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Table of Contents

Lead Story

EMV, four months on

Patti Murphy

Thicken that skin


Industry Update

FTC takes on big data

U.S. adds six Russian banks to OFAC banned list

MasterPass joins Wal-Mart payment mix

New DOT standards reach airport kiosks


The automated ISO

Phablet popularity soars this holiday season

Felix Richter
Statista Inc.

Smarthphone-driven commerce


Choice not chance

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Will we be Uberized?

Ken Musante
Eureka Payments LLC


Street SmartsSM:
Facts and figures of the MLS

Jeffrey I. Shavitz
TrafficJamming LLC

The M&A market 2016: 10 things to know to best position your business

Adam Hark

Real capabilities of tokenization in mobile payments

David Poole

Termination: The end or a new beginning?

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

The high-risk merchant services opportunity

Matt O'Shea
National Bank Services

The time is right for second generation P2PE

Ruston Miles
Bluefin Payment Systems LLC

Company Profile


New Products

Holistic approach to cybersecurity

Next Generation Security Assessment Services
Redhawk Network Security LLC

Future-proof, obsolescence-free POS

CardWare International Inc.


Letter From the Editors

Readers Speak: Much ado about faster payments

Boost Your Biz:Earn respect with your website

ISOMetrics:Online retailer status update

GS Book Notes:Powerful presence, powerful stories

Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 25, 2016  •  Issue 16:01:02

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The high-risk merchant services opportunity

By Matt O'Shea

High risk. We're hearing this more and more in the merchant services world. Simply put, it's an industry term that classifies types of business most processors will not, or are not able to support with traditional merchant services accounts. These businesses could be solid and lucrative customers, but for certain reasons (business classifications, bank sponsor restrictions, etc.), many processors are not able to write merchant accounts for them.

Over time, certain industries, due to their business type, may develop a reputation for high instances of fraud, chargebacks, non-delivery of products, etc. In most cases, businesses classified as high risk have a higher than normal risk factor tied to them. Of course, just because they're classified as high risk doesn't mean they don't need or want to accept credit cards through a merchant account. In fact, it's typically the opposite. And plenty of reputable processing partners in our industry specialize in high-risk merchant accounts.

In today's business environment, we've witnessed a continued uptick in the need for and opportunity around high-risk merchant services. Some would even argue that the high-risk marketplace is exploding right now. But, as with any specialized offering, there are considerations to be aware of as you develop a high-risk partnership and begin targeting high-risk businesses (merchants).

These include:

In the end, it's about opportunity and having realistic expectations. While ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) won't make the traditional 80 to 90 percent residual splits with high-risk accounts, there is a huge opportunity to earn a smaller percentage, but on a higher-margin business. For example, a typical approved high-risk merchant account would earn you up to 150 to 200 basis points.

The high-risk marketplace is growing. Existing and new ISOs and MLSs have a new opportunity, through partnerships, to expand their footprint into this targeted, vertical space ‒ and, at the same time, significantly increase bottom-line earnings. With specialization, dedication and patience, building a high-risk portfolio will only add value to your business.

Matt O'Shea is Executive Vice President of National Bank Services. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 800-353-6686, ext. 2888.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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