Tips to Help High Risk Small Businesses Navigate Payment Processing

For a small business owner, the high risk label can feel like one more monumental hurdle you have to climb to finally make it. Monthly revenue is crucial when you first launch a business, so paying extra per transaction is the last thing you want to deal with. Here are some tips and ideas you can use to try and bring yourself out of high risk status, if you’ve already been assessed, or prevent high risk status from kicking in.

Practice Internal Security Measures

The better your staff is at controlling safety measures at the terminal, the fewer opportunities there are for serious fraud. Your POS systems often come with pre-set passwords from the credit card processing companies, and it’s admittedly far easier to just leave that as is. Unfortunately, hackers are counting on you leaving those passwords alone. These passwords are common knowledge because they grant a user access to the device for the first time, but are meant to be changed.

Ideally, every employee would have a separate login to the system that would change frequently. If that’s not possible, set a single password for the store, give it to only keyholders, and change it frequently.

This is the single most important measure you can take, aside from good PCI compliance, to stop fraud in small business credit card processing.

PCI Compliance

PCI stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and it’s a framework used to create the security processes behind each transaction. When you first apply for merchant credit card processing, be sure to contact the customer service for each company you’re thinking about working with. What you’ll find is that nearly all of them are PCI compliant, but ask specifically about high risk accounts to see if you need additional information on how to proceed.

Other Important Steps

Updating and upgrading your equipment on a regular basis helps a lot as well. Updates are crucial, so try your best not to skip them. If they are large updates, your merchant account may contact you to notify you such an update is coming, but typically the larger updates are actually upgrades (totally new devices). Designate someone on your team to keep apprised of new security changes, and new patches, and make sure you have scheduled time to update your devices.

The final tip is to try and upgrade to EMV chip technology. It’s not just the future of credit card processing; it’s also an important security measure to deter thieves from stealing payment data during a transaction.


Whether you are a high risk merchant or not, Charge.com Payment Solutions, Inc. can offer comprehensive small business credit card processing solutions.