Durango Merchant Services Review

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Date Established
Durango, CO


Usually when I see a provider advertising a specialization in “high-risk” accounts, it sends up a red flag for me. Many such providers cling to the shady underbelly of the merchant market, alongside their clients who often traffic in pyramid schemes, snake oil, rigged gambling and prostitution, among other unsavory and unfair business endeavors defined as “high-risk.” Durango Merchant Services (DMS) is one of the only completely reputable, honest, fair merchant services providers who advertise as high-risk specialists. I began this review ready to denounce them, but ended up loving Durango. (They’re based in Durango, Colorado, as you might have guessed.)

Truth be told, many high-risk merchants don’t even realize that they’re high-risk until they begin to pursue a merchant account. But then, after a string of rejections, they get desperate and willing to work with whoever will take them. This is a huge mistake. If you’re running an honest business that just so happens to be high-risk, you deserve to work with a dedicated partner, not some processor looking to take advantage of your desperation. Durango will deliver the kind of exceptional service our other 5-star processors do, with the added benefit of expertise in high-risk accounts.

You’re rates and fees will depend on your business and your risk level (higher-risk equal higher rates), but overall I can say that Durango will act with integrity and treat you fairly regardless of your business type. They have zero complaints with the BBB in the past three years, and very few elsewhere. I recommend them not only to merchants with higher than average risk, but to any merchant looking for quality service and industry excellence, especially ecommerce merchants. Durango has earned a perfect 5 stars from me as a high-risk merchant account provider, and they’re not too far off from being 5 stars all around.

Read on below for more details, or get started with Durango.

Products and Services:

Durango offers the basics when it comes to products and services, including:

  • Merchant accounts: With an emphasis on high-risk and international businesses. They use about a dozen different processors from across the globe, depending on your needs.
  • Gateway service: Durango has an in-house gateway that they’ll give you a good deal on. If you want something like Authorize.Net instead, they have no trouble getting you set up with that either.
  • Check processing: This includes a number of services to reduce and even eliminate the chance of bounced checks, and a number of additional services to allow check acceptance via web or phone.
  • Equipment sales: Yes, that’s right. SALES. Instead of trying to rope you into an expensive and aggravating lease, Durango fully discloses the cost of every single credit card machine they offer and, encourages you to make the smart decision and buy it outright. Check out our article to learn why to buy instead of lease.
  • Fraud protection services: Including Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, among other services. For high-risk merchants, fraud protection should be high on your priority list.

Fees and Rates:

Durango doesn’t disclose rates or fees. With so many different processors and business types, these numbers are simply impossible to standardize for a provider like this. My advice to you: Call and negotiate. Durango Merchant will treat you fairly and do their best to win your business. See if you can get interchange-plus pricing and your early termination fee waived. It’s worth a shot. But for high-risk merchants, expect higher than average rates alongside a standard early termination fee ($300-500).

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pin this down for a provider like Durango Merchant Services. In some cases, you can get a month-to-month contract with no termination fee. But for most, expect two to three year contracts and at least some early termination fee. Negotiate as much as you can, and for the love of all that is holy, ask to have the auto-renewal clause removed if an early termination fee is present! You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

While Durango Merchant doesn’t disclose any hard numbers on their website, they don’t make any outlandish claims either. On the DMS site, you’ll find a lot of useful, descriptive, earnest information and sales copy that will actually help you to make an informed decision. For me, that’s the bottom line. Spouting a bunch of arbitrary numbers and calling it “disclosure” is actually pretty useless, so I’m okay with the lack of number present here.

Of course, I’d like to see some better disclosure of the types of fees a merchant would expect to see (PCI compliance, early termination, monthly fee, etc.) as well as billing models (such as interchange-plus and tiered).

Customer Service and Technical Support:

We personally know of a few merchants that we’ve sent to Durango, and all of them are happy with the customer service thus far. Aside from that, many merchants and reviewers across the web have joyously heralded Durango’s customer service as completely unlike any other high-risk-focused provider. Dealing with high-risk accounts is a lot more work than a standard account, especially on the customer service end. Complex questions and obstacles come up frequently. That Durango has such an outstanding reputation for customer service is truly extraordinary, and boosts my confidence in them big-time.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

The Durango BBB profile is sporting an “A+” as of this review, with 0 complaints in the last 36 months. We’ve been following them for about four years now, and have yet to see a single BBB complaint!

One commenter on this page complained that he was denied by Durango, which is bound to happen in some instances. But even here, a service rep took the time to respond to the complaint and invite the merchant to reach out directly to see if they could find a way to resolve the problem. This level of attention and responsiveness speaks volumes, and is a sure sign of a quality provider.

In some cases, merchants have complained about a processor used by Durango, Intabill, as seen in this confusing and misleading thread on Scam.com. Even there, a service rep for Durango chimes in with an eloquent and professional response, setting the record straight.

Aside from that, you’ll have a hard time finding any complaints. In general merchants and independent reviewers alike have praised Durango as a remarkable provider, especially given their focus on high-risk.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

You’ll find an impressive 20+ reviews of Durango Merchant Services on the Better Business Bureau’s TrustLink website, with every single one at 5 stars. They draw from some of these reviews in their official testimonials page.

Of the positive reviews I read, these qualities come up most often:

  • High approval rate: Even when a merchant has been previously denied multiple times by other providers, Durango can usually find a solution for almost any business type, US-based or international.
  • Quick, reliable setup: While you might expect a ton of delays for setting up a high-risk account – and it certainly can take longer than a standard one – Durango won’t leave you hanging.
  • Excellent customer service: This is, without a doubt, the most important feature to my mind, especially with high-risk merchant accounts. They’re high-risk for a reason, namely increased possibility for chargebacks and fraud. Given this, a high-risk merchant will need more support (and more competent support) than a standard account holder would. Durango passes this test with flying colors, according to the reviews I’ve seen.

Final Verdict:

When it comes to high-risk merchant accounts, I’m yet to find a service that even comes close to what the people at Durango Merchant Services are doing. They invariably provide excellent solutions to complex merchant situations. And if they can’t work with you for whatever reason, they’ll be straightforward and honest about it. Durango has customer service that far exceeds the industry standard, and a sales team that features honest, knowledgeable staff. They provide the expertise needed to set up international merchants from basically any country in the world, and to deal with fraud proactively and effectively.

While I’m primarily reviewing and recommending this service as a high-risk option – held to a different set of standards than an average account provider – I also believe that traditional merchants, especially ecommerce merchants, can expect outstanding service and support from Durango Merchant Services. I like this business very much, enough to give them our coveted 5-star seal of approval. Check them out!

Get Started With Durango Merchant Services

Tom DeSimone
Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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    Hallo everyone, I stay in Kenya and I have been operating a local dating site, since we have a different merchant service which is pretty much less complicated my experience has been great. However, I want to invest in a bigger project that will include customers globally. I am fully aware how difficult it is to get accepted by merchant services outside the US especially now that I am in the high risk business. Can someone recommend a merchant service that caters for countries outside the US or Kenya to be specific that is less dramatic. I have had of crazy stories about paypal and maybe an alternative merchant will help me set up my business smoothly. Will highly appreciate your ideas.

    RatingNot Rated

    I am consulting for a multi level marketing firm and is in need of a reliable processor. We are listed as high risk by most industry standards but have a solid business model along with financial information to support the projected sales. Please recommend. Thanks.

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Qasim,

    Durango or Payline Data are your best options based on the companies we’ve reviewed. The solidity of your business model and sales projections will not be as important to processors as the perceived risk of fraud, illegal activity and chargebacks associated with your business type. Definitely talk to these two processors, though. They specialize in high-risk accounts.

    Best of luck,

    RatingNot Rated

    Durango is great. They rejected us last year and they explained the reason to us. They seem like they are not human. A guy called Nathan Counley handled our case. It felt like we were getting free consultancy service. Even though they did not accept us, I will rate them 5 stars.


    I applied to Durrango. Brad Jess handled my case. I think they are very professional. They declined my application though. I am not High-risk category business, have SSN, EIN, excellent credit history, have active accounts in Stripe, Braintree and provided 6 months of good credit card payment history. I won’t complaint because it is their decision to accept me as a merchant or not. I wanted to be with Durango because they provide a real merchant account which Stripe and Braintree do not provide. And they have got excellent reviews all over the internet.

    Anyway, all I wanted to say that they are very professional and answer all queries even if they are not interested to accept you as a merchant.

    sajan surti


    I contacted them but seems they do not support all high-risk businesses. I was disappointed by the fact that they would not accept us even when we are located in USA with SSN, EIN and a Bank account.
    Stripe accepted us, so did authorize.net, so did fidelity payments…but Durango didn’t. Even cardinal commerce is ready to provide their services to us.
    I think its time to remove them from the “Best for high risk” option and look at another.

    Nathan Counley

    We tried our best but we were unable to get Mr. Surti approved based on several reasons that we are not able to disclose publicly (please feel free to call myself or Brad Jess at 866-415-2636 x 4 or 2 to discuss these reasons again Mr. Surti). Mr. Surti is correct, we are not able to get “all” merchants regardless of circumstances or business model approved for accounts; certain merchants simply pose too much risk and unfortunately this was one of them. We have assisted many thousands of both low & high risk companies acquire direct merchant accounts since we opened for business in 1999, and our A+ rating on the BBB I believe attests to the honesty & integrity of our mission.

    Thank you,
    Nathan Counley
    Durango Merchant Services, LLC


    Does this integrate with shopify?

    RatingNot Rated
    Amad Ebrahimi

    Roman, you can use Authorize.Net through Durango and it will integrate with Shopify.

    RatingNot Rated
    Alfred, Sonia, & Brian Cardozo


    RatingNot Rated

    I contacted Durango after I found out my business is considered higher risk. My representative Brad, is extremely professional & experienced…He helped me get all set up and the fees are fair. I would recommend Durango and Brad to anyone who needs a merchant account. The approval process was fast and amazingly not painful! Thanks Brad and Durango (& Merchant Maverick!)

    RatingNot Rated

    I applied to CDG. They didnt want to take my account because they considered it “High Risk” since 100% of my clients are overseas.

    They referred me over to Durango. Durango answered back within 15 minutes telling me that they cant accept my account.

    I sell clothes, shoes and electronics on mywebsite.

    You state that this company “specializes mainly in high risk, overseas and internet based merchant accounts”.

    I guess not.

    RatingNot Rated
    Merchant Maverick Admin

    Thanks for the comment Said.

    I don’t think that just because they turned you down, they should be discredited. Even the high-risk providers have certain underwriting guidelines, so there must be a legitimate reason why your account wasn’t accepted. Were you given a reason?

    I know you asked a question in the QA section, about this a while ago, and because of my lack of response, you were unable to use my help. That was my fault.

    I just sent you a PM, so let’s see if we can figure this out together. Ok?

    RatingNot Rated
    Nathan Counley

    This is Nathan Counley from Durango Merchant Services. Regarding the comment’s from Said, we unfortunately cannot assist *every* international merchant I’m afraid. We do work with international merchants outside of the US, Canada & EU, however our options are more limited outside of these 3 regions. We do feel that we have some of the stronger international solutions available for ecommerce merchants, albeit some countries and business models are restricted. If you have any questions or inquiries please feel free to contact us directly, as each account is reviewed case-by-case.


    I am a merchant inside the USA who sells internationally. I am a domestic merchant with a Fed Tax ID #. Don’t know what the problem is. Paypal works with me, not sure why you guys can’t.

    RatingNot Rated
    Nathan Counley

    It is true that a merchant that does not have a principal who is a US citizen (with a SS# with credit history) “cannot” get a US merchant account. US processing banks require a SS#, not only an EIN# to pull credit to verify their risk. Perhaps this is what you mean. Yes, PayPal can accept such merchants, but with direct processors in the US its not really an option I’m afraid. This isn’t a decision from Durango, its across the board with every processor in the US as far as we are aware.

    Again, there are many other factors that influence what the banks can accept, each account is reviewed case-by-case. Why don’t you give me a call at 866-415-2636 so we can discuss in person?
    Thank you,


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