Considerations For Obtaining A Payment Gateway / Merchant Account for a High Risk Business


Are you struggling to get a payment gateway for your raffle website or other high risk business type? Have you been declined or turned away by a merchant or gateway? Or just finding it difficult to navigate through the minefield of different rates and in cases hidden costs?  Look no further, we take you through what things to look out for and also an insight into what the payment gateways are looking for.


We have been right where you are so understand what a headache obtaining a payment gateway can be! It can take days to working through the different options, companies available for a gateway and merchant accounts, what was needed and more importantly the fees!

So why go through the hassle of getting a payment gateway? Many people decide to take the step to creating a website and integrating a payment gateway to become credible within the industry they are operating in. For the case of competition / raffle websites this also means complying with the Gambling Act (

Here we will summarize everything you should consider.

Getting Started

First decide if your business really is classed as high risk. A business could be considered high risk for a number of reasons, including if operating in an industry prone to chargebacks, or even fraud. This is one of the reasons fees for merchants / gateways are higher compared to lower risk industries. We have provided a list of business at the end of this article that are considered high risk.

The biggest thing to remember is that payment gateway and merchant account providers are looking at the ‘risk’ associated to your business. One of the easiest to obtain, and essential to being approved, is to get your company registered. This can be a limited company or a sole trader in the UK and will be the first thing they check.

Next you need to establish Terms & Conditions on your website and ensure it is compliant – these will be reviewed before any final decision is made. For more information check out blog post on how to comply

In addition to this you need to clearly outline the terms or how the business is being run. Particularly in the case of competition sites you need to ensure free entry methods are clear.

Templates are available but you may decide to ‘bite the bullet’ and seek legal advice go help with this.

High Risk Merchant Accounts

When it comes to merchant services, mainstream providers, such as Stripe, and high street banks again consider some businesses ‘high risk.’ More often we are hearing about people being accepted initially by these providers, but then down the line being shut down and their money being stuck. This is why it is important to be clear from the beginning the nature of your business and check the bank you are applying to accepts your business.

With merchant accounts specific for high risk businesses, you will expect to pay higher fees. Just be sure to check all documentation to spot any hidden costs!

High Risk Payment Gateways

In order to begin the application you will need to ensure you have the following information and we can support with a number of these aspects:

  • Trading Address
  • Proof of address & Identity
  • Website Compliance
  • Business Plan; Specifically projected annual turnover & average transaction value
  • If switching gateways; value and number of chargebacks and refunds
  • Be prepared to give details on the source of funds & wealth to establish the business.

Whether you are struggling to find a bank to accept your card processing application or have been terminated by your existing provider and urgently need an alternative, using an intermediary is highly recommended. Through their network of merchant and gateway partners, they will ensure you get the best deal suitable for your high risk business, help make the process run smoothly, and offer any support and unbiased advice needed.

Examples of High Risk Businesses


  • BD Oils Payment Gateway / Payment Merchant
  • Vaping Payment Gateway / Payment Merchant
  • Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
  • Gambling and Casinos,
  • Skill based competitions and prize draws
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Crypto Currency / Cryptocurrency / Virtual Assets
  • Furniture
  • Nutraceuticals / diet control substances
  • Tobacco Sellers – Cigars Stores and Stands (MCC 5993)
  • Money remittance
  • Ticket Agencies / Brokers
  • Taxi cabs and Limousines
  • Art Dealers and Galleries
  • Auction houses
  • Computer programming
  • Contact Lenses
  • Counselling Services
  • Dating and/or Escort Services
  • Debt Collection
  • Digital Pass-through Wallet
  • Discount Stores
  • File sharing services, (e.g Cyberlockers)
  • Investments (including Binary and Forex)
  • Insolvency Practitioner
  • Jewelry, Precious Stones and Metals
  • Lotto Syndicates
  • MarketPlaces
  • Real estate brokers / Property rentals