Many “preferred” or “recommended” payment gateways are not high-risk friendly

Accepting credit cards for high-risk products like CBD, cigars, tactical items, or vape products online is not always a one-step solution like many other e-commerce markets. It often takes people by surprise when they learn they cannot easily sell their legal product on many popular website builders without some added payment gateway knowledge or assistance.

There’s an entire group of industries that are categorized as “high-risk”. Including vape juice and vaporizers, cigars and tobacco products, tactical gear, or even glassware and pipe paraphernalia. These industries require more than your standard payment gateway – they also need a high-risk merchant account.

We strongly recommend that before you sign up for a service like PayPal, Braintree, Stripe or Shopify Payments you confirm that your product does not violate their terms. Even if you own a brick and mortar store selling the same products, selling online can cause you to have your merchant account shut down or have your funds held – if you break the rules set by your payment gateway provider.

Not only do you need a merchant account with the proper underwriting for your specific product, but you also need a correctly set up payment gateway to accept payments by credit card.

Below is a case study composite. This is a story we’ve heard time and again over the last few years, showing the importance of reading your terms and conditions before you automatically sign up for your website builder’s “preferred” payment gateway or merchant account. Even a quick Google search can often tell you if a platform allows high-risk products.

The trials and errors of selling vaporizers and vape liquid online

I just finished another long conversation with a client we’ll call Erica in Texas. We spoke about her challenges trying to set up a payment gateway for her online e-juice store with her current website provider. This hosting company also happened to be offering site-building and processing through their preferred providers. We have dozens if not hundreds of folks using the same hosting company, and it’s usually a great solution.

Like all great solutions though, it depends on your situation. In Erica’s case, they were not a good fit for her online electronic cigarette store. As it turns out, this service provider was a “low-risk” provider, which are the most common, and e-cigs are a “high-risk” market.

A little background:

Erica has a very successful e-juice brick and mortar store (processing many tens of thousands of dollars a month after only eight months — people drive for hours to get her vaping liquids).

She naturally wanted to put their products online and reach a wider audience.

Since her domain, or URL, was already registered and she had been a happy, faithful customer of the hosting company for many years, she decided to use other services recommended by them.

So, she spent the time required to build her vaping store with their website builder, added their shopping cart, and was excited to finally start selling.

Then the problems piled up:

That’s when she ran into a brick wall. She was turned down for a merchant account — through her hosting company’s recommended provider — for selling e-cigs! She got on the phone only to find that they don’t allow e-cigs to be sold through their shopping cart, nor do they allow similar products on their website builder in the first place. She had never read their terms and conditions and had no idea she couldn’t sell e-juice through her new site.

To say she was confused as to where to go next doesn’t begin to describe her feelings. Emily is now considering other user-friendly site builders, like the super popular and easy to use WordPress platform or one of the many premium e-commerce software suites we’ve reviewed to make it easier for high-risk e-commerce marketers to make the right choice. She is now hard at work rebuilding her website and was thrilled to hear about all of our ideas- like a payment gateway through Network Merchants, Inc (NMI) with vape friendly processing on the back end.

Get help finding platforms and payment gateway solutions for your high-risk site

We assist high-risk e-commerce merchants in finding the right solutions for both their payment gateway and the merchant account set up required for high-risk e-commerce. We offer this service at no charge to you, the merchant, as we receive an incentive from the service providers for finding great clients like you.

There’s no obligation to sign up for any service. We can help by making recommendations, or you could browse our Tips & News section for our reviews to find the best solution for your business. Not only can we connect you to the services you need, but we’ll also help guide you through the setup process step by step so. This way we can minimize mistakes and make sure that you’re ready to sell as soon as the simple process is finished. Now is the time to get started if you want to start selling high-risk products! Contact us using the form below or call us with any questions you might have.