Merchant Processing (Accepting Credit Card Payments) for Online Vape Shops/e-Liquid Brands


#1

Being able to process Credit Cards online is essential for any business.

Considering the “High Risk” deeming of anything and everything vape related online, what are some successful strategies, resources, Banks, Merchant Processors etc. that business owners utilize to get a reliable merchant processor to accept credit cards via eCommerce?

Personally, I’ve talked to 180+ banks and processors in multiple countries for the past year, and for a number of reasons, none of them want to touch anything related to the vape industry.

It’s been said by multiple agents and reps I’ve spoken with, that “it would be easier to set you up with merchant processing for cannabis or adult content than for vape related products”.

If you have a B&M Shop, it’s much easier to get processing.

For online only shops, it seems extremely challenging thus far, as we’re considered the highest risk profile of all in their systems.

Currently I’ve got two applications in with the top guys that have gotten me the farthest in this process.

I’ve also heard back from Shopify, which recommended a few banks that say they are accepting vape related business accounts, though no response from them either way yet.

I know I’m not the only one facing this challenge, so a thread on this will be helpful for anyone coming across this issue in building and launching their own eCommerce business related to anything in the vape industry, from mods to juice to accessories and beyond.

Preferably “White Hat” recommendations, as anyone can go with a shady processor out of another country, though many people don’t know that if you don’t follow the “rules” of the merchant processing world, there is a risk of being put on a global blacklist with banks, meaning it’ll be extremely challenging to ever get approved for another merchant account in any business you’re involved with.

As a multi-business entrepreneur, I believe having the ability to open new merchant processing accounts to be able to complete transactions using the primary method most people purchase products to be a fairly important opportunity to not screw up :wink:

Rates are another issue, and obviously expected to be higher than most industries given everything in the politics and government tensions surrounding the industry overall. Even still, negotiating rates can be done, and I’m curious to know what rates online vape businesses are getting.

Anything you’d be willing to share from your own experience, I’d greatly appreciate, and feel it will be a valuable resource for fellow Vapreneurs getting into the game to have some valuable input on from people who’ve “been there, done that, got the MID”.

Also, I’m happy to share more resources and updates along my own journey in this critical piece of building my business.


#2

I’m shocked that Shopify is playing nice, I ditched them after they shutdown my site.

Even here at VapeMentors we get a lot of pushback, and we aren’t even selling physical products. Yet, we are under the same scrutiny.

No Facebook ads, no google adwords, and somehow Stripe and Paypal have not figured us out yet (but eventually they will).

We are going through the merchant process with another business and it’s an absolute Sh** show. Instead of saying “no”, they are basically making it so difficult that we disqualify ourselves. I don’t get it…

Please do share your own journey, and we will as well.

Thanks so much for the topic, and shout out for using “Vapreneur”! Ha! You may be the first…


#3

My Name is J.R. Neans. I own Texoma Top Shelf E-Cig and vape. We have used First Data for our processing. With my shop First Data works very well. I have both my B&M, and e-commerce site with them.

When I attempted to sign up Top Shelf E-Liquid Wholesale I was turned down. First Data’s reason is because I only accept cards online for that business. A work around may be to include my physical store in the application. I will be working on that, and I will post my results.


#4

UPDATE: Over a year later, passing the 200 mark in the number of merchant processors I spoke to, most of them saying no, others that said yes flaking out… One finally came through!!!

He set me up with USD and CAD accounts (always good to have backups).

Whole process with him took about a week to turn around.

Integrated, tested, and finally accepting credit card sales in my online store :smiley:

Persistence, determination, and sheer grit ultimately paid off. Literally!

Hoping this is a sign some banks are relaxing around their regulations to provide services to vape related businesses, online and off.

Now time to switch gears and focus on marketing and traffic generation.

Curious to see what threads are here on those fronts.

If not many, will be time to start some, so we can all help each other out and support the overall mission we’re collectively on.

Helping people quit smoking, saving lives, and shining the spotlight on the corruption, collusion, and pure insanity of opposing organizations.

This is a much bigger battle for human rights, sovereign choice, and a disruptive innovation that’s making some of the greatest positive measurable impact in recent history.

If you’re reading this, thank you for your efforts and all you do in this industry. You’re making a real difference in people’s lives.

A rising tide raises all ships.

-PeakVapes


#5

Thanks so much for the update! I had forgotten about this thread. (and please, do start other threads as needed, I’ll be in there offering my insights as well. I am a digital marketing specialist so I’d love to help!)

We did in fact get approved too! It took many many edits to our website, about 6 months and three different applications but it was finally approved.

Every merchant card processor will promise the world, but really they just want the application from you. There’s no guarantees with merchant card processors.

What ecommerce platform are you using?


#6

Have you tried Revolution Payments ? ShopKeep POS has used them for starter vape shop setups, and I never had a problem working with them: https://www.revolution-payments.com/e-commerce/


#7

Sounds all too familiar. Eventually after much pain and hassle we wound up with BankCardUSA and Chris helped us out a ton, even set our online account up without mastercard with their bogus 500 dollar fee.


#8

Thank you @JesseVapeMentors for building this community to share and connect about this!

Congrats on getting your accounts set up too. From all we’ve each had to endure to get through this phase, we’ll be able to utilize these skills for just about anything moving forward lol.

Platform wise, I’m on Shopify.

My background is in digital marketing as well. Basically grew up in the online marketing circus learning from the greats, working with them on the top online product launches in history.

Now, putting all that to use (as much as legally possible lol) in my e-Juice company.

Guessing we’ve got quite a few mutual friends from the marketing world. Would be fun to geek out on that together sometime.

Quite the exciting and simultaneously frustrating adventure to apply our skillsets to this particular industry. Might not be the easiest out of the gate, but damn is it fulfilling to know vaping is saving lives and making a serious dent in the universe for the better.


#9

That fee is outrageous. Regardless, way to persist and persevere to just get it done and rocking. Congrats!


#10

@peakvapes I would absolutely love to connect with you and brainstorm. I’m sure you know some things I don’t!

Thank you for being here and building this forum with us. The vape industry needs a place to share business ideas and success, so this is our secret weapon to fight the 800 pound gorilla that is trying to kill vaping.

PM me and we’ll geek out.


#11

any time you wanna share some marketing secrets or tips just let me know haha. I’ve done 100% of everything myself up to this point but when it comes to anything like seo, marketing etc I think i’m on the bottom end of the knowledge bowl for sure. Built my website etc without help. We are definitely enjoying helping so many others to quit smoking. I’m an asthmatic who was using 3 or 4 inhalers a month and now 1 will last 6 months. I don’t even need to carry it with me so yes I’m passionate and love what I do. Off Topic i know, shame on me. Happy to have found this place with like minds it seems.


#12

@liquivana - let’s get a thread going! Give me your TOP question to get it started. I have three different ones.

For eCommerce + Web:
Marketing Your Website / eCommerce Shop: What's Working, What To Abandon

Marketing E-Liquid Brand:
Marketing Your E-Liquid Brand: What’s Working, What To Abandon

Marketing Your Vape Shop:
Marketing Your Vape Shop: What's Working, What To Abandon


#14

Hey everyone,
Having such a hard time getting set up with a merchant account and our business is bleeding money daily.

Of course the big regulators ultimately hold up the small business guy. :rage:

Had a terrible time with payline / NMI. Denied with Authorize.net. Sage pay wants a four page registration document signed stating we are nicotine and tobacco sales which we are not! The rep actually said just sign the document and you won’t have to pay but just sign it… seriously?

What is the cheapest and easiest solution for a gateway / merchant these days?

BankCardUSA?


#15

Welcome to the pain in the @** world of merchant services my friend.

I’ve sent your case on to our resource partner Patrick. He’s a great resource and has helped many vape shops get verified.

He should be responding to this thread shortly.


#16

@kurtm @JesseVapeMentors

Hello Kurt, I’m Patrick with Processing Advisors. We help vape shops safely and securely accept credit cards utilizing the latest technology at the most competitive rates in the industry. Be on the look out for some upcoming VapeMentors webinars on credit card processing and POS systems.

First off, it’s disappointing that a rep would encourage you to sign a document that does not pertain to your business. That’s definitely not a best practice and could potentially cause future problems.

How are you planning on accepting credit cards. In person? Online? Over the phone? Are you planning on using a POS system or just a desktop credit card machine?

If you are planning on accepting credit cards in person, with the card present then setting up a merchant account is very simple. If you are planning on keying in cards or accepting credit cards online then the process is more complex.

A few things to consider when choosing a credit card processor.

Are they proposing a tiered pricing or interchange plus pricing? The difference in the two models could be literally thousands of dollars a year.

Will you have a dedicated account representative or will you rely on a call center for support? 24/7/365 US based tech support?

I’m happy to discuss your processing options further. Feel free to contact me at pmcginty@processingadvisors.com or direct at 216-373-6868

Patrick


#17

Chris at BankCardUSA 100% swear by these guys.
805-358-5580 Tell Chris, Greg from Liquivana sent you. We had all the headaches ur having now and we switched to these guys for our website and B&M. Good luck!


#18

Has anyone ever dealt with Shop Keep? We just left World Pay and want a larger company to grow with in store and online.


#19

I use First Data and they won’t allow me to do anything online. I’ve been looking to make a change. My friend uses Host Merchant Services for his shop and swears by them for online and in person. He suggested I contact his rep Cameron at 239-558-2263 - tell him you were referred by Jeff @ Save On Vapes!


#20

@patrickmcginty is our resident merchant card expert. He will do a free merchant card review and also suggest POS systems. ShopKeep is super popular in the Vape Industry, and so is Vend.

You can email Patrick here:

pm@patrickmcginty.com

You can also checkout our POS system reviews here:

http://vapementors.com/5-best-pos-systems-vape-shops/


#21

If you email your latest Merchant Statement to Review@MerchantAccount-AAA.com plus your contact info we will reach out to you and discuss what options are available.

Getting a merchant account is the easy part. keeping it open long term… is the real challenge.
We specialize in keeping High risk (Vape, Cannabis) stores processing long term.