Payment Processing

Best High Risk Merchant Account Services (2023)

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In the dynamic landscape of modern business, certain industries are classified as high-risk because of their unique challenges and regulatory complexities. 

Operating in such sectors often requires specialized payment processing solutions that cater to elevated risk profiles. This is where the best high-risk merchant account services come into play, offering a lifeline to businesses seeking reliable payment processing despite the odds.

Four prominent names stand out in this area, each known for its commitment to providing tailored solutions and innovative approaches: PaymentCloud, National Processing, High Risk Pay and Soar Payments. These industry leaders have earned their stripes by assisting businesses operating in high-risk sectors, enabling them to securely process payments, manage risk and expand their global reach.

Best High Risk Merchant Account Services Comparison Chart

Product NamePaymentCloudNational ProcessingHigh Risk PaySoar Payments
Best High Risk Merchant Account Services PaymentCloudBest High Risk Merchant Account Services National ProcessingBest High Risk Merchant Account Services High Risk PayBest High Risk Merchant Account Services Soar Payments
PricingVariableTransparent (monthly fee + transaction fee)Transparent (monthly fee + transaction fee)Custom quote
Advertised Approval Rate98 percentN/A99 percentN/A
Cryptocurrency SupprtYesYesNoNo


Best payment processing service for high-risk merchants overall.

Best High Risk Merchant Account Services PaymentCloud

For high-risk merchants, PaymentCloud makes their lives easier in at least two ways: easy approval and a simple-to-use system. 

First off, the company boasts an approval rate of 98 percent. Straight from the horse’s mouth, it takes pride in being capable of accommodating just about any type of business of any risk level, which is particularly useful for high-risk merchant accounts, aside from its low- and medium-risk counterparts. For instance, businesses dealing with things like firearms, CBD and hemp, adult products and telemedicine have a good chance of getting approved to enjoy reliable payment processing services.

In addition, PaymentCloud makes it easy for businesses to accept payments. For starters, it throws in a free terminal once approved, and it’s flexible in that it also offers a mobile terminal for on-the-go businesses. The best part is, its system allows you to accept credit card, ACH and even cryptocurrency via online, mobile or a point-of-sale (POS) system. 

Read our post about the difference between ACH and wire transfers.

National Processing

Best long-term solution for high-risk merchants for ACH payments.

Best High Risk Merchant Account Services National Processing

Right off the bat, National Processing makes it clear how much you’ll pay, giving you the advantage of planning ahead financially. Its pricing depends on the nature of your business. For example, restaurants have a transaction fee of 0.14 percent + $0.07, whereas retailers are charged 0.18 percent + $0.10 per payment. 

In a similar vein, monthly fees also depend on the service you’re after. Restaurants, retailers, nonprofits and ecommerce platforms pay $9.95 a month, while ACH processing is $15 per month. There’s also a featured-packed subscription that costs $59 monthly, and even though it’s on the pricey side, it includes perks like a free pin pad, terminal and mobile reader. Then there’s the company’s top-of-the-line offering called Subscription Plus that’s $199 a month, and the upside is you get access to a low transaction rate of 0 percent + $0.05. 

Also, National Processing is versatile in that it accepts pretty much any payment method, such as ACH (as suggested earlier), credit and debit cards and cryptocurrency. Last but not least, it understands that high-risk merchants aren’t “worse” than those in industries that are considered as safer, and it offers a free review to determine whether your business truly deserves to be deemed as high risk or not.

Click here for our list of the best ACH payment processing services.

High Risk Pay

Best for high-risk merchants in the adult industry.

Best High Risk Merchant Account Services High Risk Pay

The main strength of High Risk Pay is its transparent pricing structure. It even makes it crystal clear how much those with good and bad credit will have to fork over per transaction, delineating the difference in cost between the two. For instance, the transaction fee per card swipe for retailers with good credit is 1.79 percent + $0.25, while retailers with bad credit are charged 2.49 percent + $0.25 per card swipe.

High Risk Pay also lists a standard rate of 2.95 percent + $0.25 for high-risk merchants, as well as for those in the adult business, which slightly ups the fee to 2.95 percent + $0.25. Put simply, that makes the company a viable option because enterprises can plan accordingly based on the prices it outlines, particularly for those selling adult-themed items. Not to mention that it touts itself as having a 99 percent approval rate.

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that it has a monthly fee of $9.95 for all business types.

Soar Payments

Best for straightforward service for high-risk merchants.

Best High Risk Merchant Account Services Soar Payments

In a way, Soar Payments can be considered as definitely honest. After all, it outright states which industries it will accommodate or not. While the list is too long to write down here, among the business types it will cater to include credit repair, legal services, medical supplies and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. On the flip side, it won’t serve those in adult, marijuana and gambling industries, to name a few.

The same can’t be said about the cost of its services (i.e., no transparent pricing). However, it’s easy to get a quote since all you need to do is fill out an online form, and it says that it sets its prices based on the current standard in the industry.

Advantages of High-Risk Merchant Account Providers

Risk management expertise: High-risk merchant account providers specialize in managing businesses with elevated risk profiles. They have experience in assessing and mitigating potential risks, which can help protect your business from fraud and chargebacks.

Industry flexibility: High-risk merchant account services cater to a wide range of industries, including sectors often deemed risky such as online gaming, adult entertainment, CBD products and travel. In other words, they allow businesses in unconventional niches to access reliable payment processing solutions.

Customized solutions: Providers of high-risk merchant accounts understand that each business is unique. They offer tailored solutions that meet your specific needs and challenges, including customizable fraud prevention tools and chargeback management systems.

Higher approval rates: High-risk merchant account services are designed to accommodate businesses that might be declined by traditional payment processors. This leads to higher approval rates for merchants with complex or riskier business models.

Secure transactions: These services offer advanced security measures to protect sensitive customer data. Typically, they use encryption, tokenization and other similar security protocols to ensure safe and secure payment transactions.

Reduced chargeback impact: High-risk merchant account providers often have chargeback management tools in place to help businesses deal with disputes and reduce the impact of chargebacks, which can negatively affect cash flow and reputation.

Diverse payment options: High-risk merchant accounts offer a wide array of payment options, including credit cards, alternative payment methods and even cryptocurrencies. This variety gives customers the option to choose their preferred payment method, enhancing the user experience.

Fast set-up: High-risk merchant account providers understand the urgency of getting businesses up and running quickly. More often than not, they offer faster application and onboarding processes, helping businesses start accepting payments sooner.

Regulatory compliance: Many high-risk industries are subject to strict regulations. High-risk merchant account providers are well-versed in navigating these compliance requirements, helping your business stay on the right side of the law.


In summary, PaymentCloud stands out for its relatively high approval rate and ease of use, supporting more or less any payment method. Meanwhile, National Processing offers multiple payment processing solutions, one of which is designed for ACH transfers.

On the other hand, High Risk Pay sets itself apart with its transparent pricing, giving high-risk merchants a clear-cut cost so they can plan ahead. Lastly, Soar Payments is an excellent option for businesses who prefer a fuss-free provider that follows the minimum pricing in the industry.