EU vs. US Merchant Accounts — What’s Different?
Having low-risk merchant processing is a must for any business that wants to accept credit cards online.
But what about high-risk businesses? Are they allowed to use this service, and if so, are there any restrictions for them?
In this post we answer these questions and more about high-risk merchant processing in Europe and the functionality you can expect with your EU merchant account.
Is high-risk payment processing more relaxed in Europe?
The answer is yes! In Europe, high-risk merchant processing is more relaxed than in the US. To get a merchant account, you need to be an established business with a proven track record of providing good customer service, and you will likely have to provide proof of income. Once you’ve been approved for your account and chosen your processor, you can expect faster approval times, lower processing fees and even transparent pricing policies from your bank account service provider.
High-Risk vs. Low-Risk Merchant Processing
If you have a business that sells products or services to anyone and everyone, you need to make sure your payment services provider is up to the task. It’s important not only for your customers’ protection but also for yours: if there are any problems with their transactions, it can be held against you.
There are two types of merchant processing providers: low-risk and high-risk. Low-risk merchants include most retailers—anyone whose sales volume is relatively stable, who doesn’t sell anything illegal or suspicious (such as tobacco), and whose average transaction amount isn’t too high or low. High-risk merchants include online casinos, luxury goods dealers (like jewelry retailers), travel agencies selling cruises–basically any company that sells an expensive product online with a higher risk of fraud than something like books or DVDs would have
Regulations and Restrictions in the European Union
The European Union is a group of countries that have decided to work together to make their lives easier. Part of this cooperation involves a set of rules and regulations, which are meant to provide the same level of protection in every country within the union.
These regulations aren’t just for businesses; they also apply to individuals who live in one country but have a business in another member state. In other words, if you’re living in France but run an online store that serves customers all over Europe (or beyond), then EU regulation applies!
European merchant accounts offer faster approval times than those offered by U.S. based banks if you are a high-risk merchant.
If you’re a high-risk merchant and are looking to get a European merchant account, your chances of being approved are better than they would be in the United States.
The reason for this is that there’s less competition in Europe than there is in the US, making it easier for banks to meet their risk requirements.
Merchant account terms are more flexible in Europe than in the US.
If you’re looking to start a business and accept payments in Europe, it’s helpful to know that merchant account terms are more flexible than they are in the US. You can negotiate with European banks and get better, more competitive rates, but if you’re looking for something really cheap (or even free), it’s best to look at an offshore bank.
In particular, I’ve found that European banks have much more flexibility when it comes to their standard contract terms. In general I’ve been able to negotiate lower interchange plus rates and higher credit limits than my US counterparts could get out of their own domestic processors—and without requiring any collateral or pre-paid deposits!
European banks are pricier, which means EU merchant accounts cost more.
European banks are pricier, which means EU merchant accounts cost more. That’s because European processing companies have to pay higher fees to process payments from European banks. For example: some of the biggest U.S.-based processors charge a flat interchange fee of 1% and an additional $0.15 per transaction; in some European countries, the interchange fee goes all the way to 1.5%.
If you were considering opening a new e-commerce business in Sweden but found out that Swedish banks charged higher fees than American ones, then you might want to reconsider your choice of country!
European merchant services are more easily acquirable and internationally available.
With European merchant accounts, high-risk merchants are able to obtain a merchant account without being required to provide as many details regarding their business. Often, all that is needed is basic company information and a proof of address. This makes it easier for high risk merchants in Europe to get started accepting credit card payments because acquiring banks are willing to take more risks when offering them a merchant account.
In addition, international merchants enjoy the ease with which they can obtain an international card reader and virtual terminal from one of the many European companies that specialize in offering this service.
You’ll end up with a PCI-compliant payment gateway that meets EU regulatory requirements as well as additional security measures like 3D Secure.
Not to mention accepting multiple currencies is much more accessible with an EU payment provider. You can accept local currencies, EUR, and USD easily without the overhead.
An offshore merchant account in Europe is your answer.
If you’re in the market for an offshore merchant account, you should consider opening one in Europe. The EU is home to some of the world’s most stable banking and regulatory environments, making it a trusted destination for online businesses seeking foreign processing solutions.
There are several countries to choose from when selecting an offshore merchant account provider: France, Germany, Belgium, Lithuania, Italy, and Spain are all top choices due to their low risk profiles and generous credit lines available through local banks. But if you want more leeway when it comes to choosing where your money goes—and what happens if there’s ever a problem—you might want to look into British options.
Open your account today and get the online payment solutions your business needs now.
If your business is based in the United States, you may find that it’s difficult to get a high-risk merchant account because of your industry. The best solution is to start a business overseas and then entrust it to process your sales using an offshore merchant account.
With us, you’ll get set up with merchant account services that connects you to powerful credit card processing. Accept all popular credit and debit card networks (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) as well as alternative payment methods in the regions you wish to operate in. Get in touch with us today to open your account.