Best Current Account for Vape Businesses

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Running a successful vape business requires a reliable current account to process payments. While many businesses are spoilt for choice in the type of current accounts they can open, vape businesses might need help to get the correct account. This is because most banks and fintechs avoid vape companies, and others might need to be better equipped to handle payments for vape businesses.

The vape industry is classified as a high-risk industry, which makes it harder to get a traditional current account for your vape business, but it is not impossible. As a high-risk industry, you need to research more and look at different current accounts to find one that meets your financial needs.

What is a High-Risk Business?

High-risk businesses and industries are more susceptible to chargebacks, financial instability, fraudulent activities, or legal issues. 

High-risk businesses often face challenges in payment processing because of these risk factors. These industries include online gambling, vaping, and adult entertainment, among others. They are considered high-risk because customers may dispute charges, leading to chargebacks, and fraudulent activities are prevalent in them. Businesses dealing in luxury goods or electronics are also treated as high-risk because they may attract fraudulent buyers or scammers.

Why Is It Hard for Vape Businesses to Open a Current Account?

Your vape business might need help to open a traditional current account because it is considered high-risk. When opening the account, providers will examine the enterprise and sector it works in and then allocate a specific merchant category code.

Some of the factors that the provider will consider include:

      • How long has the business been in operation? Younger vape businesses may have a higher risk than older ones;
      • The financial stability of the business;
      • The creditworthiness of the directors and owners of the business;
      • The income channel and the length of time between payment and delivery of products.

The provider will also assess the larger vape industry under the following factors:

      • Credit risk: Industries with delays between payment and delivery are likelier to be deemed higher risk. If a company goes out of business before it can fulfil an order, the acquirer assumes liability.
      • Regulatory Risk: Some sectors are more regulated than others and are susceptible to drastic changes. The unpredictability reduces the stability of long-term business models and increases risk.
      • Reputational Risk: Banks rely heavily on their reputation, and any activities that could jeopardise it are deemed high-risk.

Because the vape industry is deemed high-risk, most traditional banks will likely turn you down when opening a current account. Your best chance is to work with a high-risk merchant account that will help you process payments seamlessly for your business.

What is a High-risk Merchant Account?

High-risk merchant accounts are issued by financial institutions to businesses that are at an increased risk of issues such as, issuing high-value chargebacks or are more likely to be victims of fraud. Your vape business might also consider a high-risk merchant account if you have high monthly sales volumes of over £15,000 or, a poor credit rating or no credit history.

Because of the higher risk involved, high-risk merchant accounts may charge higher fees and may have additional requirements to allow you to operate the account. One such requirement is to ensure you have enough funds to cover the risk factors.

Characteristics of a high-risk merchant account vary but generally include:

      • Multiple currencies accepted
      • A completely new or relatively new business
      • Businesses in high-risk industries, such as vaping
      • Poor credit rating and financial instability supported
      • Can accommodate a high chargeback and frequency fraud rate
      • The average monthly sales volume is over £15,000
      • An average credit card transaction is over £50

The Best current account for Vape Businesses

Although the selection of high-risk merchants and current accounts for vape businesses might be limited, you still have plenty of options available for you. You can compare the options available and pick the one that offers your business the best features and perks.

Pay iO

Pay iO is one of the UK’s leading digital financial services providers, specialising in small and large businesses and high-risk merchant accounts. It has created a name for itself by providing innovative and comprehensive financial solutions for businesses of all sizes, making it a leading financial partner for many businesses in the UK.


Pay iO offers extensive features that provide you with the tools and access to make and receive payments from your clients. Pay iO utilises the latest technology to onboard customers as quickly as possible. While the digital payment services provider follows the same protocol as other accounts, it does so in a shorter time, allowing you to access services like processing and receiving payments from your customers once approved.

Pay iO also supports account-to-account payments, eliminating intermediaries and making it easier to access money. It also improves your customer payment experience and provides them with easy and secure payment options when checking out of your vape shop.

You can also access Open Banking to get paid in real time and free up your time, money, and resources using ready-made plugins. You can also customise your payment journey by implementing the Pay iO API.

Being a digital platform, Pay iO allows you to access and manage your transactions and expenses in one place, saving you administrative resources. If your vape business is large enough and transacts outside the UK, you can also conveniently use features such as sending and receiving global payments. With your Pay iO account, you get a digital wallet , dedicated account details and a debit card, all hassle-free and fully online.

You can also access a multi-currency account that allows you to hold funds in different currencies, making paying your suppliers in their local currencies easier. Should you need to convert currencies, Pay iO gives you the real mid-market rate and just one low fee to exchange them. You also get access to fast and straightforward multi-currency bank transfers. With Pay iO’s global network, you have an account everywhere, making running your business easier and expanding to other markets.


Pay iO fees depend on the type of account you want to open. The base plan is the Pay iO Pro, which costs £25 per month; there’s Pay iO Plus for £100 per month, and there’s the customisable Pay iO Platinum that can be matched to your business needs, including getting an account manager that you can easily contact and a 24/7 customer support team. Pay iO also has modest and competitive fees for local and card payments, allowing you to enjoy quick and efficient services while remaining competitive in the marketplace. 


WorldPay is another option for a current account for your vape shop. It is a leading payment processing provider that supports over 400,000 merchants in 146 countries and processes millions of daily transactions.

There are two ways your vape business can benefit from WorldPay. The first is through the WorldPay payment gateway for ecommerce, and the second is through WorldPay Card Machines for face-to-face or virtual purchases.

WorldPay can help you process your payments, whether brick-and-mortar or online. You can manage your sales from a single online account and avoid surprise bills with ultra-transparent pricing and excellent fraud protection.


WorldPay’s merchant portal allows you to seamlessly accept various types of payments, including card, online, mail, and even phone and email. The built-in features provide flexible payment solutions that make receiving payments easy for your customers.

WorldPay also offers a business manager tool. It lets you manage all your transactions and provides key reports and insights that help you better understand your sales and identify areas for improvement.

The vape industry is also considered high risk, WorldPay offers a reliable and user-friendly fraud protection feature to protect every payment and user information.

If you have any problems with your account, WorldPay has a reliable customer support team available 24/7 over the phone and online. Devoted teams are also available to help you switch your small business payment system to WorldPay so the process is as smooth as possible.


WorldPay offers competitive fees for a banking service with numerous unique features and benefits, including 2.75% pay-as-you-go fees for each transaction plus £0.20. The monthly subscription rate is £19. Refunds are free to process, and the platform has no hidden fees.

If you choose the WorldPay machine, you can pay a fixed monthly or custom rate. The custom rate is £17.50 per month for a standard terminal for 18 months and variable transaction fees based on your sales volumes.

WorldPay is an excellent option if you like simplicity, fixed monthly payments, and custom packages tailored to your business’s needs.


PayPal has been known to cull thousands of vape businesses but remains one of the leading payment options for online businesses, including vape shops. It’s perfect when you’re looking for a pay-as-you-go structure and a reputable household name with a worldwide presence.

One reason to consider PayPal is that it has a high-risk merchant account with standard services and no hidden fees.

Instead of charging you a monthly fee for your account, PayPal adds an extra percentage to the amount it takes off each transaction to cover processing costs. This percentage varies depending on whether you take an online payment or a physical in-store payment.

Also, PayPal offers an all-in-one payments service that includes virtual terminal and payment gateway services, allowing you to get all your financials in order under one roof. Transferring money from your PayPal account to your current account for vaping takes about three to five days.

Unfortunately, it takes some time to understand PayPal’s payment structure, and taking payments in different currencies can be expensive. However, with no monthly fees, an all-in-one commerce package and a pricing structure tailored to your needs, PayPal remains a formidable option when looking for a current account for your vape shop.


ccNetPay is ideal for vape shop owners looking for a simple pricing structure and EU transactions. The firm specialises in providing high-risk merchant accounts in various industries, including gaming, adult entertainment and pharmaceuticals, so you can rest assured they understand the processes and the risks involved and can help you navigate the waters.

It is a great choice if your vape shop sells in the EU. ccNetPay has partnerships with several European acquiring banks, making payment processing easier and more efficient.

Among the many perks of considering ccNetPay is its transparent fee structure, which is readily available on its website. The website also clearly states that high-risk merchant accounts have a higher annual fee of €950 and a longer payout time of around seven days.

However, unlike WorldPay, there are no limits on transaction volume, which is quite an advantage for the flourishing vape business. However, the fees are relatively high, and you might need to wait a few weeks for the account activation.

These are some of the best options for a current account for your vape business. They help you overcome the red tape of high-street banking and ensure you can process your payments quickly and efficiently.

How to Open a High-risk Merchant Account

After finding the right service partner, you can apply for a high-risk account online quickly and easily. During the approval process, you will need to provide various types of documentation, such as:

      • Incorporation certificate
      • A copy of a recent Bank Statement showing company name and current account information
      • A scanned copy of the valid ID of the company’s owners and directors
      • Organisation’s structure chart
      • Shareholders’ Certificate
      • Six months of processing history, including chargebacks.

You should also ensure that your business meets the following requirements:

      • Clearly display the company’s legal name
      • Publish a Refund and Return policy
      • Display contact details for customer services and support
      • List out all the methods and timings of product delivery
      • It is secured with an SSL certificate and uses HTTPS

Every merchant account application process is different depending on the chosen provider. Some may have additional requirements to open the account. You should meet all the requirements to maximise your chances of getting the account approved.

How are High-risk Current Accounts Different from Regular Ones?

The differences between high- and low-risk accounts vary from provider to provider. However, some standards and general indicators differentiate low-risk and high-risk businesses. Some of the common characteristics of low-risk businesses include:

      • Operating with only one currency
      • Selling of low-risk products such as household goods, books and clothes
      • A well-established business that has been around for multiple years
      • A revenue of less than £15,000 per month
      • The average credit card transaction is less than £50
      • A very low chargeback frequency or none at all
      • The use of 3D secure technology to prevent fraud

Similarly, there are overall characteristics of a high-risk merchant that include the following: 

      • Various currencies accepted
      • A completely new or relatively new business
      • Bad reputation due to the nature of service or products
      • Poor credit rating and financial instability
      • A high chargeback frequency and fraud rate
      • The average sales volume exceeds £15,000
      • The average credit card transaction is more than £50

How to Increase Your Chances of Being Approved for a current account

If you’ve tried applying for an account before and got turned down, you should be more cautious when making the new application and observe the following tips to increase your chances of getting approved.

Keep your accounts up to date

Make sure all your accounts are up to date. It will go a long way in providing your current financial status for your provider to determine whether you’re a high-risk business or they can handle you like a regular business.

Improve your positive credit rating

High-risk merchant accounts are often for those with poor credit ratings. Taking steps to improve your credit rating before applying reduces the provider’s concerns and improves your approval chances. You can do this by avoiding late payments and clearing overdue debts.

Make sure your T&Cs are fully compliant

Ensure that your terms and conditions are fully compliant and within the legal framework of regulatory practices and restrictions. This will help convince providers that you won’t cause any issues.

Make sure your contract protects you

When using a third-party fulfilment service, you should ensure your contract protects you, as this can increase your company’s risk around orders and refunds.

Do your research

Some providers have more requirements than others. Doing your research beforehand ensures you apply with a provider with the highest chance of approval.

If you can’t get a merchant that will approve you, you should consider offshore merchant accounts. This will increase your chances of getting accepted with better and more preferable terms.

Benefits of a High-risk Merchant Account for Vape Businesses

How to Choose the Best current account for Your Vape Business

Choosing the best current account for your vape business isn’t something you should take lightly. You need to be sure the provider you work with will deliver the right results for your business. To help you make the best decisions, you should consider the following factors:

Proven Track Record in High-Risk Industries:

You first want a provider that understands the high-risk industry and has proven experience navigating it. Opt for a provider with deep knowledge of your industry’s regulations, transaction patterns and challenges because they will help you:

      • Navigate industry-specific regulations effectively
      • Understand typical transaction patterns to optimise payment processing
      • Tailored solutions to your business model, including billing and risk management

Clear Fee Structure

Understandably, high-risk businesses will have higher fees. But the fees should be straightforward to understand. Only involve merchants with a simple fee structure. Examine the entire fee schedule and focus on the following:

      • Monthly and transaction fees are the primary costs of maintaining the merchant account.
      • Check the chargeback fees charged for each transaction disputed by the cardholder.
      • Check the rolling reserve requirements. These are the funds held by the provider to cover potential chargebacks.
      • International fees for transactions processed outside the UK
      • Discount rate, which is a percentage of each transaction deducted from processing fees

Customer Service

Any current account can entail complex issues that require prompt resolution. Choose providers that have a responsive and knowledgeable customer support team. The ideal provider with a good customer support team should exhibit the following:

      • Availability for queries and ability to promptly address questions and concerns
      • Expert guidance in handling disputes and minimising costs
      • Compliance guidance with regulatory and financial guidelines

Robust Security Protocols

You want to ensure your customers’ information and financial transactions are safe and secure from unauthorised access. For this, you need to ensure the provider has strong security measures such as:

      • SSL encryption to secure sensitive data transmission and storage
      • Secure payment gateways to protect transactions from unauthorised access
      • PCI DSS Compliance adheres to global security standards for payment card transactions.

Customisation Options

The provider you choose to work with should provide a certain level of customisation to ensure their service provides the right features and services for your business, such as:

      • Customisable billing that allows you to align your billing cycles with your business’s cash flow
      • Set limits to manage funds and reduce cash flow issues through customised payment thresholds
      • Tailor strategies to your specific needs to mitigate fraud

These factors can prevent disappointment down the road and constant account switching, which can confuse customers and even dent customer trust.

Closing Remarks

Getting the best current account for your vape business might be more challenging than for other businesses, but it’s possible. You must carefully weigh and thoroughly research your options to ensure you get the right partner who is willing to offer practical features and benefits for growing your business.


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