Is High Risk Credit Card Processing with Instant Approval Real?
You’ve built your eCommerce store and populated the products…
Your coaching business or information product is primed and ready for students…
You’ve finally got your CBD oil business/supplement company/ecommerce business, etc. registered…
…and you need to start taking electronic payments immediately.
After a quick internet search, you find a provider offering “instant merchant account approval” for high risk credit card processing. They may even offer guaranteed merchant account approval.
You fill out the form, submit a few documents, and wait.
An hour later, you call the payment provider to find out what’s taking so long only to be told that your “instant approval” merchant account is under review and final approval will take a couple of days.
What Happened to My Instant Approval?
The reality is, merchant account instant approval isn’t really instant for high-risk merchants.
There is a very real review process, called underwriting, that every merchant account must undergo.
The merchant account approval process can be virtually instant for traditional low-risk businesses, but having a high-risk merchant account fully approved in under 48 hours is rare.
“But the Processing Company’s Website Said…”
It’s not uncommon for payment processing providers to over-promise on what they can actually deliver if they think they can get your business.
The reality is, finding the right high-risk merchant account is far more important than getting an instant merchant account.
When deciding which high-risk merchant account provider to partner with, ask questions like:
- Does this provider currently work with merchants in high-risk industries?
- Do they have a proven track record working with high-risk merchant accounts?
- Do they provide human assistance when I don’t understand the process or technology?
“But My PayPal / Stripe / Square Account was Instant.”
These merchant account providers, known as aggregators, offer “instant approval” merchant accounts to certain business types, but they still review the accounts. It just happens behind the scenes after the merchant accounts are active.
If they discover high-risk merchants operating on their platform they close the accounts, often without warning. This can put that business owner in a very sticky situation.
After all, most businesses can’t afford to not accept credit cards while they wait several days or even weeks for a new merchant account to be approved.
Not-Quite-Instant Approval for High Risk Merchant Accounts
For high risk businesses, instant approval may be unrealistic. But with a little preparation, FAST approval is achievable.
There are several ways to help speed up the approval process for your high risk merchant account.
Prepare Your Documents
Every payment processor is a little different, but there are some basic documents to have on hand if you want to inch a little closer to instant approval:
- Business Owner Photo ID: A valid driver’s license or passport is best.
- Void Check or Bank Letter: You’ll need an actual check or a letter from your bank showing the name on the account and the correct account number and routing number.
- Bank Statements: Have at least 3 months of both business bank statements and your personal banking statements available. Ideally, these statements should show a steady, positive balance.
- Processing Statements: If you already accept credit cards with any provider, it’s a good plan to have your processing statements prepared.
Certain industries and business models are automatically labeled high-risk, but not every company that falls into this category has inflated chargeback activity.
While you don’t get to decide whether your business is considered high-risk, keeping chargebacks low lets payment processors know that your specific high risk merchant account is a good bet.
- Make sure customers can reach you. If a dissatisfied customer can’t reach you easily, there is an increased risk that they will dispute the charge on their credit card statement. Put your customer service phone number or email address in the footer of your business website’s home page, on receipts, and in your descriptor.
- Confirm subscription enrollment. You can be sure customers will chargeback monthly transactions they don’t expect. Give your customers the option to add the recurring item instead of having to remove it from their purchase (known as negative opt-in).
- Use a Chargeback Mitigation Service. Your merchant account provider can recommend a service that will alert you to new chargebacks or even help prevent them.
Provide Clear Details About Your Product and Business Model
Online businesses will need to have a website ready that includes clear product information, purchase options, and details about how shipping, returns, refunds, and other customer-facing activities are handled.
Similarly, owners of high-risk companies processing offline should have brochures, phone scripts, product price lists, and any other materials that give underwriters a clear picture of how the company does business and the products offered.
Have a Good Credit Score
It’s important to keep in mind that the credit card processing companies are reviewing both the business and the high-risk business owner.
Your personal credit directly affects your business credibility.
Make sure what shows up in that credit check is positive to give a big boost toward your quick account approval.
Is Bad Credit Merchant Account Instant Approval Possible?
Bad credit businesses may have their work cut out for them, but there’s hope!
While bad credit merchant account “instant approval” may not be realistic, there are options for high risk business owners with poor credit.
The ISO and/or the Acquiring Bank conducts a far more extensive investigation as part of the approval process for bad credit merchant accounts because they represent an increased risk. And of course, that review includes a credit check.
But one positive element about an extensive investigation is that it gives the high-risk merchant with bad credit an opportunity to minimize the impact of their credit score by highlighting other factors in the application.
Bad credit businesses might consider using some of the strategies below to boost their potential for high risk merchant account approval.
Consider bringing on a business partner if your credit history is less than ideal. Like a co-signer on a loan, a partner with good credit in a strong financial position can lend credibility to your high-risk merchant account application.
An international merchant will need a domestic business partner in order to be eligible for a high-risk merchant account regardless of their creditworthiness.
Personal Reference Letter
Include a personal reference letter from your bank or credit reference letters from corporate providers that can vouch for your habit of making timely payments or otherwise handling financial and banking relationships well.
Favorable references from these other companies may help put you in a stronger position with merchant account providers.
TMF/MATCH List Removal
The Terminated Merchant File (also known as the MATCH list) is an industry database that contains information about merchants who have been terminated for unauthorized or illegal business practices. Unfortunately, some are added to the list by error.
Inclusion in this list can make even high risk accounts difficult to acquire. If you discover you have been placed on this list, consider hiring an attorney who specializes in helping merchants get removed from the MATCH list.
The High Risk Merchant Account Instant Approval Unicorn
Instant approvals for high-risk processing sound like a great idea.
But high-risk merchant account instant approval may take longer to find than to simply obtain final approval of your high-risk account with a trusted merchant services provider.
Easy Pay Direct works with high-risk businesses and their respective owners every day to get approval for high-risk merchant accounts that fit their specific needs.
As both a payment gateway and a high-risk merchant account provider, we can help you put together a solid application that the right payment processor will be happy to review.
We understand what your high-risk business requires and know how to obtain payment processing so you can start accepting major credit cards for your merchant services as quickly as possible.
In addition to high-risk accounts, Easy Pay Direct has solutions for all of your processing needs. Whether you’re looking for a payment gateway, in need of service for a low-risk business, or need options as an international merchant, we’re here to help make things easier!
Click now to set up your high-risk merchant account!