High-Risk Merchant Processing

High Risk Merchant Processing

Running a business is hard enough as it is; when you’re a high-risk business, keeping the doors open may be even more of an ongoing challenge. From obtaining a loan to processing credit cards, each swipe can leave you on pins and needles.   

At T1 Payments, we specialize in high-risk merchant processing and serve numerous types of businesses that fall under the “high-risk” umbrella. Yours may be one of them. T1 Payments handles high-risk merchant processing by giving your company a higher caliber of merchant services with fees that may be lower than you expect. 

What is considered a high-risk merchant?

A high-risk merchant doesn’t refer to the business owner, but to the industry that a business owner operates under. There are many different ways in which a business may be tagged as “high-risk,” such as if they operate in an industry with intense regulatory scrutiny or have an elevated rate of fraud and high chargebacks. Some of the most common high-risk merchants include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Cannabis
  • Tobacco products
  • Travel accommodations
  • Credit repair services   
  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Multi-currency processing
  • Software downloads
  • Online dating
  • Adult entertainment
  • Fantasy sports
  • Nutraceuticals

Of course, to accept debit or credit card payments from customers, you need a merchant account and payment processor to relay all the financial information that paying by credit card, debit card or other electronic methods involve. The problem is merchant services may be harder to find because of the unpredictability associated with high-risk credit cards, which can be ripe for fraud. In short, payment processors may not be willing to work with you. What’s more, those that do may charge you excessive fees that bring new meaning to the term “nickel and dime.”

But just because you’re a business owner in a high-risk industry where options may be limited doesn’t mean you should be willing to go with any payment processor that is willing to accept you. You deserve one that will be more than willing to work with you. That’s what you’ll get by choosing T1 Payments. As your high-risk processing partner, T1 Payments understands high-risk businesses and the potential complications you can run into from time to time, many of which may be through no fault of your own. Because we specialize in the high-risk merchant account space, we’re built differently and have the infrastructure in place to cover our bases for high-risk credit card transactions. Thus, if the only answer you’ve been getting from banks of late is “no,” you’re more likely to get a “yes” with T1 Payments. 

High Risk Merchant Processing | T1 Payments

What are the minimum requirements for opening a high-risk account with a merchant processing company?

Just as no two businesses are alike — even those in the same industry — the same goes for the minimum requirements necessary for opening a high-risk merchant account. Here is a general guideline for what information some companies need you to have at hand when you start the merchant processing application process:

Incorporation certificate

When your company launched, you likely received a certificate of incorporation, corroborating your business structure for legal purposes. This is something you’ll want to bring with you when applying. At T1 Payments, we don’t need you to go out of your way in this regard, where you must obtain the actual document itself. A photocopy of the incorporation certificate works just fine.

Shareholders’ certificate

Do you have any majority or minority shareholders in your company? If so, this is something a payment processor will likely want to see. A shareholder certificate provides the necessary details. However, T1 Payments doesn’t require to have shareholders as a prerequisite to a high-risk merchant account. In fact, you won’t see it at all in our streamlined online form. Our proprietary approach to approval enables us to evaluate your information in potentially as little as 24 hours.

Credit report and/or credit score

Do you know your business credit score? Whether yours comes from Experian, TransUnion or Dun & Bradstreet, your business credit score is typically what bank and online lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. Your credit score may also be requested and reviewed before receiving a high-risk merchant account.  While a business credit score is different from your personal credit score, the factors that credit bureaus use to calculate are similar, such as your payment history, debts and how many credit cards you own, high-risk credit card(s) or otherwise. 

At least, that’s what some payment processors require. Not us at T1 Payments. No credit score is necessary when you apply with us. In fact, should you be approved, we offer a guaranteed flat rate on processing fees. That’s something you may be hard-pressed to find with our competitors. That’s just one of the aspects that makes working with T1 Payments different as you can get your high-risk business approved quickly and easily. 

Industry category

Businesses industries in the United States run the proverbial gamut, from airlines and airports to zoos and zebrawood lumber. Providing details on your specific industry can help high-risk merchant processors assess the chances of high chargebacks that may emanate from a customer or high-risk credit card.

We don’t need you to go into too many details when you choose T1 Payments. When you click apply now, all you’ll need to click is either “established business” or “new business.” That’s all we need at this point in the application process. 

Average monthly card processing volume

If you’re a seasonal business or experience fast or slow periods in terms of sales, you’re not alone. But if you look at your transaction history, you should be able to get a better understanding of how often you process debit or credit card payments. Typically, payment processors like to get at least six months’ worth of data, including total overall volume, the number of transactions and the percentage of those transactions that were chargebacks. 

We understand that this is a lot of information to acquire. T1 Payments only needs the dollar figure. Whether it’s $10,000 per month in debit or credit card processing volume, $1 million or more, a ballpark estimate should work fine.   

What T1 Payments Provides 

When you’re running a business that’s perceived as high-risk, there are lots of unknowns that can make the management process stressful and uncertain. At T1 Payments, our specialty is consistency and transparency. In short, you’ll never be in the dark when you deal with us. 

The benefits of partnering with T1 Payments are truly tremendous. Aside from the fact that we boast a 99.9% account approval rate, our account turnaround time averages between 24 and 48 hours. This is made possible by our flexible underwriting standards which we have spent years refining and optimizing. We have the risk management expertise your business needs, so you never have to roll the dice when you receive a high-risk credit card. Furthermore, our chargeback prevention services are second to none, helping you recognize the potential before it happens or reduce the chances of it occurring again.    

In an industry that is “high-risk, high reward,” teaming up with T1 Payments can give you more of the latter, and less of the former.  Contact us today to learn more about our variety and top-shelf quality of merchant services. 


“I am happy to say I am very satisfied with the professionalism and quality service for my merchant account. My relationship reps were able to give me a great walk through on what to expect in detail and although my store wasn’t getting much sales internationally, with the guidance they provided to support foreign currencies, I am slowly but steady getting more and more customers from abroad.”

– Needles Hemp Store


Get in touch to discuss a credit card solution to unlock international sales for your high-risk business.

Take the first step by completing our simple application form and hear from one of our knowledgeable dedicated reps who can answer your concerns.