Best Merchant Accounts for High-Risk Businesses

Explore the main options for the best merchant accounts for high-risk businesses.

Updated: May 18, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

CompareBanks is reader-supported. When you click through some links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Do you own a business and require a merchant account for seamless business operations?

If your business is a high-risk company, you may find it challenging to open a standard account because service providers consider that fraudulent activity or chargebacks may occur within your business. However, there is a simple way to increase your approval chances.

Merchant accounts specifically for high-risk businesses are suitable options for you. Look no further if you are trying to find the best options offering top features.

Our financial professionals have gathered the most convenient, top merchant account options to serve your business.

1. We Tranxact★★★★★Click Here
2. Total Processing★★★★★Click Here
3. Instabill★★★★★Click Here
4. ccNetPay★★★★Click Here
5. AlliedWallet★★★★Click Here
6. CutPay★★★★Click Here

What Are Merchant Accounts for High-Risk Businesses?

When we refer to merchant accounts for high-risk businesses, we are talking about payment-taking systems and accounts for which high-risk businesses are eligible. Some businesses may find it difficult to gain acceptance from standard merchant accounts for multiple reasons.

We have mentioned fraud and chargebacks, but if your business has a bad credit rating or is a new venture, these are additional reasons a merchant account provider might not readily accept you. 

If your business belongs to a specific industry, you might also find it difficult to be accepted by merchant accounts. But this service is still crucial for one reason: businesses require merchant accounts to easily take BACS payments, regardless of whether they receive most of their card payments online or in person.

These payment-taking system services and accounts assist such businesses in accessing funds and charging customers. 

There are many standard merchant accounts, such as Worldpay, an example that processed 7.9 billion transactions in 2017. However, the specific range of merchant accounts for high-risk businesses may be the solution for your high-risk business, especially if alternative merchant accounts have rejected you.

How Does a Merchant Account for High-Risk Businesses Work?

Your high-risk merchant account works by offering payment support processing services.

Its credit policy and specific criteria will determine whether it can offer specific support for your business. It also uses these policies to complete underwriting and receive support from a sponsor bank. 

These accounts are ideal for businesses with restrictions from common merchant accounts, which may have caused the company to have their funds frozen or accounts suspended. They are the best solution if you are concerned about account termination.

With greater underwriting comes greater risk acceptance for merchant accounts. It enables them to accept a broader scope of businesses that belong to high-risk industries.

When you browse for merchant accounts for high-risk businesses, you will notice that many can link to payment gateway tools, virtual terminals, or a range of payment technologies. These features facilitate powerful payment processing. 

What Are the Features of a Merchant Account for High-Risk Businesses?

A high-risk business merchant account has multiple features that make accepting payments simpler for your business.

Here are a few examples of the merchant account features you should look for.

  • Fraud protection — The best high-risk merchant account providers will offer advanced security features which are perfect for detecting transactions that may be fraudulent. They offer your business monitoring in real-time, secure authentication options and address verification.
  • Secure transaction processing — The secure transaction processing feature guarantees that each customer's bank information remains protected through encryption. The secure transmission mitigates the chance of data breaches.
  • High processing limits — Regarding the highest amount of transactions your business can process, your merchant account will offer a high limit over a specific timeframe. The main reason this feature is important is that many high-risk businesses accommodate higher volumes of transactions.
  • Chargeback fee — For a specific fee, your merchant account may offer a chargeback management option to minimise chargebacks, which may occur if your customer disputes a transaction they make. This feature requires the merchant account to monitor and answer notifications related to chargebacks. 

Merchant Account for High-Risk Businesses Pros and Cons

Here we will consider some of the pros and cons of merchant accounts for high-risk businesses so you know what to look for.

Read on for their advantages and disadvantages.


✔️ Higher revenue potential due to greater payment methods — Merchant accounts for businesses that are high risk enable customers to make payments in various ways. They also allow your business to take card payments, so there is a potential to receive greater revenue.

✔️ Chargeback support — You can receive higher chargeback rates through your merchant account, which is where chargeback support is useful. The chargeback support feature is available because most high-risk merchant account providers acknowledge that your business may receive greater chargebacks than other less high-risk companies.

✔️ Minimised chances of account termination — Since these providers specialise in supporting payments for high-risk businesses, you have fewer chances of getting your account terminated with them than with a standard merchant account provider.

✔️ Security features — High-risk merchant accounts offer advanced security features that minimise the chances of fraud.

✔️ Options to sell products that are high risk — With merchant account services catering to high-risk businesses, you can sell products that are high risk. They provide more leniency in the business activity or operations you complete.


❌️ High fees — A merchant account provider that works with high-risk businesses typically expects higher fees than a standard merchant account. You may need to spend more on fees they require to process their transactions.

❌️ Time for approval is longer — You may need to wait longer before you receive approval for your merchant account. This is a longer time for approval because the merchant account provider still needs to consider the risks involved with your business. As a result, their underwriting process may take longer.

❌️ Security measure reserve funds — With your merchant account provider, you may have to pay reserves for security measure purposes, which cover the potential chargebacks or financial risks your business poses. Small business owners may struggle to fund these reserves with insufficient revenue.

Best Merchant Accounts for High-Risk Businesses — Reviews

With the pros and cons in mind, we can now focus on the reviews.

Here are our best accounts for high-risk businesses you might choose to process payments more easily.

1. We Tranxact

We Tranxact was founded in 2016 and is based in Birmingham, United Kingdom. With We Tranxact, you can accept credit and debit cards as payment for your business’s goods and services. This merchant account acts as an excellent solution for high-risk businesses and a good payment processor option.

Accounts for your business are available with We Tranxact, but there are also specific services you can use.

For example, virtual terminals, card machines and gateways are available. The payment gateways and systems have plenty of perks, including the chance to handle chargebacks and refunds.

This account also lets you view analytics and insights into your card payment processing and offers advanced fraud protection with tracking features to block unrecognised activity.

You can use up to 24 card processing methods with We Tranxact to receive your payments, some of which include Apple Pay, Amex, JCB, and several other options.

Specific accounts are available for several business types that are high risk, including adult services, pharmacy, cryptocurrency, e-cigarettes, vaping merchants and more. 

Advantages of We Tranxact

✔️ We Tranxact offers analytics to monitor card payments.

✔️ This account offers 24 card processing methods.

Disadvantages of We Tranxact

❌️ A few alternative merchant account services may run more smoothly than We Tranxact.

2. Total Processing

Total Processing was established in 2015 and operates in the United Kingdom. With this merchant account and service, you can effortlessly receive online payments and subscription payments easily. It offers plenty of other services in addition to these.

This merchant account provider works if you need a virtual terminal technology solution.

It is also ideal if you need protection against chargebacks and want to ensure all credit and debit card transactions remain secure. Its fraud protection option also ensures your payment processing remains secure.

With Total Processing, you can access an app to monitor and track transactions. You can receive online payments easily from any device, anywhere in the world. When you choose this service, you also receive support from a customer success and technical team to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. 

Your customers can select multiple payment options through which you can receive payment, including Apple Pay, Mastercard, BNPL, Visa, and many others.

Advantages of Total Processing

✔️ This merchant account provider offers an application for transaction monitoring.

✔️ You can receive excellent customer support from Total Processing.

Disadvantages of Total Processing

❌️ You may find it difficult to be accepted by Total Processing as a high-risk business.

3. Instabill

Instabill's services are available in the UK. The merchant account company was established in 2001 and provides support for high-risk businesses.

This merchant account provides payment gateway technology and supports multi-currency transaction processes. You can easily connect your e-commerce website to this service, allowing you to accept credit cards from anywhere worldwide. 

Some specific features with Instabill include virtual terminal credit card transaction monitoring and payment gateway integration with your business's software. While the virtual terminal credit card transaction lets you view your customers' transactions in an ordered list, the payment gateway integration allows you to accept credit card payments online.

Fraud protection is another handy feature that Instabill offers, enabling you to accept payments online with a lower risk of fraudulent activity to your business bank account or customer's bank account.

It is also possible to consolidate several merchant accounts with Instabill and set up a hosted payment page with this merchant account.

Advantages of Instabill

✔️ Instabill serves a significant range of high-risk businesses.

✔️ The platform offers a supportive sales team.

Disadvantages of Instabill

❌️ You may have to establish a long-term contract to use these services.

4. ccNetPay

ccNetPay was founded in 2007 and has offices in the United Kingdom, London. It is a high-risk account solution for your business that helps you use reliable, secure transactions and establish credit card processing solutions. They offer several services to support your company.

Payment gateways, such as options for online payments, are available with this merchant account for high-risk businesses. They also offer recurring billing solutions and support for more than 140 different currencies. 

You can also access virtual terminals to receive payment with ccNetPay, an excellent solution for mail-order or telephone-order merchants. These virtual terminals are also available for e-commerce merchants and their customers.

Some specific high-risk businesses this provider supports include pharmaceutical, adult and online dating, and casino and gaming companies.

Dedicated support is available with this provider throughout the setup process, and ccNetPay prioritises exceptional customer support. 

Advantages of ccNetPay

✔️ ccNetPay supports various high-risk businesses in different industries.

✔️ This service has no hidden fees or up-front charges.

Disadvantages of ccNetPay

❌️ The user experience the website provides may appear unprofessional.

5. AlliedWallet

AlliedWallet accepts clients worldwide, specifically small and medium businesses that fall into the high-risk category. Whether you sell software or video games or need online payment methods for a small business, this account provides various merchant processing services online.

The tools AlliedWallet offers UK businesses include global payment gateway solutions, but it also offers solutions that protect your account against fraud. Chargeback prevention and online credit card processor features are also available with AlliedWallet.

You can also offer alternative payment methods to customers when you select AlliedWallet as your merchant account provider. For example, for just a flat rate, you can accept payment methods from customers who bank with providers such as Nordea and Bancolombia.

AlliedWallet provides a mobile app dashboard to track payments and monitor your online merchant account.

Advantages of AlliedWallet

✔️ AlliedWallet provides multi-currency support for your business.

✔️ You can accept payments from upwards of 100 alternative payment methods from customers.

Disadvantages of AlliedWallet

❌️ Although Bloomberg recognises AlliedWallet as a good merchant account, it has received a few complaints from its clients.

6. CutPay

This merchant account provider offers low-cost merchant account services for UK businesses and promises to beat any processing fees you receive or pay you £50. Their services are accessible to small, medium and large businesses and offer cheap ways to take card payments.

The provider prides itself on excellent customer service and has a team of experts ready to help you set up and use your merchant account and features. In fact, they offer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from a UK-based customer support team.

CutPay is one of the specific merchant accounts that suit high-risk businesses. It offers a selection of essential features that make the transaction process smoother and more efficient. 

Some of their features include mobile credit card processors and terminals and fixed terminals. These terminals are the most up-to-date and allow contactless and Apple Pay transactions.

If your business operates online, CutPay can integrate taking payment online for you. They offer support for this process, specifically for e-commerce businesses, through payment gateway tools. 

Advantages of CutPay

✔️ CutPay is suitable for large, medium and small high-risk businesses.

✔️ This service provides good customer service.

Disadvantages of CutPay

❌️ Prices are not readily available, and businesses must enter their details to receive them.

Best Merchant Accounts for High-Risk Businesses: The Verdict

Selecting a merchant account as a high-risk business can be challenging because many standard merchant account providers may not want to take on the risk.

However, these options give you plenty of choices if your business is high-risk. You may need to look closely at the features of the accounts, but beginning with our list in this article will help.

Remember to consider the monthly minimum fee and how complex it is to set up a business account with the merchant account. Since transaction fees can also vary, consulting with providers to find accurate facts about their services and costs is ideal.

Related Guides:


How Much Are High-Risk Merchant Account Fees?

How Do I Get a Merchant Account in the UK?

What Are the Types of Merchant Accounts?

Do You Need a Merchant Services Account?

Related Articles

10 Best Business Bank Accounts in the UK
10 Best Business Bank Accounts in the UK
As any small business owner knows, keeping your costs down is essential. There will...
Best Business Current Accounts
If you own a small company, whether it's just starting out or is well-established,...
Do You Need a Business Account?
If you’re a sole trader, or you own a limited business, you need to start thinking...
How to open a Revolut Business Account
When opening a business account, entrepreneurs are typically looking for three...