Credit Card Processing

Best High-Risk Bad Credit Credit Card Processors

July 17, 2023

High-risk businesses often have difficulty securing standard credit card processing accounts. Without access to these financial services, some of these businesses resort to dealing in cash-only transactions, which can significantly limit their client base.

Fortunately, a few high-risk merchant account providers willingly take risks on such businesses by processing their credit card payments, often at a higher cost. Some of these merchants even offer additional services that make them worth the extra cost.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best high-risk bad credit credit card processors. We’ll examine some other useful information, including what characterizes a high-risk industry and how to choose the best merchant account provider.

What Is High-Risk Credit Card Processing?

High-risk credit card processing works much like regular credit card processing, which allows businesses to accept credit and debit card payments. But high-risk credit card processors are particularly aimed at servicing high-risk industries.


In this case, the merchant is generally more lenient and allows a greater risk of exposure to fraud and chargebacks in exchange for higher processing fees. They bear all the financial implications of chargebacks, prompting them to increase their transaction costs to cover potential losses.

image of what is high risk business

What Is a High-Risk Business?

In a nutshell, a high-risk business is any enterprise considered to have a higher risk of fraud, chargebacks, or financial failure. Merchant account providers typically assess your risk factor based on:

  • The industry you’re in: Some businesses are generally considered to get more instances of fraud. They include the adult entertainment industry, casinos, recreational drug distributors, and the like.
  • Your personal/business situation: As a business owner, your financial situation or previous negative experience running a business can land you in the high-risk category. This includes everything from low credit scores, having a previously terminated merchant account or failed business, or poor financial history.

A business can also be placed in the high-risk category if it;

  • Deals with questionable products

This is one of the first things merchant account providers look at when assessing a business’s risk factor. Questionable products can include everything from adult entertainment products to weapons and drugs.

  • Operates in a highly regulated industry

Businesses dealing in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, tobacco, and cannabis are highly regulated, prompting some credit card processing companies to avoid working with them.

  • Has a higher chargeback rate

Some businesses, including travel services and electronics, get more chargebacks, which amounts to greater losses for credit card processing companies.

  • Has a questionable sales model

Some businesses have questionable sales practices. For instance, multi-level marketing firms (MLMs) are generally considered scams, despite being legal. Therefore, they’re treated more cautiously than their more straightforward counterparts.

  • Deals with vulnerable customers

Some businesses like credit repair and debt consolidation services cater to a riskier customer base, making them less attractive to regular credit card processing providers.

  • Offer subscription services

Subscription services have one significant drawback: some customers forget to cancel their subscriptions after a free trial and end up issuing a chargeback. This makes them incredibly costly to partner with.

Best High-Risk Merchant Account Providers

Some of the best high-risk bad credit credit card processors include the following:

image of payment cloud


PaymentCloud offers more than just credit card processing services. It functions as a reliable partner throughout the customers’ journey. The company takes a hands-on approach to the partnership by helping businesses throughout the onboarding process. It also uses various backend processors to find you the lowest rates.


Once you’re in, the company continues to offer dedicated support for key functions, including migration management and cardholder subscription. It also helps you set up a fraud-filtering payment gateway for better security and fraud mitigation.

PaymentCloud also has a unique pricing structure that makes migration easy. You can choose between tiered, fixed-rate, and interchangeable plus payment options. And to top it all off, PaymentCloud works with most payment gateways and e-commerce platforms, making it easier to integrate with your business’s existing processes.


SharkPay is one of the most reliable providers of credit card payment solutions. Despite being relatively new to the business, the company boasts up to eight partnerships with different banks to give its clients access to seamless cryptocurrency and credit card processing services.

The platform has a fast and straightforward onboarding process with no sign-up fees. The approvals take about 24 to 72 hours, which is considerably fast despite the fact that the company mainly deals with high-risk businesses in the e-commerce, tobacco, pharmaceutical, and adult entertainment industry, to name a few.

To secure their clients’ financial transactions, SharkPay employs various fraud detection programs and chargeback alerts. They also offer assistance in such scenarios to mitigate financial losses.

image of first card payments

First Card Payments

With over two decades of experience under its belt, First Card Payment is one of the more experienced merchant account providers. The company partners with more than 30 financial institutions, making it better equipped to get fast approval for its high-risk clients.

The company offers various credit card processing services, including in-person, automated clearing house (ACH), and online payments. It also works with most types of high-risk clients, including those with offshore businesses. Besides financial processing services, First Card Payments also provides various forms of business operational support, including SEO, web development, and call center services.

As a client, you also get access to a chargeback mitigation program that signals you up to 78 hours before the chargeback occurs. The chargeback mitigation program also comes with expert support to help you win the chargeback.

Durango Merchant Services

Durango Merchant Services is one of the most lenient high-risk merchants. The company lists even the most bizarre businesses like fortune tellers and is willing to take a risk on small businesses with bad credit by helping them secure credit card processing services.

It’s also a great option for online businesses. With its proprietary Durango Pay payment gateway and Durango Cart Shopping built-in gateways, e-commerce stores can enjoy access to credit card processing services right on their platforms. With these features, it’s easy to see why Durango Merchant Services is among the best high-risk bad credit credit card processors on our list.

image of soar payments

Soar Payments

Soar Payments offers one of the best integrations with customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, and e-commerce platforms, making it a suitable merchant service provider for most businesses.

The company has a streamlined onboarding process featuring a fully online application process and a fast turnaround time for approvals. Unfortunately, the process takes an additional three to five days for underwriting. It also has a fast funds deposit process, with most transactions taking about 48 to 72 hours.

eMerchantBroker (EMB)

Despite having a market value of up to $13.2 billion, the cannabis, hemp, CBD, and medical dispensary industries often have a hard time finding a merchant account provider willing to work with them. In fact, most high-risk merchant account providers don’t even advertise their willingness to work with them.

Fortunately, EMB has stepped in to bridge the market gap by helping businesses in the cannabis industry accept credit card payments. That said, the company also works with various other high-risk businesses, including adult entertainment, credit repair, nutraceutical, and weight loss services.

The merchant service boasts a 99% approval rating from its clients and 24/7 access to onboarding experts and customer support staff. It also partners with Ethoca and Verifi to mitigate losses due to chargebacks by notifying merchants of any chargebacks.

How to Choose the Best High-Risk Merchant Account Provider

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a merchant account provider:

Industry Experience

Although there are some pretty worthwhile startups out there that may be a good fit for your business, the intricacies involved in processing high-risk merchant services require a bit of experience. Therefore, you need a merchant account provider who’s had significant experience in the business.

Experienced merchant account providers create massive networks of high-risk banks willing to work with high-risk businesses. They also have a dedicated team of experienced staff with the know-how required to offer diversified solutions to any problem associated with high-risk merchant accounts.

Secure Processing

You want to work with a merchant provider that can ensure that your financial transactions are protected through proactive fraud detection services.

image of how to choose best high risk merchant account provider

Excellent Customer Support

Without excellent customer service, even the safest, most experienced merchant services provider becomes irrelevant. Everything from the onboarding process to ongoing services like chargebacks notification requires great customer service and communication.

Fast and High Approval Rates

The market is slowly turning into a cashless economy, with most customers opting to pay for goods and services through credit and debit cards. Therefore, any business wasting time waiting for their merchant’s approval risks losing sales.

That’s why you need a merchant provider with a fast onboarding process. You also need a merchant with a high approval rate for payment processing. The best merchants ensure that your payments are processed through banks that work with businesses like yours, thereby saving time.

The Bottom Line

As a high-risk business owner, the greatest challenge you face is finding a merchant provider willing to work with you. Fortunately, multiple high-risk merchant account providers specialize in working with businesses like yours.

However, not every high-risk merchant provider can be a good fit for your business. A lag in crucial services like fraud mitigation and customer support can have detrimental effects on your business operations, prompting the need for a well-rounded and experienced merchant account provider. Choose from this list of the best high-risk bad credit credit card processors to ensure you partner with the right company for your business’ unique needs and objectives.

  • 2
  • Share:

Leave A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.