Electronic Cigarette Merchant Accounts

> Make A Quick Enquiry
Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

Accepting card payments in vape and e-cigarette shops

Smoking indoors was banned in 2007 and, as a result, there was a surge in demand for electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs) that smokers have continued to use as an alternative. E-cigarettes and vapourizers have become increasingly common but there is a lack of clarity in the classification of e-cigarettes, which scares banks from opening merchant accounts for businesses selling these products. Banks perceive retailers as high risk for a number of reasons:

  • It is believed that the regulation around e-cigarettes is set to change and as a result this has caused uncertainty with merchants who are unsure of its long-term future and therefore want to steer clear.
  • Some banks perceive businesses like vape store retailers as cash cows. They are popular for a short period, and make big profits, but after the initial hype and popularity they think a lot of these vape stores may go under. So far, this is proving not to be the case, but it will take time for minds to be changed.
  • The long-term health implications of e-cigarettes are considered unclear given they are a new technology.
  • The industry has a high volume of chargebacks which can have a negative effect on securing a merchant provider

If you are looking to get a merchant account in place as an e-cigarette retailer, you’ll may to find a high-risk specialist broker. At Merchant Advice Service our team works here is some of they key information you need to know:

Vape Store Payment Gateways

Under normal circumstances in a brick and mortar shop, organising the account should be relatively straightforward. However, this doesn’t apply to higher-risk accounts and the process can be difficult. We work with specialist merchant account suppliers who look at both account set up and specialise in finding a favourable high-risk payment gateway to allow you to take online payments.


E-commerce merchants will find it a little more difficult to secure payment processing, however as the popularity of vaping products seems to be withstanding the test of time more banks are considering applications from vape and e-cig businesses.


Online Transactions for E-Cigarette Suppliers

Online transactions have always been regarded as higher risk than face-to-face transactions. Couple this with retailing in a high-risk industry renowned for chargebacks and it starts to look impossible. Payment gateways or acquirers will determine risk based on their past experience with a merchant sector as well as that particular merchant’s financial stability.

Historically, acquirers have been caught in fraudulent activity whereby merchants take online orders and declare themselves bankrupt after the order is placed but before the goods are sent. In situations like this the acquirer is legally obligated to refund the value of the transactions and this is a large part of the reason they are reluctant to agree account set ups from the e-cigarette industry.

Face-to-face transactions for Vape Stores

Face to face e-cigarette purchases carry less risk to an acquirer than online transactions as goods are paid for an taken away at the point of sale – as the customer is present there is no risk of chargebacks, making this simpler, but still not without challenges. It entirely depends on a variety of factors, including length of time trading and proven track record.

If you would like to know more about setting up a merchant account or payment gateway for an e-cigarette business you have come to the right place.

Get in touch today by filling in our enquiry form or calling 0800 304 7875 and we’ll be happy to discuss your options further.


Chip and Pin machine for Vape Shop

Vape and e-cig merchants often choose their chip and pin machines based on initial cost. However there is a lot more to consider than just the headline merchant account fees. 

For example some providers offer free card machines and charge a lot more per transaction, these are often high-street suppliers such as PayPal or Stripe. Card machines are ordinarily rented on a monthly basis, so when reviewing it’s essential to account for ALL processing costs. It’s important to review processing costs on a pound for pound basis allowing for a fair comparison.

When it comes to ensuring you have the best merchant account costs for the duration of your vape business, we suggest shopping around regularly. Switching providers becomes easier if you have solid processing history.


Terminated Vape merchant account and payment gateways

Due to the high-risk nature of vape stores, sometimes merchants may receive notice from their existing provider such as PayPal, or have been declined when applying for a new account.

When looking for an alternative payment processor,  we suggest using  a non-biased broker who will be up to date with a range of banks criteria. This means the likelihood of being accepted first time around by the new bank is increased because they know where to place the business and how to package your application correctly.

Need help choosing the right merchant account?
Related Articles

Need help choosing the right merchant account?

Start your enquiry here

Contact Us
Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

Read more
Read less
More From This Author

Make A Quick Enquiry

Speak to us directly and get any questions you have answered. Submit your details and we’ll be in touch shortly.

Alternatively you can contact us directly using:0800 304 78 75

Just so you know, we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to contact you via phone, email or text with updates on the progress of your enquiry and provide information only on relevant products and services.