The Best Options For Fantasy Sports Merchant Accounts (& How To Get Your Account Approved)
If you're looking for a sports betting merchant account, we've got you covered. These payment processors cater to fantasy sports businesses and make it easy to get your merchant account approved.
Thinking of starting your own business in the fantasy sports industry? You’ve picked a good time to get into the game: the industry has had more than 45 million players since 2019 and grew from $20.36 billion to $22.31 billion between 2020 and 2021. Add to these figures the fact that fantasy sports are a legal alternative to the largely outlawed arena of online gambling in the United States, and it becomes easy to see why many people are eager to get in on the action.
If you’re interested in offering payout prizes and betting incentives to a large pool of potential fantasy sports participants, though, it’s go big or go home. You need to get set up with a fantasy sports merchant account that gives you the hardware to accept all of your customer transactions and protects you from common industry issues like chargebacks and fraud.
Ready to get in on the action? Let’s check out our top picks for fantasy sports betting merchant accounts and see how you can get your merchant account approved.
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
Table of Contents
- Why Fantasy Sports Are A Good Bet For Businesses
- The 4 Best Fantasy Sports Merchant Accounts
- How To Find The Best Merchant Account For Your Fantasy Sports Or Gaming Business
- 4 Tips For Getting Your Fantasy Sports Merchant Account Approved
- Which Fantasy Sports Merchant Account Is Right For My Business?
- In Summary: The 4 Best Fantasy Sports Merchant Accounts
Why Fantasy Sports Are A Good Bet For Businesses
Americans love fantasy sports, but they can’t legally bet on their favorite teams online in most of the country’s states. So, for sports-lovers who want to enjoy cash prizes and betting opportunities, fantasy sports is a great (and legal) alternative to online betting. Plus, companies who dip their toes into the fantasy sports industry can capitalize on their business’s digital natures by accepting customer payments via multiple methods like recurring online subscriptions and eCommerce.
And while it’s true that the fantasy sports industry is considered a high-risk one, plenty of payment processing partners have the proper experience and internal infrastructure to help your business affordably and reliably process credit/debit card transactions and alternative payments.
The 4 Best Fantasy Sports Merchant Accounts
Looking for a fantasy sports merchant account that’s best for your business? Whether you’re looking for a fantasy football payments site or something for hockey, soccer, or basketball, we’ve put together a list of our top choices to help you narrow down your search. These payment processors are the best picks to handle your funds and help your fantasy sports participants get in on the action.
- Application and account setup process is free
- Maintains 24+ acquiring bank relationships
- Multiple payment solutions including eCheck, ACH, and credit card processing
- Early termination fees run between $300 and $500
- Monthly fees and tiered pricing aren’t publically disclosed
PayKings is a medium/high-risk merchant account specialist that’s been supporting eCommerce and retail-based businesses since 2011. Expert at stepping up to meet the needs of high-risk businesses, PayKings provides a pretty complete suite of services that make it easy for fantasy sports companies to process different payment types. PayKings offers high-risk payment gateway support, high-risk ACH and international payment processing, and eCommerce and retail options.
The company also boasts that it maintains more than 24 business relationships with sponsor banks and uses its own in-house underwriting team to streamline its merchant account approval process for high-risk businesses such as those in the fantasy sports industry.
PayKings’ multiple payment solutions and intuitive compatibility and support mean that high-risk fantasy sports businesses can accept ACH, eCheck, credit card, and mobile payments with essential hardware and software like gateways to process recurring billing, eCommerce plugs, developer APIs and documentation, and POS terminals for primarily retail-based operations.
The main downside that comes with using PayKings as a merchant account provider is the early termination fee for breaking a contract early and its non-transparent tiered pricing structure.
2. Soar Payments
- Account application and price quoting processes are fully automated
- Accepts retail, virtual terminal, eCommerce, and mobile-based fantasy sports businesses
- Relatively fast underwriting process
- Strong merchant account setup for a wide range of businesses
- Only available for US-based businesses
- Pricing structures aren’t publically disclosed
Soar Payments is a feature-rich, high-risk credit card processor that focuses on finding payment processing homes for high-risk businesses like those in the fantasy sports industry. Soar Payment’s products and services are some of the best around for high-risk businesses: Soar provides a pre-approval account process within 24 hours after submission, offers the PAX A920 smart terminal, which features a color touchscreen, built-in receipt printer, and support for EMV & NFC-based payment methods, and has excellent chargeback management and fraud prevention support that’s crucial to fantasy sports-based businesses.
Soar’s support for merchant account setup is also pleasantly robust: the company ships pre-programmed card processing equipment to approved retail and mobile payments-based businesses, provides login information for businesses using a virtual terminal, and pairs online accounts with the appropriate payment gateway for primarily eCommerce-based businesses.
When it comes to specific pricing information, Soar doesn’t disclose much on its website — this is likely due to the many sponsoring banks Soar maintains relationships with, but this lack of transparency can be frustrating nonetheless. Thankfully, Soar counteracts this lack of publically available pricing information with an automated and customized price quoting process that users can complete via an instant quote system online.
Soar’s high-risk contractual terms are overall reasonable and although it imposes a hefty termination fee of $495, you could still do a lot worse than Soar as a high-risk merchant.
- Free credit card terminals and mobile payments readers
- Dedicated account managers act as knowledgeable main points of contact
- Cutting-edge fraud prevention tools lower the negative impact of fraudulent chargebacks
- Business funding options offer flexible approaches to maintain smooth business operations
- Pricing structures aren’t publically disclosed online
- Relatively long approval times
PaymentCloud Inc. is an established provider of payment processing solutions for eCommerce, mail order/telephone order (MOTO), and other high-risk businesses like those in the fantasy sports industry. For fantasy sports-based merchants who process lots of different payment types, PaymentCloud is one of the best options around: it offers POS solutions and payment gateway services and accepts alternative payment methods like ACH payments and even cryptocurrencies.
Whether your fantasy sports business is largely retail-based and mostly accepts credit and debit card payments or is primarily eCommerce-based and accepts payments largely online, PaymentCloud has you covered with mobile POS systems, virtual terminals, and chip readers. Additionally, the company reduces the risk of fraud and chargebacks that affect these transaction types with a cutting-edge suite of fraud prevention tools that are PCI-compliant.
Among PaymentCloud’s biggest strengths when it comes to high-risk businesses is its ongoing negotiation and advocacy support. PaymentCloud designates dedicated account managers to merchants who negotiate on your behalf to release frozen funds, increase processing limits, and much more throughout the lifetime of your account. Its advocacy extends to its business funding options such as merchant cash advances and business lines of credit to let fantasy sports businesses borrow money against future profits and pay back their loans to keep borrowing funds in the future.
As is the case with the other merchant account providers we’ve mentioned, though, PaymentCloud doesn’t disclose its pricing structures online and has relatively long approval times since it partners with numerous banks and processors to maximize a merchant’s odds for initial approval and ongoing account stability.
4. Seamless Chex
- “Digital check acceptance” service is available for merchants wanting to avoid traditional ACH processing
- No long-term contracts or early termination fees
- True month-to-month billing with fully and publically disclosed processing rates and fees
- Only available to US merchants
- Emphasis on eCommerce-only merchants can be discouraging to retail-based businesses
Seamless Chex is a merchant account provider that appeals primarily to eCommerce-based businesses that aren’t interested in using a lot of processing hardware. The company offers a “digital check acceptance” service that lets merchants accept direct eCheck payments without needing to use ACH processes. Although Seamless Chex integrates with many online shopping carts and includes a built-in virtual terminal, it does support merchants who want to use credit card processing and traditional ACH payment processing solutions, too.
Seamless Chex’s emphasis is undoubtedly on eCommerce-only enterprises, a fact that may appeal heavily to some fantasy sports merchants but not to other, more retail-based ones that process payments with chip readers or POS terminals. Thankfully, retail-based fantasy sports merchants can obtain integration with point-of-sale (POS) systems and mobile processing options when they partner with Seamless Chex.
Seamless Chex advertises that its merchant accounts include true month-to-month billing with zero long-term contracts or early termination. The Terms of Service posted on the company’s website explain this process in greater detail, offering a welcome level of transparency not often seen on other high-risk merchant account providers’ websites. These are some of the most flexible contract terms a high-risk merchant could hope for; just keep in mind that these terms may not apply universally. High-risk merchants who sign up for a merchant account through the Seamless Merchant service, in particular, should expect to accept a long-term commitment to be approved for a merchant account.
With that said, fantasy sports merchants don’t need to worry about getting locked into a multi-year contract and can expect to use month-to-month billing that lets them avoid a long-term commitment if they’re inclined to look elsewhere.
How To Find The Best Merchant Account For Your Fantasy Sports Or Gaming Business
You’ve got a good sense of your best options for fantasy sports merchant accounts — now you just need to figure out which provider is best for your business. Here are the top four considerations to keep in mind when sifting through your choices for payment processors:
Figure Out The Payment Options That Best Suit Your Business
First thing’s first: you need to know what your potential customers’ preferences for payment options are. Are you planning on processing lots of over-the-phone payments or mail order transactions? You’ll need to pair up with a payment processor that offers support for virtual terminal payments and payment gateway accounts. Do you have lots of potential clients with a penchant for alternative payments? The ability to provide ACH payment processing is going to make or break your business.
You may even want to focus on big, in-person events like parties to garner the lion’s share of your revenue: in this case, you need mobile POS solutions to process face-to-face payments. Settle on the payment preferences to which you want to cater most heavily and go from there.
Pick A Processor That Works With Your Fantasy Sports Niche
You’ve begun narrowing down your options based on your customers’ preferences for payment types. Whether your business is predominately retail- or mobile service-based or something in between, you still need to find a payment processor that accepts businesses operating in your fantasy sports niche.
Do you mostly cater to fantasy football fans or are you more entrenched in ice hockey? Soccer? Baseball? Find a processor depending on your niche and make sure they support key components of your business like draft boards and software applications, sports advice and forecasting, and other factors that help your participants win big.
Focus On Fraud Prevention & Security
Fantasy sports and the wins and losses that fall under its purview elicit a range of emotions from participants, from elation and satisfaction to bitter frustration. Unfortunately, some fantasy sports participants who become bitterly frustrated after they incur a big loss are prone to filing fraudulent chargebacks so that they can avoid losing money.
It’s this minority of participants that is largely responsible for the high rate of fraudulent chargebacks that pervades the fantasy sports industry, and it’s why you need to work with a payment processor that offers security and fraud prevention support. These prevention tools should ideally be integrated into your merchant account, especially if your business is largely eCommerce-based.
4 Tips For Getting Your Fantasy Sports Merchant Account Approved
You’re almost ready to settle on your choice of fantasy sports merchant account — all that’s left is to figure out how to get your merchant account approved! Here are a few practical pieces of advice when it comes to improving your chances of getting your account application approved:
Prepare The Proper Documentation
Once you have a specific processor or two in mind with whom you’d like to work, you should gather together the proper documentation you need to submit your application. Although you’ll need to check on a processor-by-processor basis, businesses typically need to furnish banking information, three months’ work of your financial history, your EIN and/or SSN, and a valid government-furnished piece of identification.
Just remember to be cautious with payment processing partners that advertise instant approval; these processors more often than not are prone to locking unwitting businesses like yours into contracts with heavy termination fees and penalties.
Be Wary Of Cash Payouts & Convertible Currencies
The majority of fantasy sports merchant account providers won’t accept applications from businesses that offer cash payouts or currencies that customers can convert to cash. If you have your own point-based scoring system that participants can use to make their wagers, you’ll also need to make sure that the points you mete out are strictly for your internal point system and can’t be converted to cash.
Consider Applying For A High-Risk Business Loan
Fraudulent chargeback claims and high cases of fraud contribute to the fantasy sports industry’s classification as high-risk. If your business doesn’t yet have a proven track record of consistently stable streams of revenue, it’s recommended that you apply for a high-risk business loan to indicate to merchant acquiring banks that you won’t default on the payments you owe. While you’re at it, it may also behoove you to furnish a record of your lifetime chargeback ratio, especially if it’s only 1% or lower.
Vet Your Processor’s Relationships With Sponsoring Banks
Sponsor banks that work with payment processing partners don’t like to see a high rate of chargebacks occur. When these chargebacks exceed more than one or two percent of a business’s total number of processed transactions, these sponsoring banks typically impose a hefty penalty on the processor that set up your account. Choose a merchant account provider that has a long history of working with multiple sponsoring banks as these providers are more likely to get you approved for an account.
Which Fantasy Sports Merchant Account Is Right For My Business?
The fantasy sports industry is a thriving industry, albeit a high-risk one. If you’re interested in making your mark in this exciting business, you’ll need a merchant account provider that can support your payment processing preferences, give you chargeback and fraud prevention tools, and maintain longtime relationships with sponsoring banks.
Once you’ve settled on a merchant account provider you think best suits your wants and needs, submit your application with the correct documents so that you make the very best first impression! It doesn’t hurt to furnish proof of high-risk business insurance and a history of your company’s lifetime chargeback ratio, either.
Curious to see what other high-risk merchant account providers that operate focus on different industries have in common? Take a look at our top picks for high-risk merchant account providers!
In Summary: The 4 Best Fantasy Sports Merchant Accounts
- PayKings: Maintains multiple relationships with sponsor banks to streamline merchant account approval Support for both eCommerce and retail-based businesses
- Soar Payments: Accepts eCommerce, retail, and mobile-based fantasy sports businesses Strong merchant account setup support
- PaymentCloud: Strong hands-on advocacy and guidance throughout the merchant account application and onboarding process Business funding and customer support lets fantasy sports businesses operate smoothly
- SeamlessChex: Well-suited to primarily eCommerce-based fantasy sports merchants Month-to-month billing and zero early termination fees create a relatively relaxed contractual agreement