High Risk

WooCommerce High-Risk Payment Gateway & Merchant Account

Many merchants utilizing WooCommerce for their online store must integrate a payment gateway with their high-risk merchant account to effectively initiate their eCommerce payment processing. As an open-source eCommerce platform, WooCommerce offers a range of tools and options for accepting payments, including the ability to integrate third-party gateways. However, not all gateways are created equal. The term “high-risk payment gateways” is used to describe gateways linked to high-risk merchant accounts. This marriage of a payment gateway and a high-risk merchant account offers the support necessary to meet the processing demands of high-risk transactions.

If you’re running a WooCommerce store as a high-risk merchant, follow along as we explain everything you need to know, as well as how to integrate these essential payment tools with your WooCommerce shop.

Using WooCommerce as a High-Risk Merchant

A merchant setting up their high-risk payment gateway on WooCommerce eCommerce platform

WooCommerce provides merchants with the resources to build, manage, and grow their online stores. It’s an incredibly customizable eCommerce platform through which you can tailor the appearance and operations of your store to your exact specifications.

Additionally, you have the ability to accept online payments with WooCommerce Payments, a payment tool available to add to your WooCommerce shop. However, high-risk merchants are prohibited from using WooCommerce Payments. In order for merchants to accept high-risk payments on WooCommerce, a third-party high-risk payment gateway must be integrated.

What payment processors does WooCommerce accept?

If you’re operating a high-risk business on WooCommerce and need to accept credit card payments, WooCommerce Payments and standard payment service providers cannot be used. Payment service providers cannot suitably support high-risk businesses. Additionally, these payment solutions can terminate accounts at any time, leaving you with no mechanism for accepting payments on your eCommerce site. A horror story if we’ve ever heard of one.

Fortunately, WooCommerce permits the integration of most third-party gateways via plugins from its marketplace. After securing a high-risk merchant account, businesses can safely process payments without the fear of account termination. And WooCommerce accepts almost any payment processor, as long as the provided gateway can integrate with the platform.

What Industries Are Classified as High-Risk for WooCommerce?

WooCommerce classifies certain products or services as “high-risk” due to the increased likelihood of fraud or chargebacks. If your business falls into one of the below industries, make sure you connect a high-risk merchant account to one of the available gateways:

  • Virtual Currency – Due to market volatility and lack of regulation, virtual currencies are considered a risky payment option.
  • Counterfeit Goods – Selling counterfeit goods is illegal, and businesses dealing with items face an increased risk of chargebacks and legal issues.
  • Adult Services: Within the adult industry, there is an increased possibility of chargebacks from customers who may not have authorized the transaction.
  • Drug Paraphernalia – Due to recent regulatory changes from the FDA, as well as a potentially higher likelihood of disputed transactions, this is considered a high-risk industry.
  • CBD Products – WooCommerce will not accept CBD products by default. However, CBD merchants can connect to WooCommerce via a third-party gateway utilizing a high-risk merchant account.
  • Firearms & Ammunitions – This strictly-regulated industry faces potential legal issues.

Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list. Other business models and industries may also be classified as high-risk. WooCommerce asks that you refer to its list of prohibited and restricted businesses to determine your business’s classification.

How to Choose the Best High-Risk Payment Gateway
for Your WooCommerce Store

Choosing a high-risk payment gateway for your WooCommerce store can be a challenge as there are many factors to consider, especially if your business is high-risk.

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Processor Type

Because a payment gateway is only suitable for high-risk businesses when linked with a high-risk merchant account, the gateway you choose should easily integrate with your high-risk payment processor. Some payment processors utilize unique payment platforms like TSYS or EPX. If you’re uncertain if your payment processor can integrate with the gateway, ask the gateway provider. Payment processors may also provide or suggest an effective payment gateway.

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Payment Methods

Some merchant service providers offer a wider range of payment options than others, including different types of credit cards, ACH payments, and eCheck processing. Partner with a gateway provider offering the payment methods most preferred and most used by your customers. Increasing your business’s number of accepted payment methods can prevent you from losing out on a sale.

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High-risk businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud, so make sure your merchant service provider offers strong security measures to protect your business and your customers. Popular fraud prevention tools include address verification, 3D secure technology, and IP address verification.

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Compare the pricing of different providers. Make sure you understand all the costs associated with each provider and that these costs are reasonable for your business. Many payment gateways charge a monthly fee, transaction fee, and/or batch fee.

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Customer Support

It’s important to choose a payment provider with a responsive customer support team. High-risk businesses typically have more complicated needs, so you’ll want to ensure you have quick access to support should any questions or issues arise.

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WooCommerce Integration

Opt for a payment processing provider that easily integrates with the WooCommerce platform, as this will make it easier to set up and manage your payment processing. WooCommerce plugins for third-party payment gateways can be purchased on their marketplace.

WooCommerce Payment Gateway Fees

WooCommerce is a free plugin you can add to your WordPress site. However, if you choose to use a third-party payment gateway, this requires a plugin extension. Typically, these plugin extensions range anywhere between $0-100 a year.

In addition to any costs associated with the plugin extension, payment gateway fees are separate costs that include a monthly fee, transaction fee, and/or batch fee. Gateway fees depend on the kind of features you want and the volume you process. It’s important to also keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for the fees associated with your high-risk merchant account too.

How to Integrate a High-Risk Payment Gateway
With WooCommerce

Wrench being used to integrate high-risk merchant account on WooCommerce eCommerce platform

With the use of plugins, high-risk payment gateways from Authorize.Net, NMI, and USAePay integrate simply with WooCommerce. All you have to do is choose the plugin compatible with any of the previously mentioned gateways. To download the appropriate plugin to your WooCommerce shop:

  1. Download the extension file after purchase.
  2. Log into WooCommerce, and head to “Plugins.”
  3. Select “Add New.”
  4. Upload the extension file and select “Install Now.”
  5. Once activated, go to “Settings.”
  6. Head to “Checkout” and select the payment gateway you are using.

From there, the plugin will request API keys from your payment gateway. Take a look below at how to retrieve your API credentials from Authorize.Net, NMI, and USAePay.


  1. Log into Authorize.Net.
  2. Head to “Account.”
  3. Under “Security Settings,” select “API Credentials and Keys.”
  4. Obtain a new transaction key.
  5. Verify your identity via a pin sent to your email.
  6. You will now receive an API Login ID and Transaction Key.


  1. Log into NMI.
  2. Click “Options” on the left-hand side.
  3. Click “Settings.”
  4. Under Security Options, click “Security Keys.”
  5. Under Private Security Keys, click “Add a New Private Key.”
  6. Your API keys will appear.


  1. Log into USAePay.
  2. Click “Settings.”
  3. Choose “API Keys” in the drop-down menu.
  4. Select “Add API Key.”
  5. Fill in all required fields.
  6. Select “Apply” and your API keys will generate.

How PaymentCloud Supports High-Risk Credit Card Processing With WooCommerce

As a leading provider in the high-risk merchant services industry, PaymentCloud offers a variety of payment gateway options. Better yet, our payment gateway solutions are designed to seamlessly integrate with WooCommerce. And with the help of our dedicated merchant support team, you can receive assistance to integrate your high-risk payment gateway as soon as the next day. Let us take the complexity out of payment processing so you can focus on more important things, like your business!

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