Need Instant Approval for High-Risk Payment Gateways? Consider These 5 Key Factors

Instant Approval Payment Gateway

Merchants in high-risk industries have been dealing with approval issues, extensive onboarding periods, and generally more scrutiny for ages now, which are all things that should be easily resolved in today’s day and age, right?

You’d think so, but even though the regulatory environment for these businesses has improved over the last few years, they’re still a lot harder to navigate than in any lower-risk sectors.

The dynamic, industry-specific regulations and higher risks of fraud and chargebacks these businesses face mean payment gateway providers need to review their applications more closely, which simply takes more time.

So while the notion of immediate approval is more aspirational than achievable, recognizing the critical factors influencing approval decisions is helpful if you want to ensure a smooth application process. Luckily for you, we’ve got a few tips to help you enhance your application in an often unpredictable financial environment.


What Makes Instant Approval Payment Gateways So Appealing

Instant approval payment services are hard to come by. The only providers offering instant (as in immediate) approval are bigger players like Stripe and PayPal. As good as that might sound, don’t go scrambling over to Stripe right now.

Instead, it’s important to understand that big platforms just aren’t able to offer merchants the needed assistance and personal approach that smaller solution providers can.

Additionally, because regulations are bound to change unexpectedly (it’s the nature of working in a high-risk industry), your merchant account could very easily be at risk of termination because they simply can’t personalize their services enough due to high demand


The problem with the high-risk payment industry is that, due to the increased risk of loss and regulatory issues, companies have to take longer to review and approve applications. The fastest we've seen is about two weeks for high-risk accounts, but it depends on the merchant itself.



The best option is, therefore, to work with dedicated high-risk payment service providers. While this is better in the long-run, nobody has found a way to automate the onboarding and application process just yet. The providers who do offer payment gateways with instant approvals still take 24-48 hours, at the very least.

The bottom line? Sacrificing time in the initial stages of getting any transaction services could pay off in the long run.


Payment Gateway vs. High-Risk Merchant Accounts: Instant Approval Odds

It’s important to clarify that the classification of high-risk businesses stems from, well, the higher chance of risk in the industries. These risks are caused by higher levels of chargebacks, high-value transactions, and industry-specific regulations.

Although higher-risk businesses like adult sitesgambling platforms, and travel establishments are more common than ever before, many financial institutions still refrain from working with establishments in these sectors.

So, the odds of attaining a fast merchant account are rather low. 

That’s why, along with a merchant account, high-risk businesses should also consider applying for a payment gatewayas they work hand in hand. A high-risk merchant account is a dedicated business account that mainly holds and releases funds, whereas a high-risk payment gateway’s primary aim is to authorize the data being processed.

Both of these tools play a big role in making transaction processing as smooth, safe, and efficient as possible. Getting a high-risk payment gateway is relatively easy and can be instant, even in high-risk cases, since it essentially only requires signing up and showcasing your competence to the gateway provider.

Two people shaking hands after transaction

The 5 Key Factors Influencing Instant Approval

After you’ve reached the onboarding stage, you might think you’re about to cross the finish line. However, you’re not quite there yet.

Getting approved by an acquirer is a very individual procedure and goes on a case-by-case basis since it essentially depends on various factors that differ across regions and industries.

So, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly leads to denial for some and “instant” approval for others in these situations.

However, based on our experience with various high-risk merchants, we believe there are five key factors that influence any application for high-risk services to increase your chances of getting approved.


Business History

A long and successful transaction history assures a provider of your capabilities as a business and, therefore, makes it appear as a lower risk for them to work with.

Good business and financial history could also lead to lower processing fees, as you’re demonstrating the reliability and ability to operate without outstanding financial losses.

However, you don’t always need to show a long business or financial history. We’ve seen plenty of high-risk start-ups get an online merchant account, too.

Newly established businesses are usually just asked to provide a cash-flow forecast and a business or a marketing strategy plan that showcases their dedication to their mission.


Financial Health

Being able to show consistent revenue and responsible financial management plays a big role in how a payment service provider reviews your application.

Clear evidence of profitability, consistent revenue streams, healthy cash flow, and a track record with no significant financial issues can raise your chances of securing a merchant account quickly.

When gathering evidence of your business’s financial health, be sure to check the dates.

Anything older than three months has no real value in the eyes of payment providers. So if you’re submitting old documents, you run the risk of prolonging the process with even more back-and-forth emailing.

Also, ensure that all the statements on your records are visible and show the amount of chargebacks and disputes clearly, if you happen to have any.


Industry Type & Risks

While every high-risk industry faces a higher level of scrutiny from financial institutions, the industry a merchant works in can have an impact on the likelihood and speed of approval.

Particularly, we see that businesses in the following high-risk industries require longer review periods simply due to the regulations and legal requirements providers have to take into account when reviewing their applications:

  • Adult

  • CBD/Cannabis

  • Gambling

  • Cryptocurrency

  • Tobacco/Vape/E-cigarettes

  • Travel

To mitigate the challenges that being in such industries brings about, it’s important to ensure you’re in compliance with your sector-specific regulations.

Gambling and adult industries, for example, have specific regulations you have to consider and check for, including age restrictions and specific website policies. For CBD, you have to check the product itself—the ingredients, labels, etc.


Compliance & Security

Adherence to different security protocols in your industry is second to none. Being able to showcase that you’ve taken all the necessary steps toward a secure and compliant distribution of your services or products is important to ensure a speedy application process.

Compliance in this context, however, often varies depending on the industry you’re operating in. A few niche factors that high-risk industry merchants should keep in mind include:

  • Adult: Ensure age verification and content monitoring are in place; include login credentials if needed.

  • CBD: Showcase lab tests and analysis of your products in a designated place on your online store.

  • Gambling: Display the region-specific licenses on your site.

  • Cryptocurrency: Ensure age verification practices are set and demonstrate the needed licenses.

  • Tobacco: Ensure age verifications are set, legal opinion letters shown, and adherence to distribution regulations is maintained.

  • Travel: Display clear insurance and refund policies on your site.

A more general tip to help you improve your application (regardless of the industry you operate in) is to have SSL-secured payment pages, for example. This demonstrates to customers and merchant account providers that your site is safe.

Keeping your internal team up-to-date with the dynamic regulatory changes in the industry is another good way to prevent breaches of security.


Documentation & Application Accuracy

Finally, being thorough and attentive when submitting documents can help ensure a smoother and faster approval process as well. It doesn’t take much to avoid making typical and, honestly, silly mistakes like admitting outdated transaction history or uploading a picture of your ID under the wrong document.

To avoid these mistakes, double-check everything you’re submitting and always ensure the data is accurate. A well-prepared application will reflect positively on your business’s organizational skills and speed up the process significantly.


To increase your chances of approval, get your documentation in order. For example, a lot of people forget to submit login credentials if their website is in beta version. Or, they submit bank statements that are outdated and don't show access to sufficient funds. We ask for a cash flow forecast and business plan, and we've found that it's great if that plan includes a marketing strategy to show that you have or will have the money to reach your business goals.


6 Tips for Enhancing Your Approval Odds

As mentioned above, getting approved for a high-risk merchant (whether instantly, quickly, or in general getting approved at all) account depends on several factors.

That’s why it’s important to work with a qualified service provider, ask a lot of questions, and make sure you understand what is expected from you in your specific business case.

At PayFasto, we’ve worked with numerous high-risk businesses. So, here are a few tips and tricks we and our experts recommend.


Provide Accurate Information

It’s important to meticulously prepare all the needed information before applying for a high-risk merchant account. This includes business licenses, transaction history, proof of domain, IDs, and anything else you could think of. When in doubt, it’s always better to provide extra information.

These documents contain anything that you could think of that would prove the legitimacy and financial health of your business or just complement the presentation of your establishment as valid and legitimate.


Maintain Good Business Standing

Keeping a good reputation, both online and offline, can affect how you’re viewed by acquiring banks. Establishments that can showcase transparency and authority can enhance the likelihood of approval of their high-risk merchant account. They also exemplify your dedication to operating ethically as well as legally.


Improve Financial Stability

To demonstrate healthy financial stability to potential payment service providers, it’s wise to do everything in your power to preserve a positive balance.

Reducing any debts, showing consistent and growing revenue streams, and having minimal disputes show that your establishment is able to handle its economic functions. All of that helps prove your liability and profitability to high-risk merchant account providers.


Manage Daily Transaction Limits

Understanding your payment volumes can (somewhat) help you predict the growth of your business.

However, it can also help you get realistic transaction limits for your merchant account. It’ll likely come into play when negotiating the fees that will reflect your volumes along with the mid-market rates, too.

Basically, manage your daily transactions well, and you’re better positioned to set reasonable business goals, reduce barriers for growth, and help work out higher limits over time.


Enhance Security Measures

Demonstrating your commitment to security measures will not only make your company more appealing to payment service providers but also help you attract new customers.

Regardless of whether you care about customer satisfaction or not, though (you should!), making it a point to show off your commitment to secure operations has a critical role in the approval process of your high-risk merchant account.

Hence, using tools such as SSL encryption, multi-factor authentication, compliance with PCI DSS standards, and strong security protocols will boost your chances of approval.


Demonstrate a Plan for Managing Chargebacks

Being in a high-risk industry, you’re bound to have a higher risk of chargebacks. That’s, unfortunately, slightly inevitable. However, many chargebacks are often a huge red flag to acquirers, so having a strategy in place to reduce these risks can help demonstrate to them that you’re thinking ahead.

These strategies might include clear return policies, swift dispute resolutions, fraud prevention tools, and quick thinking in any case of an issue. In turn, you’ll be able to display efficient operations, which many service providers look for in such cases.


big red X saying "failed " while a terminal is priting a receipt

Choosing the Right Instant Approval Payment Gateway

When choosing a high-risk merchant account provider, it’s, of course, important to look at the timelines of approvals they’d be able to provide.

But that doesn’t mean you should be disregarding or giving less attention to other factors and benefits of the service.

While the best-case scenario would certainly be instant approval, features like customer support, clear fee structures, contract terms, integration capabilities, and the expertise of a provider are equally as (or more) important.

At PayFasto, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to offer our merchants the best of both worlds—a speedy approval process along with superior service and premier features.

Our aim is to actually help our merchants, which is why we offer an online high-risk merchant account along with many other services that complement the operations of a high-risk business.

These services include:

  • Payment gateway

  • Banking 

  • Modern anti-fraud tools

  • Filters for security tools

  • API integration

  • 24/7 support

  • Multi-currency processing

  • Different payment methods

  • POS and MPOS

If there's time, we always try to find ways to help our customers build a better high-risk business. We don't want to send the applications in without reviewing them and risk denials. We want to help your application get approved.


Apply for a High-Risk Payment Gateway & Merchant Account Services

It’s nearly impossible to get instantly approved for a high-risk merchant account.

However, understanding each factor that affects the approval process and understanding the importance behind every step is important when trying to find the right service provider.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all guideline to enhance the likelihood of securing a fast online merchant account, as every application is unique. 

Regardless, approaching the application process with due diligence and attention to detail can determine the ultimate approval or denial of your account.

For merchant account and payment gateway solutions from a provider who understands the needs of your high-risk business, get a free, no-obligation quote for a high-risk merchant account and payment gateway here.

We’ll review your business information and get back to you ASAP.


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