- Good for specific high-risk categories
- Transparent flat-rate pricing
- No monthly fee
- No early termination fee
- Multicurrency options
- Good for international merchants
- High processing rates
- Rolling reserve required
- Six-month minimum hold on account payout upon cancellation
Established in 1998, CCBill is one of the oldest merchant services providers specializing in eCommerce in the payments industry. The company offers full-service merchant accounts and an integrated payments platform centered around its proprietary payment gateway — with no monthly fee.
Until recently, CCBill.com’s services were designed to support eCommerce businesses only. Today, the company’s lineup has expanded to include support for omnichannel enterprises, meaning that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that also take orders through their websites can now sign up. This move might seem counterintuitive during the ongoing COVD-19 pandemic when most businesses are moving online, and in-person payments have declined dramatically. However, it’s actually a very clever way to expand the number of merchants who can use CCBill’s services. This expansion will leave CCBill well-poised to thrive in the post-pandemic world when the retail sector recovers and eCommerce remains a dominant force in the market.
The company also specializes in processing international transactions and can accept payments from 45 countries, including the United States, Canada, and most European nations. CCBill is a pretty big provider, processing more than $1 billion in transactions every year.
While its website advertises its services to nonprofits and ordinary eCommerce businesses, CCBill seems to focus primarily on adult-oriented goods and services. If your business falls into this category, and you’ve had trouble finding a provider, it’s worth taking a closer look.
We’re always a little suspicious of merchant account providers that specifically advertise to high-risk merchants. Some of them provide excellent service at a fair (but certainly not cheap) cost. Others take advantage of their customers, charging exorbitantly high processing rates and adding on plenty of account fees. Long-term contracts with expensive early termination fees are also quite common.
Fortunately, CCBill appears to be a very honest and transparent provider. Its rates are notably higher than what merchants who aren’t in the high-risk category usually pay, but it does fully disclose them upfront. CCBill is just about the only high-risk provider we’ve come across that discloses its processing rates. Note also that the company doesn’t appear to charge much (if anything) in the way of monthly or annual fees. Therefore, its rates have to be higher for it to recoup the expenses associated with maintaining your merchant account for you. If you want to compare a quote from CCBill against that of a different provider, be sure to take this into consideration. Depending on your processing volume and average ticket size, CCBill might be more affordable for you, even if its processing rates are higher.
Overall, CCBill.com earns a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and we recommend the company to businesses that fit into the niche it specializes in serving. While it provides “discounted” rates for nonprofits, CCBill is still more expensive than what some of its competitors can offer. If you’re running a nonprofit website, take a look at our top processor picks for nonprofits and use them as your research starting point instead.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
CCBill provides every tool you’ll need to run a successful eCommerce business and now offers support for traditional retail businesses as well. Services include the following:
- Merchant Accounts: CCBill provides payment processing services for merchants in the US, Canada, UK, and most EU countries. The company’s software provides regional pricing, forms that sense a customer’s location and language, currency conversion functionalities, and tracking options designed for taking European payments. Order pages, online customer support, and consumer emails can appear in 14 different languages. Customers can pay with the US Dollar, Euro, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, and Japanese Yen using all major credit and debit cards. Additionally, CCBill can also configure merchants to take ACH echecks, EU Debit, and DirectPayEU. The company even has a service that helps merchants comply with payment acceptance laws around the world. You can customize CCBill’s payment services through its gateway, CC Admin Portal.
- Point Of Sale (POS) Systems & Terminals: As part of its recent expansion into the retail sector, CCBill now advertises the availability of both point of sale (POS) systems and traditional countertop terminals on its website. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide any further details about which brands it supports at the moment. You’ll have to contact the company’s sales department for more specific information and determine if your existing equipment is compatible.
- Mobile Payments: CCBill now also advertises support for mobile payment solutions for smartphones and tablets. Again, no further details are provided. It’s most likely that the company uses a third-party solution, as there isn’t a CCBill-branded mobile processing app in either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store at this time.
- Virtual Terminal: For mail and telephone order businesses, CCBill now offers a virtual terminal as part of its integrated payments platform. This browser-based feature allows you to manually input your customer’s payment data using any internet-connected computer. Most virtual terminals can also accept card-present transactions with an optional card reader, but CCBill doesn’t currently mention this feature on its website.
- Marketing Services: CCBill requires a merchant’s customers to enter their billing details on the company’s website (which is safer for merchants and helps to simplify your PCI compliance requirements). The merchant’s billing page is customizable and can be tailored to mirror the company’s branding, look, and feel. This service is called CCBill Pay. CCBill’s software also allows merchants to set up referral services and pay referral fees through clickable links and banners placed on other people’s websites. Additionally, you can organize email marketing campaigns through a series of automated emails. The software allows for A/B testing, so you can tweak your campaign as you go along. Lastly, you can send out automated emails any time your customer’s subscription changes, including when they join, cancel, upgrade, or even when their subscription expires.
- Billing Solutions: With CCBill, you can set your billing preferences and let the software do the rest. You can send out electronic invoices, either as a one-time purchase/service or as a part of a subscription. The invoice will appear in the consumer’s preferred currency. You can also accept online donations through the billing software if you’re a nonprofit. There’s an automated “one-click upgrade” feature that allows you to upsell and cross-sell goods or services to your existing or returning customers. For instance, for dating and online live entertainment websites, users can purchase additional access, content, or premium memberships without leaving the application.
- Fraud Protection: CCBill specializes in serving high-risk industries, so it’s used to seeing a lot of different types of fraud from customers. At no extra charge, the company provides fraud protection for its merchants to minimize chargebacks. CCBill uses a proprietary database with more than ten years of historical information and trained staff to spot unusual purchasing patterns or suspicious activity. Dubious transactions can be flagged for review or even automatically rejected.
- Member Management: Like fraud protection, CCBill offers its member management analytics at no extra charge. The software allows merchants to export consumer transaction reports, analyze and better understand customers’ purchasing habits, and determine possible pricing, rebill, or upgrade opportunities. You can access the management feature through the CCBill Admin Portal.
- Developer Tools: CCBill offers several payment-processing APIs to customize a website’s payment experience. If you need support for recurring (or subscription-based) billing, it also provides a Subscription Management System to automate and customize it for you.
CCBill markets its services to the following industries:
- eCommerce: CCBill provides a global payment platform for eCommerce merchants. Because the company accepts most major credit cards from around the globe as well as ACH and debit payments, CCBill is ideal for businesses that naturally lend themselves to a global audience. For instance, live streaming businesses and gaming platforms typically have an international reach. The digital or physical goods or services provided by these merchants can benefit from the company’s international capabilities.
- Subscription-Based Services: CCBill provides a portfolio of software features that are especially suited for subscription-based services. The software is optimized for recurring billing so that a merchant can offer variable and flexible pricing to its customers.
- Subscription Retail: Leveraging its recurring billing software, CCBill also markets its services to the subscription retail industry. Customers can buy either one-time or recurring product refills, boxes, or upgrades.
- Streaming Media: CCBill uses its FlexForms software to help merchants create fast payment options for streaming media businesses. For instance, just before going live with a video, a merchant can customize the checkout process, payment forms, and other settings specific to that live webcast.
- Billing & Invoicing: The company offers a fully-featured automated recurring billing and invoicing system for merchants who need it. Active reporting gives you a detailed and interactive look at your customers’ activity and subscription status. You also get global billing, which uses geo-targeted smart forms, multiple currency options, and regional pricing capabilities to support customers worldwide.
- Dating: CCBill has served the dating industry for over ten years and understands the industry’s unique needs. The company’s payment services can work from any device so that a service provider can manage different tiers of customers, from free-to-join to VIP payments.
- Live Cams: CCBill understands that live cam operators want to keep viewers wanting more, and this means giving them a seamless way to pay for more time. CCBill has tools to give buyers a broad range of global payment options when paying for tokens, direct, subscription, or social broadcast access.
- High Risk: CCBill claims it has over 20 years of experience with high-risk businesses. Dig a little deeper, though, and read the CCBill Terms and Conditions, Exhibit A, as well as its Merchant Acceptable Use Policy. There you’ll see that the company specifically excludes most of the industries/items typically classified as high-risk: firearms, prescription drugs, medical devices, some software applications, certain offensive materials (as defined in the agreement), and more. The most obvious high-risk category that CCBill accepts relates to adult-oriented goods and services, and wording elsewhere on the CCBill website suggests that this is indeed the focus of its high-risk business.
Fees & Rates
Even the best high-risk providers usually don’t disclose specific rates and fees on their websites. That’s because they work with multiple back-end processors to find one that will accept your business. There is so much variability in rates and fees that it’s not practical to advertise specific numbers. CCBill is unique in this regard, as it does disclose its most common rates on its website. Be aware that these are probably the lowest rates available — you might very well end up paying more.
CCBill advertises five standard flat-rate plans, each designed for a particular type of business. There’s also an option for customized pricing available to high-volume businesses and features either customized flat-rate or interchange-plus pricing. Here are the highlights of the standard plans:
- Low-Risk Plan: This is the company’s plan for non-high-risk eCommerce businesses. Processing rates are fixed at 3.9% + $0.55 per transaction. There’s also a 2% recurring transaction surcharge for subscription-type billing.
- High-Risk Plan: This is the company’s standard pricing plan for high-risk businesses. Processing rates are fixed at 5.9% + $0.55 per transaction. Unlike the Adult Plan described below, there is no annual high-risk registration fee.
- Donate Plan: This plan’s rates, designed for qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations, are a flat 3.9% + $0.55 per transaction.
- Adult Plan: All adult-oriented businesses, including live cams, will have to use this plan. Transaction processing rates range from 10.8% to 14.5% per transaction, with volume discounts available in five tiers (specific volume requirements are not disclosed). There is also a 1.5% surcharge for merchants in the EU or UK. This plan also requires an annual High-Risk Registration Fee ($1,000 in the US or Canada, $500 in the EU or UK).
- Direct Plan: This is a debit-card-only plan; it won’t allow you to accept credit cards. However, it’s available to adult-oriented businesses and can be a far less expensive option for merchants in that industry. Processing rates are 5.9% + $0.55 per transaction. There is no EU/UK merchant surcharge or annual High-Risk Registration Fee.
CCBill does not charge an account setup fee or monthly account fees for any of these plans. There is no monthly minimum or weekly minimum requirement, but depending on your plan, there’s a minimum transaction size starting from $2.95. Chargeback fees are $25 per incident for all plans except the Adult Plan, which doesn’t impose a chargeback fee. All plans also require a 5% rolling reserve for eight to 26 weeks, depending on the plan and the risk level. The company does not appear to charge a separate gateway fee. Other potential fees, such as PCI compliance fees, are not disclosed. You can find more details about pricing on the Pricing and Fees page on CCBill’s website.
These rates are much higher than comparable rates available to non-high-risk businesses from other providers (at least the ones that disclose their rates). Unfortunately, paying higher rates for processing is all but inevitable if you’re running a high-risk business. While we’ve seen a few complaints from merchants over the high rates, they’re mostly in line with what other high-risk providers are charging.
However, we would point out that if you’re running a standard low-risk business, these rates are not competitive, and you can find a less expensive processor out there. There’s also no reason for a nonprofit to go with CCBill, as its rates offer no discount over what for-profit businesses are paying. For high-risk businesses that have little choice in processors and have to go with whichever one will accept them, be aware that CCBill inflates its rates to cover the costs that would typically be paid for through monthly account fees.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
It takes a little digging, but CCBill does disclose its Terms and Conditions (T&C) and Merchant Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) on its website. Other places on the website refer to a signup package, so be aware that, depending on the wording, the package could modify the T&C or the AUP. Read everything carefully before you sign up.
Most of the way CCBill does business with a merchant is described in its T&C. The AUP supplements the T&C and clarifies the types of behavior that could allow CCBill to terminate its business relationship with you.
Section 7 of the T&C states that either CCBill or you may cancel the agreement at any time with a 10-day written notice. The company is pretty strict about the written part, so be sure to follow precisely the process outlined in the agreement. If CCBill feels you’ve broken the terms of the T&C or violated the AUP, it also may either give you a chance to correct the issue or terminate the agreement immediately.
If you cancel the agreement, you must not use the same acquirers or service providers CCBill uses to process your payments for one year. CCBill will also hold your reserve fund and any of your other funds CCBill has on hand for six months in case of chargebacks. Neither the T&C nor the AUP mentions an early termination fee.
We rate this section excellent mainly because the CCBill agreement can be terminated at any time by either side and because there’s no early termination fee in its contracts.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
CCBill has a very informative, in-depth website. The site features reasonably transparent disclosures, especially regarding processing rates. While we’d like to see some more transparency about CCBill account fees, we’ll admit that most providers don’t offer many details about these aspects of their services in their marketing materials. Now that the company has expanded into the retail sector, we’d like to see some more specific information about hardware options and mobile processing apps.
The company doesn’t appear to use independent sales agents to sell CCBill accounts. Instead, it seems to rely on an in-house sales team. We prefer to see this because in-house agents are generally much better trained and supervised than independent ones. We haven’t found any complaints from merchants about the company’s sales practices, so you can expect that your agent will be both helpful and honest when working with you.
As a tech-focused company, CCBill has a broad social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. While the content is essentially the same on all these platforms, it’s frequently updated and offers quite a bit of useful information for both prospective and existing clients. The company’s YouTube channel features a few educational videos for its FlexChat platform.
Customer Service & Technical Support
CCBill offers genuine 24/7/365 customer support via telephone, email, and online chat. Again, a lack of complaints from merchants about this area suggests that the support provided is of high quality. While you might naturally expect any company to offer top-notch customer support, the truth is that many merchant account providers fall short in this area. Complaints about poor support are widespread, so it’s nice to see a company that is doing a good job in this area.
For self-help, the company also offers its CCBill Merchant Support and CCBill Knowledgebase, both of which can be accessed at any time directly from the CCBill website. These are valuable resources and should be your first stop if you need to troubleshoot a problem. While they won’t solve every issue, they provide clear instructions for solving common problems and might save you from having to contact customer support. Even if you aren’t having any issues, these are excellent educational resources. You should take a look at them to get a better understanding of how the company’s services work.
Overall, we’re quite impressed with the level of support offered by CCBill. It’s performing well above the industry standard in this area.
We found very few merchant reviews or complaints of CCBill. Ordinarily, this garners a rating of excellent. However, there are numerous customer reviews and complaints of CCBill, which, as we explain below, isn’t completely CCBill’s fault because it often does not have the ability to deal with specific types of customer complaints. Nevertheless, a bad customer experience ultimately might affect the merchant’s business, so we lowered the rating to good to signal caution to merchants.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
CCBill has been accredited by the BBB since 2014 and currently has an A+ rating. The company has had 20 complaints filed within the last three years, with eleven of those complaints filed within the previous twelve months. Its BBB profile also includes 47 reviews filed by consumers, with an average of 1.09 out of 5 stars.
For a company of CCBill’s size, this is actually a relatively average number of complaints. However, it also represents a significant uptick in both complaints and negative customer reviews since our last review update in January 2020. Unfortunately, complaint details are currently unavailable for all but one of these complaints, and that one is over two years old at this point.
In the past, the overwhelming majority of complaints against CCBill were not filed by merchants using the company’s processing services. Instead, they were filed by customers of businesses that used CCBill to accept online payments. The transactions that CCBill processes usually show up as ‘CCBill’ on their credit card statement rather than the actual merchant’s name. This is not surprising since so many of the company’s clients are adult-oriented websites. The company’s CCBill Pay service, which allows customers to pay directly through CCBill’s website, also contributes to this problem. The bottom line is that, in trying to provide some privacy to consumers by masking the identity of its merchants on credit card statements, CCBill has become a lightning rod for criticism that, in most cases, should have been directed at the merchant who made the actual error. CCBill is well aware of this problem and has recently updated its website to address the issue and provide an avenue for dissatisfied customers to report the problem to the company directly. We attribute the rise in recent complaints to the surge in online transactions due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
This same trend in customer complaints extends to Trustpilot, where CCBill currently has an average rating of 1.8 out of 5 stars, based on 32 reviews. While there are a few complaints from merchants (including one complaint alleging difficulty getting approved for an account), most of them come from consumers who don’t understand why CCBill appears to be taking their money.
Overall, we’ve found very few complaints from actual merchants. There are no complaints about excessively long contracts, high early termination fees, hidden account fees, deceptive sales practices, or any of the other things that usually get merchant account providers in trouble. The only concern we have with these complaints is that the company appears to maintain a much lower standard of customer service for consumers than it does for its merchants.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Despite all the complaints from consumers that have been misdirected at CCBill, the company does earn one positive review (out of 47) on the BBB’s website and five (out of 32) on Trustpilot. While that’s not a great batting average, bear in mind that it’s unusual for any merchant account provider to receive positive reviews on the BBB or any other consumer protection website. People are far more likely to put their efforts into complaining about a company than praising it.
CCBill has also added a “Success Stories” page to its website to highlight positive testimonials from a few of its merchants. There are currently four video testimonials and five case studies, all of which are worth reviewing if you’re thinking of signing up with the company.
Have you had any experience with CCBill (as a merchant, not a consumer)? If so, please tell us about it in the Comments section below.
You might think that it’s easier to find a good merchant account provider if you’re in an eCommerce business. After all, you don’t need expensive terminals, POS systems, or any of the other types of hardware that retailers depend on. You also don’t have to worry about even more expensive leasing arrangements for that equipment. However, you do have to wrestle with payment gateways and integrating your website with online shopping carts and other services that make buying something on your site as easy as possible for your customers. You also must accept that all your credit card transactions will be card-not-present, meaning the interchange rates will always be higher than what retailers pay. If your business is in a high-risk category, things get even more expensive, and you’ll struggle to find a provider that can offer you an account.
So if you have an eCommerce business and it’s in the high-risk category, you can expect to pay even more for a merchant account. You can also expect that most of the top-notch providers won’t approve you for an account, as one of the ways they keep their rates low is to exclude high-risk businesses altogether. Instead, you’re going to have to wade through a small number of providers that specialize in serving the high-risk community, and it won’t be cheap.
CCBill stands out from many of these providers by offering transparent pricing and very flexible contract terms. Upfront rate disclosures are almost unheard of among high-risk specialists, so we’re very impressed with the company for letting you know ahead of time what you can expect to pay. On the other hand, its rates are very high, especially its low-risk and nonprofit pricing. However, you need to understand that processing rates aren’t everything, especially for a low-volume business. Some businesses will save money overall since CCBill doesn’t charge the usual assortment of monthly and annual fees. The company’s pay-as-you-go pricing model will help you avoid getting charged every month whether you process any transactions or not.
We recommend CCBill for high-risk eCommerce merchants, particularly those in the business categories that the company specializes in serving. Although the company also provides accounts to low-risk businesses, there isn’t much reason to go with it if you’re not a high-risk merchant. Unless you’re having trouble getting approved by other providers, it won’t be worth the higher processing rates for most businesses. Likewise, CCBill isn’t a very good deal overall for qualified nonprofits, which can usually obtain much lower rates elsewhere. As always, we encourage you to compare the total cost, including both processing rates and account fees, when comparing quotes from competing providers.
CCBill earns a commendable overall score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. We like the transparent processing rates, lack of long-term contracts or early termination fees, lack of monthly account fees, and honest sales practices. We’re also impressed by the general lack of negative feedback from merchants (customers are, of course, another matter). We’d be more impressed, though, if the processing rates weren’t so high. If you’re a high-risk eCommerce merchant, be sure to check it out! You might also want to check out a similar provider (such as Instabill) or any of our top-rated high-risk providers.
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