Despite what the media tries to sell, tobacco is still a thriving industry with a value at slightly over $50B dollars. But even with the large figures and the serious potential for profit, traditional banks and other financial institutions remain wary of partnerships with tobacco merchants.
For this reason, businesses operating in the tobacco industry might have a hard time acquiring merchant accounts and services that let them cater to buyers with cashless payment options. Nonetheless, there are providers out there that are happy to work with high risk tobacco businesses, and here we’re naming some of the best tobacco merchant account providers you can try.
You really can’t go wrong with Payment Cloud. Having worked with tens of thousands of high risk clients, this merchant account service provider is perhaps the best established provider in the arena, offering time-tested solutions that have been polished, tweaked, and perfected over the course of seven years. With zero account set up fees, no monthly minimums, and free credit card terminals, Payment Cloud offers a pretty sweet deal right off the bat.
But more than just waived fees and freebies, these guys have in-house payment gateways that make it easier to process payments and receive payouts. They also have the most robust risk monitoring solutions that perfectly provide the needs of most cigarette and cigar merchants hoping to mitigate fraud and chargebacks.
Equipped with the tools and expertise necessary for a detailed, accurate underwriting process, Payment Cloud caters to tobacco businesses by delivering procedures that many other service providers are unable to offer. This gives them an obvious edge over their competition and guarantees their partner merchants that their solutions are truly hand-crafted.
When it comes to risk appetite, they don’t get quite as hungry as eMerchant Broker. This merchant account service provider accepts partnerships with businesses in sectors that are often rejected by most providers — even those that explicitly work with high risk merchants. This means that you’re more than likely to get approved for an account with eMerchant Broker if risk was your only worry.
Having worked with 60,000 clients, this well-established brand possesses impressive experience that gives them an upper hand in dealing with hard-to-place merchants. However, because of their increased risk appetite, eMerchant Broker offsets the potential liability with extended contracts, higher than average fees, and early termination penalties.
Nonetheless, they make sure to give you reason to stick around. With a full line of products and services that give you comprehensive payment solutions in one go, eMerchant Broker also offers what is perhaps the most helpful customer support services that you’ll find in the high risk market. Their 24/7 support feature brings you solutions and troubleshooting quite literally whenever you might need it.
For small businesses, you can’t go wrong with Soar Payments. While their services are tailored for high risk businesses of all sizes, they work particularly well with newly established SMEs because of their ultra-user friendly features that integrate seamlessly with existing shopping carts, gateways, and other software solutions you might already have in place.
Soar Payments has worked with tobacco merchants since they were established, and this gives them valuable knowledge and expertise that allows them to tailor solutions and hand-crafted strategies to help their partner merchants in the tobacco industry successfully navigate the nuances and limitations they might face.
Perhaps their best known perk is their automated application process and custom price quoting feature that streamlines the whole experience for their clients. And with zero application fees and allegedly lower pricing compared to their peers, Soar Payments definitely opens up opportunities for SMEs looking to grow their business and give their buyers more options.
Before you go ahead and assume that financial institutions are looking out for the best interest of consumers by avoiding business with tobacco because of its health risks, it’s worth knowing that that’s really not the kind of risk they’re considering. There are three major reasons why tobacco merchants are considered a potential liability, and these include:
There’s no denying the obvious stigma that’s attached to the tobacco industry. Because of the professional, dignified, and clean reputation that most financial institutions try to exude, they actively avoid partnering up with businesses that could taint that image. That’s also why they’re not likely to work with the adult, hemp, and alcohol merchants.
Tobacco products are age restricted to protect the interest of minors. There are also regulations that point out how these products are to be sold and advertised. And because most conservative, traditional banks aren’t equipped with the knowledge for extra underwriting processes necessary to factor in these unique considerations, they may opt to avoid these partnerships all together.
There are political undertones to the tobacco market that may have repercussions on banks that want to protect their image and reputation at all costs. In the case of financial institutions, taking a stance of neutrality almost always opens up more profitable opportunities.
If you’re operating within the tobacco industry, opting for merchant solutions that mitigate your risk can significantly improve the outlook for your business. In particular, these features should be especially helpful in reducing your liability:\.
Some providers offer fraud detection solutions that pinpoint a potentially fraudulent transaction before payment pushes through. This blocks the transaction and thus eliminates the need to perform damage control later on.
Chargeback alerts can tell you when a chargeback might take place. This alert system makes it possible for merchants to come up with a possible solution before buyers head straight to the bank with their chargeback request.
Strong security features help to protect both vendors and buyers against unscrupulous individuals or groups hoping to steal funds and identities. There are numerous layers to online payment protection, and providers that can offer more than two or three are most ideal.
With merchant account and service providers opening their doors to high risk merchants, businesses in the tobacco industry stand the chance to enjoy a level playing field. Keep in mind though that not all providers can meet your needs. Check our top three choices to find the perfect partner so you can support cashless payments without increasing your risk.