High risk merchants are often caught between a rock and a hard place. They need to be able to accept credit card payments in order to offer convenient payment methods (and thus increase revenue); but by the same token they don’t want to get stuck with high percentage rates and super-restrictive terms from their merchant account provider. But while it’s true that being a high risk merchant means having less wiggle room with a merchant account provider, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have options.

First, before settling on a particular high risk account provider, make sure you have exhausted every possible effort to secure a standard merchant account processor. Sometimes it can take a few applications, an appeal to a denial, or even an over-the-phone or in-person conversation with a provider to get a “no” converted to a “yes” or at least a “maybe”.

But if you have all of your financial ducks in a row, and have tried several standard merchant account providers with no success, then you’ll want to proceed to the next step: seeking out a reputable high risk merchant account processing company. These providers often work exclusively with high risk merchants, so they know the types of risk they are taking on, and will be able to make appropriate arrangements with your contract. Some providers handle both standard and high risk merchants. It’s up to you to choose the type of provider you would like to work with; sometimes an exclusive high risk provider offers more leniency, other times you may wish to choose the mixed merchant account provider who may be willing to consider you for a standard account after a period of time.

The good news is that more and more companies are being considered as high risk, and yet they are still accepting credit cards. These company categories include:

antiques and auctions
bankruptcy attorneys and brokerages
airlines and charters
alcohol and firearms stores and dealers
1-800 and online services
multi-level marketing companies

If you are a high-risk merchant, don’t despair. You may have to do a little digging, but there are plenty of reputable and satisfactory high risk merchants available.