Just like in any industry, adult entertainment is in need of effective and reliable financial partners and payment processors to work with. Unfortunately, most commercial and business banks stay away from porn studios, adult businesses, and pleasure retailers because of the claims that these types of businesses are too high risk.
These concerns go for traditional payment providers and gateways like PayPal and Stripe. Luckily, this growing need for financial services for adult sites has allowed certain platforms who specialize in adult to thrive.
In this blog post, Adult Site Broker will discuss payments with the high-risk payment processors in this industry and we list some of our favorite providers that you can employ for secure payments.
This is a pretty basic question, with a not-so-basic answer. According to U.S. News & World Report, a payment processor is a term used to describe the steps, processes, and vendors associated with allowing a credit card payment or a virtual transaction to go through. There are multiple steps and players involved in a credit card transaction. Transactions involving credit cards and debit cards are processed through payment processing. In order to transfer money from the issuing bank of a customer to a merchant’s account, payment processing services and payment gateways are used.
Payment gateways securely connect information that is sent through the payment processor. So, imagine that you are out at a restaurant, and it’s time to pay your bill. You just hand the server your credit or debit card, and the payment information is input through the payment gateway and communicates whether the payment was declined or accepted. The processor, however, leads the actual process of the transaction by providing a seamless experience to gather card information from the bank of the customer to initiate the transfer of funds to the merchant’s commercial bank.
Fees are associated with the processing of payments through processors and gateways. Fees do vary, as you’d expect. The mainstream credit card processing fees range between 1.5% and 3.5%. High risk merchants like the adult industry generally pay a lot more.
When it comes to payment processing services in the adult entertainment industry, there are two types of payment processors: traditional processors and high-risk processors. Regular payment processors include services from companies like Square, Stripe, Zettle, and Payment Depot. The best-known payment processors in the mainstream aspect of the industry are Square and Stripe. For example, Square is best for small restaurant businesses and food trucks that want quick, built for processing and gateway access on the spot. Stripe is built more for e-commerce and retail.
High-risk payment processors work with merchants that are high-risk because they happen to sell age-restricted products and services, like cigarette products and alcohol. Other services include firearms, marijuana in some jurisdictions, and (of course) adult content and sex-based businesses.
Payment processors that deal with high-risk industries like these also help prevent chargebacks and counter and fully mitigate risks related to fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities.
Payment processors for the adult entertainment industry are cutting-edge platforms that counter the institutional limitations of traditional fin-tech service providers. It’s not surprising that when you purchase premium adult content or subscribe to a membership site you don’t see a standalone PayPal option at check-out. That’s because PayPal, per its widespread use by financial institutions and its risk-averse business practices, doesn’t permit the purchase of sexual content. Exceptions are the successful processing of payments covering pleasure products and online sex toy retailers and one other exception we’ll discuss later. To circumvent this overall, one of these high risk payment processors do enable PayPal as an option at check-out via the security and privacy protocol.
Even the credit card companies Visa and MasterCard are spooked by adult content because of public, political, and legal outrage. For instance, former New York Times opinion contributor Nicholas Kristof published his notorious “The Children of Pornhub” column causing moral panic and public outrage over MindGeek’s content moderation policies. As a reaction to Kristof’s column and the public outrage, Visa and MasterCard suspended payments for Pornhub and its network of sites. This action directly impacted Pornhub’s adult creators.
High-risk payment processors are crucial in this industry. As is the focus of this blog post, each of the options we list below is what we as a company view are some of the best options for payment processing services in the adult entertainment industry.
Epoch is a well-known payment processor and provider of payment gateway services for high risk industries, including adult entertainment. Epoch is widely used across the industry and is deployed by some of the most valuable adult brands. Services include card processing, ACH bank transfers, and a turnkey set of tools that enables payment processing services for sites of all types around the world. As we already mentioned, Epoch is a notable player in this space because they enable PayPal services for sites that would otherwise not qualify. Fees are variable, depending on the services you utilize.
CCBill is a well-known payment processor in the adult entertainment industry and other high-risk industries. CCBill accepts payments from the United States, Canada, and most European nations. Overall, the business processes over $1 billion in transactions annually. High-risk payments across several industries are the primary source of funds for CCBill, with a hefty focus on adult payments. Adult content and business processing fees range from about 10.8% to 14.5%. There are several features and models for using CCBill, including protocol for subscriptions and memberships, and one-time web payments. CCBill offers highly competitive rates and solutions that allow adult businesses, producers, indie adult content creators, and performers to accept payments from the major credit and debit card networks.
OrbitalPay is another option for high-risk payment processing for adult entertainment. They do offer services that cater to genres of businesses like product sales and retail, membership sites, live camming sites, and VOD and direct services from adult entertainers and studios. OrbitalPay offers high-risk adult merchant accounts that allow businesses that deal with adult services to provide fully-integrated and responsive credit card payment services. Regardless of the services, the adult merchant accounts provided by OrbitalPay can accommodate just about any need. Fees do vary, but they are not publicly posted. Contact OrbitalPay for more information about fees.
MobiusPay is yet another option for high-risk payment processing. MobiusPay deals with much of its business in the adult entertainment industry, but with a direct revenue stream from emerging industries like cannabis, CBD, and drug paraphernalia such as pipes. The product and service offerings provided by MobiusPay cater to a plethora of high-risk types of payments, including risks for chargebacks. The tools developed and sold by MobiusPay also include credit card processing services for high-risk clients so that adult industry businesses can take all payments from the major credit and debit card networks from all over the world. And, fees do vary.
Payze is a high-risk payment processing service provider catering to a set of industries including adult entertainment. Featured on the Adult Site Broker Talk podcast, the Payze platform offers a variety of protocols and software tools that allow high-risk businesses to operate. This includes scalability functions to integrate the Payze ecosystem entirely to a membership site or paysite. In the same way as catering to locals, international customers will be easy to accommodate through Payze. Just like other providers on this list, Payze will help you reach more consumers and collect your revenues faster and more efficiently through their trusted banking and payment partnerships.
NETbilling is another provider of high-risk payment processing services for some adult industry firms. The NETbilling offerings include adult transaction processing and payment gateway hailing services. All of these services are provided through the NETbilling software and can be scaled to a degree that can enable credit card payments from the top credit and debit card networks in the world. For example, NETbilling enables comprehensive credit card and online check processing and chargeback protections for membership sites, VOD providers, and live camming websites. All of the platforms on this list, including NETbilling, provide reporting and analytics to track sales trends.
Webbilling is a high-risk payment processing provider catering primarily to the European market. Based in The Netherlands and doing services under WB Technical Services B.V., Webbilling is a viable payment solution for European Union, Eastern European, and Central European countries. Services provided by Webbilling cater directly to not only adult entertainment companies but to e-commerce industry firms and a variety of other high-risk services that require protection from chargebacks. Membership sites and subscriptions that cater to adult services, especially, utilize Webbilling as a payment partner to connect consumers to merchants and allow credit card sales, but their specialty is non-traditional payment methods other processors don’t take.
Verotel by Bitsafe and Bitsafe are both options for payment processing and payment delivery for all adult professionals. Verotel is a payment processor and gateway catering to adult industry affiliates and studios. Membership sites, paysites, competitive rates and volumes, daily revenue payouts, and chargeback protection are provided by the Verotel by Bitsafe platforms. Bitsafe also provides a secure, discreet cross-border payment delivery platform and debit card services for adult models. Combined, the financial services provided by Verotel and Bitsafe offer full-stack payment options. Verotel enables mainstream credit and debit card services and is scalable based on the appropriate pricing. The fees do vary but Verotel is definitely a very reliable payment platform, moving forward.
eMerchantPay is yet another provider of high-risk payment processing services. There are roughly sixty offerings available for adult industry businesses and performers, with many more coming. One aspect that sets eMerchantPay apart from its competitors is the company’s approach to fraud prevention and chargeback mitigation. This approach permits for keeping fees and asking prices low, giving more opportunities to convert and develop new revenue-generating strategies. The eMerchantPay approach also enables businesses of all sizes in the adult industry to take credit cards and debit cards, via the world’s credit and debit card networks. eMerchantPay fees do vary.