Vitamin and Herbal Supplements 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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Herbal and vitamin supplements are big business. The industry is primed to reach 220 billion USD in global revenues by 2022, while weight loss supplements alone are slated to reach 40 billion USD by 2024.  The numbers aren’t surprising, considering that 77 percent of Americans currently take supplements, vitamins, nutraceutical products, and other types of herbal preparations.

What is surprising, however, is the fact that herbal and vitamin merchant accounts continue to be extremely difficult to get, even for business owners with a successful track record in sales and profits.

If you own or operate an herbal or vitamin supplements company, you may have already gone through the application process, only to be denied payment processing services. Or you may have opened up a Stripe or Paypal account, only to discover that your account was canceled after the first transaction.

If any of this sounds familiar, Bankcard can help. As a leading merchant account provider for high-risk industries, Bankcard can provide you with a full line of credit card and online payment options for your customers, as well as a wide range of payment processing and management solutions for your business.

Why are herbal and vitamin merchant accounts high-risk?

For a number of reasons, many successful industries — including the herbal and vitamin industry — are considered high-risk by banks and financial institutions. Here’s a short list of some of the most popular high-risk industries:

  • Vitamins, herbal products, and dietary supplements
  • Cannabis and CBD
  • Document preparation
  • Adult entertainment
  • Property management
  • Online dating
  • Property management
  • Antiques and collectibles
  • Travel/tourism
  • Guns and ammo
  • Fantasy sports
  • Health and beauty
  • Subscription billing services
  • Online gaming and gambling
  • Pawnshops
  • Payday lenders

Why do industries get this high-risk designation? Primarily, it’s because of financial considerations, and in particular, high chargeback rates. Because of high chargeback ratios, supplements entrepreneurs have an extremely difficult time getting herbal and vitamin merchant accounts.

How chargebacks affect your business

Chargebacks are refunds that are issued when a customer wants to reverse a credit card transaction. When used properly, chargebacks can offer an extra level of protection for consumers, because they serve as a money-back guarantee in case a customer isn’t satisfied with their purchase.

However, chargebacks can also be abused, especially by fraudsters who are trying to scam businesses out of money, products, or services.

In 2017, businesses lost a staggering 31 billion USD because of chargebacks. These numbers increase every year. Currently, eight out of 10 business owners are seeing an increase in the numbers of “friendly fraud” chargebacks. Analysts believe that, by 2023, one in 10 chargeback transactions will involve this type of fraud.

How does friendly fraud impact your company?

Friendly fraud occurs when a customer makes a charge on a credit card, then later claims that they didn’t authorize the purchase and demands a refund.

In many cases, friendly fraud isn’t intended to be malicious. For example, a customer might forget they made a purchase, or their spouse might have made it and neglected to tell them. Likewise, customers might cancel a subscription service because the price went up, or because they’re trying to economize on their monthly bills.

However, in too many cases, customers may be acting fraudulently when they demand their money back. For example, a customer might make a purchase from an adult entertainment vendor, and then pretend they didn’t make it if the bill is accidentally seen by a spouse or employer. In the case of scamming schemes, fraudsters may order a product, and then pretend that they didn’t get it and demand a refund.

Depending on how it’s committed, friendly fraud can include a wide variety of scenarios, with many of them involving bad actors and scammers. 

Herbal and vitamin merchant accounts are at especially high risk for chargebacks because many customers are already highly skeptical of holistic products. If they perceive that a product doesn’t work — even if they don’t use it correctly or don’t give it enough time to take proper effect — they’ll automatically demand a refund from the merchant or the credit card company.

And all too often, too-hopeful customers may expect miraculous results. When reality sets in and they see that the benefits don’t meet their expectations, they’ll often demand a refund. For these reasons, it’s extremely difficult for even successful businesses to get an herbal and vitamin merchant account.

In addition to chargebacks, the herbal and vitamin industry faces other obstacles for payment processing, including:

FDA approval and reputational issues

Any company that involves public safety is going to be more highly scrutinized by financial institutions, and herbal and vitamins fall into that category. Herbal and vitamin products are physically consumed, so there’s always a safety issue involved. Coupled with that, there are control and safety issues concerning access for minors, as well as limitations on how much of these products should be taken.

Finally, many herbal and vitamin products aren’t approved by the FDA. It’s still perfectly legal to sell and purchase them; but without that government stamp of approval, there might be even more reason for banks and financial institutions to fear lawsuits and consumer safety issues.

Likewise, there’s a matter of reputation to consider. Unfortunately, the nutraceutical industry has its share of fraudsters, in the form of “snake oil” salesmen who are knowingly peddling products that don’t work. This is especially true of the herbal and vitamins industry, where products may not be regulated as stringently as are pharmaceuticals and food products.

Historically, there have been too many incidences of scammers who misrepresent or overhype a product, which cons people into purchasing it and expecting miraculous results. And unfortunately, the negative publicity generated by one bad product or vendor can impact the entire nutraceutical industry, making financial institutions reluctant to underwrite merchant accounts for these companies.

How does underwriting affect herbal and vitamin merchant accounts?

“Underwriting” refers to financial backing, which may come from a bank or from a large financial institution. If you take out a loan from a bank, it’s underwritten by the bank or the financial institution that owns the bank. In much the same way, credit card companies like VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, as well as the payment processors they partner with, are all underwritten by the nation’s major banks and financial institutions.

If a bank believes that a company’s credit is shaky, it won’t take the risk of offering a loan. And if a bank or financial institution sees that a business is in a high-risk industry, they’ll typically refuse to approve merchant account services for that business.

With all of these obstacles, the good news is that you can still get merchant services for your herbal supplement and vitamin business. Bankcard offers a variety of payment processing solutions for high-risk merchant account holders, including credit card processing, plus tools for streamlining e-commerce payments and billing.

Additionally, you can be proactive in getting herbal and vitamin merchant account approval by implementing a few strategies that can help you prevent chargebacks.  

What you can do to prevent chargebacks

Provide detailed product descriptions

When it comes to health supplement products, successful nutraceutical companies know that the more information they provide, the more interested customers will be. It’s always a good idea to give plenty of information in your product descriptions, including photos of the product and its labeling, and include videos whenever possible.

Also, if customers feel that they’ve been overcharged, they’ll likely ask for a refund. So be clear on the price and exactly how much product customers get for that amount.

Provide full information about returns and refunds

Implement a fair refund policy, written in a clear-cut way that everyone can understand. Make sure it’s placed on your site where people can see it. If customers are confused about your return policy, they may bypass your company and head straight to the credit card processor for a chargeback.

Have alternatives on hand

If a customer feels that an herbal or vitamin product is ineffective, be prepared to offer an alternative product instead. This strategy can help you mitigate expensive credit card refunds.

Display your business contact information

It’s crucial to display your business contact information — including your full business name, email address, and phone number — on every page of your website, as well as every bill, invoice, and transaction document. If customers can’t access your contact information right away, they might give up on trying to reach you and instead go straight to the credit card company for a chargeback.

Offer top-notch customer support

Good customer support means that you’re always there for your customers, so make sure someone is on hand to take calls and emails, and to answer questions as knowledgeably as possible. The key to great customer support is communication, and by communicating with your customers, you can potentially stave off refunds and garner customer loyalty and retention.

Process refunds immediately

If a refund is inevitable, process it quickly. Email or write to the customer to let them know that the refund is on its way. By taking this extra step, you can create a sense of trust and reliability that can bring customers back, even if a product wasn’t satisfactory.

Even with the best chargeback prevention strategies, it’s essential for high-risk businesses to work with a merchant account provider to satisfy their customers and reach a sustainable level of success.

Benefits of an herbal and vitamin merchant account

Multiple payment methods

If you don’t have a merchant account, you can’t offer credit card processing — and in today’s economy, this can make your business look like a dinosaur. Studies show that 90 percent of customers prefer having access to a variety of different payment options when they make a purchase.

With Bankcard, your company will be able to take credit cards, debit cards, mobile app payments, and e-checks, so your customers can use their method of choice. By offering these payment options, you can boost your company’s reputation, and avoid looking like a less-than-reliable vendor.

Payment tracking

Tracking payments manually can be time-consuming and fraught with problems. Bankcard offers up-to-date payment tracking tools that can trace each payment from its point of sale to its completion.

Billing solutions

Unless you want to spend hours every day doing the books and sending out invoices, it’s essential to have automated tools for billing and invoicing. With Bankcard, you’ll be able to send out automated bills and invoices according to your preferred schedule.

Fees and high-risk merchant accounts

For high-risk businesses, fee increases are unavoidable. These higher fees help to offset the risks that payment processors incur by taking on high-risk merchant accounts. No matter what type of industry you’re in, Bankcard provides merchant account services at reasonable rates that businesses can afford. Plus, Bankcard charges the same rates for all credit cards, including VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

If you’re trying to get an herbal and vitamin merchant account, Bankcard can help you get the payment solutions you need for your high-risk business. We’ll help you get a full roster of payment processing services, including credit card, debit card, mobile app, and e-check payment options.

Plus, we offer a wide range of automated billing and invoicing solutions, as well as payment tracking tools to protect your business. In addition, our fee structure is fair and affordable, no matter what type of business you’re in.

Want to hear more? Contact Bankcard and let us help you get the payment processing services and management tools you need for success.

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.