Credit Card Processing

Choosing the Best Gun-Friendly Credit Card Processing Company

May 2, 2023

The firearms industry is booming. More than 21 million firearms were sold in 2020 alone. Many customers were first-time buyers, and they accounted for 40% of the total gun sales. Today, the number continues to rise. If you’re a firearms retailer, you’ll want to cash in on this trend.

Unfortunately, many gun merchants are limited to cash payments at gun shows and online. Firearms businesses have difficulty accepting credit card payments because many credit card processing companies have stopped accepting merchants from the firearms industry.

Payment processors such as PayPal and Square have policies prohibiting all transactions related to firearms and ammunition sales. One payment processor, Intuit, only allows gun dealers to accept credit cards for face-to-face transactions. Note that the credit card companies themselves do not label guns as prohibited goods. Buying a gun is perfectly legal.

So, why do many merchant service providers have a problem with gun dealers? It’s because they consider these retailers as high-risk merchants.


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Why Are Firearms Businesses Considered High-risk?

Banks and traditional credit card processing companies are risk-averse. They tend to shy away from businesses they believe have a high chance of financial failure. There are several reasons why banks label firearms retailers as high-risk merchants.

Businesses regulated at the state and federal levels have a higher chance of defaulting on loans. State and federal laws regulate the firearms industry. Because of this, retail merchants who sell firearms are vulnerable to legal and financial liabilities. Added to that, gun law disputes and debates about gun rights can impact sales.

Excessive Chargebacks and Fraudulent Sales

Firearms businesses are susceptible to chargebacks. Guns can get quite expensive, which can motivate a customer to ask for a refund if he is dissatisfied with it. Buyer’s remorse happens quite often in this industry.

Firearms retailers also tend to be a target of fraudsters. Not all chargebacks are requested for a legitimate reason. Moreover, online sales of guns make it difficult for firearms dealers to confirm the buyer’s identity. Because of state and federal laws, shipping directly to a customer isn’t always possible.

The gun must be shipped to a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. The customer can then pick up the gun in person. The dealer then completes the necessary paperwork and background check. As a result, a merchant will have difficulty matching the buyer’s name and address with the delivery information.


Big Ticket Items

A gun’s cost can range from hundreds of dollars up to several thousand. Chargebacks can have an impact on the cash flow of the business, which can cause the vendor to default on his loans.

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Why Does Your Firearms Business Need Gun-friendly Payment Processors and Merchant Service Providers?

Around four out of ten Americans have gone completely “cashless.” In addition, 36% of Americans use a physical or virtual credit card as their primary payment method. Simply put, your firearms business needs to start accepting credit cards to meet the needs of these customers. Being able to accept credit card payments will consequently increase your gun sales.

However, not just any credit card processor will do. Problems can arise if you choose the wrong one – a merchant account provider ill-equipped to handle your business. These include:

  • Frozen funds: The chargeback rate for firearms dealers tend to be high. The credit card processor may freeze your funds for several months to limit their liability.
  • Closed account: A credit card processor may suddenly close your merchant account without warning if they find that you are selling age-restricted goods, such as firearms.

Loss of potential sales: If a merchant account is frozen or closed, the business can’t accept credit card transactions. You need to wait until the account is unfrozen or get a new one. With limited payment options, you may lose some of your potential sales.

A provider of gun-friendly merchant services, on the other hand, knows the industry inside out. They have higher approval rates, increasing your chances of getting a merchant account. More importantly, you’re less likely to encounter the problems listed above.

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How to Accept Credit Card Payments as Firearms Vendors

Before you look for a gun-friendly credit card processing company, you will need to secure the following:

  • Federal firearms license (FFL)
  • Business bank account
  • Business bank statements (at least three months)
  • Valid photo ID issued by the government
  • State-required licenses (e.g., business licenses)
  • Social Security Number

How to Choose the Best Gun-friendly Credit Card Processing Company

You must consider several factors when choosing the best gun-friendly credit card processing company.

Industry Experience and Expertise

Look for a credit card processor that is knowledgeable about the firearms industry. They should have experience working with gun shop owners. They understand the laws regulating the firearms business, such as the need for background checks. The payment processor should also have an extensive network of banks and merchant services providers, offering multiple options.

Alternative Payment Methods

Aside from allowing you to process credit cards, the best gun-friendly payment processor should be able to accept debit cards and other alternative payment methods, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. More payment options mean your customers have more flexibility on how they pay for their purchases. It also means higher customer satisfaction.


Complying with state and federal regulations is critical to any firearms business. The best credit card processor ensures that all transactions follow these laws, such as the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

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Firearms merchants handle a lot of sensitive information. Look for a payment processor that offers security features, such as encryption. In addition, it should provide a secure payment gateway, so you can confidently accept payments online.

Chargeback Protection

The best gun-friendly credit card payment processor offers chargeback protection. Firearm retailers have a high chargeback and fraud rate. With chargeback protection, the impact of a claim is reduced. This service can prevent fraudulent chargebacks and mitigate the cost of a claim. Also, chargeback protection often includes dealing with disputes.


Many credit card payment processing companies offer higher rates to high-risk merchants like firearms merchants. With gun-friendly processors, the rates are more competitive. More importantly, the best ones offer transparent pricing without any hidden fees.

Exercise Your Second Amendment Rights

As more banks and merchant account providers stop working with gun retailers, the need for gun-friendly credit card processors increases. But as in all things, not all service providers can handle the unique challenges of this industry. Choosing the best gun-friendly credit card processing solution ensures that all your customers get to exercise their right to buy arms, whether they pay in cash, checks, and credit cards.

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