Payment Processing for Alcohol Sales

> 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.

Finding suitable merchant accounts for the sale of alcohol, liquor and spirits

If you’re selling alcoholic drinks,  then you’re going to need a suitable merchant account and payment processing in place. Long gone are the days when cash was king. Today, it’s increasingly about card payments and this is something that will only grow in popularity in the future.

The truth is that, if you’re trying to expand your business without tailored merchant services in place, you’re just not going to succeed. The good news is that getting a merchant account approved for alcohol sales doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Trends in alcohol sales have grown in recent years, with the market expanding in spirit fashions and vintage markets. Securing card processing for alcohol businesses, be it face-to-face sales via chip and pin or online stores is relatively straightforward. We’ve put together tips to ensure businesses selling alcoholic produce find the best merchant accounts available to them. If by the time you’ve finished reading, you’re looking for any more help or advice, our experts at Merchant Advice Service HQ are on hand to help. We’re more than happy to provide you with our free advice so that you can secure the service that’s best for you. 

Alcohol merchant accounts

Unlike the sale of vape and CBD products, merchants selling alcohol aren’t deemed to be as high risk. This means that the rates surrounding alcohol shops tend to be pretty competitive, which applies to both physical stores and online/ecommerce merchants. The acceptation to this are:

  • Merchants with high chargeback ratios.
  • Merchants selling outside of the country of incorporation, for example international wine merchants based in other parts of the world selling to the UK; for example Europe, North America and Australasia.

Financial merchants using alcohol as investment funnels, such as whiskey and vintage wine investments


Alcohol merchant services

For online alcohol merchants ensuring that the sale is legal is paramount. This also applies when searching for a merchant account and payment gateway provider. 

Upon entering the site businesses must confirm that the purchaser is of legal age (both where the merchant is registered in and country of purchase). This is carried out by an age verification tick box. When applying for an account, regulations will be checked so it’s important if you have a start-up business that your site is fully developed and ready to go.

Alcohol payment gateways

Finding a payment gateway which is suitable for the sale of alcohol is simple, the hardest part is getting the merchant account approved first. Although the industry isn’t deemed ‘high risk’’ by the majority of suppliers, it’s worth having security measures in place to prevent issues such as chargebacks occurring. Having a reliable payment gateway provider in place will ensure issues such as this are kept to a minimum. As turnover increases or if you deal in high ticket items such as champagne it might be worth considering having multiple merchant accounts to work with your gateway provider. 

Alcohol payment providers

There is no given method to ensuring you have a suitable merchant account or payment provider for your alcohol business. However, it is worth considering not only the rates alone, but the total costs involved with processing credit and debit cards. 

This should be done on a pound for pound basis rather than a rate comparison. Using a broker can help unbiased comparison, at Merchant Advice Service we specialise in;

  • Wine wholesale (including POS systems)
  • Vintage and collectors’ alcohol
  • Online Spirit Shops
  • Face to Face alcohol transactions
  • Events based venues requiring portable machines

Alcohol payment processors

When it comes to selecting an alcohol payment processor, the truth is that you’ll have numerous companies to choose from. As the industry isn’t deemed high-risk you get access to more providers and are almost spoiled for choice.

While having various options is great, it can also get a little confusing and it’s easy to get stuck not knowing which processor is the best for you and your needs. The good news is that, at Merchant Advice Service, we can help, what’s even better is that this help is completely free of charge.

Alcohol online payment processing

The ability to accept online payments means that you can reach a whole new audience. Of course, there is still a place for bricks and mortar stores selling alcohol, but for those who are selling something that little bit special that make ideal gifts, online sales are the way to go.

Given how alcohol sales are viewed, you shouldn’t have any real issue with finding a payment processor that allows you to take online payments. However, you need to be sure that your selection is right for you. Not sure what to look for or what questions to ask? Get in touch and let us do the hard work for you.

If you are looking to have a subscription-based model, which have surged in popularity in recent years, it’s important to find an account provider who not only integrates with your website platform but can also cater for recurring payments. Payment’s reconciliation and admin is also important – so searching for back end systems that are easy to manage is a must!

Alcohol credit card processing

Taking credit card payments is a must if you want to maximise sales. The good news is that, where alcohol sales are concerned, you can easily find a provider that will allow you to take these kinds of payments. If you need assistance in identifying the best provider, and in completing your application, get in touch and let us help. Our assistance is 100% free.




Alcohol high-risk merchant accounts

Although not generally classed as a high-risk industry, any merchant working with large turnover might want to consider using multi merchant accounts, meaning that if ever there was a reason (such as high chargebacks) for the account to be deactivated there is a backup option in place.

This works by putting a proportion of sales through each account using the same gateway, the customer experience remains consistent in the event of termination of one of your chosen accounts.

We suggest you review your merchant account every few years to ensure that you are on the most cost effective rates, it’s worthwhile switching accounts if needed as costs can increase over time.

Merchant account instant approval

It could be that you’re a new business and you need to be up and running as soon as possible. It could also be that you’ve been served notice by your existing provider. Either way, the speed at which you can get your merchant account approved matters. Merchant Advice Service helps business owners who have been served notice by their existing provider find alternative payment solutions, as well as helping new businesses to get set up as quickly as possible. Speak to our specialists today to find out more.

Alcohol business bank accounts

While many banks are willing to provide accounts to those selling alcohol, the reality is that not all banks are created equal. You need to be sure that you’re finding the business bank account that best suits your needs. Of course, one of the major points to consider is fees. We can help you to find the best business bank accounts with the lowest fees so that you can save money. What’s more, any advice that we give doesn’t cost you a penny. 

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.