Online payment gateways: how to get accepted even if you’re high risk

Online payment gateways: How to get accepted even if you’re high risk

If you have a low credit score or insufficient financial history, there’s a good chance that your application for an online payment gateway will be rejected. This is because most merchant account providers don’t want to risk being stuck with a chargeback from your customer.

To score your application, payment service providers are relying on algorithms to determine who should get approved and who doesn’t. If the algorithm picks up a red flag on the system, your application for taking card payments will instantly fail.

However, some providers are willing to take those risks if you and your business meet certain criteria.

Why is my business considered high risk?

There are many reasons why online merchants may be considered high-risk by online payment providers. Here are some of the most common triggers for an instant refusal:

  1. Too new or a small business
  2. Highly competitive industry
  3. Non-sufficient funds in your bank account
  4. Bankruptcy
  5. No monthly revenue
  6. Past history of chargebacks
  7. Criminal activity
  8. Adverse media against the business/directors

Too new or too small a business

The first is due to your business size. According to The Small Business Administration, 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years. This means that you are more likely to be considered high risk if your company is still in its infant stages.

(To see if your business matches a high-risk sector, check out one of our earlier posts – What is High Risk Processing)

Highly competitive industry

There are some businesses that are more competitive than others. For example, if your company is selling expensive products, there will be a lot of customer research involved before they commit to buying. This time spent considering the purchase can cause them to decide against it and file a chargeback instead.

Non-sufficient funds in your bank account

A third red flag is a consistent negative balance in your bank account. This will not prevent you from online payment processing, but it does increase the chances of you being rejected for a merchant account.


If your business went bankrupt in the past 2 years, be prepared to leave this industry for good because your application will get declined.

No monthly revenue

If you don’t have any monthly revenue, then there is a chance that payment processors will deny your application. Many providers require 6 months worth of financial history before even considering your application.

Past history of chargebacks

If you have had too many chargebacks or denied transactions in the past year, expect an online payment gateway provider to reject your application.

Criminal activity

If you have been convicted of bankruptcy, fraud or money laundering, expect your application to be denied without exception. Major credit reporting companies such as TransUnion and Equifax will inform online payment services of your conviction, so they can prevent fraudulent activities from happening through their systems.

What can I do to get accepted for an online payment gateway?

One way for small businesses to get around these algorithmic themes, is by partnering with a company like uQualify. By joining us or a similar service provider, you will open the doors to many potential payment service providers that will be willing to provide you with their payment facilities.

Rather than applying for each provider independently, you fill out one application which matches you with payment service providers that best suit your needs and business model. Once you’re accepted, your business can start accepting debit or credit card payments and most major alternative payment methods.

With help from our team you will be guided throughout the process and we will ensure that you get the very best results.


If your business is still in its infancy, you are considered high risk. This means that it will be more difficult to accept credit or debit cards as a payment option than if you were
a well-established company with a history of success.

To increase the chances of being accepted, uQualify is currently offering a free merchant account match, where you’ll be paired with a range of payment gateways for your business. You can visit for more information on how to get accepted for an online payment gateway.