Three Surprising High-Risk Merchant Payment Industries

Payment Industries

When an industry is labeled high risk, it conjures images of leaked data and unsafe payment methods. Yet this is not the case at all, and many industries considered high-risk are extremely safe for consumer use.

The term comes from the banking sector, which applies it to businesses where there may be a high level of returns. However, there are many others factors like the price tag of items and volume of transactions. Fraud is just one small factor that may see an industry become a high-risk merchant. Below, we discuss three surprising high-risk payment industries. 

Furniture Sales

One of the most surprising on the list is furniture sales. If you start a business where you are selling anything from beds to sofas, then consider yourself a high-risk merchant. While an Ikea wardrobe may seem fairly innocuous, credit card processors think otherwise. 

The problem with furniture is that, usually, they are high ticket items. Not only that, the industry has a lot of refunds and chargebacks. Furniture is ordered and may take time to arrive, in which case customers may cancel. It may also happen that a customer receives the order, sees it in their home, and just doesn’t like it. 

All this high-price purchasing, coupled with lots of refund opportunities, also opens the process up to fraud and disputes. If someone cancels and there is a grey area with deposits, the company is left holding the bill. 



The iGaming industry incorporates online casinos and sports betting. While a fairly new industry, it has worked hard and fast to ensure payment processing is quick and fair across the many providers of services. Look at any good, legitimate casino, and you will notice a range of ways to pay. Some even have modern methods like cryptocurrencies, with whole websites dedicated to specialist crypto games. As an example, Planet 7 Casino has payment options from major providers like Visa and Mastercard, along with newer payment methods like Bitcoin. Thus, consumers can get peace of mind by using well-known gateways. In turn, the processors themselves reap the rewards of large numbers of transactions and associated fees. 

While unfair due to this, its labeling as a high-risk industry is understandable. There are high numbers of transactions, with money being cashed in and out each day. When you add in the bonuses casinos provide to players in the form of credit and odds for bets, money, and credit become extremely confusing. This opens the doors to lots of disputes. Luckily, it is not something the consumer has to deal with, but something major providers like Visa are aware of. 

Membership and Subscription Services

Membership and subscription services are extremely popular and are available for a range of goods. From meal deliveries to grooming goods and pet supplies, it seems you can get everything delivered in a box these days. Even whole websites like Cratejoy have popped up to provide them. However, the model itself proves troublesome to payment processors. 

This also applies to services like entertainment, streaming television, and subscription gaming. Very often, people are expected to pay in advance. These are often set to auto-renew as well. When people decide they don’t want items, it opens up a grey area the processors are left to fix.

There are many others that you may encounter. If you are setting up a business, it may be worth checking and taking this into account. You can find specialist processors that deal with high-risk merchants.