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7 Best High-Risk Credit Card Processing & Low Rates in 2024

Stephen Wright Stephen WrightFinance Specialist April 05, 2024
April 05, 2024
Running a high-risk business can be difficult, especially when trying to find a credit card processor that will work with your risk level. Getting approved is tough – even if you open a merchant account, it’ll come with restrictions on business activity, limit thresholds, high fees, and additional fees for security and chargeback protection.

As a high-risk business owner, picking the wrong credit card processor can impact your bottom line. It can make managing recurring/subscription billing harder due to outdated software, keep you locked in with lengthy contracts and high cancellation fees, and increase your susceptibility to fraudulent activity and chargebacks because of ineffective security features.

After researching dozens of credit card processing services for high-risk merchants, I found that Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) excels due to its industry-low rates, negotiable pricing, dedicated fraud team, and 98% approval rating.

If you’ve been struggling to find a credit card processor due to your high-risk status, check out LMS. Or, if you’re still exploring your options, keep reading for more credit card processing services great for high-risk businesses or businesses in high-risk industries.

Short on Time? These Are the Best High-Risk Payment Processors in 2024

  1. Expert’s Choice
    LMS_Monogram Leaders Merchant Services
    Leaders Merchant Services is a popular choice with our readers
    Industry-low rates, negotiable pricing, and flexible contracts for high-risk businesses.
  2. Paysafe Lockup Off-Black RGB Paysafe Manage subscriptions and resolve failed transactions with Vindicia and Vindicia Retain.
  3. promerchant-logo ProMerchant Extra fraud detection and mitigation tools for high-risk businesses.

What We Look For in the Best High-Risk Credit Card Processors

When searching for the best credit card processors for high-risk businesses, I focused on specific features and benefits that overcome the challenges of being a high-risk business.
  • Low rates. The payment processors that made my list offer low rates, including minimal monthly and transaction fees. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with unreasonable pricing and will see rates similar to those of low-risk businesses.
  • Robust security. All listed services provide robust security measures, including fraud detection, prevention, and chargeback protection. One credit card processor on my list even offers data breach insurance up to $100,000.
  • E-commerce integrations. Every high-risk processor that made the cut offers e-commerce integrations and secure payment gateways, allowing you to integrate with accounting and tax software to manage subscription services and take payments online.
  • Variety of payment options. My recommendations offer diverse payment options like ACH, credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, eChecks, and more, ensuring you can cater to your customer’s payment needs.
  • Responsive customer support. All these high-risk processors provide robust customer support, whether it’s through 24/7 tech assistance, live chat, personal account managers, or specialized chargeback and fraud teams.

A Note on the MATCH List

Suppose your business receives a large number of chargebacks. In that case, you may end up on the Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants (MATCH) list, a database of blocklisted businesses known for excessive chargebacks.

Despite offering advanced features to protect your business from chargebacks and fraudulent transactions, high-risk credit card processors will not consider a merchant on the MATCH list.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is a standout choice for high-risk SMEs due to its industry-low rates and negotiable pricing structure. You’ll pay a monthly fee and low per-transaction fees, but LMS encourages you to negotiate your rates based on your business’s needs. LMS offers $9.00/month with ~2% + 0¢ for in-person transactions and ~2.9% + 30¢ for online/virtual terminal transactions, making it an excellent option for budget-focused SMEs.

LMS’ merchant cash advances are particularly beneficial for high-risk businesses, allowing you to acquire extra capital in times of need. Better yet, you can pay back your advance through a small commission on future sales, meaning you can receive immediate access to funding without the added stress of managing repayments.

With an industry-high approval rating of 98% and same-day setup, LMS is one of the most accessible payment processors. Once your application is approved, the onboarding process can be completed in less than 24 hours. You’ll be able to avoid losing out on potential sales by accepting payments almost immediately.

Features and Benefits

  • Chargeback and fraud team. LMS’ fraud team assists you in navigating disputes and reducing fraudulent activity, enabling you to manage the complexities of high-risk transactions without losing your business’s credibility.
  • “Meet-or-beat” policy. Confident in its ability to provide competitive rates, LMS will give you a $200 gift card if it can’t beat or at least meet your current processing rates.
  • Instant Accept. An excellent tool that allows you to access a virtual terminal directly through QuickBooks, Instant Accept enables you to accept payments, view transaction information, and sync with QuickBooks in real time.
  • Your account manager. LMS provides you with a dedicated account manager who understands your business’s needs. This added value means you won’t have to explain your business model and goals whenever you need specialized support.
To learn more, read our full LMS review.

Integrations Authorize.Net, NMI, CartManager, and Instant Accept
Security features PCI-compliant, advanced fraud detection and prevention, end-to-end encryption, tokenization
Payout times 72 hours
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~2% + 0¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

Due to its partnership with Vindicia, Paysafe is great for large, high-risk businesses using recurring payments. With Vindicia, you can easily set up recurring billing and optimize your subscription plans based on analytics. Better yet, you also get Vindicia Retain, which automatically fixes up to 30% of failed transactions using algorithms and automation to check your customer’s credit card information.

Paysafe allows you to process payments in over 40 currencies through its payment gateway. Plus, it accepts over 250 payment types, including credit and debit cards, digital wallets, ACH transfers, and lesser-known methods like Interchecks, Mazooma, Play+, and VIP Preferred.

Paysafe offers a personalized approach to pricing with three pricing models, including tiered pricing, interchange-plus, and cash discount. On its interchange-plus plan, you can get reasonably low rates starting at 0.30% + ¢10 per transaction, making it a good choice for high-volume businesses. Be aware that you must pay for PCI compliance, Mastercard location fees, a monthly minimum fee, American Express processing, and more.

Features and Benefits

  • Comprehensive dashboard. Paysafe’s dashboard allows you to track and monitor your payments, view your entire transaction history, process payments through a virtual terminal, generate reports, and process refunds from one centralized location.
  • Personalized onboarding. A dedicated account manager will guide you through the setup process and offer tailored support based on your needs.
  • Risk management team. Every merchant gets access to its risk management team, which flags and blocks suspicious payments, IP addresses, and regions to reduce the chances of fraud and chargebacks.
  • Multichannel payments. Paysafe offers several payment channels, including mail order/telephone order (MOTO), pay-by-link, digital invoicing, recurring payments, and even QR code payments through its partnership with Applova.
Take a look at our Paysafe review to find out more.

Integrations Authorize.net and Vindicia
Security features Level 1 PCI-compliant, tokenization, end-to-end encryption, GDPR, and more
Payout times 1-2 business days
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.30% + ¢10
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95
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3. Sekure Payment Experts: Free PCI Plus Program for High-Risk SMEs

Sekure Payment Experts stands out for high-risk SMEs due to its PCI Plus program, free for qualified merchants and allows you to skip any self-assessment questionnaires, scans, or compliance fees. As part of this program, PCI Level-3 and Level-4 qualified businesses get breach forgiveness of up to $100,000, meaning you won’t have to pay anything unless your expenses exceed at least that amount.

Sekure allows you to choose between four payment plans: custom pricing, Interchange Plus with transaction fees of 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online), Simplified Pricing with flat-rate transaction fees of 3.5% + 19¢ (in-person & online), and The Edge Program with no transaction fees as you’ll pass 4% fees onto your customers. You’ll pay no monthly fees on its interchange plus and flat-rate plans but will pay $39.95/month on its zero-cost processing plan.

Sekure offers free equipment with no monthly or annual fees, regardless of your contract length. Plus, you can get more than one device for free, which isn’t typical among credit card processors. While Sekure offers attractive rates and equipment, its agents can be assertive in convincing customers to set up an account or leave information to lock their offered rates.

Features and Benefits

  • ETA-Certified Personal Payment Experts. You get specialized, industry-specific expertise from day one, helping you choose the best pricing plan, POS system, and software for your business’s needs.
  • Industry-specific software. Sekure works with renowned vendors like RetailCloud, HotSauce, and more to offer targeted solutions. RetailCloud offers loyalty marketing and a customer relationship management (CRM) system, while HotSauce caters to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
  • E-commerce solutions. While it doesn’t offer proprietary e-commerce solutions, Sekure partners with online selling platforms and shopping carts like Magento, BigCommerce, OpenCart, and ZenCart.
  • Free same or next-day payouts. Every Sekure account gets access to free same or next-day payouts faster than most credit card processors. As a result, you can reliably cover expenses and ensure a healthy cash flow.
To learn more, read our in-depth Sekure Payment Experts review.

Integrations Authorize.net, QuickBooks
Security features Level 1 PCI and HIPAA-compliant, advanced fraud detection
Payout times Free same or next-day funding
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan N/A

4. POS Pros: Advanced Security Features for Businesses in High-Risk Industries

POS Pros offers advanced security features for businesses in high-risk industries through its virtual terminal and payment gateway. These include real-time fraud monitoring, address verification, device and browser detection, and card verification code (CVC) checks. You can identify and manage potentially fraudulent transactions with POS Pros while reducing the likelihood of chargebacks and disputes.

You can select from free Dejavoo Z11, Clover Mini, or Clover Flex terminals when opening a merchant account. Better yet, a portfolio of over 25 POS systems, such as SmartSwipe, Revel, and TouchBistro, allows you to tailor your POS hardware to your business needs. POS Pros specializes in POS systems for brick-and-mortar businesses, whether low-risk, high-risk, or somewhere in between.

POS Pros’ plans have monthly fees ranging from $5.00 to $30.00. It also has specialized plans for high-risk industries such as subscription and digital services, liquor and vape stores, and gas stations. Notably, POS Pros offers you $500 if it fails to beat your current rates and will also cover your cancellation fees if you decide to switch. However, it can be difficult to determine if it offers better deals than other processors as its rates and fees aren’t available on its website.

Features and Benefits

  • Free consultation and demo. POS Pros provides an expert consultation to determine the best POS system for your business’s needs. Plus, you’ll get a free demo, ensuring you can process payments effectively without requiring support.
  • Access to up to $500,000 working capital. If your business has been operational for at least a year and generates annual revenue exceeding $50,000, you can apply for a quick capital infusion through the POS Pros’ mobile app.
  • A range of payment options. POS Pros supports various payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, bank transfers, eChecks, and ACH transfers.
  • Next-day funding. POS Pros deposits all payments processed into your linked bank account within 24 hours at no additional cost, ensuring you’re never strapped for cash and don’t lose money due to additional per-transaction fees.
Check out our comprehensive POS Pros review for more on pricing.

Integrations Authorize.net, NMI, QuickBooks, 365Villas, RhinoFit, iMarina, VisionWeb, and more
Security features Level 1 PCI compliant, tokenization fraud prevention, and chargeback management
Payout times Next day
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 0.00¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $5.00

5. ProMerchant: Best for Highest-Risk Businesses

During my research, ProMerchant stood out for its specialized merchant accounts for high-risk businesses. It provides extra security features like fraud detection and mitigation tools at no extra cost. In addition to the usual features offered to low-risk businesses, ProMerchant reduces the likelihood of chargebacks and fraudulent activities often faced by the highest-risk businesses.

There are two distinct plans: an Interchange Plus Fixed Rate plan and a Zero Cost Processing plan. The Interchange Plus plan includes a fixed interchange fee of 3% + 10¢ (credit) and a low monthly fee of $7.95. The Zero Cost Processing plan is ideal for restaurants and retail-based businesses looking to transfer up to 4% of processing fees to their customers. With only a fixed monthly fee of $7.95, this is ideal for new businesses with low or no credit.

ProMerchant uses the Authorize.net payment gateway for e-commerce, which offers features such as digital invoicing, subscription management, and the ability to set up recurring payments. These features can help you manage a subscription-based business deemed high-risk while enhancing your business’s efficiency.

Features and Benefits

  • Next-day funding is free of charge. ProMerchant provides the convenience of next-day funding without additional transaction or monthly fees, enabling swift access to your funds while allowing for effective cash flow management.
  • 50+ point-of-sale (POS) systems and free equipment. ProMerchant offers an extensive range of hardware, including free credit card terminals, Bluetooth card readers, and cash drawers. Depending on your business’s needs, you can receive a complimentary Verifone, Payanywhere, PAX, or Ingenico terminal free of rental or maintenance fees.
  • Payments Hub virtual terminal. If you accept payments via phone, email, SMS, or even mail, you can use the Payments Hub virtual terminal to manually key in transactions at no extra cost.
  • Variety of payment options. ProMerchant tailors its services to high-risk merchants by allowing you to accept several payment methods, including debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, eChecks, ACH transfers, Visa Click to Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more.
To find out more, check out our extensive ProMerchant review.

Integrations Authorize.net and QuickBooks
Security features PCI-compliant, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
Payout times Next day
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 3% + 10¢ (credit)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

6. Flagship Merchant Services: Same-Day Funding for High-Risk Businesses

Flagship Merchant Services offers same-day funding for high-risk businesses, allowing you to receive your money on the same business day instead of waiting two or more days. This is especially beneficial for high-risk businesses that need immediate access to funding to purchase stock, consolidate debt, or expand. However, this service comes with an extra monthly and per-transaction fee​​​​.

Every merchant account with Flagship includes access to iAccess 3.0, a comprehensive reporting tool. With iAccess 3.0, you can generate daily, weekly, or monthly sales summaries, create statements, send invoices, analyze customer behavior, and view industry statistics. Better yet, you’ll be able to gain insight into sales trends and make data-backed decisions that can influence your business’s performance.

Flagship generally offers a tiered pricing structure to new merchants, starting at 1.58% + 19¢ (in person) and 1.98% + 0.21¢ (online) per transaction. Alternatively, Flagship has an Interchange-Plus pricing plan with transaction fees starting at 3.58% + 0.19¢ (in-person) and 3.98% + 0.21¢ (online). However, you’ll need to budget for extra monthly fees, including monthly minimum, ACH, gateway, and PCI compliance and non-compliance fees.

Features and Benefits

  • Flexible contracts. Flagship offers the convenience of month-to-month contracts, making it an appealing choice for businesses seeking flexibility without long-term commitments. Plus, it gives you peace of mind with no cancellation fees.
  • Security and compliance. Flagship ensures secure online transactions by providing a highly secure payment gateway with end-to-end encryption, which is crucial for e-commerce transactions. You can add security rules like Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV2) checks and transaction restrictions, offering additional protection against fraud and chargebacks.
  • Digital loyalty program. Flagship’s digital loyalty and gift card program allows you to track customer buying trends. This feature is valuable for understanding consumer behavior, enabling you to make informed business decisions that boost sales.
  • Superfast onboarding. You can set up your Flagship account and start accepting payments in just a few hours – Flagship has one of the fastest and smoothest onboarding processes on this list.
For more information, see our expert Flagship review.

Integrations Authorize.net
Security features PCI-compliant, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
Payout times 48 hours as standard, optional same-day payout add-on
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

Other Notable High-Risk Credit Card Payment Processors

7. Square Payments

Square Payments’ pricing structure is transparent, with no compulsory subscription or hidden PCI fees. It’s also one of the few payment aggregators that offers a free account. There are no monthly fees, and you’ll only have to pay a flat fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction, which is ideal for new or low-volume businesses. Once your volume picks up, you might have to upgrade or switch processors to get a better deal.

A standout feature of Square is its instant access to funds through an FDIC-insured business checking account. Signing up is quick and straightforward, taking just a few minutes with no paperwork or credit checks. This account comes with no monthly or overdraft fees, offering an efficient way to manage your business and integrate with your Square account​​​​​​. Just check Square’s prohibited list before signing up for an account.

These Are the Best High-Risk Credit Card Processors

Every high-risk business has unique needs, with some requiring low rates, flexible contracts, minimal fees, chargeback protection, and more. As a result, some credit card processors are better than others.

If you’re looking for industry-low rates, negotiable pricing, and flexible contracts, I recommend Leaders Merchant Services (LMS), as it offers cost-effective solutions adaptable to your business’s needs. For example, you get free access to a personal account manager, a fraud and chargeback team, and POS systems. Its 98% approval rating for registered businesses increases your chances of opening a merchant account.

Another great option is Paysafe due to its partnership with Vindicia and Vincidia Retain, allowing you to quickly set up recurring payments and resolve up to 30% of failed transactions. It also accepts over 250 payment methods in 40+ currencies, making it an excellent choice for high-risk businesses processing international transactions.

If you require additional fraud and mitigation tools to reduce chargebacks, disputes, and fraudulent activity, ProMerchant is a decent choice. Its integration with Authorize.net allows efficient management of recurring payments and online transaction monitoring, making it suitable for high-risk merchants who prioritize security.

To aid in making an informed decision, take a look at my summary table:
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Industry-low rates, negotiable pricing, and a 98% approval rate High-risk SMEs that value cost-reduction and flexibility $9.00 ~2% + 0¢
ProMerchant Specialized merchant accounts offering extra fraud detection and mitigation tools Businesses deemed the highest risk with a high possibility of chargebacks and disputes $7.95 3% + 10¢ (credit)
Paysafe Vindicia and Vindicia Retain help manage recurring payments and fix up to 30% of failed transactions Large high-risk businesses that operate under a recurring payment business model $7.95 0.30% + ¢10
Flagship Merchant Services Same-day funding option instead of the usual two or more processing times High-risk businesses with low credit scores that need immediate access to funds to cover everyday expenses $7.95 1.58% + 19¢ (in person)
POS Pros Real-time fraud monitoring, address verification, and card verification code (CVC) checks Businesses in high-risk industries that sell products and services online $5.00 0% + 0.00¢
Sekure Payment Experts Free access to its PCI Plus Program that offers breach forgiveness of up to $100,000 High-Risk SMEs that are Level-3 or Level-4 PCI-compliant N/A 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online)


What is the best payment processor for high-risk businesses?

The best payment processor for high-risk businesses depends on specific needs and priorities. If you’re a budget-conscious SME considered high-risk, Leaders Merchant Services is the best option due to its industry-low rates and negotiable pricing. On the other hand, ProMerchant is a good option for high-risk businesses that need extra fraud detection and mitigation tools.

What is a high-risk merchant for credit card processing?

A high-risk merchant often faces higher fraud and chargeback risks. Businesses labeled mid- to high-risk include those primarily processing ACH transfers, having low credit scores, or operating under a membership-based business model. If you’re one such merchant consider Paysafe, which offers tailored solutions for high-risk industries.

What are high-risk transactions on credit cards?

High-risk transactions on credit cards carry a greater risk of chargebacks and fraud, often involving recurring payments, international transactions, and the purchase of digital products. ProMerchant is the best option for dealing with these transactions as it offers high-risk merchants specialized features to limit fraud and chargebacks.

Are high-risk credit card processors more expensive than low-risk processors?

Yes, high-risk credit card processors are more expensive than low-risk ones, typically charging higher processing and PCI compliance fees. Despite this, excellent high-risk payment processors like Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) offer industry-low rates tailored to your business’s needs regardless of your credit score, risk level, or industry.

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