What is considered a high-risk merchant account?

There are three types of merchant accounts:

  • Low-risk;

  • Medium risk;

  • High-risk.



A company is considered high-risk if several criteria are met:

  • A startup business

  • Risky industry (with high chargeback possibilities). When the chargeback ratio hits 1%, the merchant may face higher processing fees

  • The company is in financial difficulties

  • Companies with a bad credit history

  • The company sells goods and services to high-risk countries (Iran, The Bahamas, Cambodia, Barbados, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Mali, Swaziland, Mozambique, Myanmar, Jamaica…)

  • Questionable goods and services

  • The company’s owner provided inaccurate information about the activities of the business and its legal address

  • Monetary transactions do not correspond to the declared activity


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Frequently, foreign banks refer to the following areas as high-risk products and services:

  • Casino or internet gambling;

  • Sale of medicines;

  • Dating services;

  • Bitcoin or forex trading;

  • Internet auctions;

  • Sale of firearms;

  • Sale of jewelry;

  • Lending;

  • Telemarketing;

  • Adult content;

  • Investments, remittances.

Financial service providers who specialize in high-risk businesses tend to charge higher fees than low- to medium-risk clients.

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