Monday, January 15, 2007

Offshore Merchant Account for High Risk

Business America works with several acquirers providing Offshore Merchant Accounts in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, and Asia. Offshore Merchant Account set-up takes longer because V/MC regulations prohibit cross-border acquiring without a legal presence in the same jurisdiction as the underwriting bank. This means that in order to get an MID issued the merchant must form an offshore corporation in the same country as the bank. The merchant must first apply for the offshore merchant account and get an approval with a processing agreement with rates, reserves, etc. And then form an offshore corporation. Offshore Merchant Accounts have higher transaction costs and reserves, but allow more business types and unlimited sales volume.

High Risk Merchant Account or Offshore Merchant Account?

In some cases, the answer may be both. Business America works with multiple US Acquirers and Processors who can provide High Risk Merchant Accounts with domestic banks. Set-up in the US is usually quicker and less expensive in terms of high risk processing costs and reserves. Domestic High Risk Merchant Accounts tend to be more restrictive of sales volume and business types Business America's US Acquirers will underwrite merchants on the TMF / MATCH list on a case-by-case basis.

Why a High Risk Merchant Account?

Certain business types are considered by the Visa MasterCard Associations to be "High Risk" for credit card processing. This means that acquiring banks are at a higher risk of financial loss when they underwrite these business types. In general, these merchants tend to generate high levels of chargebacks, and be more susceptible to fraud, insolvency, and, in some cases, criminal activity.

In addition to the merchant type, the merchant's processing history (ie: high chargebacks, TMF or MATCH listing) can require the services of a High Risk Merchant Account.

Finally, sales volume in itself can be considered a risk factor. In essence because every dollar in sales is potentially a dollar in chargebacks. Fast growing sales volume can require a High Risk Merchant Account.