If you are considering opening a Vape Business or want to expand payment options for your vaping customers, you may think that because your products do not contain tobacco that you are not in a high-risk industry and that all merchant account processor options are available to you.
The terms “Vape”, “Vapes”, “Vape Pens” and brand names like “Juul” all refer to the same class of products called “e-cigarettes”, while “vaping” refers to the use of the product. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, many contain nicotine: the addictive chemical in tobacco products¹. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies them as “tobacco products,” which means you are in a high-risk industry.
If you were unaware of this distinction, as a new vape shop owner you may have signed up with a company like PayPal, Stripe, or Square because they have names you know, the online application was easy, and approval was virtually instantaneous. If you thought you were not a high-risk business, it’s likely that your application wouldn’t be flagged. But guess what comes next. Leave your front door open because the chickens are coming home to roost.
You may have been using your account for several months before companies like PayPal, Stripe, and Square get around to reviewing your business for compliance.
If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance you didn’t read all the fine print in the contract. If you had, you would have seen that all 3 companies do not accept tobacco, vape, eCig, or related businesses because they are high-risk. Whether you made an innocent mistake or thought the company would never find out, after a few months of accepting credit card payments, these processors will freeze your account and all the funds in it without notice. They don’t care that your products don’t actually contain tobacco, or that you need cash to run your business. Their rules say you are high-risk, and you violated their contract, enabling them to potentially hold tens of thousands of your dollars for up to six months.
But there is hope. You don’t have to put up with being on a roller-coaster of accepting credit cards one minute and not being able to process payments the next. There are several merchant processing companies available that accept high-risk businesses. However, not all of them specialize in the emerging Vape Industry. And not all of them offer the same terms and benefits. Some high-risk processors increase fees based on your chargebacks or include hidden fees in the fine print of their contracts (those pesky contracts again!). Or, if you decide to cancel your merchant services account for any reason, they tack on hefty termination fees to get out of your contract.
One example of a company that is responsive to your needs would be Unity Payments, a subsidiary of Nuvo Company, an established leader with over 35 years of experience serving various businesses. Unity Payments was explicitly founded to support high-risk industries such as Vape Retailers. Their advantages include no contracts, no cancellation fees, locked-in service rates, 24/7 tech support, and loss prevention specialists. If you are searching for a processor or would like a free audit of your existing processor, call Unity Payments at (321) 972-9838 or sign-up online.
Source: ¹ FDA – Nicotine: The Addictive Chemical in Tobacco Products