What You Need In Order to Set up a High Risk Merchant Account

If you have a business and want to begin accepting credit card payments from your customers, you must look into opening a merchant account. If your business is deemed to be high risk, or in a high-risk industry, you’ll have to apply for high risk merchant accounts that are suitable to process such payments. It’s important to have an understanding of what is exactly expected of you before you begin the application process for high-risk merchant services that are most suitable for your type of business.


There are a few steps that you should take, and by following these steps you’ll have a greater chance of success in the application process.


Get a business licence


Not all businesses based in the UK will require a licence. As long as you have properly set up the business with HMRC, many small businesses can trade without a licence. In those cases where you do need a license, as a larger business or within certain industries where you need a license to operate, you should ensure you have one before you apply for a high-risk merchant account. This will help to verify your business and prove that it is legitimate.


Have a business bank account


After gaining a business licence, the next step is to ensure you have a valid business bank account. This is where your merchant account will deposit your credit card sales after processing has been completed. It is also where your fees are drawn from. A business account is an important step for any new business, whether for a sole trader or a large business with big plans. It gives you the separation and accountability for payments both in and out of your business.


What do you need from a high-risk merchant account?


Deciding on which credit cards you want to process is one of the first decisions to make before applying for a high-risk merchant account. Alongside the type of credit cards you accept, do you require a payment gateway service that is for a bricks and mortar physical store, online payment processing, or both? Figure this out before applying, as it could help you decide which merchant account service is best for your needs.


Research providers


Putting together all of that information will help you make an informed decision at this stage of the process. Think about how each merchant account service operates, how they can specifically help your business and work well within your industry, as well as any security and technological frameworks that makes sense for your needs. Fast, in-house support, transparency of pricing, and great scalability are also key factors in deciding the best merchant account services for your business.


Apply for your high-risk merchant account


Once you have found the right service for your needs and you are sure that it is a high-risk merchant account that you need access to, begin the application process. You’ll be required to provide some detailed information about you and your business at this stage, including copies of:


·          Shareholders’ certificate

·          A certificate of company incorporation

·          Clear chart showing the structure of your organisation

·          Passport and utility bill copies for local directors and any shareholders with more than a 15% stake in the company

·          License number and name of organisation that issues the license (if your business works in a sector where a license is a requirement)

·          Processing history for the previous six months – including total value of transactions, volume of transactions, and chargeback percentage

·          The start date of your business

·          All relevant contact information

·          Bank account and relevant transfer numbers


Undergo checks and verification


This stage might take some time, depending on how much information there is to process. The bank in question will investigate your application and decide whether the business is high risk and will need a high-risk merchant that offers an acceptable business plan and model to work alongside. They are looking for any red flags that might constitute too big a hurdle, including instances of fraudulent behaviour historically.


Once these checks have been completed and your high-risk merchant account opened, you can begin to process credit card payments both in-store and online if required. This will help your business to grow, accepting payments with ease and having the security behind it to ensure peace of mind for customers, suppliers, and your own team.

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