Have you received this vague email after you signed up with Stripe, disclosed your business type, and accepted payments for weeks to months using their platform?
Thanks for signing up with Stripe!
Unfortunately at this time we will need to stop offering service for [your business]. Currently Stripe can only support users with a low risk of customer disputes—after reviewing your submitted information and website, it does seem like your site presents a higher level of risk than we can currently support. Unfortunately we will be unable to accept any additional payments on your behalf.”
There’s no grace period or fair notice—the account is closed then and there. There are few options for recourse because customer service isn’t available by phone. Stripe claims to respond within 24 hours to customer emails, but most former clients report radio silence after they reach out.
Without warning, aggregate providers like Stripe and PayPal are pulling the plug on certain merchant accounts, usually because of one too many customer disputes (or sometimes just one!), type of business model, type of products, or even the types of customers they’re selling them to. Worse, funds are often held for at least 90 days after closure. Business owners are citing thousands of dollars held while their accounts freeze for months.
Why Would Stripe Shut You Down?
Stripe is a large company. They don’t have an individualized approval process for new merchants. Starting up with them is easy, fast and free…Until you hit the caveat. Usually, Stripe becomes aware of what it considers red flags long after you begin accepting payments through their platform.
The business in question is doing something that is prohibited by Stripe, even though they fully disclosed their business type up front. It may have to do with the types of products they’re selling, or even the types of customers they’re selling to. Or, the types of products or customers Stripe assumes are involved. Legitimate, legal businesses selling legitimate, legal products are getting shut down without a fair hearing.
According to Stripe’s terms, “until you have submitted, and we have reviewed and approved, all required information, your Stripe Account will be available to you on a preliminary basis only, and we may terminate it at any time and for any reason.”
Stripe reserves the right to terminate accounts for “any businesses we believe poses [sic] elevated financial risk, legal liability, or violates card network or bank policies.” They also reserve the right to suspend payouts “should we determine it is necessary.”
The wording in Stripe’s agreement leaves its reasons for account closure open to broad interpretation. And, their interpretation seems to rarely give merchants the benefit of the doubt.
Stripe’s Prohibited Business Types
Here are some of the business types prohibited by Stripe, even though they may initially approve them:
- Investment and credit services
- Money and legal services
- Regulated products (firearms, ecig/vape, alcohol, etc.)
- Adult products and services
- Travel booking agencies, cruises and airlines
- Telecommunications (phone, VoIP, etc.)
- Drop shipping
- Supplements and nutraceuticals
- Multi-level marketing
- Computer technical support
- And many more!
Client reviews and stories we hear firsthand report account closures, holds on funds, inaccessible customer service, and no fraud or chargeback prevention support for their Stripe accounts.
Not On the Prohibited List and Still Shut Down?
Again, Stripe’s terms and conditions are worded in a way that allows them to shut you down for any reason. If your business type is not on Stripe’s prohibited list, and you still got shut down, it’s probably because of:
- One or more chargebacks
- One or more returns
- Product health claims they consider unsubstantiated
- The way you advertise
- Order-to-fulfillment times they consider long
It’s impossible to be in business for any lasting time and never experience a return or chargeback. But it shouldn’t cost you your ability to accept payments.
The good news is that you’ve landed in the right place.
How is BankCard USA Different?
BankCard USA offers dedicated merchant accounts. We go over all the specifics with merchants before they start processing, so there are no surprise shut-downs or inconvenient account freezes. We know what to expect, so we can set up merchant accounts to meet their needs.
In fact, we regularly board all of the business types listed above that are prohibited by Stripe. We’ve specialized in high risk merchant accounts since 1993 and offer stable payment services that are designed to grow your business.
Payment processing is simple, hassle-free, and businesses receive their payment funds by the next business day. We understand that businesses rely on speed, security and reliability. Customer service is available 24/7. So is the same dedicated account representative who helped you get started. Chargeback and fraud prevention are built in, not left for you to figure out on your own.
Over time, dedicated merchant accounts cost less and allow businesses more scope to grow. You don’t have to worry about unexpected closure or being in business with a company that’s too big to give you individualized support, whenever you need it.
Get Started Now
Reach out and an account representative will be in touch shortly to set up a merchant account designed for your business type. Unsure? In a free, zero-obligation consultation, we can walk through viable options for your business so that you can start—and continue—processing.