Does my Business Qualify for a Merchant Account?

Virtually every modern business needs a merchant account. It streamlines your payment options, combining your check, cash, card, ACH, and online payments into a single platform. And if you have on online store then a merchant account is practically mandatory, since it’s the only practical way to safely receive payments from your customers.

However, a merchant account processor is a financial intermediary, which means they do take an interest in your financial history. It’s likely that they will want to review your past dealings, if any, so you may be worried that some of the indiscretions of your youth could affect your current business status.

Bad credit or no credit

It’s surprisingly easy to accrue a low credit score, and frustratingly difficult to redeem and raise it. Credit scores are intended to let banks and financiers know whether it’s safe to lend you money, so if you haven’t paid up past debts, your score takes a dent.

However, many credit dips are things you can’t really help. A student loan, a lost job, a card in your name taken without you knowledge, a card offered at a young age when you didn’t yet realize the danger of interest rates … and once your credit is down, it can be difficult to get it back up. Fortunately, there are merchant processors that are willing to accept low credit scores!


Similarly, you may have made an unwise business decision and fallen on hard times that forced you to file for bankruptcy. It’s hard to pull yourself back to financial security with so few institutions willing to give you backing. There’s always hope though.

Still, you have to find a financial partner that’s willing to give you another chance. Seek a merchant processor that is willing to overlook bad credit and prior bankruptcy, and work with you to help you recover your economic stability. Be sure it’s a legitimate company though, by checking their credentials, awards, testimonials, and client listings.

High risk business

Gambling operations (like online poker), international brokers that sell to countries with high charge-back rates, or even subscription services are sometimes deemed ‘high risk’ by banks and investors. You might therefore find yourself fielding detailed questions about the nature of your business, and some of your answers may work against you.

Once again, as you look around for a payment processing partner, check the fine prints and read all the caveats. Lots of merchant processors are willing to take a chance on you, but while they may be willing to trust your business plan more than your industry’s reputation, you need to be more careful with them. Check that their PCI compliance is up-to-date and their fees are friendly to avoid punitive pricing for high-risk financial support.

For more information on merchant account qualification requirements, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to


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