a headache; it’s also risky, because it can lead to all sorts of clerical errors. With a merchant account from Bankcard, you’ll have the tools you need for automatic invoicing and billing, on a schedule that suits your business needs.

How Bankcard can help

When looking for a high-risk merchant account specialist, you’ll want to find one that works with your particular industry. You’ll also want to make sure that they offer a full roster of payment options and convenient management tools, plus secure payment protection and affordable fees.

As a leading payment processing specialist for high-risk industries, Bankcard offers all the affordable payment solutions you need for your supplements business. In addition to convenient credit, debit, and e-check payment options, Bankcard can provide you with billing and invoicing tools to streamline your business operations, plus tracking tools and security protocols (like encoding and encryption) so you can monitor payments and keep your accounts safe and secure.  

If you’re ready to take your supplements business to the next level, contact Bankcard to learn how we can help you get the payment processing services you need to increase sales, boost ROI, and retain customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Integrations

Bankcard Connect plays nice with others

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

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

merchant account integrations c

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

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

Drupal Commerce
Ubercart

HikaShop
Miwisoft
VirtueMart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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High risk merchant account payment gateway

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

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. 

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.