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FFL-Friendly Processing For Gun Sales

by Kimberly Baylies on April 22, 2021

Gun friendly payment processors.Firearms dealers, also known as Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) have a hard time finding a bank that will allow them to accept payments for their products. This, despite the fact that they have a significant impact on the U.S. economy.

We have seen a significant uptick in firearms and ammunition sales in the last year, with sales setting both annual and monthly records.

And if the number of NICS background checks recorded by the FBI is any indication, it will not slow down anytime soon. Recent reports show there were 4,691,738 background checks in March 2021 alone. More than any single month last year.  

And last year was a record-breaking year. The SAAF estimates 22.8 million firearms were sold in 2020. This is up 60% from 2019 sales, making 2020 the gun industry’s best year on record.  

The firearms and ammunition industry is an integral part of American culture. Not only does the industry represent a civil right, but it also has a significant impact on the U.S. economy. In 2020, the industry was responsible for as much as $63.49 billion in total economic activity, and generated  $6.99 billion in tax revenue for the country. 

For FFLs, accepting credit card payments is a necessity that’s difficult to achieve.

If you’re a Federal Firearms Licensee, you know that operating a firearms business involves a serious amount of bureaucratic red tape on its own. Once you’ve met all those requirements, the last thing you expect is to have to deal with more just to accept credit card payments.

Unfortunately, many acquiring banks and processors in the payments industry label gun and ammunition merchants, and other businesses that service the industry as high-risk merchants.

Anytime the national processing platforms and acquiring banks list a business as a high-risk, it is usually due to perceived risk. They take into account potential liability, high chargeback ratios, and perceived “brand damage” to the bank when measuring this risk. 

Several payments processors have even included these merchants on their list of prohibited merchants. This means they won't approve these businesses for a merchant account to accept payments. Unfortunately, this just lends to further reduce FFL merchant’s options.

FFL-friendly merchant accounts are achievable with an experienced high-risk Merchant Service Provider. 

Accept payments for gun sales with an experienced high-risk processor.

Getting a reliable firearms merchant account doesn't have to be full of red tape. And it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg either. When you have an experienced and credible payment processor, getting approved for a merchant account is a relatively straightforward process.

Yes, underwriting guidelines can be a bit more strict for both gun stores and online (E-commerce) firearms and ammunition dealers. There are challenges not only from a liability standpoint but also from a regulatory perspective. This is why it's imperative to work with a processor educated in the current requirements. This is the most efficient way to get approval for a gun-friendly merchant account.

Sales have increased significantly compared to the sales volumes of years prior. But many processors set limits on a gun dealer's monthly volume. You have a product, people want it, and you can't sell it. Others may have reserve qualifications that can choke your cash flow.

These types of limitations make it a challenge for merchants to serve their customers and build their business.

The reality is, gun and ammo merchant accounts don’t have to be subject to volume caps and huge reserves. We can provide our merchants with domestic merchant accounts with no caps and no reserves. We have the high-risk experience needed, and the gun-friendly banking partnerships necessary to make it happen. 

However, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances where a reserve would be called for. These issues might include having a prior merchant account shut down or excessive chargebacks. If this is your case, we have programs you can begin with where reserves are released in a timely fashion.

Whether you already own an eCommerce site, or a retail location you would like to expand to online sales for ammo, guns, and parts, we have a dependable solution. And we can integrate with almost any purveyor you are already working with.

Our domestic merchant accounts are easily integrated with your current sales software, POS system, and CRM platforms. We can also work with specialized firearm POS systems used in the industry. Already using a software system like Gun StoreMaster, Firearms Management Systems, Elliot, Rapid Gun, or any other popular management software? No problem, we can do it!


Don't risk allowing an increase in sales to lead to higher chargeback ratios.

Skyrocketing sales should be a cause for celebration for any business. But with a huge increase in sales, it is not uncommon to run into problems with supply and demand. You may be experiencing issues with shipping and fulfilling customer orders. With gun sales there’s already a significant waiting period, impatient customers may be irked by fulfillment taking too long.  Unfortunately, sometimes this can cause them to file a chargeback with their credit card issuer. 

Given how important it is to both serve your customers and keep your chargeback ratios in check, now is the time to make an extra effort to keep in touch with your customers throughout the process.

Anyone who’s running a business with a high incidence of chargebacks should be implementing a chargeback monitoring and prevention program. There are just no two ways about it. Not only do chargebacks cost you revenue, but high ratios? They can cost you your merchant account, leaving you with no way to accept payments. And once you’ve had your merchant account shut down, it is much harder to get approved for another one.

 We understand this, and that’s why we provide cutting-edge solutions for managing chargebacks. We proudly offer Verifi Chargeback Management programs. Verifi provides solutions that protect you from fraud, prevent chargeback disputes, as well as help resolve the disputes you do get. They also provide Dispute Representment with managed services through their Total Dispute Management. All within a suite that can be scaled to your specific business needs. 

Why work with Bankcard International Group?

Don't risk your FFL business to an inexperienced payment processor.Bankcard International Group (BIG) specializes in high-risk and hard to place businesses. We have worked hard to create long-term relationships with numerous processors and acquiring banks. This enables us to offer reliable and affordable solutions to our high-risk merchants.

Because of this, we have become the go-to resource for high-risk merchant services, including FFL and Ammo merchant accounts. We are also proud to offer affordable merchant accounts to ancillary businesses to the firearms industry. This includes parts dealers, concealed carry training services, gun clubs and shooting ranges, as well as many others.

Further, our experience in the industry coupled with trusted banking relationships allows us the ability to offer many alternative payment solutions. Thinking beyond credit card payments by adding additional payment solutions serves to keep you accepting payments regardless of the scenario. Alternative payment options such as ACH transactions, E-Check processing, and PIN Debit programs are a perfect back up to credit card payments. 

These options can help you expand your business to the under-banked. This form of payment will allow customers to still purchase online and in-store, even if they do not have a credit card. And they save you money in credit card processing fees. 

At B.I.G., we know that providing you with a merchant account is only the beginning of a long-term relationship. 

We know it is a task to find a merchant service provider who understands your business and plans to be around for you for the long haul. 

Our ETA-Certified Payments Professionals are dedicated to operating only through the highest level of professionalism. Through certification, we have taken an oath to remain educated in the products and services to ensure we have the expertise needed to provide you with only solutions right for your business.

Our primary goal is to offer all the services you need to be successful in business without selling you products that don't fit your business model.

Our promise to provide our clients best-in-class support isn't just a claim. We strive to provide strong, personalized service and support throughout the life of the merchant account. Our merchants have access to both their own sales rep, and our domestic customer service portal at all times.

Work with your own ETA-Certified payments professional and experience what it means to have a merchant account, and a partner you can depend on. 


Topics: High Risk Merchant Account, Firearms