eMerchant Broker specializes in payment processing for high-risk merchants, but it might not be a fit for everyone. Find out why.
eMerchantBroker At A Glance
- Specializes in serving most traditionally high-risk industries
- Offers basic credit card and ACH processing services with few additional features
- Offers highly variable contract terms and prices
- High-risk specialist
- Full range of services and third-party integrations
- Accepts difficult-to-place high-risk merchants
- Accepts CBD merchants
- Very high merchant acceptance rate
- Expensive compared to other high-risk providers
- Offers tiered pricing exclusively
- Long-term contract with expensive early termination fee
- Uses some misleading sales gimmicks
Table of Contents
What Is eMerchantBroker?
eMerchantBroker is a merchant account provider that specializes in offering credit card processing services to industries classified as high-risk by traditional banks and credit card processors.
The company is generally more transparent and honest in dealing with merchants than most high-risk providers. At the same time, eMerchantBroker is usually not the least expensive option if you’re in the high-risk category and need a merchant account.
eMerchantBroker stands out from other high-risk specialists by having a very short list of prohibited industries that it simply cannot support. Unless your business is clearly illegal, you’ll most likely get approved for an account. In fact, the company boasts a 99% approval rate for all applicants. It’s one of the few providers that will approve CBD businesses but no longer offers credit card processing to medical marijuana dispensaries due to legal limitations.
While you’ll almost certainly pay more for eMerchantBroker’s services, it’s still a good choice for merchants who have had difficulty getting approved for an account elsewhere. The company scores 4 out of 5 stars and earns our recommendation based on the higher-than-average quality of service it provides to its merchants.
Products & Services
eMerchantBroker focuses on core services such as merchant accounts and doesn’t offer the wide range of hardware options and additional services that many other merchant account providers do. Nonetheless, it offers most of the basic services you’ll need to set up your business for accepting credit cards, including the following:
- Merchant Accounts: eMerchantBroker doesn’t process transactions in-house. Instead, the company works with a number of back-end processors to set you up with an account. These processors include Fiserv (formerly First Data), iPayment, North American Bancard, and others.
- High-Risk Merchant Accounts: As we’ve noted above, eMerchantBroker specializes in serving high-risk industries that traditionally have a hard time getting approved for a merchant account. In fact, the company doesn’t appear to market its services to low-risk businesses. Here’s a partial list of the industries that eMerchantBroker can support:
- Adult entertainment (includes escort services)
- Bad credit merchant accounts
- Bail bonds
- Calling cards
- CBD oils and related products merchant accounts
- Collection agencies
- Credit repair
- Debt consolidators
- Educational and seminars
- High-ticket accounts
- High-volume merchants
- Multilevel marketing
- Moving and transportation
- Penny auctions
- Online firearm sales
- Online furniture sales
- Online gaming (including casinos and fantasy sports)
- Online ticketing sales
- Software and ebook merchants
- Tech support merchant accounts
- TMF merchants
- Tobacco products (including cigars, pipes, and e-cigarettes)
- Travel (including timeshares and aircraft charters)
- Weight loss programs
- VOIP and Telecom
- Payment Gateways: eMerchantBroker supports eCommerce by offering its proprietary eMB Payment Gateway. It can also set you up with a number of popular third-party gateways, including 1st Pay, Authorize.Net, eProcessing Network, and NMI.
- ACH & eCheck Processing: eMerchantBroker offers several services to allow merchants to accept both paper and electronic checks from customers. The company’s iCheck service is an app for iPhones and iPads that allows you to take a photo of a paper check and submit it for processing. Checks by Phone and Checks by Web services are also available to process electronic checks. Note that there is a $1,000 per transaction limit when using the Checks by Web service. eCheck/ACH-only processing is a valid alternative for merchants who either cannot get approved for a merchant account or don’t want to deal with the additional cost and complexity. The downside, of course, is that you’ll lose sales from customers who only want to pay with credit or debit cards. Our guide on echecks offers additional information on this payment method.
- Chargeback Protection Services: High-risk accounts are at an elevated risk of fraud and commonly have higher rates of chargebacks than non-high-risk businesses. eMerchantBroker partners with Verifi and Ethoca to provide tools that minimize the risk of chargebacks and ensure that you’re notified when they occur.
- Business Funding: Like many merchant account providers, eMerchantBroker offers merchant cash advance programs.
- International Merchant Support: eMerchantBroker is available in 35 other countries besides just the United States. The company currently supports merchants in Australia, the United Kingdom, and most EU countries. Surprisingly, support is not available for Canada or New Zealand. For additional recommendations, check out our article on the best international payment processors.
- Integration Partnerships: EMB integrates with many merchant services partners, including payment service providers, such as Square, and shopping carts, such as WooCommerce, OpenCart, and BigCommerce. The company has special integration pricing that applies if you add these services to your basic EMB merchant account.
- Cryptocurrency Payments: Like many other merchant services providers, eMerchantBroker now supports payments made with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While accepting cryptocurrency payments has several advantages for your business, it’s clearly not for everyone — yet. Only a small number of industries are supported, so check out EMB’s Cryptocurrency Payments page for more information if you’re interested in pursuing this option.
One thing that eMerchantBroker doesn’t appear to offer is processing hardware for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. There’s no mention of credit card terminals, POS systems, or mobile processing systems on the company’s website.
If you don’t already have this equipment, we recommend buying your own and avoiding terminal leases. You can also obtain processing hardware from several of EMB’s integration partners, including Square.
Fees & Rates
eMerchantBroker, like most merchant account providers, doesn’t disclose any pricing information on its website. You can expect that the rates and fees you end up paying will depend on various factors, including your credit history, monthly processing volume, processing history (if any), and your ability to negotiate a better deal than what you’re first offered.
eMerchant Broker claims on its website that its processing rates are “as low as 2.99%.” We generally consider this type of claim to be misleading, as it usually only refers to the lowest qualified rate of a tiered pricing plan. The company does, however, offer the following explanation:
*2.99% pricing applies to qualified merchants. Mid-qualified and non-qualified rates can be higher. Contact us to get a free quote.
The company deserves some credit for this disclosure, even though it’s incomplete. Under a tiered pricing plan, every sale you process will be classified as either a qualified, mid-qualified, or non-qualified transaction.
Mid-qualified and non-qualified transactions are charged significantly higher rates, and for most merchants, these will represent the majority of your transactions. Also, remember that the 2.99% qualified rate is the lowest the company offers, meaning it’s usually reserved for merchants with a high processing volume and a lengthy, stable processing history.
This rate quote also neglects to mention that you will inevitably pay a per-transaction fee (technically called an authorization fee) in addition to the processing rate. These fees can represent a significant additional expense, especially for merchants who process a lot of small-ticket transactions per month. eMerchantBroker’s processing rates actually average around 3% to 4% (or higher), with an additional $0.15 to $0.25 per transaction fee.
The company primarily uses tiered pricing, although some merchants might be able to get an interchange-plus pricing plan with a bit of negotiation.
eMerchantBroker Integration Pricing
Merchant services providers are increasingly offering integrated payment platforms that combine your processing hardware and a payment gateway to give you a cloud-based service that allows you to monitor your business from any device with a web browser.
As a small company, eMerchantBroker doesn’t currently offer such a product. Instead, it partners with other merchant services providers that can integrate their services and products directly into your EMB merchant account. While this is a convenient feature, it isn’t free. EMB offers both Pro and Enterprise Integration plans, which include the following:
This is EMB’s basic integration plan. In addition to the normal fee schedule for your EMB merchant account, you’ll pay the following additional costs:
- $0.00 monthly account fee (higher for some industries)
- $0.10 per transaction fee
- 0.6% fee on all EMB processing volume
- $50.00 monthly minimum (for most industries)
This plan is for larger, more established businesses that need a fully customized solution. While EMB doesn’t disclose specific prices, it includes the following extra features:
- Full customization of your site’s payment page
- Access to developers and designers
- Dedicated Account Representative for customer support
eMerchantBroker doesn’t disclose much information about standard account fees on its website. Again, there will be a lot of variabilities here because the company uses many different processors to set up accounts. Nonetheless, you can expect to pay a $49 monthly account fee in most cases. There will also be extra fees for using the payment gateway, PCI compliance (usually charged annually), and per-occurrence fees for chargebacks.
On the bright side, the company doesn’t charge an application fee, account setup fee, or annual fee.
With so much variability in rates and fees, it’s doubly important that you (a) negotiate the terms in your contract wherever possible and (b) carefully review all your contract documents before you sign up for an account.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
eMerchantBroker has a clean, professional-looking website that’s easy to navigate. The company does a good job of informing potential customers about its services and includes a lot of extra information about special features, such as its extensive chargeback prevention features. The site also includes dedicated pages with additional information tailored to specific business sectors often considered high-risk, such as credit repair companies and offshore tech support.
At the same time, there’s very little disclosure of account fees or processing rates. With so much variability in pricing, it’s particularly important that you read your contract documents thoroughly and negotiate firmly for the best deal you can get.
The EMB website includes links to an online application designed to gather information about your business and send it to a sales representative. Some merchants might be put off because the application requires you to set up a password. While this application will give you an account that you can log back into later, it’s not a merchant account.
Whatever you do, never provide your bank account information to any merchant account provider until you’ve negotiated the terms of your contract, reviewed all contract documents, and signed them. While eMerchantBroker isn’t doing anything unethical here, some merchant account providers will lock you into a merchant account contract and start charging you as soon as they have your bank account information.
The company relies on a combination of in-house sales representatives and independent agents to market and set up its accounts. We’re normally very leery of independent agents, as they have a well-deserved reputation throughout the industry for being poorly trained and loosely supervised. Often working on a commission-only basis, they’re under tremendous pressure to close the deal and will often neglect to mention pertinent details about the contracts they’re trying to sell.
Fortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the case with eMerchantBroker. We’ve found no complaints alleging misleading or unethical behavior on the part of its sales agents, which is a good sign. You’ll still want to work with an in-house agent if at all possible, as they generally have a lower turnover rate than independent agents.
eMerchantBroker has an active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and a YouTube channel. Although the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts are regularly updated with informative articles about processing and merchant accounts, the YouTube channel is a neglected and underutilized resource. It could be significantly improved by adding some tutorials and testimonials from actual customers.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Because eMerchantBroker partners with many third-party processors to provide its merchant accounts, the company doesn’t have a standard contract with a standard length. Instead, contract terms vary from as little as one year to as many as three years in length. You can also expect your contract to have an automatic renewal clause that will automatically extend your contract — usually for one-year periods — after the expiration of the initial term.
Review your contract carefully to understand the requirements for closing your account. The company will usually require at least 30 days’ notice, but it could be as many as 90 days. Automatic renewal clauses usually operate without providing any notice to you that the contract has been extended, so mark your calendar ahead of time!
Contracts with eMerchantBroker also include an early termination fee if you close your account without proper notice before the expiration of the contract’s term. This fee can vary from as little as $295 to as much as $595, with the lower fees usually applying to one-year contracts and the higher fees applying to three-year contracts.
With so many merchant account providers now offering month-to-month contracts without multi-year terms or early termination fees, it might seem that this is an issue you can negotiate your way out of. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask, be aware that, as a high-risk merchant, you have very little leverage on this issue. Because EMB is taking on the additional risk of providing you with a merchant account, it’s unlikely to budge on this issue.
Customer Service & Technical Support
|Dedicated Support Representative|
|Knowledge Base or Help Center|
|Videos & Tutorials|
eMerchantBroker provides customer service via telephone, email, and live chat. Telephone service and live chat are available during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 7 AM-4 PM Pacific time). After-hours telephone support is also available, although it won’t usually be provided by an in-house customer support team. Outside of normal business hours, there is an increased chance that the representative you talk to won’t have the authority or training to solve complex problems.
Another important thing to remember about eMerchantBroker is that the company provides merchant accounts through third-party processors, and many issues that come up will have to be handled by your actual processor. If your account is suspended, payment is held, or you have a chargeback, you will, in most cases, have to rely on your processor for help. eMerchantBroker doesn’t have authority over these issues.
User feedback on the quality of eMerchantBroker’s customer service is mixed. While there are some positive reviews from merchants who praised the quality of support they received, there are also a few complaints alleging long wait times on hold and an inability of company representatives to resolve problems.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
eMerchantBroker has been accredited by the BBB since 2012 and currently has an A+ rating. The company’s BBB profile shows only two complaints in the last three years, with one complaint within the last twelve months. This is a very low complaint volume, particularly for a business that specializes in working with high-risk industries. Unfortunately, no details are available for any of the current complaints.
EMB’s BBB profile also includes 11 reviews from customers, most of which are quite positive. The company has an overall rating of 4.27 out of 5 stars, and a company representative has responded to every review, whether positive or negative.
Customer reviews on sites such as TrustPilot follow a similar pattern. While there’s a mix of both positive and negative feedback, the majority of the complaints either came from merchants who were turned down for an account (and thus never used EMB’s services) or involve issues such as payment holds that EMB has no control over.
The only issue that came up frequently enough to raise some concern involved difficulty contacting customer support — a very common problem within the entire payment processing industry.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
EMB’s website now features three case studies from customers who’ve used the company’s services. While they’re clearly written by EMB and don’t feature direct quotes from the merchants themselves, these case studies are still useful in shedding a little more light on the company’s onboarding process and showing how merchants use some of its specialized services.
Unsolicited positive feedback from merchants can be found scattered across the internet, including the many positive reviews on EMB’s BBB profile that we’ve mentioned above. Feedback in our comments section is quite mixed but includes some positive reviews.
Finding a good, reputable merchant account provider is particularly difficult if you’re a high-risk merchant, and you’ll usually have to seek out a provider that specializes in high-risk accounts.
eMerchantBroker, while neither the cheapest nor the most transparent high-risk specialist, has several features that distinguish it from many of its competitors. The company is willing to work with some of the more challenging high-risk business categories, meaning that your chances of getting approved for an account are better than with other providers. At the same time, the company’s processing rates and account fees are generally higher than what other high-risk providers can offer.
The company also gets high marks for top-notch customer support and a reputable sales team — essential but often overlooked factors in selecting a good merchant services provider. Overall, eMerchantBroker gets a score of 4 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for a merchant account and have had trouble getting approved because you’re in the high-risk category, it’s a solid choice.
At the same time, we encourage you to check out some of our top-rated high-risk providers before deciding. Unless you’re in a category that’s unusually difficult to approve, the best high-risk specialists can often get you an account that won’t be as expensive.
Our Top Pick To Get Your Merchant Account Approved
PaymentCloud has an excellent track record for both service quality and account approvals. Start your application.
Our Top Pick To Get Your Merchant Account Approved
PaymentCloud has an excellent track record for both service quality and account approvals. Start your application.