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Best Adult Merchant Accounts & Payment Processing Providers

According to conservative estimates, revenue for the sex toys industry in UK is touted to touch US$ 15,342.3 million by 2028, with a compounded annual growth rate of 7.4 all the way till 2028. Despite the staggering numbers, a merchant in the adult industry will have their task cut out convincing a traditional bank to approve an adult merchant account.

Traditional banks consider adult merchants to be high risk, and are less than likely to provide them with merchant services. This is primarily because of the fear of being associated with the industry, which is often seen in a negative light. Moreover, banks are also concerned about potential chargebacks and fraud associated with the industry.

At Merchant Advise, we understand the unique needs of adult merchants and provide them with customised solutions that are designed to meet their specific requirements. If you are struggling to get an adult merchant account approved, we can help you.

Why is the adult services industry considered high risk in the UK

Despite the fact that the adult industry is legal in the UK, it is often considered to be high risk by banks and other financial institutions. This is primarily because of the stigma associated with the industry. But there are other reasons too.

Apart from a few industry majors like Love Honey and Cult Beauty who can operate smoothly, most small businesses looking to tap into this highly lucrative vertical will find themselves navigating a complex web of financial challenges. Here are some of the reasons that banks generally cite.

Reputational hazard

Given the highly sensitive and often taboo nature of the products and services offered by adult businesses, banks are generally unwilling to associate themselves with such businesses for fear of damaging their reputation.

While reputational risk is not something that can be measured, most banks these days are wary of anything that can affect their social media presence and the potential for bad press. They would rather not deal with the hassle that might come with being associated with an industry that is often seen in a negative light.

High chargeback rates

Another reason why banks are generally unwilling to work with adult businesses is because of the high chargeback rates associated with the industry. Chargebacks happen when a customer disputes a charge on their credit card statement and asks the bank to reverse the transaction.

While businesses in other industries have an average chargeback rate of around 0.5%, businesses in the adult industry can expect to see rates as high as 3-5%. This is primarily because customers often feel duped or cheated after making a purchase, and are quick to file a chargeback.

Furthermore, customers can also file a chargeback even if they haven’t actually been charged for the purchase. This is known as a friendly fraud chargeback, and can be just as costly for businesses.

Fraudulent activity

In addition to high chargebacks, businesses in the adult industry also have to deal with a higher than average amount of fraudulent activity. This can take the form of chargebacks, as well as other forms of fraud such as identity theft and credit card fraud.

Given the sensitive nature of the products and services offered by adult businesses, it is not uncommon for customers to use stolen or fake credit cards to make purchases. This can be a costly problem for businesses, as they not only lose the cost of the product or service, but also have to pay fees associated with the fraudulent transaction.

Challenges Merchants Face while trying to apply for a merchant account

Merchants in the UK looking for an adult merchant account face many of the same challenges as those in other countries. The main obstacle is finding a payment processor that is willing to work with them.

This is due to the high risk nature of the industry, which makes processors and banks hesitant to take on the associated risks. In addition, there are often additional requirements placed on businesses in the adult industry, such as higher fees and security deposits.

Despite the challenges, there are a number of UK-based processors that are willing to work with adult businesses. These processors understand the unique needs of these businesses and can offer merchant accounts with competitive rates and terms.

How to apply for a adult merchant account

At Merchant Advice, we have an extensive network of payment processors and acquirers based both, in the UK and overseas, who work with industries considered to be high risk. We understand the unique needs of these businesses and can help you find a merchant account that suits your specific business requirements.

Unlike traditional banking institutions which can subject you to lengthy application processes and high fees, our application process is quick and easy. We also offer some of the most competitive rates in the industry.

Our banking partners offer real time credit and debit card processing, as well as a number of other features and benefits including:

  • Fast approval times
  • Competitive rates
  • Multi-currency support
  • Virtual terminal and mobile phone credit card processing
  • PCI Level 1 Certified Gateways
  • Fraud Scrubbing
  • Address Verification Checks
  • Batch Processing
  • 3D Secure

To apply for an adult merchant account with us, simply fill out our online application form and one of our account managers will be in touch

Adult payment processing for your website

Let us help you find the right merchant account for your adult website. We have a wide range of payment processing solutions available, so you can be sure to find one that suits your specific needs.

We understand the challenges faced by businesses in the adult industry, and our knowledgeable account managers are on hand to offer advice and support every step of the way.

Our skilled underwriters will assess your application and match you with a processor that is best suited to your business. We will also provide you with a dedicated account manager who will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and offer support when needed.


Q. What type of adult businesses do you work with?

A. We have experience working with a wide range of adult businesses, including online retailers, escort agencies, online dating, sex toys, pornography websites, and more.

Q. What are the fees associated with an adult merchant account?

A. The fees associated with an adult merchant account will vary depending on the processor you choose to work with. Since the industry is deemed high risk globally, it would be wise to expect higher fees than those charged for a traditional merchant account.

But you can rest assured that at Merchant Advice, we only work with the most reputable and competitive processors in the industry. This means we can offer you some of the most competitive rates available.

Q. How long does it take to get approved for an adult merchant account?

A. The approval process for an adult merchant account is generally quicker than that of a traditional merchant account. This is because the underwriting process is less stringent and the associated risks are well understood.

At Merchant Advice, we understand that time is of the essence for businesses in the adult industry. That’s why we work with a range of UK and offshore processors who offer fast approval times.

Q. What if the processor terminates my account?

A. Account termination is undoubtedly one of the biggest risks associated with an adult merchant account. This is because the adult industry is subject to vigorous screening. Most acquirers have fraud scrubbing and a slew of other tools at their disposal to detect fraudulent activity. Despite this, we cannot rule out the possibility of your account being terminated.

That said, at Merchant Advice, we only work with the most reputable and experienced processors in the industry with acceptable churn policies. These processors have a wealth of experience working with businesses in the adult industry and know how to minimise the risks associated with these types of businesses.