What is “the best” high-risk payment gateway?

Well, it could be NMI, Authorize.Net, or even ePN. It depends on several factors.

Which high-risk payment gateway is the best for you depends on your high-risk business type and the details of your marketing offer. This article will provide essential information to help you figure out what is best for your high-risk website.

If you need a free one on one high-risk payment gateway integration overview, contact us anytime.

If you’d like to read our in-depth guides on vape, pipes & glass, CBD, tactical & FFL, and cigar payment processing alternatives for familiar site builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento, please check out our extensive high-risk resource guide.

What’s the best alternative to Stripe or Paypal? It’s complicated

Whenever a website owner asks us what high-risk payment gateway is the best, unfortunately, our answer sometimes sounds a little bit like a sales pitch. Every time we answer with some variation of “it depends, let’s talk about your business.” The follow-up question we often get is, “can’t you please just give me a simple answer before I carve out time on a Tuesday to talk to you?”

Unfortunately, with our experience in high-risk payment processing, we know that more likely than not, there is no black and white answer to which high-risk payment gateway is best for you. Not without more details about how your business operates and what you want to sell.

But why isn’t there a simple answer?

It is a good question, and luckily there is a right answer. Below are a few examples of why the answer is so nuanced and why we always recommend folks call us or contact us to discuss their exact situation.

High-risk payment gateway example #1: a complex WordPress cigar site looking for a Stripe alternative

If you need a gateway and payment processor for a premium cigar site using the WordPress platform – especially if you run various product types, like one-off sales and cigar-of-the-month subscriptions, then NMI is the payment gateway most likely to fit your business model.

By using an NMI payment gateway combined with an appropriate merchant account on the back end, you’ll be efficiently and affordably set-up for processing and accepting payments for different types of sales.

There are very different types of risks involved, for example, when selling one box of cigars versus offering a recurring billing set-up for a cigar-of-the-month club. With NMI, we can help you effectively manage these risks with multiple merchant accounts.

You could use the NMI ATRI account balancer to direct your high-risk products to your higher-cost merchant accounts and your low-risk products to your low-cost accounts (with your processor’s blessing, of course). You could even create custom routing based on volume, average ticket, SKU, etc.

NMI allows for a straightforward way of managing different types of sales from your high-risk website. Please check our overview of NMI features. There you’ll find videos and short descriptions of the many features and settings available.

One feature that sticks out is NMI’s “processor agnostic” automatic credit card account updater. This means that, regardless of your back end processor, you can automatically update your monthly client’s credit card numbers when cards are reissued. NMI will also update expiration dates when recurring billing client’s cards expire. All without having to contact your customers.

The NMI payment gateway allows you to log in, pull reports, and manage multiple merchant accounts through one master login. This, combined with the WordPress platform’s ease of use, is a sure winner for your online high-risk cigar store. Contact us anytime to discuss setting up an NMI account for your website.

High-risk payment gateway example #2: a vaping website using Shopify

Let’s say you’re a medium-sized e-commerce business selling electronic cigarettes and e-juice online using Shopify. Let’s also assume you make some wholesale deliveries and accept some payments in person. Lastly, you want to start using Shopify as your site-building software.

Well, in this case, the answer is obvious. Authorize.Net is the best payment gateway for you (in our humble opinion). It will integrate so seamlessly with Shopify that you’ll think of them like milk and cookies – as long as the processing connected to your Authorize.Net account is appropriately set up for high-risk.

You can check out our dedicated Authorize.Net info page to learn more about high-risk processing and Authorize.Net.

Many think of Authorize.Net as an all-in-one payment solution. However, it’s just software. With the right high-risk processing in the back-end, you can integrate Authorize.Net with a whole host of site-builders, shopping carts, and platforms. Authorize.Net is among the gateways we recommend the most to a host of different e-commerce site owners.

With a vape friendly Authorize.Net account integrated with your Shopify platform, we’ll be able to make a solid vape friendly merchant account recommendation, and you’ll be off to the races.

High-risk payment gateway example #3: an online CBD dealer looking to accept credit cards on WooCommerce

Let’s say you’re a CBD business with a thriving retail shop, but you want to expand your reach. You do everything by the book, and you’re ready to start selling CBD and legal hemp products on your WooCommerce site. Well, no gateway appears to be more entrenched in the CBD community (judging by our unscientific, not vetted surveys) than NMI. NMI will pop right into your WooCommerce plug-in in 5 minutes, and you’ll be off to the races.

NMI also integrates with many other WordPress shopping carts out there, making it easy and convenient for your customers to buy from your website regardless of the plug-in you choose. Additionally, NMI offers a considerable number of processor integrations that allow our partners to assist clients that sell multiple high-risk items online.

Often we work with web site owners who have CBD, vape e-juice, pipes & glass, and loose hookah tobacco all on the same site. NMI can accommodate this type of diverse product offerings.

So, the WordPress and NMI combo is the best way to go, right? Well, there’s also…

High-risk payment gateway example #4: a tactical site that needs a Wix Payments alternative

Tactical sites often sell self-defense items, knives, or weapons online – even non-lethal items like pepper spray, stun guns, or even prepper and survival gear. Let’s say you’re an FFL to FFL transfer merchant in the final stages of building your Wix site, but you were just turned down for processing because your products are on the Wix Payments prohibited items list.

In this case, you’ll likely want to use a Wix site compatible 3rd party cart, and a high-risk gateway like Authorize.Net.

As long as we have the Authorize.Net gateway set up correctly for your tactical business, you’ll be all set. You see, Wix websites have some integration limitations that our vetted experts know how to work with.

These days, you’ll need a little bit of a workaround to use Authorize.Net with Wix. However, we found a solution that works. Using Foxy.io allows you to integrate Authorize.Net with Wix, which makes for a powerful tactical product payment processing solution.

Pro tip: We use this same workaround for site owners that need to set up Authorize.Net or NMI on Weebly.

By using Authorize.Net for your tactical site, you’ll be good to go. That is if your Authorize.Net account is correctly set up. Authorize.Net is excellent for tactical and online FFL to FFL transfer sales, but it needs to be set up right for high-risk processing in the back-end.

That’s where you can take advantage of our expertise to help you set it up correctly. Feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation, free-of-charge, quote, and we can have you up and running in no time. Surely, all the best alternatives and combinations are covered, right? Well, no, there’s still more to this article…

High-risk payment gateway example #5: online smoking accessory site using Squarespace

An online smoke shop, or “head shop,” built with Squarespace, selling pipes, bongs, and grinders, requires a little expert guidance to accept credit cards.

Out of the box” Squarespace payment processors do not allow online headshop sales. To fill this need, we have put together a reliable and affordable way for Squarespace sites to integrate alternative credit card processing.

Similar to the solutions we have for Wix high-risk payments, our Squarespace payment gateway solutions are stable and easy to set up – when done correctly. (Contact us anytime, and we will walk you through all the details.)

The Squarespace platform is intuitive and affordable, and when aligned with the proper pieces, it allows for the selling of any legal headshop item. Amazing, right? Well, it is, but it needs to be set up carefully and correctly.

The good news is that our recommended Squarespace alternative payment processors allow for integration with the Authorize.Net or NMI payment gateway. This flexibility opens up our ability to make a host of high-risk merchant account recommendations.

You can read more about taking credit cards for glassware and pipes, (and numerous other regulated products), by reading our deep dive into alternative payment gateways for Squarespace here, or by contacting us for advice based on your situation.

Need a high-risk payment gateway and processing recommendation?

As you can tell, there’s no simple answer to the question, “what is the best high-risk payment gateway?” The examples above are just a few of the thousands of different types of online stores out there.

The world of payment gateways, high-risk merchant accounts, 3rd party shopping carts, website builders, and payment options can be overwhelming. Wix and vape, Squarespace and CBD, WooCommerce and survival items, Shopify and cigars – it can seem like too much to process.

Don’t go it alone – we’re happy to help. We’re always excited to share our experiences with any legal e-commerce business owner. Contact us anytime using the form below to ask a question, or to get started with the best high-risk payment gateway for your business.