high-risk merchant account is the one where there is a high probability of risk involved, fraudulent transactions to happen and frequent cases of customers being dissatisfied and asking for refunds. Overall, based on a number of factors, the payment processor decides whether to classify the business as high-risk or not. These factors are not limited to just industry type, average value of transaction, countries where the merchant is selling the products etc. They can be beyond these! Merchants having a high-risk account have to pay higher commissions as the risks associated with them are on a higher side. 

What are the Key Characteristics of a Low-Risk and a High-Risk Account?

Usually, the characteristics vary from one payment processor to the other so the exact set of rules is hard to define but we can let you know the common ones that are seen amongst all the payment processors. 

Average card transaction value: A low-risk account has below $500 and a high-risk account has it above $500. 

Monthly amount processed: Below $20k for low-risk accounts and above $20k for the high-risk accounts.

Merchants having a low-risk account sell products to countries that are considered safe and are low at risk. Such countries are the USA, Japan, European nations etc. On the other hand, high-risk merchant accounts are the ones that sell products to the countries that have a high track-record of fraudulent transactions. 

Which Industries Show Up More High-Risk Merchant Accounts?

Below listed are some of the industries that are usually associated with the high-risk accounts. So, if you are a merchant that belongs to any such industry, chances are there that you might need this account to accept credit card payments on your website.  

  • Auctions
  • SEO service providers
  • Subscription services
  • Travel businesses
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Dating websites
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
  • Website design
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • eHealth
  • Large ticket accounts
  • Nightclubs / cabaret bars
  • sexually-oriented or pornographic merchants
  • Casinos, gambling or gaming
  • Astrology services
  • International shipping
  • Real estate

Now, let us have a look at the pros and cons of having this account. 


  • You can have a wide access to sell different products ranging from the ones with the lowest risks to the ones with the highest risks.
  • There is a possibility to do business in almost any country. With the low risk merchant accounts, you may be limited to do business in the countries having low risks but with this account, you can sell your products and services in any country and that too in the respective currency of the nation. 
  • You can have large profits with this account as you can sell multiple products at the same time and that too across the world. 
  • Chargeback protection – Payment processors have effective chargeback protection policies for these accounts so you can take the benefit of it if you face a high-risk chargeback transaction anytime doing the business. 


  • Higher payment processing fees 
  • Reserve fees – As the account deals with high risk, many payment processors keep a rule to reserve some amount in the account to mitigate any risks and fraudulent incidents. 

If you are looking to open a high-risk merchant account for your business, that offers exceptional services keeping the best interests of their clients in mind. Don’t wait anymore, just get your account created and take your business to new heights selecting the right payment processor today!