Accounting and Tax Preparation Merchant Account

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"This company was wonderful to work with. The representative I worked with was an amazing help and had constant support and responded rapidly to any questions or concerns I had."
Gabe Palma
CEO of Musty Inc.
accounting and tax preparation merchant account

With all the new rules, regulations, and tax laws, small business owners need accounting and tax preparation experts like you. And you need credit card processing for accountants.

As an accounting specialist, the future is promising. Economies around the world are bouncing back, employment numbers are up, and the demand for your services is on the rise. In fact, the expected revenue for accountants and tax prep professionals for 2021 was $119.5 billion.

Accounting services and tax professionals help individuals and businesses of all sizes manage the financial end of things and meet state and federal tax compliance. Even with the importance of what these professionals provide, a lot of banking institutions and payment processing companies won’t offer an accounting and tax prep merchant account because accounting and tax services are considered a high-risk industry. But how can you accept payments without credit card processing for accountants?

Zenti is your high-risk industry payment partner, offering credit card processing for accountants and tax prep businesses so you can accept payments online and in your office. As specialists in the high-risk payment industry, we can offer accounting and tax prep merchant accounts and services that help your business get paid.

Why You Need an Accounting and Tax Prep Merchant Account

Your CPA and tax prep business’s annual revenue depends on the number of people you help each year. Whether you normally help people and other businesses only at tax time or throughout the year with various accounting activities, the services you offer need an accounting and tax preparation merchant account so you can accept card payments.

But it’s finding a processor that could prove more difficult. A traditional bank might not accept your application.

Accounting and Tax Prep Merchant Accounts Are Hard to Find

You can understand why a marijuana merchant account or a payday loan merchant account might be considered a high-risk account. But an accounting business helping people keep their finances straight and comply with the IRS? Why?

“High-risk” sometimes has nothing to do with your business or the value of the services you provide. Instead, merchants consider your clients’ behavior “high risk”.

“High risk” often means a higher risk of fraudulent activity or a higher-than-average number of customer chargebacks. As a business owner, these things are outside your control, but you need to be able to accept credit card payments. In this case, you’ll need a high-risk merchant account.

Likewise, some payment processors won’t work with businesses in certain industries, such as firearms. Processors also are cautious of businesses selling products and services internationally, those that offer service subscriptions, or those with little or no money in the bank. If any of these apply to your accounting and income tax prep service, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck — you simply need to apply for a merchant account with a processor that accepts high-risk merchants.

Why Is Accounting and Tax Prep Considered High Risk?

While there isn’t any special agency somewhere determining what constitutes a risky business, each payment processor has its own set of standards. Some processors say outright which industries they won’t partner with, while other merchant services invite all industries to at least apply. Typically, a payment service is a bit more strict than a merchant account provider — but in any case, you’ll still have to apply and offer details about your business and the nature of your activities.

Bookkeeping services and tax prep businesses can be marked as high risk because:

  • They accept mail or telephone payments. While this can be common in the accounting or tax preparation world, it’s a much less secure method of payment acceptance than in-person or online payments. There are little to no methods of fraud prevention for one thing. Besides, traditional banks prefer to support businesses that sell physical products rather than services.
  • Typical sales tickets are high. Yours is a lucrative industry — an average sale can be in the hundreds of dollars. Plus, your sales can be inconsistent: while you may process hundreds of clients during tax season, in the off-season, you may process just a few.
  • You offer a service. As mentioned above, banks don’t like offering payment services to businesses that don’t sell physical products. Plus, if you help with consolidating student loans or other counseling for debts, your clientele may have bad credit or other debt problems, which can often lead to a greater risk of chargebacks or fraud.

It’s nothing personal. Banks simply have high standards and strict rules. Thankfully, a high-risk payment processor can look at your business as unique and find ways to provide services while helping you mitigate these potential risks.

How to Apply for an Accounting & Tax Prep Merchant Account

These steps and tips can help you prepare to apply for a merchant account and increase your approval odds:

  • Be honest. When you apply for your merchant account, don’t try to withhold any information — even if you think it may hurt your approval odds. Disclosing as much as possible, communicating, and being transparent will actually help your case.
  • Check your cash on hand. Your cash levels signal how stable your business is. If you can show you’ve got at least 25% of your monthly transaction volume in your bank account, your odds increase.
  • Prepare all your documents. You should have at least three months’ worth of statements to show the merchant account provider how much cash you have coming in and flowing out. A traditional bank may also require your tax returns.
  • Realize you can’t control everything. There’s no way you can influence a payment processor’s risk assessment of your business. What you can do, however, is work on improving your business credit (if necessary) and take steps to lower the number of chargebacks you typically receive.
  • Clearly communicate with clients. Not every chargeback is ill-intended. Some chargebacks are the result of truly unhappy clients. These are the types of chargebacks you can help mitigate. Clearly post your policies for refunds with easy-to-understand language and make sure your contact information is easily accessible.
  • Know what you don’t know. While you might be a pro at assessing taxes and preparing accounting documentation, you’re likely not an expert when it comes to payment processing. Don’t assume that you know more than a payment company representative. They have the expertise to walk you through the process of setting up your merchant account.

How to Find a Provider for a High-Risk Accounting and Tax Prep Merchant Account

Every business that needs a merchant account is different. What you need in a merchant account might not be the same as, say, a doctor’s office or a marijuana retailer. Your firm’s needs and risks mean that your merchant account’s pricing will be different from other firms. In general, don’t expect to find rates online. First, you may need to meet with the merchant account provider so they can assess your needs.

Your first step in this process is finding a few different providers and setting up consultation appointments. Some processors specialize in specific industry merchant accounts and advertise their services in familiar modes, such as trade magazines. You should start your search here, where you’re more likely to find processors that specialize in accounting and tax prep merchant accounts.

Then you’ll learn what specifics a processor offers. No two payment processors are the same, and they’ll likely have various types of packages that may or may not be right for your firm. As you search, imagine what the onboarding process might look like and what it would be like to be a long-term partner with each merchant account provider. When you attend your consultation meetings, ask questions like:

  • How much experience do you have processing payments for firms in the accounting and tax prep field?
  • What type of support do you offer to maximize my firm’s success?
  • How long before I have access to my funds?
  • Do you require me to maintain a reserve?
  • What circumstances might change the terms of our agreement?
  • Will you raise my rates if my chargebacks increase?

You might even consider—if you find more than one perfect processor—opting to partner with more than one merchant account provider. If you can accept payments in cash at your office, that’s great. But if you rely on credit card payments and your account provider suddenly closes your account, cash-only can be disastrous for your bottom line.

Integrating Your Accounting and Tax Prep Merchant Account With Your Accounting Software

QuickBooks, Square, and Freshbooks are fantastic resources. You probably use one of them daily in your accounting firm, so you know they also need to integrate well with your other services. Having an accounting and tax prep merchant account opens the door to multiple possibilities for streamlining your accounting activities. This could include automatic invoices, automatic payment reminders, inventory management, and more. Zenti can seamlessly integrate with any accounting software you currently use. You don’t have to update your software to take advantage of Zenti’s merchant processing.

How Can Zenti Help Your Accounting and Tax Prep Business?

Zenti has the experience you need for the clients you serve. Chargebacks and fraudulent payments are the greatest threats to accounting and tax prep businesses. Our merchant account services for accounting and tax prep businesses incorporate today’s cutting-edge technologies to fight fraud while protecting your bottom line.

Our payment system complies with all PCI regulations and integrates with any accounting software program you currently use. These seamless integrations help simplify your entire work process, from invoicing to collecting payments. Zenti helps your accounting and tax prep business:

  • Instantly access your online payments system
  • Process all forms of payment, from credit cards to eChecks and ACH payments
  • Keep your merchant account open
  • Minimize chargebacks to less than 2%
  • Boost your cash flow and improve profits
  • Mitigate payment fraud online
  • Take payments in-office or online
  • Access your funds next-day

Partner With Zenti for Your Accounting and Tax Prep Merchant Account

Even if your personal credit is dinged or your accounting and tax prep business is brand new, we have the experience to help you get a merchant account today.

We have many account reps ready to answer any questions you might have. We aim to provide best-in-class support so you can succeed. Once you apply for your accounting and tax prep merchant account, we’ll assign a dedicated account manager who specializes in accounting and tax prep merchant accounts.

We’re the merchant account provider you can trust. Our service is secure, complies with PCI regulations, and is simple to use so you can start processing all credit cards, from Visa to Mastercard and beyond. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having all your accounting needs in one place—with chargeback and fraud prevention and mitigation. All transactions are thoroughly tracked, from initial purchase to account deposit.


Zenti Connect plays nice with others

Zenti Connect integrates seamlessly with ISV software to simplify payment processing for merchants: any payment type, on any device, anywhere. 

Zenti integrates with over 99% of the tools you are already using, including popular accounting software and e-commerce apps, regardless of your industry. Our payment services were designed to be adaptable to provide seamless integrations for our customers.

merchant account integrations c

Microsoft Dynamics
Network Solutions

Event Espresso
events manager
Paid Memberships Pro

Drupal Commerce


911 Software, Inc.
ACR Systems
Aldelo Systems, Inc.
Applied Micro Technology
Advanced Retail Management Solutions (ARMs)
Auto star
Cantaloupe Systems
Data Business Systems
Datacap Systems, Inc.
DataTech Corp
Edgil Associates
Epicor (CRS, NSB)
Freedom Pay
Gateway Ticketing Systems
Idalica Corp
IJN Systems
IT Retail
Main Street Softworks
MBS Textbook Exchange
Medasyst, Inc.
/n Software, Inc.
PC America
RATEX Business Solutions
Retail Data Systems
RTL Payment Systems
ScanSource, Inc.
Sicom Systems, Inc.
Slim CD
Tempus Technologies
Tender Retail Systems
The Software Mills
Tomax Corporation
Total Computing Solutions
TouchNet Information Systems
XProtean, Inc. (C-Payment Software)
XPient Solutions
Vista Entertainment Systems

911 Software, Inc.
Data Business Systems
Datacap Systems, Inc.
Main Street Softworks
Menusoft Systems Corp.
Micros Systems
Midnite Express, Inc.
/n Software Inc.
Radiant Systems
Revel Systems
Sicom Systems, Inc.
Squirrel Systems
Tempus Technologies
XPient Solutions
XProtean, Inc. (C-Payment Software)
Elavon (previously Southern DataComm and Global Card Services)

Dresser Wayne
Fuel Links
Fiscal Systems, Inc.
LOC Software
Main Street Softworks
Petro RX
Radiant Systems
VeriFone Ruby System

Datacap Systems
LOC Software

911 Software, Inc.
Hotel Software Systems
Slim CD
Tempus Technologies

Government organizations face a growing need for secure payment processing services while managing highly specific needs for content management and security. 

We can work with popular technology products government agencies prefer, like Ciber and Cubic, to create an integrated solution that meets all your needs for processing payments, managing information, and more.

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We partnered with Zenti in 2017 and they've been there for us every time. Everything is super fast and I love how well they communicate with our staff. They really know their stuff, and we work in a very complex industry! My account executive knows our business inside and out.

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FAQs: Table of Contents

Accepted Industries and Countries​

The industries we accept for high risk merchant accounts include, but are not limited to the below industries.

  • Adult merchant account
  • Bad credit
  • CBD
  • Credit Repair
  • MLM
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Payday loans
  • Private airlines
  • Subscriptions
  • Travel
  • Vape & eCig
  • Illegal business activity
  • Businesses without the proper license
  • Illegal drugs (CBD with less than 0.30% THC is acceptable)

Zenti can provide merchant accounts to customers in the below countries. Kindly note that many payment solutions are regulated based on location.

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Bear Island 
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Channel Island
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungry
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vatican City

Being a start-up business will not hinder a business from getting approved for a merchant account. While having a processing history helps your likelihood of getting approved,  the lack of processing will not necessarily stop you from getting an approval. Consult an experienced Account Executive today to learn more. 

There are never guarantees when it comes to the approval of a merchant account. However, we do work with merchants that have low credit scores. Reach out to an Account Executive today for a consultation. 

If you’re a United States citizen applying for a merchant account for a United States registered business, a social security number is required. 

A merchant account can be labeled high risk for many reasons. You can be labeled as such due to high average tickets, being in an industry that historically has high chargebacks, or an industry that tier one banks do not support.

Applying for a merchant account

To apply for a high-risk merchant account, you need to complete our pre-qualification form and upload all required documentation. Once the pre-qualification is complete your Account Executive will locate the best placement for your account, and send you a final agreement. Once that final agreement is signed, underwriting will complete a full package review for approval. 

There is no fee to apply for a merchant services account with Zenti. However, If you get approved with us there may be a small setup fee for your gateway account.

Square, Stripe, and Paypal are all payment facilitators and do not accept high-risk merchant accounts. Signing up with Zenti gives you a direct merchant relationship with a sponsor bank. The approval process requires more documentation, but you’re at a significantly lower risk of getting terminated.

This depends upon how quickly you, the merchant, completes our pre-qualification form. Once we have all of your documentation, we get to work. We can typically locate placement for your merchant services account in 48 hours.  

Once you get an approval, you’ll be able to accept credit card payments within 24 business hours. 

Depending upon the program, you will receive your funds anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the batch is settled. 

The industry type is a major determining factor when it comes to risk levels of merchant services. But, other factors such as credit, card-present vs not present, and chargeback ratios can also push an account into the high-risk category as well. 

Completing the Application

Your legal business name should match the business name on the state business registration or licensure. However, if you are a sole proprietor, your name would be the legal business name. 

If you’re not sure how much processing you’ll do, we recommend applying for $5,000 to $10,000 monthly. You don’t need to hit that number each month, but if you’re close to going over, reach out to your Account Executive for assistance. 

Your average transaction amount should be the average of all transactions you would accept with your merchant account. Your maximum transaction should be the anticipated maximum amount accepted in one transaction. If you attempt to process a transaction that is higher than the maximum amount provided, additional proof of purchase may be requested. 

You may provide personal bank statements in lieu of bank statements if your business bank account is new or does not have any activity. 

If you’re applying for a merchant account for ecommerce processing you will need a fully functional website with products or services listed with associated pricing. 

Yes, a credit check is required in order to obtain a high-risk merchant account. Once a final agreement is signed, a hard credit pull is done.  Credit scores are taken into consideration when underwriting reviews a full application for merchant services. 

If you’re a United States citizen applying for a merchant account for a business registered in the United States, your social security number will be required to apply. 


The first step to applying for a high-risk merchant account is completing the pre-qualification form. Three months bank statements, three months processing statements (if applicable), a voided check or bank letter, and driver’s license or passport will be required to apply. 

If your business does not utilize checks, we can accept a bank letter that includes your full account and routing number as well as the business or account holder’s name. The letter should be on bank letterhead, be dated within the last 30 days, and be signed by a bank representative. 

If you don’t have three months of business bank statements, don’t fret. We can accept three months’ personal bank statements from a business owner, or director. 

Bank statements show a lot about a prospective merchant, namely, processing activity, and the average monthly ending balance. If a merchant is currently processing, we want to know why they’re switching, if we know a merchant’s pain points we can find better solutions for their needs. The average monthly ending balance is also relevant to show financial stability within the business as well as validating the monthly volume requested.

If a merchant is currently processing credit card payments and successfully managing a merchant account this can increase the likelihood of getting approved. Some payment facilitators such as Paypal, Stripe, and Square might not supply monthly processing statements. Underwriting may request login credentials so they can get an overview of the processing activities. 

Equipment and Gateways

For in-person retail card acceptance, Zenti can provide equipment that will arrive programmed and ready to accept payments. Discuss your equipment options with your experienced Account Executive.

Here at Zenti, we do offer our own gateway solution that’s exclusive to merchants that sign up with us. Of course, if there’s a gateway you prefer we are willing to work with you as long as integration is possible. Please reach out to your dedicated Account Executive for details. 

Zenti integrates with NMI,, and more. For specific gateway integration questions reach out to an experienced Account Executive. 

Your merchant account will be set up to accept Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and ATM cards. 

Load balancing is the strategy of spreading transactions over more than one MID. It’s not necessary for all high-risk accounts, but can be considered as a way to manage chargeback ratios with high-risk merchants. 

Existing Merchant Accounts

Not to worry, this number can be increased as needed. However, the bank underwriting your merchant account needs to be aware of the expected monthly volume to ensure they have capacity available for all merchants processing with that bank. 

If you go over by a small amount you might be asked for a copy of the invoice or receipt. However, if you go over the monthly limit by a large amount there is a chance your excess funds might be held temporarily. 

When it comes to high-risk accounts, banks ideally want chargeback ratios below the 3% threshold. If you can provide long term processing history the bank may take this into consideration. Lower chargeback ratios are ideal. Consult your knowledgeable Account Executive for assistance in lowering your chargeback ratio. 

Rolling reserves are a way to financially protect the processing bank from potential losses from chargebacks or refunds. Not all high-risk merchant accounts require a rolling reserve. The risk department will determine if and when a rolling reserve is required. 

Interchange fees refer to the issuing credit card brand fees such as Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American express. These fees vary depending on the card type, American Express tends to be the most expensive card to process. Interchange rates can range from 1% to 2.5%. 

Of course! Once you’ve established a healthy processing history, you may reach out to your Account Executive for a rate review. We recommend only doing this if your processing history shows low chargeback ratios and relatively low refund activity. 

You may request an increase in your monthly volume at any time. However, it’s recommended to wait until your merchant account reflects healthy processing history as well as financial stability from your bank statements. 

Reach out to our support team, or your dedicated Account Executive for any account-related updates you may need. 

Depending on the program your merchant account fees are either taken at the beginning of each month. Some programs require daily discounts. Program details will be notated on your final agreement and if you have further questions you can always consult your Account Executive. 

ACH payments

Zenti can assist with ACH or eCheck services. An application and approval process still applies to this service, or it can be an added service with your processing account. Reach out to your Account Executive for details. 

The approval process requires less documentation than applying for a merchant services account. And if you’re already processing with Zenti an approval can be expedited. 

Every account is different, however, most programs allow next-day settlements for ACH transactions. 

ACH payment acceptance can be integrated into most website platforms. Reach out to a dedicated Account Executive for more information. 

Pricing and Approval

High-risk merchant accounts are priced higher than low-risk accounts because fewer banks are willing to work with businesses labeled “high risk”. Banks also need additional financial protections from loss on these accounts.  

Zenti will always provide fair pricing based on the risk level of every merchant. And if a current processing statement is provided we’ll do everything in our power to beat the merchant’s current rates. 

While we love working with merchants that are considered high risk. There are limitations put in place by bank and card brand rules. If a merchant does not abide by the specific program rules described by the Account Executive assisting them we cannot ensure an approval.

Think of merchant accounts as a loan or a line of credit. And processing banks take on the risk of transactions getting charged back. Banks can end up liable for the actions of merchants, a problematic merchant can damage the reputation of the bank funding and processing the transactions.