Escort Merchant Accounts & Payment Gateways

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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.

Escort merchant accounts

The adult industry continues to grow despite worldwide financial uncertainty in recent years. As a result, some of the world’s largest companies operate in the space, escort agencies being no different. Understandably the risk associated with processing payments puts a lot of banks off accepting applications from escort companies, however it’s not impossible and our in-depth guide is here to help.

Escort business fall under the category of adult payment processing – which means finding a suitable merchant account can be a right headache. Lots of businesses struggle to obtain long term card processing as a result. When applying for an escort merchant account it’s important to be transparent at underwriting stage to ensure that both the acquiring bank and your business know where you stand. In this article we’ll look at the different elements involved and how to increase the likelihood of getting your escort merchant account application approved, meaning suitable card processing not just for now but the lifetime of your business.


Escort high risk merchant accounts

If you’ve landed on this page, you’ll already know that escort merchant accounts are deemed high risk by both merchant account and gateway providers. In fact, the majority of banks choose to stay clear from adult card processing as a whole, which includes escort accounts. There are two reasons in which escort card processing is deemed high risk;

  • Most banks do not want the reputational exposure in the adult space, which can result in losing other unrelated business and investments
  • The industry type is renowned for high chargeback rates and fraudulent transactions 

This being said, just because some banks choose not to offer escort merchant accounts – it doesn’t mean all will. Most operate on a ‘case by case’ basis…i.e. if it’s finically appealing and fits within criteria the acquiring bank will onboard your escort business. 

Escort merchant services

To ensure you increase your chances of getting your application accepted, you need to make sure that the bank you’re applying to will at least consider processing payments for escort companies. As mentioned previously some will accept applications on a case-by-case basis whereas other high stream and mainstream banks will not even consider applications from any business loosely related to adult industries. It’s worthwhile noting that some banks will accept applications from escort advertising sites, but not escort companies directly. So, be specific when reaching out.


Escort payment processors

When applying for any kind of high risk account you should expect to have to provide documentation, escort payment processing is no different. Most providers will request the following;

  • Transaction statements, most require at least six months payment processing history
  • Business Bank statements
  • ID and proof of residency for Directors/Shareholders
  • Incorporation certificate
  • Work agreement with any escort/contractors

In high risk applications especially, its better to package the case fully (i.e. have all of the documents submitted together) rather than go back and forth between you and the bank. That way the underwriting team can make an informed decision as to whether or not they will be able to provide card processing to your escort business. 

Escort payment providers

Once your application has been submitted and approved the payment provider will then the terms in which they will process payments on your behalf. This will include not only the cost of accepting escort transactions but also the time frame in which they will be settled into your business bank account. It’s common practice within high risk industries to include a rolling reserve or an account deposit to protect the merchant (you) and the acquiring bank from possible chargebacks. These are then released after a delayed timeframe or upon closure of the merchant account.


Escort credit card processing

So, what can you expect when accepting card payments within the escort space? Most would assume that costs will be higher than usual, which is undoubtably the case. If your business is processing larger volumes, it would be wise to consider using more than one merchant account to prevent the risk of terminations. Multi merchant accounts ensure that should your processing provider not wish to deal in the adult space any longer you’ve got a backup. It also means that pricing can become more competitive, while processors want more of a percentage share. 

Escort online payment processing

The majority of payments in the escort world are made online via advertising platforms. As briefly mentioned before, some banks will accept adult advertising but not escort applications, it can be a very grey area. In addition to the paperwork above the banks will check your website terms and conditions and that you have the relevant age restrictions in place.


Escort payment gateways

To accept escort payments online you will require both a merchant account and payment gateway. The payment gateway facilities the online element of the transaction. This means that the escort gateway provider has to integrate with your website platform. For high risk industries such as escort and adult, some website platform providers will not work with banks who accept high risk transactions – for example Shopify sites are renowned for being difficult to place with adult banks. 

There are other things to consider when choosing a gateway provider, these include;

  • Security levels – one being the best you can get!
  • Which payment types are compatible, for example ApplePay
  • Which locations they cover, especially if aiming at a global market
  • Chargeback and fraud management
  • Backoffice reporting

If you are looking for help with finding the best gateway provider for adult or escort businesses our experts are on hand to help.

Escort merchant account instant approval

Finding an escort account quickly can be imperative to running a successful business. The industry has a history of account terminations, which means finding an alternative becomes a priority. With the associated risk of escort accounts, instant approval isn’t possible however if paperwork is provided promptly, we can source an account quickly for you. Our experts are experienced in high risk applications, ensuring applications are handled efficiently. 


Escort business bank accounts

We don’t just stop at card payments, because having a business bank account suitable for escort companies is vital to running your business and the effective cash flow management. We have partnered with a team of expert brokers who are experienced in successfully placing escort and adult business bank accounts.


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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.’

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