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High Risk Merchant Account Fees

High Risk Merchant Account Fees

High risk merchant account fees are usually higher than their low risk counterparts, but the added premium gives you sustainable solutions that you need to accept credit cards. For high risk merchants, fees come in a few forms. Nonetheless, they are often bundled by your payment processor in order to simplify them and easily view monthly totals.

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High Risk Merchant Fees

Because major credit card processing companies won’t allow you to run sustainable accounts using their services, there is a slight premium associated with high risk merchant fees. It usually ranges from 1% to 2% above the standard rates which puts it at 4% – 5.5% on average. Additionally, the average cost per transaction is similar to major providers at $0.15 – $0.30 per transaction.


Nonetheless, high risk merchant accounts are a critical tool for any company that wants to accept credit cards.

High Risk Payment Processing

High risk verticals are companies that have increased risk factors from the banking side. In fact, if you try to open a merchant account using one of the above companies, and you break the Terms and Conditions by being in a different industry than what they allow, your merchant account can get dropped.

Common High Risk Industries

There are multiple industries that are considered high risk due to different reasons. Some of those reasons might be age restrictions, state regulations, or reputational risk. In any case, there are merchant account providers that underwrite custom solutions for these types of businesses. If your company is on the list below, reach out to Zen Payments for your payment processing: 


  • Adult
  • Airlines and Booking
  • Auto Warranties
  • Background Checks
  • Bad Credit
  • Business Consulting
  • Business Coaching
  • CBD
  • Coins and Collectables
  • Continuity Billing
  • Credit Monitoring
  • Credit Repair
  • Dating 
  • Debt Collection
  • Fantasy Sports
  • Firearms
  • Gentlemans Clubs
  • Government Grants
  • High Ticket Sales
  • Male Enhancement
  • Nutraceuticals 
  • Online Gaming
  • Pawn Shops
  • Subscription Billing
  • Travel
  • Vape

Lower Your Processing Rates

Once you determine your company is high risk, you’ll want to find ways to lower your processing rates. There are a few ways to do this and they all involve lowering your risk profile.


  • Provide Transaction History – The history of your existing payment processing tells the story of your company. The longer you’ve been in business and the more consistent your revenue, the better rates you can get.
  • Leverage Volume – As you process more volume, you can negotiate lower rates. If your company generates over $50K a month in revenue, be sure to push back against an initial rate quote.
  • Lower Chargebacks – If you have lower chargeback rates, then your company is lower risk. Chargebacks in themselves can cause a company’s premiums to go up, and the inverse is true if they’re low. Save money with chargeback solutions and fraud prevention.

What Is A Normal Payment Processing Fee?

Standard payment processing fees are very similar for mainstream processors. Paypal, Square, and Stripe are some of the top competitors in the field so they keep their prices very similar. 


  • PayPal Payment Processing Fees 
    • 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction for manually entered card numbers. 
    • 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction for ecommerce stores 
  • Square Payment Processing Fees
    • 3.5% plus $0.15 per transaction for manually entered card numbers. 
    • 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction for ecommerce stores 
  • Stripe Payment Processing Fees
    • 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction for all transactions


As you can see, all of the rates are very close to each other, and have become pretty much a standard in the industry. However, these merchant accounts don’t take into consideration companies that are in high risk verticals.

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