Adult Merchant Account

The #1 adult payment processor for adult sites, cam sites, strip clubs, sex toy websites, dating apps and gentleman’s clubs.

We’re a bit different than other adult credit card processing companies. We realized a long time ago, just because adult entertainment credit card processing is considered high-risk, that doesn’t mean the customers are.

When it comes to finding the best adult merchant account, Zenti offers a full suite of solutions that allow your brand to grow. As one of the earliest adult payment processors online, we have years of experience working with every type of business in this industry. We fully understand the individual payment needs of each type of adult entertainment business.

adult porn merchant account payment gateway processor
Table of Contents

Adult credit card processing

We can help a variety of high-risk adult entertainment businesses with credit card payment processing including:

Adult payment processors

In the U.S. alone, the craze for adult content continues to boom with steady growth, making the adult entertainment industry extremely financially profitable (some researchers suggest it’s up to a $97 billion industry globally). Merchants in the adult entertainment industry are under pressure to meet customer demands in regard to both products and services, while also ensuring the whole customer experience is both simple and pleasant.

Unfortunately, even after following strict rules and regulations, merchants often find it difficult to simplify the sales transaction process due to difficulty finding an adequate credit card processing solution. Many processors avoid the industry due to the negativity and controversial content that surrounds the adult entertainment business, along with the complexity of navigating the legalities involved.

Why is adult entertainment considered a high-risk business?

There are a variety of niche markets in the world of adult entertainment, which encompasses a vast array of products and services that fall into several categories. For example, everything from videos to gentlemen’s clubs to webcams to escorting services are all part of the adult entertainment industry. This degree of variance contributes to a high-risk classification since all processors don’t support all categories. In addition, selling items that have age restrictions along with other legal tightropes means merchants in adult entertainment fall into a high-risk category.

When products and services, such as gentleman’s clubs, are questionable in terms of legality, this increases the likelihood of being high risk, and banks often deny setting up a merchant account. Plus, in the digital age, we live in, so many transactions take place online and, like any card-not-present transactions, banks recognize the additional security fraud risk. Adult entertainment companies, along with any business that provides subscription-based or pay-per-minute services, are generally considered high-risk clients.

Another contributing factor is the consensus that customers of adult entertainment merchants are notoriously disputing charges. This problem has long been the bane of the adult entertainment industry. No bank wants to be forced to issue a refund, and chargebacks are far too common. Regardless if the dispute originates out of embarrassment or mistake, excessive chargebacks are frequent, and this is why many merchants’ accounts are shut down.

Does being high risk affect your chances of getting an adult merchant account?

Typically, if you apply to any of the mainstream card issuing or payment processing companies, chances are, they’ll turn you down after reviewing your request. This is because most of these companies are not willing to provide services to clients or businesses that fall into the category of high-risk merchants. Payment processing companies like Stripe, Square, and Paypal do not allow payment processing for high-risk businesses, including those in the adult merchant account industry. The same holds true for “regular” merchant accounts you would find at your local bank. Check out our blog post on Stripe closing accounts for more info.

A major reason for this is because these companies hardly do their underwriting at the time of application. So the chances that they will accept your merchant account at the beginning (when you apply) is higher. But once they review your application and realize that it is for an adult entertainment account, these companies will quickly let you know that they do not accept adult merchant accounts. 

This process typically takes up to six months! In fact, they’ll shut down your account immediately and send you packing from their server, and in some cases, even freeze your account permanently. This is where a trusted high-risk merchant account provider like Zenti comes to the rescue. You can be sure that your risks will be covered, and your request will be processed within the shortest time possible. Zenti is a high-risk merchant payment processor that takes care of any type of payment processing need that you might have. We’re with you 24/7 if you have any questions or concerns. 

How to increase your chances of getting approved for an adult merchant account

First and foremost, you should be prepared to answer many detailed questions about your business and, sometimes, your finances. But that shouldn’t be a surprise either, as you already know that the niche is typically under close scrutiny. Generally, getting approval for a high-risk merchant account can be a bit frustrating and especially challenging for merchants in the adult entertainment space if you don’t choose a credit card processing company with a lot of experience.

They’ll ask you to provide your personal information and lots of documents. This is because the underwriting process for a high-risk account is usually broader than it is for low-risk merchants. Secondly, the underwriting must be completed before the company gives you an account. Upon approval, you can be sure that your account will be safe from unexpected freezes, holds, or termination of payment when you start using it for payments. Additionally, to make the process of getting approval even more seamless, here are some things you can do:

Have your documentation ready

Be prepared to provide documents, such as your business license, your business plan, and other documentation, which the company sees fit or relevant. Other documentation includes your bank statements, especially if this is your first time applying. But bear in mind that the requirements may vary slightly depending on the issuer. A good idea is to have everything ready. This will help you in case you’re applying to different companies at the same time. 

Improve your personal credit score 

Another way to improve your odds of getting approved is by ensuring you have a fairly good history of using your card for payments. This may not be possible for new business owners since you don’t have an established payment processing history. But generally, your chances are lower if your personal credit score is on the low side. However, paying off your bills and credit card debts will also improve your chances of getting approved. 

Be honest about your business

This aspect is crucial and can literally be the reason your account is frozen or permanently terminated. Processing companies turn down merchants every day because they had provided misrepresenting or misleading information about the nature of their business. Openness and honesty are essential requirements, and it’s critically important that you be completely honest about what your company does, including your products and your services.

The most important concern is about getting involved in illegal things. Most high-risk payment processing companies will be more than happy to profile you if you run a legitimate business. You want to avoid getting caught for supplying misleading information, especially when applying for your account. At this stage, you risk being blacklisted or placed on a watchlist, thereby making it much more challenging to get a high-risk merchant account in the near future.

What’s the risk involved in using regular online payment system providers?

Unlike using a high-risk merchant account provider, using a regular online payment system provider is a very risky thing to do. Even though PayPal, Stripe, and Square do not accept adult businesses, these payment processors will generally accept adult entertainment merchants when they initially apply. However, they will remove the adult merchants’ accounts from their system as soon as they begin receiving credit card transactions; and that’s because these online payment processors do not do any underwriting before accepting businesses on their platforms. So when these businesses start accepting credit card payments, the credit card processor will flag them. Check out our blog post on “Stripe Closed My Account” for more info on this.

The underwriting phase may take up to six months before completion, and this is when they will inform the merchants that they do not process online payments for adult merchant accounts. The next is that aggregators will immediately cease working with these adult merchants and freeze their money for six months. 

Getting an adult merchant account

A significant reason why it will always be challenging to get a merchant account for businesses like strip clubs, gentleman’s clubs, online dating sites, and pornography site is that the industry has a high volume of chargebacks. This is quite typical of all adult businesses. This is also why banks will keep turning clients in this niche away. 

To approve you, the sponsoring bank must allow adult businesses in their underwriting guidelines. And as long as many of the world’s largest and popular banks do not allow processors to underwrite for adult businesses, it will always be difficult to get approved. 

Hence, the best way to get an adult merchant account is to apply to a high-risk merchant account provider, like Zenti. The underwriting team will review your application, which typically takes just minutes to complete. In essence, you’ll get access to a versatile payment solution.

What are the application requirements?

To get started on the application process, simply fill out the form on this page. You’ll be contacted as soon as we receive your information. While there’s no express guarantee that everything will go as you expect, here are the documents needed to ensure that the process moves along very quickly.

  • A valid, government-issued ID — your international passport or driver’s license
  • A bank letter or a pre-printed voided check
  • Your recent bank statement, not older than three months
  • Three months of the most recently processed statements, if applicable
  • Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • For e-commerce merchant businesses, you must have a secure, working website.

What can you expect during an adult merchant account application review?

For a hitch-free onboarding process, ensure you’re not involved in an illegal business, as no adult merchant credit card issuer or the payment processor will accept an unlawful business. In fact, underwriters do check to ensure that companies are involved in legitimate businesses only when they begin to evaluate these companies. In order to prove that you are operating a legal business, you’ll need to provide valid disclosures, backed with appropriate documentation. As soon as verification is over, the underwriter will also analyze the business to determine its risk level and exposure. By and large, it would be best if you were prepared to answer several questions about your company. 

For instance, the underwriter will look at your credit score and credit card processing history. They’ll also review the bank statements of your business, as well as your business website. Note that a negative bank account balance doesn’t speak well of your business. If possible, ensure you pay off your bills. Another red flag is a long history of having a large volume of chargebacks. Furthermore, your website must be secure for users making payments. To get approved without any back and forths, you should be prepared to make a strikingly good impression. 

Besides ensuring that there’s enough money in the account and paying off your debts, the principal who signed your merchant account application must also have a clean credit history. Following these tips makes it easy for an adult merchant business to get approved within the shortest time possible.

How to increase your credit card processing volume

A new adult merchant account often comes with a cap on the monthly credit card processing volume. This means that there’s a limit on the amount of credit card transactions that can be processed on this merchant’s website within a month. Once the merchant hits that limit in a month, they’re shut down for business until the next month. Without a doubt, this is a problem for fast-growing merchants that do a much higher volume. In most cases, the cap is between $100,000 to $200,000.

The good news is that the cap can be lifted or raised even higher. Here’s the deal: If you have a record of low chargeback claims, good credit history, decent financial standing, and no unpaid bills, you can apply for a limit increase. A good rule of thumb is for your business to have at least three consecutive months of hitting your credit card volume before seeking an increase. 

The issue with chargebacks and how to fight them

The adult entertainment industry is categorized as high-risk for several reasons. One of them is the volume of chargebacks that categorizes the industry in general. A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a debit or credit card transaction. The issue escalates for the merchants when the clients inform them late about the dispute or even they’re never told at all. This is the situation for about 58% of pending disputes. 

The drawback here is that merchants are unable to defend themselves against these chargebacks. If not addressed proactively, chargebacks can ruin a business. So merchants must have a winning strategy for handling them. Given time and with the evidence, adult businesses can dispute most chargebacks and recover lost money. To begin with, the merchants must be able to prove to the payment processor that their (the merchant’s) customer had paid for a product or service using its platform. Documentations needed to make this process seamless include a signed delivery slip, an address/CVV verification, and sometimes, the email correspondence between a merchant and a customer can be of immense help. In fact, the more easily this information or evidence is retrievable by the merchants, the better their chances of fighting and winning chargebacks. 

How to prevent or reduce chargebacks in the adult entertainment industry

Each time a chargeback is issued against any merchant, it does not only hurt the merchant’s adult business but also affects its merchant account and revenue potential. It makes more sense to try and prevent chargebacks before they occur; it is easier to stop or prevent it from happening in the first place. Cleaning the mess can be a strenuous task, even without speaking of the damages it brings to businesses in the industry. 

From practice, the best way to handle the menace of chargebacks is by preventing them from happening at all. For merchants in the adult entertainment industry, this will definitely help to save a lot of time and resources. For instance, if the name of an online adult business clearly tells the public what the merchant sells, an e-commerce site may want to adjust this name so that the customer’s credit card bill does not draw undue attention. This means that merchants have the responsibility to clearly communicate to their customers billing information will appear. Bearing in mind that an unrecognized name can trigger a chargeback as easily as a known name would, the merchant must try to communicate any adjustments to their customers through receipts, order confirmations, and emails.

Choosing the best adult payment processing company

When searching for a processor for a business in the adult entertainment industry, to save a great deal of time and effort, it’s a good idea to find one that clearly states adult entertainment merchants are accepted.

As previously noted, chargebacks are far too common in the industry and can be detrimental to profit margins, which is why it’s wise to find a processor that offers chargeback protection tools. In addition, implementing a system that verifies the age of customers helps curb unauthorized transactions while reducing risk and retaining profits. Last but not least, finding a processor that offers on-demand assistance when you need it demonstrates a desire to help you identify potential threats and a willingness to maintain an open relationship with merchants.

The adult entertainment industry demands a high-risk payment processor that understands and offers the necessary resources to help a business grow while meeting the industry’s specific requirements. With Zenti, you get free equipment, no long-term contracts, and a processor that specializes in high risk and is committed to providing total transparency in the billing process.

Why Zenti?

Nobody works harder to get adult businesses approved for a merchant account than us. (nobody). We stick with you, every step of the way.

Many adult businesses have had their applications for merchant services refused, which is why you need a provider that specializes in the adult entertainment industry and high-risk merchant services.

There are a variety of niche markets in the world of adult entertainment everything from videos to gentlemen’s clubs to webcams to escorting services are all part of the adult entertainment industry and this degree of variance contributes to a high-risk classification since all processors don’t support all categories. Selling items that have age restrictions along with other legal tightropes means merchants in adult entertainment fall into a high-risk category.

We work with adult-oriented businesses to provide services unique to your industry, including:

  • Fraud and chargeback protection tools since the industry are prone to be targeted for chargeback schemes
  • Verifying the age of customers
  • Identify potential threats, monitor suspicious transactions, and manage your risk
  • Free Equipment
  • No long term commitments

Are you looking for a reliable high-risk adult payment processor? You can’t go wrong with Zenti. You can give your business the protection and technology it needs for accelerated growth.

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