Getting a merchant account without social security is a common practice for international merchants. If you do not have US citizenship but want to run a business in the United States, then you’ll have to find a way to accept payments using high risk merchant accounts or other payment channels.
Explore alternative ways to open an international account by understanding your options such as ACH, Crypto, or using a tax ID number. Each of these different methods provide unique ways for companies across the world to sell items in the USA and accept USD through various payment methods.
Many merchant applications in the USA ask for a social security number as a filter question to better understand the way a business operates, but when one cannot be provided, an Employer Identification number or EIN can be provided.
Your Federal Tax ID Number is kind of like the SSN for your business. It’s a unique number provided to every business that is tracked by the IRS to ensure its trackable for tax reasons. This number is given to you when you file to open a business in the United States.
A USA merchant account has different standards than an international one because there is more predictable risk involved from the bank’s perspective. Due to the fact that social security numbers are a very secure and regulated type of data, providing one is a good way to expedite your application process.
However, in the case where you cannot provide a social security number, you should be clear with your merchant account provider about what your citizenship status is, and how it might affect your business. In many cases, you will be able to find payment processing through channels that allow international business.
An ACH Merchant account allows you to take payments by directly exchanging bank information. This is often called an electronic check transfer or wire transfer. ACH is considered a low risk and is used by international companies. Many manufacturers depend on this type of transaction because the ticket price for goods may be very high.
If you have high volume sales or high ticket items such as jewelry, industrial equipment, or collectibles, you want to use ACH transactions as a form of security. With this, you can more easily protect your sale and the payment for the goods is harder to rescind or execute a chargeback on.
Cryptocurrency payment processing can be used as an alternative to standard payments. Accepting bitcoin for items you sell and exchanging it for your local currency gives you the ability to take a worldwide form of payment and use it in your daily activities.
Crypto merchants accounts are best used through your payment gateway. Your gateway should be equipped with an integration that allows the exchange of crypto online. Although some wallets are less stable, there are certain larger companies that are acquiring more of the market and are considered more trustworthy.
Shopify Payments does not require a SSN because they allow merchants to sign up with a Tax ID number. However, you must have a social security number or EIN in order to use Shopify Payments. They’ll use the information to verify your business and make sure you are operating a legitimate entity.
If you want to use Shopify without an SSN, then be sure to obtain your EIN number beforehand. You can do this by filling out Form SS-4 which allows individuals outside the USA to get official identification for their business.
They also have rules and regulation for Shopify high risk accounts. Take a look at their list of restricted industries as well as countries with specific regulations when it comes to selling online or using Shopify’s payment technology.