eCommerce Solution for High-Risk Industries

If you sell Adult products, ammo, e-cigarettes, or tobacco, these processors are for you

Selling online brings its own set of challenges, and some industries face challenges all their own. High-risk merchants sell certain types of products that payment processors are reluctant to deal with due to a variety of reasons. However, Shift4Shop works with several payment processors that are ready to do business with high-risk merchants.

What is a High-Risk Merchant?

A high-risk merchant is one who sells a type of product associated with either strong regulations or a higher-than-usual possibility for fraudulent purchases and chargebacks. Products that require age checks or have different legal status across state lines are often considered high-risk. Governmental regulations on some industries also lead to a high-risk designation, because of the frequency of eCommerce merchants (and the products themselves) that don't meet the required regulations. Since sellers of these types of products are more likely to encounter legal problems, payment processors often avoid working with merchants in high-risk industries in order to protect themselves from additional liability.

What is a High-Risk Merchant?

High-Risk Industries

Merchants selling products in these industries are designated as high-risk and will need a payment provider that accepts restricted products.

Vapes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco

Tobacco has long been regulated by the federal government, and while vaping is relatively new and regulations are still changing, its relationship with tobacco products is well-established. Tobacco and vape vendors are required to use age verification whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Tax laws can also vary significantly across state lines. Vape merchants in general need to be aware of the developing regulations that could change the way they do business. If you're planning to open an online vape store, make sure you're up to speed on current laws first.

Vapes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco

Adult novelties

Adult novelties and sex toys are another type of merchant requiring age checks. The nature of the adult toy business means customers want a high level of privacy, and this sometimes crosses over into fraudulent behavior. Some customers will go as far as to instigate fraudulent chargebacks or even use stolen credit cards in an effort to protect themselves from embarrassment, such as the name of an adult toy website appearing on their credit card statement. Between the age verification requirements and the higher risk of fraud, adult novelty stores are considered high-risk, so be prepared if you open an online adult toy shop.

Adult novelties

Firearm ammunition and accessories

Firearms in general are subject to regulation that varies significantly in different states, and laws covering ammunition and gun accessories (scopes, rifle stocks and chassis, replacement barrels, modification kits, etc.) are also highly varied. Online sellers dealing in these products need age verification and also restricted shipping that excludes certain states. Differing laws can also mean increased liability for sellers, which carries over as increased liability for payment processors. It's still possible to run a successful online ammunition and gun accessory store if applicable laws are carefully followed.

Firearm ammunition and accessories

Nutraceuticals and supplements

Nutraceuticals include nutritional supplements, alternative remedies, vitamins, workout and energy supplements, and similar products. Regulation is spotty, with many products going to market without FDA approval, and this industry has a reputation of making unfounded health claims, so payment processors hesitate to get involved. Of course there are many flourishing online nutraceutical vendors who sell high-quality products without issues, so you can definitely sell nutritional supplements successfully online.

Nutraceuticals and supplements


People take cannabidiol (CBD) products to treat a number of health issues. However, the compound is infamous for being found in all types of cannabis. Even though the compound contains no THC and FDA-approved CBD products can be legally sold, companies and suppliers have still gotten into legal trouble in the past. As with other cannabis product sales, as well as e-cigarettes (mentioned above), vendors need to be aware of the different laws in different areas and any future changes to these laws when starting a CBD online business.


Other industries designated as high-risk

Other high-risk industries include:

Merchant Accounts & Credit Card
Processing for High-Risk Merchants

The following payment providers offer full integrations with Shift4Shop and are willing to take on online merchants in high-risk categories. Read more below to see which may be right for your business.


Fort Point Payments consists of a network of over 30 domestic and offshore banks and acquirers to help high-risk and hard-to-place merchants get the payment processing they need. Fort Point Payments specializes in tailored solutions for businesses and has a record of innovation in payment processing.


eMerchantbroker (EMB) is a well known ISO and Payfac in the high risk processing sector. Working primarily with eCommerce merchants, EMB specializes in getting hard-to-place high risk merchant accounts approved at the most competitive rates.


Payment Cloud charges zero application or setup fees and boasts some of the lowest rates in the industry. They also offer free cost comparisons to help you compare their rates against your current payment provider. Payment Cloud processes payments from all major credit cards, Apple Pay, and more.


NETbilling offers low rates for credit card and eCheck processing including multiple-currency transactions. They support eCommerce as well as brick-and-mortar retail transactions and also offer year-round, 24/7 support over phone, live chat, and email.

Maverick Payments

Maverick Payments is a full-service payment provider that accepts a wide variety of payment methods and includes fraud prevention tools and chargeback mitigation. Maverick also offers several other benefits including detailed reporting and strong support.

Merchant X is a trusted payment processing broker and registered ISO based in Portland, Maine. With more than twenty years of merchant payment processing experience. MerchantX offers a rate of 4% and $0.30 per transaction with $15 monthly, $25 minimum; with a 3-year agreement and require lab analysis for all products sold.


PayKings is a payment provider with a long history of experience in eCommerce and the unique needs faced by online businesses. They offer low rates and serve both B2C and B2B sellers, accept all major credit cards, and offer additional fraud protection and strong reporting features.

Soar Payments

The credit card processing leader for hard to place merchants, even those labeled "high risk," Soar Payments offers merchant accounts, ACH, payment gateway, and related payment technology.

Why Shift4Shop is the Best Shopping Cart Software

With eCommerce becoming a multibillion-dollar industry, there's no shortage of shopping cart software these days — but Shift4Shop stands out from the competition. Shift4Shop has been developed with over 20 years of experience and industry knowledge that has successfully identified and included all the most-needed features of a powerful website shopping cart. Today, Shift4Shop is the most feature-rich, scalable, and overall most powerful eCommerce solution for any size business.