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Nutraceutical Merchant Account - How To Accept Credit Card Payments

by Kimberly Baylies on October 29, 2021

Get a Nutraceutical Merchant Account to accept credit cards for supplements.Just because nutraceuticals are valuable to our society, doesn't mean banks want to be involved and provide the supplement industry payment processing.

Health supplements are an integral part of creating a healthy lifestyle. The global estimated value of the nutraceutical industry climbed to $417.66 billion in 2020. And experts expect this number to continue to rise with the bottom half of the baby boomers and millennials fueling the industry.

However, regardless of how important the market is to our economy, business owners still find it difficult to get a nutraceutical merchant account to accept payments. If you're running a business in the nutraceutical sector, you have experienced this time and again. You apply for a merchant account with your bank and they look at you like you're running an illegal business. 

Over the past several years, society has shown a growing interest in healthy aging and functional foods. That means more and more consumers are turning to nutritional supplements, herbal supplements, and nutraceuticals to support their health.

If you want to be successful in the nutraceutical and supplement industry, you have to be able to accept credit card payments. And you most likely need to accept one-time and subscription payments online for your supplements. And that is not an easy thing to find.

Nutraceutical merchant services are not all created equal.

First of all, if you're looking to open a nutraceutical merchant account with a standard merchant account provider, you're barking up the wrong tree. 

Don't bark up the wrong tree for your nutraceutical merchant account - work with an expertFor one thing, eCommerce, or online, merchants are considered high-risk right off the bat. This is because online merchants do all of their payment transactions behind the scenes. That is to say, they are not face-to-face like they are in a retail environment. They call these card-not-present transactions, and that puts the bank at a greater risk for fraud. You probably already know this, but if you're running an online nutraceutical business, you’re considered even more high risk than most.

Many things contribute to nutraceuticals needing a high-risk merchant account.

Nutraceutical companies get the triple whammy when it comes to situations that put businesses in the high-risk category.

High Chargeback Ratios

First, they tend to have a higher occurrence of chargebacks filed against them. Having a high chargeback ratio immediately puts a business in the high-risk category. A lot of chargebacks can create significant financial liability for both the business and the acquiring bank. For this reason, Visa, MasterCard, and other major card brands set a limit on the number of chargebacks a business can incur. 

In fact, it is not uncommon for a nutraceutical merchant to have a chargeback ratio in excess of 2%.  This is well over what Visa considers an excessive level of chargebacks. Once a business hits a ratio of 0.65%, Visa will request an investigation into the cause and that an action plan be developed. But when a merchant hits Visa's Excessive Level, they will enroll the merchant in the Visa Chargeback Monitoring Program. This means extra fees of up to $100 per chargeback and a $25,000 review fee. But even worse, it could cause them to freeze and shut down your merchant account.

There are many reasons for high chargebacks that are not necessarily related to true fraud. Many times customers aren’t happy with the results of the product. Other times they just don't want to deal with calling to cancel their auto-ship. Unfortunately, rather than call the merchant, they opt to file a chargeback with their credit card. This is what we refer to as "Friendly fraud", and it's one of the main contributors to high charge back ratios. 

It’s imperative for eCommerce merchants to follow best practices on their website to help reduce friendly fraud. and it is also in their best interest to employ a robust chargeback management solution.

High Incidence of True Fraud

The second thing contributing to the nutraceutical industry’s level of risk is the significant presence of actual fraud.

The nutraceutical industry as a whole has a long history of being a magnet for fraud and cybercriminals. When an industry is seen as a hot-spot for fraudulent attacks, the payments industry takes on significant risk by serving them. This tends to make banks look unfavorably on these types of merchants.

Subscriptions and Recurring Billing

Any merchant that offers subscription services or memberships are a high risk merchant as far as processors are concerned. They often have high sales volumes and attract fraud. Again, these business types tend to rack up the chargeback ratios. For this reason, subscription services require a high-risk continuity merchant account for recurring billing. Now, couple the nutraceutical business model with a subscription business model. 

Excessive Regulation

Lastly, a lot of regulation. The nutraceutical industry inherently operates under a web of government regulation. The FDA has strict regulations surrounding the supplement and food additive industry. Merchants may not fully understand how their regulatory environment can affect the businesses providing them with services. For example, acquiring banks can actually be held liable for supporting a business if it does not meet all FDA regulations. 

Therefore, underwriting must take extra time to review the Nutra company, all of its products and ingredients, and all of its marketing and claims before approving an account. On top of that, nutraceutical websites must be monitored constantly to ensure current and newly added products meet FDA guidelines.

Consequently, all of this adds to the liability and expense of servicing merchant accounts for the industry. This is why it is so important for nutraceutical and health supplement companies to take steps to reduce the risks that threaten your merchant account and ability to accept payments for supplements. And it's imperative they partner with a provider with the experience to handle their account smoothly and reliably.

Nutraceuticals require an experienced high risk merchant account provider

For a nutraceutical merchant account you can rely on, turn to an experienced high-risk merchant account provider.

Achieve peace of mind with a nutraceutical merchant account that you can depend on.The fact of the matter is, most standard merchant account providers and processors are not prepared to handle the in-depth underwriting needed to serve the industry.

Being high risk doesn’t mean you have to operate like some underground railroad. And it doesn’t mean you're stuck trying to find some workaround for accepting payments for supplements. It just means your account needs more management and supervision than traditional retail sales. And because of that, you need to turn to a merchant service provider experienced with the intricacies of nutraceuticals.


What to look for in an experienced high-risk merchant account provider

Whoever you get your merchant account with, we strongly urge you to fully vet your merchant service provider. There’s no shortage of reps that talk the talk and promise low rates and then hope they can find somewhere to approve your account. Or worse, they miscode your business and lump you into an aggregate account for hopes of a few months of payouts before you're discovered and shut down. 

More often than not, nutraceutical companies find themselves lured in by sneaky sales tactics and promises of low rates. But unfortunately, they find themselves with a merchant account that does not match their business model. The processor didn't underwrite the business properly or may not even know what your business sells. Unfortunately, this leads to having your account closed and often getting your business on the Terminated Merchant File (TMF) or MATCH list. 

Square, Stripe, and PayPal are not prepared to take on high-risk business types. Their business model is not prepared for the risk. Subsequently, they won't allow businesses that sell nutraceuticals to process on their payment platform.  You may initially get approved for a merchant account because of their quick “no underwriting” application process. However, through their review process, they will eventually uncover the nature of the business and they will close the account. 

The last thing you need is to risk a disruption in processing payments. But when you get a merchant account through an aggregate account provider, that’s exactly what could happen. 

What makes high-risk merchant account providers unique?

One of the best ways to make sure your business remains operational is to open the right kind of merchant account. One that you know won't get shut down. Nutraceutical companies need a merchant service provider that has experience in high risk, hard to place industries.

This is because a provider that specializes in high-risk has built the banking relationships needed to accept this special industry. They, and their partners, are fully prepared to serve the industry with the proper solutions and take on the risk. Because they understand the challenges the industry poses, they've obtained the best solutions possible to help meet them. High risk merchant service providers offer robust fraud management tools, intuitive chargeback management solutions, and personalized customer service. Because that's the kind of support Nutraceutical companies need.

With the proper merchant account from the right provider, you'll be able to accept payment for your products without disruption. 

B.I.G. will be your last nutraceutical merchant account provider.

B.I.G. will be your the last merchant account you will ever need for your nutraceutical businessWhether you call it dietary supplements, herbal supplements, or nutraceuticals, we have a solution for you. We can provide a high risk merchant account to anyone who markets herbal products, cosmeceuticals, extracts, tinctures, concentrates, and more. And we're prepared to handle subscription services for any of these as well.

Imagine how good it will feel to have a transparent merchant account that provides you with a long-term payment processing solution. You can boldly market your products without raising red flags or risk being discovered by the bank. A high-risk nutraceutical specific merchant account will give you the confidence to market your company and its products. Likewise, your customers will have the confidence to share their credit card data with you.

At Bankcard International Group, we leverage our experience and integrity to bring you a fair and transparent merchant account. And that means you will have a merchant account you can rely on to support your business’s continued success. 

What can we offer nutraceutical businesses? 

  • We have 16 years of experience in the high-risk sector.
  • Over the years we have established strong domestic and international banking relationships.
  • Because of these trusted relationships, we can offer our payment options to merchants who’ve been on the TMF or MATCH list.
  • We understand the challenges the industry faces, and have created an in-house pre-underwriting team to help ensure the approval of your merchant account.
  • We pride ourselves on bringing you fair and transparent pricing -no hidden fees.
  • We understand that recurring billing is an integral feature of the nutraceutical business model. When you get a merchant account with us, you can rest assured we fully support subscriptions and recurring billing. 
  • Security and fraud protection is paramount. Our payment gateways are secure and compliant with all PCI DSS standards for data protection.
  • Your secure gateway integrates seamlessly with all the most popular shopping carts.
  • Intelligent fraud detection and prevention solutions.
  • Robust chargeback management software.


Bankcard International Group makes applying for a nutraceutical merchant account easy. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when applying for a nutraceutical merchant account. And if you take the time to address these minor issues first, your approval process will go much more smoothly.

With that in mind, our team will pre-underwrite and review your business model, website, and products. We will go over product claims and trial program details to make sure they’re within the guidelines.  

By doing this first, we can identify any red flags and help put together a package that pleases the bank. 

We’ve also assembled a complete list of documentation requirements to help make the application process streamlined for a quick approval. In fact, with a complete package, we can have your merchant account approval within a couple of days. 

Once you're approved, the support doesn't stop there…

We’re in this with you for the long haul. We believe that to earn your business for life, we have to provide you with superior service and remain dedicated to your success. And your success relies on having access to the right tools and support as your business grows. 

To provide a long-term payment solution, we must work to keep chargeback ratios under the allowable amount. But with our robust fraud prevention and chargeback management tools, you'll have a head start. 

Fraud prevention tools help protect your profits by identifying vulnerabilities and alerting you to potentially fraudulent transactions. Chargeback management tools help to reduce friendly fraud, detect criminally fraudulent chargebacks, and provide representation for true chargebacks.

At Bankcard International Group, our account advisors are hands-on with clients, even after the merchant account is processing. If you have a problem, your dedicated advisor will be there to help. Have an after-hours problem? No worries. Call our domestic customer service for support from a service rep trained to help with your merchant account questions.

It’s not how BIG you are, it's how BIG you are with your merchant account provider.

Come on over and accept payments the Bankcard International Group way, and “Experience The B.I.G. Difference!”


Topics: High Risk Merchant Account, Nutraceutical