Unlocking Offshore Payment Processing

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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.

Offshore Merchant Accounts

Offshore credit card processing has gained popularity among online merchants seeking to broaden their payment horizons beyond their domestic business locations. Understanding the intricacies of processing transactions through an offshore account, along with the associated technicalities and pricing details, is crucial before diving into the realm of offshore payment processors. In this blog, we will delve into the mechanics of offshore payment processing, empowering you to make well-informed decisions when selecting the optimal offshore merchant account for your business.

What Constitutes an Offshore Merchant Account?

An offshore merchant account serves as a payment processing solution for businesses aiming to accept payments globally, in addition to transactions within their registered country. Particularly beneficial for high-risk businesses unable to secure a local merchant account, offshore options offer a lifeline for those exploring opportunities beyond their immediate geographical confines.


In the realm of offshore payment processing, having an offshore merchant gateway or account provides high-risk companies with the flexibility needed for financial transactions, enabling them to tap into broader markets. This approach proves especially advantageous for businesses grappling with high chargeback rates, fraud concerns, or poor credit history, as the application process tends to be less stringent, leading to higher acceptance rates.


Selecting the right offshore merchant account provider is a nuanced process, replete with benefits but not without its pitfalls.

Let’s explore the Pros and Cons of Offshore Merchant Processing.

Benefits of Offshore Merchant Processing

Increased likelihood of approval for high-risk merchants, especially those rejected in the domestic market.


Potential tax breaks with little or no tax on revenue from offshore payments.


A more liberal approach by offshore payment companies toward high-risk businesses.


Drawbacks of Offshore Merchant Processing

Expect higher rates, particularly compared to standard merchant accounts.


Some providers may require a company representative to travel for account setup.


Legal dispute resolution can be challenging.


Potential damage to company reputation due to negative connotations associated with offshore merchant accounts in the UK.

Navigating Offshore High-Risk Merchant Accounts

For businesses deemed high-risk and facing challenges securing a local account, exploring offshore high-risk merchant accounts can be a strategic move. Different jurisdictions may view risk differently, providing potential tax advantages and alternative avenues for obtaining a merchant account.


Finding the Right Offshore Payment Provider

Identifying the most suitable offshore payment processor can be daunting. Each acquiring bank has its own criteria, covering aspects such as registered business location, director’s country of residence, customer locations, business type, and preferred currencies. Before applying, ensure your business aligns with the specific requirements of the chosen bank.

Offshore Merchant Account Approval Process

While some offshore payment service providers offer instant approval within 24 hours, it’s crucial to prioritise a long-term solution over quick fixes. Rushed decisions can lead to unfavourable outcomes. Seek advice from experts to find a reputable offshore merchant account provider tailored to your business needs.


Applying for an Offshore Merchant Account

Before considering an offshore merchant account, delve into the relevant policies of UK banks regarding transactions from offshore accounts. Merchant Advice Service (MAS) stands ready to offer guidance and expert advice, ensuring a smooth process and informed decision-making for your business.

Offshore Payment Gateways

In addition to an offshore merchant account, ecommerce merchants aiming to accept international payments need a suitable offshore payment gateway. Consider factors such as integration capabilities, supported currencies, PCI DSS level, accepted payment methods, and compatibility with the chosen offshore merchant account.

The Best Countries for Offshore Merchant Accounts

The choice of processing offshore payments hinges on business risk and customer locations. For instance, gaming and gambling merchants often opt for high-risk gateway providers based in Malta. MAS specialises in supporting merchants seeking offshore processing in various locations, including Malta, Latvia, Cyprus, Europe, India, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, and more.

How Merchant Advice Service Can Help

Offshore payment processing offers a valuable opportunity for online businesses to expand their global reach. By setting up an account with international banks or offshore banks, companies can handle high volumes of transactions, including those from foreign countries, more efficiently.

While offshore merchant accounts can be more cost-effective and offer better customer service, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. These accounts often provide a broader scope for processing payments, including the use of debit cards and online payments, but they may come with higher fees and legal complexities.

For businesses facing difficulties with domestic banks, an offshore bank account can be a strategic solution. It’s essential, however, to choose a provider that aligns with your business’s needs and offers reliable customer service.

Remember, while offshore processing can be beneficial, it’s crucial to understand all aspects, from the approval process to the integration of payment gateways. Merchant Advice Service is here to help navigate these waters, ensuring your online business thrives through effective and efficient payment solutions.

At MAS, we provide guidance and expert advice to streamline the offshore merchant account process. Our goal is to help businesses avoid potential issues and make well-informed decisions. For more information, contact us or call 0800 304 7875.

For more advice like this, visit our blog page!

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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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