If you’re thinking about setting up and/or operating in the vaping niche, think again! Getting set-up with official vape payment processing – you know, so you can accept credit cards and such – is literally impossible…
I say, impossible, but it’s not entirely undoable – you just have to have A LOT of persistence and know where to look and exactly what you’re doing.
I discovered this first-hand when setting up the VapeBeat Store, a place for our readers to buy high-quality E Juice in big bottles at great prices.
Prior to launching the store, I thought the hardest part would be getting everything built and developed, as well as learning/using all the new software. At least, that’s what I thought…
Turns out I was dead wrong.
Shopify Pay & Apple Pay Bans ALL Vape Payment Processing
We spent a TON of money developing the store – development work is hell! And once we were finally finished and managed to get a couple of sales out the door, guess what happened?
Shopify pulled the plug.
I woke up the day after launch to an email from Shopify that informed me I could no longer use their official payment gateway.
Why’s that? Simple: it has banned “vape” products from sale.
Apple Pay does not allow payments for vape products either.
You can sell vape products through Shopify, but you can’t use ANY of the major payment gateways.
Why is this?
Honestly, I have no idea. I think it’s mainly down to vaping being under heavy scrutiny by the fascists that run the FDA.
In the UK, it’s no way near as bad – go figure!
Vape Retailers Are Classed As “High-Risk Accounts”
After spending about $5K on the store, I was determined not to let it all go to waste. There were tons of vape retailers online, and they all took payments, so I knew there must be a way of actually doing it.
And there is, but it is a monumental pain in the ass to sort out. I mean, dealing with payment gateways and merchant account setups is never fun, but when you’re a vape company… it’s like running a marathon knee-deep in treacle.
The reason it’s so difficult is that ALL vape retailers are considered high-risk merchants.
What does “high-risk” mean? Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Credit Card companies are worried about the legality/safety of the products
- They’re worried about regulation changes/bans.
- State-bans on Flavors make it hard to regulate
Bottomline: they’re making it difficult for adults to get hold of a product that is proved to be 95% safer than smoking.
Not only THAT but in the UK, the government and public health bodies are now actively promoting vaping and e-cigs as the #1 tool to kill smoking inside a generation.
But I guess the douchebags at MasterCard know better.
High-Risk Merchant Accounts
If you want to enter the vape niche and actually sell stuff, you’re going to need to get yourself a high-risk merchant account.
There are specialists out there that do them, but just because they do doesn’t mean they’ll accept your application.
It took over 10 applications to get my forms looked at; and even now, weeks later, I’m still waiting on an answer as to whether or not they’ll give me an account…
Basically, it’s LONG. And if you’re inexperienced with this kind of thing it can be exceptionally frustrating.
If you are hell-bent on doing it, though, you’re going to have to go with a high-risk merchant account from a specialist vendor.
Don’t make the same mistake I did, thinking you can just use PayPal or Shopify because it really doesn’t work like that.