Tattoo studio 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.

Tattoo studio merchant accounts

Tattoo studios are well known for operating a ‘cash only’ policy, however in recent years some have started to move over to card payments. Due to most tattoo artists operating on a self-employed basis, it can cause issues when it comes to settlements and overall transaction management. Here we look at how to find suitable card processing for tattoo studios and how electronic payments can work for you.

Finding a merchant account for a tattoo studio can be tricky for a number of reasons. Firstly, the transaction volumes tend to be for high amounts (high ticket) but low in volume which some acquiring banks don’t like. Couple that with the fact that most tattoo artists are self-employed and pay a percentage of the transaction to the shop owner can make processing card payments a bit of a headache. Here we look at the options available to tattoo shops in our ultimate guide.


Tattoo studio merchant services

When to comes to applications for tattoo merchant accounts, the way the company is set up is imperative. If operating under sole trader ownership each merchant will need their own merchant account. However, some limited companies choose to act as merchant of record taking their split before settling to the individual artist. 

Tattoo studio payment processors

Although not all payment processors accept applications from tattoo studios, the ones that do tend to offer reasonable rates and long-term processing. To ensure your application has the best possible chance of being accepted first time around it’s important to provide all documentation when requested. For tattoo studios this includes:

  • ID and proof of residency for Directors/shareholders
  • Transaction history if already accepting card payments
  • Cashflow forecast if you don’t accept transactions already
  • Licencing documentation
  • Incorporation certificate

The acquiring bank may ask for additional information once the application is submitted, however by sending in all the above documents together it will speed up the process. 

Tattoo studio payment providers

The fees involved in accepting card payments at your tattoo studio are broken down into two elements. 

Fixed fees, these include terminal hire, authorisation fee, PCI compliance and a minimum monthly service charge (if applicable) 

Percentage costs, which are a cost per transaction and very depending on payment method i.e. credit cards are more expensive to process than debit cards.

Due to the varying fees and costs, we suggest comparing merchant accounts on a pound for pound basis. If you are new to card payments, we also advise looking to switch accounts every few years to save on costs.


Tattoo studio credit card processing

Most card payments transactions take place face to face in a tattoo studio, so finding the right hardware is important. Although you won’t need an all singing all dancing machine, functionality matters. Terminal contracts tend to be for a minimum of 12 months, and for a fixed amount charged monthly, although if you prefer you can buy the machine upfront.  

Some tattoo artists require a chip and pin machine to work outside of the studio too, tattooing at events. So, consider where you’d like to process payments – be it at a fixed till point or via a wireless terminal in individual studios/events. This will determine what type of machine you choose.

Tattoo studio high risk merchant accounts

Have you been declined payment processing or had your account terminated by your existing provider? This could mean that you need alternative payment processing for your tattoo studio. Our experts at Merchant Advice Service HQ can assist in finding suitable long-term accounts to meet your requirements, call us today.

Tattoo studio online payment processing

Some tattoo studios like to take a deposit upon booking or for bespoke designs, which is understandable. As a result, online payments are a great option.


Tattoo studio payment gateways

To process any of the above payments online, your studio will need both a payment gateway and merchant account. A payment gateway facilitates the online element of the transaction, which means it must integrate with your website and your chosen merchant account provider. Speak to our experts today to find the best payment gateway for your tattoo studio.

Tattoo studio merchant account fast settlement

Quite often tattoo studio owners and artists want to receive card transaction settlements quickly, and most can apply for next day settlement. For a small monthly fee card payments funds can be received the following working day, which helps with cash flow including payment of commissions for using the studio branding. 

Tattoo studio business bank accounts

Whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company – you’ll need an active business bank account to settle card payments for your tattoo studio. We’ve teamed up with a partner brokerage who handle business banking applications for tattoo artists. Together we can provide an all-round banking solution. Speak to the team today.


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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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