Online Dating Merchant Account

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Online Dating 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.
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Since the launch of the first online dating website,, in 1995, online dating has seen a phenomenal growth worldwide. Analysts predict that the online dating industry will reach revenues of more than 3.5 billion USD by 2025. And according to Statista, more than 44 million people in the US currently use online dating services. With numbers like these, the industry is booming; yet getting an online dating merchant account continues to be challenging for today’s entrepreneurs.

If you’re a business owner or manager in the adult dating industry, you probably already know how difficult it is to get online dating merchant account services. Perhaps you’ve already gone through the application process for credit card processing services and been denied, or perhaps you’ve even been initially approved by Paypal or Stripe, only to see your account get canceled after the first transaction. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone, because even the most successful online dating business owners are experiencing the same obstacles to getting basic payment processing solutions. Fortunately, Zenti is here to help. Thanks to years of experience working with so-called high-risk industries like adult entertainment and online dating, Zenti can provide you with all the payment solutions you need, including credit card, debit card, mobile app, and e-check payments, at rates you can afford.

Why is the online dating industry considered high-risk? And why are payment processors reluctant to work with high-risk industries? The answer may surprise you, because it has little or nothing to do with your success or profit margin. Instead, bankers, financial institutions, and other underwriters are looking at your chargeback rates, as well as the reputational status of your industry.

Why are online dating companies high-risk?

If your industry is considered high-risk, you’re in good company. Here’s a look at some of the nation’s most successful industries, all of which have a high-risk designation:

  • Online dating
  • Adult entertainment
  • Vitamins, nutraceuticals, and dietary supplements
  • Document preparation
  • Cannabis and CBD
  • Property management
  • Travel and tourism
  • Antiques and collectibles
  • Fantasy sports
  • Guns and ammo
  • Payday lenders
  • Pawnshops
  • Health and beauty
  • Online gambling and gaming
  • Continuity subscriptions

These businesses all have two things in common: They’re part of a booming industry, and they all have difficulties in getting approved by credit card processors. And one of the primary reasons for this is chargebacks.

How chargebacks affect merchant accounts

Simply put, “chargebacks” are credit card refunds. Chargebacks happen when customers decide that they’re dissatisfied with a product or service and ask for a refund. Chargebacks can also occur when a customer’s credit card has been fraudulently used and the charge is unauthorized by the customer. For any industry, chargebacks are an expected part of commerce. But for some business types, chargeback ratios can be unusually high due to a number of factors.

Online dating services and dating apps are especially prone to high chargebacks because of their unique subscription business model. A customer might sign up, use the dating website only a couple of times, and then decide to cancel after only a month or two. Likewise, they might actually try the site, go out on a few unsatisfactory dates with a less-than-perfect match, then decide that the site isn’t worth the money.

Sometimes, a chargeback can be designated as “friendly fraud,” even when there isn’t any malicious intent. For example, a customer might sign up for a free trial, which is very common in online dating sites, and then forget to cancel their subscription once the introductory period is over. When they see that they’ve been charged full price, they’ll immediately call the credit card company and dispute the charge. In another scenario, a customer’s parents, spouse, or significant other might accidentally discover the bill for online dating services. As a result, that customer may decide to protect their relationship by calling the credit card company and claiming that the charge is fraudulent.

Because they operate on a subscription basis, e-commerce dating sites are especially vulnerable to these types of friendly fraud. While they’re usually non-malicious, the results are the same — the online dating service and payment gateway company both lose money.  

The numbers tell the story: In 2017, businesses lost 31 billion USD due to chargebacks. Today, eight out of 10 business owners say that friendly fraud chargebacks are increasing each year, and experts predict that by 2023, 1 in 10 chargebacks will involve a friendly fraud transaction. For online dating business, the good news is that Zenti can provide your company with payment processing solutions that are strategized to mitigate chargebacks and friendly fraud.

Tips for chargeback prevention in online dating

Here’s a look at some of the things you can do to be proactive in chargeback mitigation and friendly fraud prevention:

Provide full, detailed descriptions of your online dating services

Explain exactly how your subscriptions work, and what’s included each month.

Provide accurate, up-to-date pricing information

Customers will cancel a subscription if they feel that their needs aren’t being met, so it’s a good idea to post your prices clearly and let subscribers know exactly what they’ll get for their money. In addition, it always helps to throw in a few extras, like a weekly newsletter, because this gives customers the impression that they’re getting more for their money.

Offer a generous, clear-cut cancellation policy

In any subscription business, cancellations are going to be inevitable, so make them as easy as possible. Customers will remember this and will be more likely to come back to you if they decide to try a dating service again.

Provide stellar customer service

In any type of business, it’s essential to be there for your customers, so make sure someone is always available to answer questions about your subscription services. Also, be sure to respond to phone calls and emails promptly. Otherwise, customers may get frustrated and cancel their subscriptions.

Use a discreet billing name

In the online dating industry, chargebacks can occur when bills and invoices are inadvertently seen by the wrong people. To protect customer privacy, it’s a good idea to use a discreet name on your bills and invoices that doesn’t tie you into the dating industry.

Post your name and contact information where it can be seen

Customers get frustrated when they have trouble contacting a business. Always make sure your name, phone number, and email address are placed where they can be clearly seen on every page of your website, as well as every billing and invoicing transaction.

Monitor your site’s activity

The online dating industry is vulnerable to all types of scammers. To protect yourself, be sure to monitor user activity on a daily basis. Check for red flags such as:

  • Changes or inconsistencies in an account
  • An unusually high number of messages from a user
  • A high ratio of connections from a user
  • Photos of subscribers who look like minors

By identifying and rooting out suspicious customers, you can protect your business as well as your company’s reputation.

And speaking of safety issues, when it comes to merchant account approval, online dating businesses can also be hampered by reputational risks and security concerns.

Reputational risks and transaction laundering

Adult entertainment and online dating industries have several things in common, and these are all factors in their high-risk status. As with adult entertainment, online dating is regulated with a number of protocols and age restrictions that limit access to minors. Because of these restrictions, industry breaches can lead to hefty fines and lawsuits, making underwriters reluctant to work with these accounts.

In addition, while most online dating services are reputable and legitimate, bad actors can use online dating sites as a front for a variety of illegal activities, including gentleman’s clubs. In these cases, the site is misrepresented and used to skirt state and federal laws.   

In another scam that’s currently popular, fraudsters are posing as dating site participants and tricking customers into sending them money and expensive gifts such as electronics. These “romance” transaction frauds have become so prevalent, the FBI has had to issue warnings to consumers about interacting with cybercriminals posing as potential dates.

Banks and financial institutions tend to shy away from any type of industry that’s particularly vulnerable to fraud and scams. And without this essential underwriting, payment processing companies can’t accept these high-risk merchant accounts.

Why underwriting impacts merchant account approval

“Underwriting” simply means financial backing. The term is most commonly used in the loan approval process, where banks and financial institutions provide the financial backing for a personal or business loan. In these instances, it’s crucial for the loan applicant to have a top-notch credit rating as well as reliable sources of income. When it comes to merchant accounts, payment processing companies rely upon banks and financial institutions for underwriting. If for any reason a merchant is in a high-risk industry, that merchant account will typically be denied.

Even in cases where payment processing is approved, merchant account providers will typically tack on higher fees and may also impose restrictions and limitations on certain industries.  And this is where Zenti can help your online dating service. With a Zenti account, you’ll be able to take every major credit card, plus debit card, e-check, and mobile app payments, all at reasonable processing fees that your business can afford.   

Advantages to an online dating merchant account

If you’re still on the fence about getting an online dating merchant account, here are some benefits to consider:

Multiple credit card and payment options

According to consumer studies, 90 percent of customers prefer having a wide choice of payment options, and this can actually influence where they decide to take their business. A merchant service provider can give you access to a variety of online payment solutions, including all major credit cards and e-checks.

Tracking tools to streamline your operations

As a full-service merchant provider, Zenti can provide you with essential tracking tools that will monitor every transaction, from its point of sale to its completion. This way, you won’t have to spend hours searching for missing or delinquent payments.

Automated invoicing and billing

With Zenti, you’ll be able to enjoy the convenience of automated invoicing and billing, with a customized schedule that works for you and your customers.

Secure payment gateway services

Zenti provides safe, secure payment gateway services that protect every transaction with up-to-date encryption and encoding.

As a leading high-risk merchant account provider, Zenti specializes in providing businesses in high-risk industries with a full roster of payment solutions. With Zenti, you’ll be able to take VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express credit and debit card payments. In addition, your customers will be able to use safe, convenient mobile app and e-check payment options, so you’ll never have to chase bounced checks again.

Zenti also offers a wide range of payment management tools, including automated billing and invoicing at your preferred schedule, plus fast and easy tracking from point of sale to the end of the transaction, so you’ll never lose sight of your payments. And Zenti’s fees are affordable, so you won’t have to worry about getting overcharged because you’re in a high-risk industry.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact Zenti and learn how we can help you streamline your operations, boost ROI, generate revenues, and increase customer satisfaction.


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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