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Best Offshore Merchant Account Providers In 2024

Looking for the best and most reputable offshore merchant account providers for your small business? Check out our top options.

    Jason Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Frank Kehl
  • REVIEWED BY

    Frank Kehl

    Senior Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Finding a reputable offshore merchant account provider can be a real challenge. If your business is in an industry considered high-risk, most top payment processors won’t accept you, and you’ve likely had your merchant account application denied at least a few times. You may even have had your processing service terminated and your funds withheld.

Sadly, we’ve seen countless businesses go through this same ordeal. That’s why we want to help you find the best merchant account for your high-risk business. In this article, we’ll identify factors to consider when seeking an offshore merchant account. We’ll then highlight offshore payment processors that offer honest, reliable value compared to the competition.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Corepay

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  • Best for the adult entertainment industry
  • No cost to apply or set up account
  • Supported industries: Adult services, CBD, online dating, vape sales
  • Best for the adult entertainment industry
  • No cost to apply or set up account
  • Supported industries: Adult services, CBD, online dating, vape sales

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Host Merchant Services

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  • Best for businesses seeking a wide variety of terminals and POS systems
  • No cost to apply or set up account
  • Supported industries: Firearms, vape shops, real estate, gambling
  • Best for businesses seeking a wide variety of terminals and POS systems
  • No cost to apply or set up account
  • Supported industries: Firearms, vape shops, real estate, gambling

Visit Site

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Easy Pay Direct

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  • Best for merchants with high processing volumes
  • One-time $99 account setup fee
  • Supported industries: CBD, telemarketing, online gaming, massage parlors
  • Best for merchants with high processing volumes
  • One-time $99 account setup fee
  • Supported industries: CBD, telemarketing, online gaming, massage parlors

Visit Site

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PayKings

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  • Best for businesses seeking recurring billing and a surcharging or cash discounting program
  • No cost to apply or set up account
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, CBD, dating sites, debt collection, pawn shops, firearms, vaping
  • Best for businesses seeking recurring billing and a surcharging or cash discounting program
  • No cost to apply or set up account
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, CBD, dating sites, debt collection, pawn shops, firearms, vaping

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PaynetSecure

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  • Best for companies seeking broad international payment method support
  • $50-150 monthly fee for high-risk offshore accounts
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, MLM, CBD, affiliate marketing, financial services, telemedicine
  • Best for companies seeking broad international payment method support
  • $50-150 monthly fee for high-risk offshore accounts
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, MLM, CBD, affiliate marketing, financial services, telemedicine

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Instabill

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  • Best for marijuana dispensaries
  • Monthly statement fee applies
  • Supported industries: Cannabis, CBD, kratom, adult entertainment, MLM, online gaming & gambling
  • Best for marijuana dispensaries
  • Monthly statement fee applies
  • Supported industries: Cannabis, CBD, kratom, adult entertainment, MLM, online gaming & gambling

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eMerchantBroker

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  • Best acceptance rate for applicants
  • $49 monthly fee usually applies
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, CBD, online gaming, debt collection, vaping, nutraceuticals
  • Best acceptance rate for applicants
  • $49 monthly fee usually applies
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, CBD, online gaming, debt collection, vaping, nutraceuticals

Visit Site

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SMB Global

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  • Best for businesses needing multi-currency acceptance
  • Monthly account fees apply
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, CBD, collections, fantasy sports, travel, online gambling
  • Best for businesses needing multi-currency acceptance
  • Monthly account fees apply
  • Supported industries: Adult entertainment, CBD, collections, fantasy sports, travel, online gambling

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

When Are Offshore Merchant Accounts Necessary For A Business?

Not all high-risk merchants need an offshore merchant account. Businesses considered high-risk can include those not commonly associated with the term “high-risk business,” like web hosts or furniture shops. These businesses can usually get approved for a domestic high-risk merchant account.

If you think this may describe your business, the best high-risk merchant account providers may have just what you need.

Here are the most common reasons for needing an offshore merchant account:

  • You do significant business in a foreign country and need to accept payments in the local currency.
  • Your business has offices in multiple countries, and you need separate merchant accounts for each location.
  • Your business is considered to be so risky that you cannot get a regular high-risk merchant account in your own country.

Five Advantages Of Offshore Merchant Accounts

  1. If you’re an international merchant, it can be beneficial to have an offshore merchant account with an acquiring bank in the market you intend to emphasize. While it will help you to be able to accept payments in the currency most of your customer base uses, it can also help from a tax perspective.
  2. International banks tend to allow higher processing volumes than their US counterparts.
  3. Different regions of the world have different cultural standards as to what products are appropriate to sell, so diversification of merchant accounts can ensure that you’re not reliant on one merchant account in one country to process all your transactions.
  4. Offshore merchant accounts can provide a means of processing payments to merchants who cannot get a domestic merchant account due to the nature of their business.
  5. Banking regulations are more relaxed in certain countries, and the willingness on the part of banks and processors to work with high-risk businesses is also more favorable.

Three Disadvantages Of Offshore Merchant Accounts

While offshore merchant accounts can confer benefits to your business (and can be necessary to do any business under certain circumstances), they carry significant risks as well.

  1. Your ability to pursue a legal remedy against a foreign bank or processor might be severely limited – or even nonexistent. At a minimum, consider legally registering your business in the country where your account will be located. However, even with legal standing, it may be extremely inconvenient and expensive to pursue legal action outside of your own country.
  2. There’s an increased risk of fraud and identity theft. Banks in other countries collect the same personal data about you and your business that US-based banks do, but they don’t always do as good a job of protecting it.
  3. High-risk merchant accounts are notorious for charging higher processing rates and account fees, and offshore accounts can be even worse. Providers know you’re particularly desperate, and some, but not all, will take advantage of your situation by charging you as much as they think they can get away with. We recommend that you shop around and compare multiple quotes when looking for an offshore account.

Some offshore merchant account providers downplay or fail to mention these risk factors, so it’s up to you to look out for yourself.

Do some independent research, compare multiple offers, and thoroughly review all contract documents before you sign up for an account.

The 8 Best Offshore Payment Processors For Small Businesses

At the end of the day, you’ll want the same features for an offshore merchant account that you’d expect from a traditional merchant account. The following offshore credit card processing providers give you the advantages of offshore processing along with the business features you’ll need.

How The Best Offshore Payment Processors Compare

Supported Industries Include: Application/Setup Fee Monthly/Annual Account Fee
Corepay Adult services, CBD, online dating, vape sales None $1,000/year
Host Merchant Services Firearms, vape shops, real estate, gambling None $14.99/month
Easy Pay Direct CBD, telemarketing, online gaming, massage parlors $99 Not disclosed
PayKings Adult services, CBD, dating sites, debt collection, pawn shops, firearms, vaping None Monthly fee (amount not disclosed)
PaynetSecure Adult services, MLM, CBD, affiliate marketing, financial services, telemedicine None $50-150/month
Instabill Cannabis, CBD, kratom, adult services, MLM, online gaming/gambling None Monthly fee (amount not disclosed)
eMerchantBroker Adult services, CBD, online gaming, debt collection, vaping, nutraceuticals Not disclosed $49/month
SMB Global Adult services, CBD, collections, fantasy sports, travel, online gambling Not disclosed Monthly fee (amount not disclosed)

Corepay: Best Offshore Merchant Account Provider For The Adult Entertainment Industry

Total Rating 4.0
Fees & Rates4.3

Products & Services5.0

Contract2.4

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.9

Customer Service4.3

User Reviews3.0



Pros

  • Great for adult-oriented businesses
  • Fast approval
  • ACH processing available

Cons

  • Limited public contract disclosure
  • Limited support for in-person sales
  • $1,000 annual renewal fee

Why CorePay Is Ideal For The Adult Entertainment Industry

Corepay is a domestic and offshore merchant account provider for both high-risk and low-risk businesses, advertising its services to the adult industry, CBD and hemp vendors, eCommerce merchants, online dating services, and other business categories considered high-risk.

According to Corepay, its "core" specialty is adult merchant accounts, and the company has a keen understanding of the different degrees of risk presented by different types of adult businesses.

Corepay also details the measures it takes to fight the fraud and chargebacks that are widespread in the adult entertainment industry. For instance, the company has direct integrations with its acquiring partners, which is helpful when combating fraud.

Corepay Features

Corepay’s available features include:

  • Choice of Corepay’s proprietary gateway (NetValve), Authorize.Net, NMI, Inovio, and others
  • CB-ALERT anti-fraud software
  • Tokenization
  • ACH processing & recurring ACH billing
  • MOTO-only accounts available (mail-order & telephone-order)
  • Alipay and WeChat (popular payment methods in Europe and Asia) accepted
  • POS equipment offered

Corepay Pricing

Corepay doesn’t publish any pricing information, but considering the nature of high-risk processing, you may well encounter multi-year contracts and tiered pricing.

Corepay does state that it does not charge any one-time setup or application fees. However, you will pay a steep $1,000 annual renewal fee.

When To Choose Corepay

  • Your business is in the adult entertainment industry and you're looking for a secure high-risk payment processor

Get Started With Corepay

Read our in-depth review

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Host Merchant Services: Best Offshore Payment Processor For Terminal & POS Variety

Host Merchant Services

Total Rating 4.9
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services5.0

Contract5.0

Sales & Advertising Transparency4.7

Customer Service4.6

User Reviews4.8



Pros

  • Full range of products & services for retail & eCommerce businesses
  • Interchange-plus pricing for low-risk businesses
  • Excellent customer service and support

Cons

  • High-risk rates and fees not disclosed on the website
  • Can only accommodate a small number of high-risk business categories
  • Monthly account fee

Why Host Merchant Services Is Ideal For Terminal & POS Variety

While Host Merchant Services primarily caters to traditional, low-risk businesses, they serve several categories of high-risk businesses and also offer offshore accounts.

A former web hosting company, Host Merchant Services is great for eCommerce merchants. Retail merchants will also be well-served, however, as the company offers credit card terminals, mobile processing, and POS systems.

If your business is in one of the high-risk categories HMS caters to, the company is a top-tier offshore merchant account provider. HMS offers 24/7 customer service and has an excellent reputation both in this area and overall.

Host Merchant Services Features

Features offered by Host Merchant Services include:

  • Choice of Authorize.Net or Transaction Express (proprietary) payment gateway
  • A virtual terminal
  • Web hosting service included
  • Full line of countertop and mobile credit card terminals
  • Free terminal available to merchants processing over $20K/month
  • Vital and SwipeSimple mobile processing solutions
  • Choice of Vital or Bonsai (proprietary) POS system
  • Cash discounting program available

Host Merchant Services Pricing

HMS uses interchange-plus pricing exclusively for its low-risk merchants, but you might have to pay tiered rates if you have an offshore account.

HMS discloses the following rates and fees for low-risk merchants:

  • Retail: Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10/transaction
  • Restaurant: Interchange + 0.20% + $0.09/transaction
  • eCommerce: Interchange + 0.35% + $0.10/transaction
  • No application or setup fees
  • $14.99/month account fee
  • $24/year 1099 reporting fee
  • $5/month gateway fee (optional)

High-risk and offshore merchants should expect to pay higher fees than low-risk merchants, and possibly additional fees. Be prepared to deal with a rolling reserve as well.

When To Choose Host Merchant Services

  • You need an offshore merchant account and you also want a top-notch POS setup for in-person sales

Get Started With Host Merchant Services

Read our in-depth review

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Easy Pay Direct: Best Offshore Merchant Accounts For High-Volume Merchants

Easy Pay Direct

Total Rating 4.1
Fees & Rates4.0

Products & Services4.5

Contract3.7

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.9

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.0



Pros

  • Load balancing feature for high-risk merchants
  • No equipment leases
  • No early termination fee

Cons

  • Non-transparent tiered pricing for high-risk accounts
  • $99 account setup fee may apply
  • Easy Pay Direct has become less transparent lately

Why Easy Pay Direct Is Ideal For High-Volume Merchants

Easy Pay Direct provides full merchant accounts for international, high-risk, and traditional non-high-risk merchants. Like most offshore high-risk merchant account specialists, Easy Pay Direct works with a variety of banks and processors, both domestic and international, to find one that fits your needs.

We love that Easy Pay Direct offers load balancing, which lets businesses divide their incoming funds among multiple merchant accounts. This is particularly helpful for high-risk businesses that often exceed the monthly processing volume limits imposed by the processor underwriting their account.

Just know that this usually entails paying separate monthly fees for each account, so this might not be cost-effective for lower-volume merchants (who may not need load balancing at all).

Easy Pay Direct Features

Features include:

  • Load balancing
  • Proprietary Easy Pay Direct (EPD) gateway
  • Virtual terminal available with the EPD gateway
  • Countertop credit card terminals
  • POS systems
  • Mobile payments
  • Proprietary QuickClick eCommerce software
  • Integrates with 250+ eCommerce software services
  • APIs and SDKs available for site customization

Easy Pay Direct Pricing

As with any processor that serves high-risk businesses, processing rates for Easy Pay Direct’s offshore merchant accounts will likely be under a tiered pricing plan.

One plus is that Easy Pay Direct’s contracts don’t have an early termination fee, even for high-risk businesses. While this isn’t true month-to-month billing, it makes it much easier to close your account without penalty.

When To Choose Easy Pay Direct

  • You're a high-risk merchant needing an offshore merchant account and your processing volume is high enough to make load balancing useful

Get Started With Easy Pay Direct

Read our in-depth review

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PayKings: Best Offshore Payment Processor For Recurring Billing & Cash Discounting

Total Rating 3.8
Fees & Rates4.0

Products & Services5.0

Contract3.4

Sales & Advertising Transparency2.2

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews3.0



Pros

  • Accepts a wide range of high-risk businesses
  • eCommerce and brick-and-mortar features
  • Terminals are sold, not leased

Cons

  • Little pricing info disclosed
  • Some public complaints
  • A monthly fee applies

Why PayKings Is Ideal For Recurring Billing & Cash Discounting

For businesses in the highest risk categories, PayKings represents perhaps the best chance you'll get at landing an overseas merchant account from a reputable provider.

PayKings gets a largely (though not entirely) favorable reception from merchants. Combine this with a large selection of terminals and card readers, eCommerce support, ACH processing, recurring billing, and surcharging/cash discount programs, and you have a high-risk offshore processor with a lot to offer.

PayKings isn't shy about its target audience, naming CBD vendors, adult businesses, vape stores, and pawnshops as high-risk business types serviced by the company on its homepage.

PayKings Features

PayKings offers the following business features:

  • Authorize.Net and NMI payment gateways
  • Shopify integration
  • High-risk ACH processing
  • Currency conversion & international payment acceptance
  • Developer support
  • Countertop terminals
  • Card readers
  • Recurring billing
  • Surcharging & cash discounting

PayKings Pricing

PayKings doesn’t have any pricing information publicly available, so don’t be surprised if three-year contracts, monthly minimums, and rolling reserves are the order of the day.

PayKings does charge a monthly fee (the amount is undisclosed), but on the plus side, the company doesn’t charge any application or setup fees.

When To Choose PayKings

  • Your business is considered very high-risk and you want advanced features such as recurring billing and/or a surcharging/cash discounting program

Get Started With PayKings

Read our in-depth review

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PaynetSecure: Best Offshore Merchant Accounts For International Payment Method Support

PaynetSecure


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Pros

  • 80 alternative global payment methods available
  • Accepts payments in 160 currencies
  • PaynetSecure actually publishes sample rates on its website

Cons

  • Little merchant feedback available
  • No information given regarding terminals or mobile card readers
  • Monthly fee applies

Why PaynetSecure Is Ideal For International Payment Method Support

PaynetSecure specializes in providing domestic and overseas merchant accounts for high-risk businesses. Along with its offshore payment processing, PaynetSecure provides more than 80 different alternative payment methods used around the world.

The company highlights its ability to accept UnionPay cards. With UnionPay now the largest card brand in the world (it is very popular in the Asia-Pacific region), PaynetSecure can position you well for international sales even if you're not a high-risk merchant.

PaynetSecure's support for a huge number of international payment methods, combined with the company's unusually transparent high-risk/offshore account pricing disclosures, make PaynetSecure a solid choice for merchants looking to get an offshore merchant account. Unfortunately, very little feedback from merchants is available online.

PaynetSecure Features

Features offered by PaynetSecure include:

  • A virtual terminal
  • Recurring billing
  • Chargeback management/prevention
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Developer tools

PaynetSecure Pricing

Unlike the vast majority of merchant account providers in this space, PaynetSecure actually publishes the following sample pricing rates on its website:

  • Discount rate: 3.5–6.95% for high-risk offshore accounts, 2.95–4.95% for lower-risk international eCommerce
  • Per-transaction fee: Up to 0.65% for high-risk offshore accounts, up to 0.45% for lower-risk international eCommerce
  • Reserve requirement: 5–10% for high-risk offshore accounts, 0–5% for lower-risk international eCommerce
  • Monthly fee: $50–150 for high-risk offshore accounts, $0–50 for lower-risk international eCommerce

While the rates you ultimately face will depend on the usual factors, it’s unusual to see this level of transparency from a high-risk/offshore merchant account specialist.

When To Choose PaynetSecure

  • You want an offshore merchant account with the broadest possible support for international payment methods

Get Started With PaynetSecure

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Instabill: Best Offshore Payment Processor For Marijuana Dispensaries

Total Rating 3.8
Fees & Rates3.8

Products & Services4.6

Contract2.2

Sales & Advertising Transparency4.2

Customer Service4.0

User Reviews4.0



Pros

  • Partners with numerous offshore acquiring banks
  • Offers two unique payment processing solutions for cannabis merchants
  • A free hosted payments page is offered

Cons

  • Rolling reserve fund required for offshore high-risk merchant accounts
  • Some public complaints
  • Monthly fee applies

Why Instabill Is Ideal For Marijuana Dispensaries

Instabill's services jibe nicely with the needs of high-risk businesses. Instabill advertises its ability to accept and process credit card payments in 160+ currencies with its international merchant account offerings. The company partners with a wide variety of overseas acquiring banks, making it easier to match your businesses with the right bank.

Instabill's specialized services for marijuana dispensaries and CBD vendors make it an excellent offshore processing choice for businesses in these industries. Furthermore, the company's expansive international currency acceptance is great for eCommerce merchants, and its unusual honesty regarding pricing and rolling reserve requirements speaks well of the company's integrity.

Instabill Features

Instabill’s features include:

  • Proprietary Instabill Payment Gateway
  • Credit card terminals
  • Mobile POS
  • ACH processing
  • Specialized CBD & cannabis processing

Instabill Pricing

While many high-risk/offshore merchant processing providers are publicly silent on the issue of cost, Instabill has a page explaining why your rates will depend on the size & nature of your business. Instabill also details the fees that eCommerce merchants can expect to face:

  • Merchant Account Fee
  • Transaction Fee
  • Discount Rate
  • Merchant Account Registration Fee
  • Monthly Statement Fee
  • Chargeback Fee
  • Refund Fee

Instabill states that with high-risk/offshore merchant accounts, a rolling reserve of between 5-10% of your weekly sales volume will be withheld by the acquiring bank.

Unlike many high-risk merchant account providers, Instabill offers its services to cannabis merchants (not just CBD but actual cannabis) with both a debit card-like system and a crypto payment system, so if you operate a marijuana dispensary in a legal-weed state, Instabill may enable you to accept more than just cash.

When To Choose Instabill

  • You want an offshore merchant account from a reputable provider
  • You run a marijuana dispensary and you want to be able to take non-cash payments

Get Started With Instabill

Read our in-depth review

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eMerchantBroker: Best Offshore Merchant Accounts For Easy Acceptance

eMerchantBroker

Total Rating 3.8
Fees & Rates3.3

Products & Services5.0

Contract2.6

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.7

Customer Service4.2

User Reviews4.0



Pros

  • 99% merchant acceptance rate advertised
  • Cannabis banking services offered
  • Accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating

Cons

  • Little pricing information disclosed
  • Offers tiered pricing exclusively
  • Monthly fee applies

Why eMerchantBroker Is Ideal For Easy Acceptance

eMerchantBroker is a high-risk and offshore merchant account specialist with one particular compelling draw: it accepts nearly everybody who applies for an account. The company claims to have an astonishing 99% acceptance rate, so unless you're involved in some very dubious/illegal activity, you shouldn't have a problem getting approved for an account!

In addition, eMerchantBroker markets itself as a provider of cannabis banking services, so marijuana businesses struggling with being cash-only should take note of what the company has to offer. Plus, the company is accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating and a host of positive customer reviews, so this isn't some shady fly-by-night operation.

eMerchantBroker Features

Available features include:

  • Proprietary & third-party gateways
  • ACH/eCheck processing
  • Chargeback protection
  • Integrates with numerous eCommerce shopping carts
  • Cryptocurrency payment support

eMerchantBroker Pricing

eMerchantBroker’s broad merchant acceptance won’t come cheap. If you’re a particularly risky merchant, expect a tiered pricing scheme and rates that exceed even those of other high-risk processors. Some merchants may be able to get an interchange-plus deal, however.

When To Choose eMerchantBroker

  • You're a high-risk business needing an offshore merchant account and you've had trouble getting approved for an account elsewhere

Get Started With eMerchantBroker

Read our in-depth review

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SMB Global: Best Offshore Payment Processing For Multi-Currency Acceptance

Total Rating 3.9
Fees & Rates4.3

Products & Services5.0

Contract2.8

Sales & Advertising Transparency3.8

Customer Service3.5

User Reviews3.0



Pros

  • Offers international merchant accounts to a wide variety of industries
  • Reasonable pricing and contract terms
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • No proprietary mobile app
  • Little feedback available from merchants
  • Few pricing disclosures

Why SMB Global Is Ideal For Multi-Currency Acceptance

SMB Global specializes in providing merchant accounts to high-risk and offshore businesses. Using a variety of backend processors, they’re able to approve a merchant account for almost any high-risk business, including adult entertainment and CBD products.

SMB Global has an excellent reputation for fair prices and top-notch customer service. Plus, the fact that the company offers multi-currency processing and dynamic currency conversion makes SMB Global a great fit for our list of preferred offshore merchant account providers.

While SMB Global requires a minimum processing volume of $50,000 per month for an offshore merchant account, they may waive this requirement if your business has a very strong financial history.

SMB Global Features

SMB Global’s features include the following:

  • Choice of payment gateways
  • 175+ eCommerce shopping cart integrations
  • Multi-currency processing
  • Dynamic currency conversion
  • APIs for developers
  • Credit card terminals
  • Mobile processing
  • ACH processing
  • Chargeback prevention suite
  • Business funding products

SMB Global Pricing

Because they work with so many banks and processors to get you approved for an account, the company doesn’t offer any pricing information. Processing rates, account fees, and contract terms will all vary widely depending on which backend processor is handling your account.

While you should request an interchange-plus pricing plan, be prepared to have to accept a tiered plan instead, particularly if you haven’t been in business for very long. Likewise, expect to deal with a standard three-year contract with an automatic renewal clause, an early termination fee, and a rolling reserve.

When To Choose SMB Global

  • You need an offshore merchant account and you're looking to sell in as many currencies as possible

Get Started With SMB Global

Read our in-depth review

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Payment Processing Rating Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching the payment processing industry since 2009. Our writers have reviewed hundreds of credit card processors, merchant account services, and mobile payment apps, evaluating each provider carefully on several different metrics.

When comparing different payment processing companies and applications to one another, we consider numerous data points. Our experts start by comparing credit card processing rates, the presence of additional fees, contract length, sales practices, and the presence or absence of additional features and services, like point of sale software. Each provider is judged on its own merits and how well it stacks up to industry standards; then it is weighed against the other providers on the list.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure every company or application included meets our internal standards for quality and reputation. Any list of recommended payment processors on our site might contain a mix of standard merchant accounts, third-party payment processors, mobile payment devices, and high-risk payment processors, depending on what our expert feels is the best fit for certain scenarios or business types.

For additional details about Merchant Maverick’s review and rating processes, please refer to any or all of the following methodology pages:

15

Years reviewing payment processors

100+

Providers evaluated

25

Attributes and features assessed per vendor

40+

Years combined experience


Noteworthy Features In An Offshore Merchant Account

For the most part, you’ll want the same services and features for an offshore high-risk merchant account that you would want for a traditional merchant account:

  • Processing hardware (credit card terminals and POS systems) for retail merchants
  • A robust payment gateway and an online account dashboard for eCommerce merchants
  • A virtual terminal for mail-order and telephone-order (MOTO) businesses
  • A smartphone- or tablet-based mobile processing system (depending on your business needs)

In addition to these basic merchant account features, there are several special features that your offshore credit card processor might (or might not) include.

Multi-Currency Support

If you’re going to do business in a foreign country, you’ll want your customers to be able to pay in their local currency. Multi-currency accounts allow you to maintain balances in multiple currencies and can save you a ton of money in currency conversion costs.

Currency Conversion Services

Having offshore credit card processing will require you to convert funds into your own local currency at some point. Most overseas account providers include built-in currency conversion services when it comes time to transfer funds to your business account. While these services often offer much lower conversion fees than what a bank would charge you, it still pays to shop around for the best deal.

You may save money by using an international transfer service such as TransferWise or OFX.

Expanded Anti-Fraud Features

Offshore merchant accounts involve a higher degree of fraud risk than their traditional counterparts, so you’ll need extra anti-fraud protection. With most offshore payment processing providers, enhanced anti-fraud features come standard. These features automatically detect suspicious activity, hopefully stopping any fraudulent activity before it can affect your business.

Providers are increasingly turning to AI features to improve their ability to detect potential fraud beyond what’s possible with a traditional algorithm.

How To Choose The Best Offshore Payment Processor

While many offshore merchant account providers also specialize in high-risk accounts more generally, not all high-risk processors work with international merchants or provide offshore credit card processing for domestic merchants. Many high-risk specialists only work with US-based businesses and only provide accounts through US-based banks and processors.

Before you apply for an offshore account, confirm that the company you’re considering works with businesses located in your country. If the info isn’t on the company website, talk to the sales staff to get a confirmation.

Providers that specialize in setting up offshore payment processing can usually get you an account in just about any country around the world, though obviously, there are exceptions (Afghanistan, North Korea, etc). But with the exception of countries limited by political considerations or severe instability, the possibilities are wide open.

In most cases, get an account in a country where you expect to do a significant amount of business. On the other hand, if your business is going to operate exclusively in the US, an offshore account serves mainly as a last resort for getting a merchant account when you simply can’t get approved for a domestic high-risk account. Banking regulations are relatively relaxed in many countries, and the willingness on the part of banks and processors to work with high-risk businesses is also more favorable.

All the while, bear in mind the disadvantages of offshore credit card processors that we listed near the beginning of this article. As always, special advantages come with particular downsides.

Tips To Help Get Your Offshore Merchant Account A Quick Approval

When applying for an offshore merchant account, it helps to have your required documents in order (and the necessary amount of business & processing history) first. While requirements will vary depending on the processor, country, and acquiring bank, let’s look at what PaynetSecure recommends you have ready when applying.

  • Color copy of driver’s license or passport for the signer on the account
  • Voided check from the bank to which processing funds will settle
  • Three months of business bank statements
  • Six months of payment processing statements
  • Business formation documents such as Articles of Incorporation

PaynetSecure also states the following in the referenced article:

Most jurisdictions require companies to establish a corporation and bank account in the region where the acquiring bank is located (. . .) Some acquiring banks let you wait until the offshore merchant account is approved prior to you completing this step.

Which Offshore Payment Processor Is Right For My Business?

Having a hard-to-place business doesn’t mean you have to run your company through Bitcoin (though some processors do offer crypto payment support!). You can accept credit card payments just like any other business by finding a payment processor that will set you up with the right acquiring banks.

At the same time, be fully aware that signing up for an offshore merchant account is a risky endeavor. Be cautious and carefully research any provider you consider, even the ones we’ve recommended above.

To that end, here are some final tips regarding your search for offshore credit card processing:

  • Be sure your account includes additional fraud prevention features to protect your sensitive financial data
  • Consider registering your business in the country where your merchant account is located
  • Compare multiple offers and choose the provider offering you the best terms & prices
  • Review all contract documents very carefully before signing up

For more information on high-risk and international merchant services — high-risk business loans, for instance — Merchant Maverick has you covered.

FAQs About Offshore Merchant Accounts

What is an offshore merchant account?

Having an offshore merchant account means that your acquiring bank is located in a country other than the one your business is headquartered in. If your business is US-based and you open a merchant account in Brazil, your Brazilian account is an offshore merchant account.

What businesses are considered high-risk?

The following business types are typically considered high-risk by payment processors:

  • Advertising
  • Adult entertainment
  • Alcohol sales
  • Auto sales
  • Cannabis & CBD
  • Charities
  • Credit repair
  • Cryptocurrency trading
  • Online dating services
  • Debt collection
  • Pharmaceuticals & nutraceuticals
  • Events/ticket sales
  • Financial services
  • Firearms
  • Furniture sales
  • Gambling
  • ISPs & web hosts
  • Jewelry
  • Marketing
  • Membership services
  • Pawn shops
  • SaaS software
  • Subscription boxes
  • Tech support
  • Tobacco
  • Time shares
  • Vape sales
  • VPNs

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Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Senior Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Jason has been writing about small business software platforms, services, and financing since 2015. Jason’s expertise has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Time/NextAdvisor, Home Business Magazine, CreditCards.com, GoBankingRates, TheLadders.com, and other publications. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from San Diego State University and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jason Vissers
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