Tobacco merchant account and 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.

Tobacco merchant accounts

Welcome to Merchant Advice Service! In this article, we’ll look into high-risk merchant accounts, specifically focusing on tobacco merchant accounts and payment gateways. Whether you’re a seasoned merchant looking to expand your business into the tobacco industry or a newcomer exploring high-risk options, we’ve got you covered with valuable insights and guidance.

Tobacco merchant services

High-risk merchant accounts are specialised payment processing solutions designed to cater to businesses operating in industries perceived as high-risk by financial institutions. The tobacco industry falls under this category due to certain factors such as legal and regulatory complexities, potential chargebacks, and the nature of the products involved.

Tobacco high risk merchant accounts

For merchants in the tobacco sector, having a dedicated tobacco merchant account is vital for efficient payment processing. Conventional merchant accounts may shy away from supporting tobacco businesses due to their higher-risk nature, making it essential to seek specialised solutions.

Payment Gateways for Tobacco Merchants

A payment gateway is a technology that securely processes credit card transactions between customers, merchants, and banks. Integrating a reliable payment gateway ensures seamless and safe transactions for your tobacco business, giving your customers the confidence to make purchases. Challenges and solutions operating in the tobacco industry come with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common challenges and how you could beat them: 


Age Verification: Selling tobacco products requires stringent age verification processes. Implementing robust age verification checks during online transactions ensures compliance and reduces the risk of underage purchases. 


Chargebacks and Fraud: High-risk industries are susceptible to chargebacks and fraudulent activities. Employing fraud prevention tools and excellent customer service can help minimise these issues. 


Legal and Regulatory Compliance: The tobacco industry is subject to numerous laws and regulations. Stay informed and ensure your business adheres to all applicable legal requirements to avoid potential penalties. 


Finding a Suitable Payment Gateway: Not all payment gateways are open to high-risk businesses. Partnering with a payment gateway provider experienced in supporting tobacco merchants is essential for smooth payment processing. 


Tobacco payment processors

Once you’ve found a provider who as a minimum will consider your tobacco payment processing application, you’ll be asked to provide the following paperwork to accompany your application;


  • ID and proof of residency for shareholders/directors
  • Proof of business address
  • Incorporation certificate
  • Information surrounding stock supply
  • Six months processing history
  • Business plan and cash flow forecast if you’re not currently accepting card payments


If you are unsure of which bank is best for your tobacco business, you may wish to consider using a non-biased broker to help with your application and manage the packaging process. Speak to our experts today.

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Tobacco credit card processing

Once your application has been submitted and successfully accepted, the bank will then offer terms in which it will process payments on your behalf. With high risk accounts there are particular elements to pay attention to, tobacco card payment contracts are no different.



If you are a start-up business or new to taking card payments the terms offer to you might seem a little steep to begin with, however once you have six months processing history you can either renegotiate with your current provider, or look at switching accounts.


Commonly Asked Questions
What makes the tobacco industry high-risk for merchants?
The tobacco industry is deemed high-risk due to factors such as legal complexities, potential chargebacks, and the nature of the products involved. Financial institutions perceive these elements as posing greater risks, making it challenging for conventional merchant accounts to cater to tobacco businesses.
Can I use a regular merchant account for my tobacco business?
Typically, regular merchant accounts are not suitable for tobacco businesses due to the industry’s high-risk nature. As a result, it’s best to seek specialised tobacco merchant accounts that can meet the unique needs of your industry.
How do age verification processes work for online tobacco sales?
Age verification for online tobacco sales is crucial to comply with legal requirements and prevent underage purchases. Robust age verification checks, such as age verification databases and identity verification tools, can be implemented during the checkout process to ensure that customers are of legal age.
What steps can I take to prevent chargebacks and fraud in my tobacco business?
To mitigate chargebacks and fraud, it’s essential to implement effective fraud prevention tools and provide top-notch customer service. Utilising Address Verification Service (AVS), Card Verification Value (CVV) checks, and monitoring transactions for suspicious activities can help prevent fraudulent transactions and reduce chargebacks.
Are there any legal restrictions I should be aware of when selling tobacco products?
Yes, selling tobacco products is subject to numerous legal and regulatory restrictions. It’s crucial to stay informed about the specific laws governing the sale of tobacco in your region and adhere to all applicable requirements to avoid penalties and legal complications.
Which payment gateways are suitable for tobacco merchants?
Tobacco merchants should look for payment gateway providers with experience in supporting high-risk businesses. Specialised payment gateways that understand the unique needs of the tobacco industry and offer robust security measures are ideal for ensuring smooth payment processing.
How quickly can I start accepting payments with a tobacco merchant account?
The time it takes to set up a tobacco merchant account and start accepting payments can vary depending on the provider and the completeness of your application. While some accounts can be set up relatively quickly, others may require additional verification and compliance checks, which can take longer.
What additional services do high-risk merchant account providers offer?
High-risk merchant account providers may offer additional services such as chargeback management, fraud prevention tools, risk assessment, and tailored support to help you navigate the challenges of the tobacco industry.

How Merchant Advice Service Can Help

At Merchant Advice Service, we understand the unique challenges faced by high-risk merchants, including those in the tobacco industry. We specialise in providing tailored solutions for businesses like yours. Our comprehensive network of reputable payment gateway providers ensures you have access to the most suitable options. Let us guide you through the process and help you secure a tobacco merchant account and payment gateway that aligns with your business needs. To learn more about high-risk merchant accounts and how they can benefit your business, visit our High-Risk Merchant Accounts page. For more advice like this, visit our blog page!



If you’re a business owner in the tobacco industry, understanding the nuances of high-risk merchant service is crucial for your long-term success. Specialised processing services can help you accept credit and debit cards securely, making online payment a breeze for your customers. 


With the right high-risk account, you can navigate the complexities of credit card payments and ensure your type of business remains compliant and profitable. For more tailored solutions and advice, Merchant Advice Service is your go-to resource.

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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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