Pinwheel payment gateway alternatives for high-risk websites.

Tower Payments provides high-risk credit card processing to online businesses that major payment gateways, including Pinwheel, have declined.

Online business owners who sell adult toys, headshop items like pipes and bongs, cannabis processing equipment, or that offer subscription programs and recurring billing payment plans often have difficulty accepting credit cards online.

“Declined by Pinwheel” is different than being declined by Stripe, Square, or PayPal

Because standard payment gateway providers like Stripe, PayPal, and Square often do not allow high-risk merchants, website owners find themselves searching online and applying for services they do not fully understand.

Terms like high-risk payment gateway and high-risk merchant account are often used interchangeably, but there is a real difference between the two. A Payment gateway interfaces with your shopping cart, and a merchant account connects to that payment gateway and processes your customer’s transactions.

If an online business owner applies for a payment gateway through PayPal, Stripe, or Square, what they are really applying for is a seamless payment gateway merchant account combination that is always sold together and cannot be separated. If you apply for payment processing through Authorize.Net or PinWheel, your payment gateway will be provided by the gateway, but the merchant account piece will be handed off to one of the gateways’ processing partners. This is where issues can arise.

Confused? Please reach out to us, we love helping online businesses. We will explain everything to you in plain English and provide you with a free, fair quote.

PayPal, Square, and Stripe’s terms can be restrictive, but they are also more clear than Pinwheel’s

PayPal, Stripe, and Square all have prohibited activities or restricted product type lists that outline what goods and services they allow. For example, Square’s banned items list explicitly prohibits subscription offers. PayPal’s list of prohibited uses effectively bans common headshop items under the paraphernalia header. Stripe’s blacklist of banned products and services specifically lists adult toys as restricted from using their services.

Complicating things even more is the fact that Pinwheel is often sold as a “Gateway Only” and then connected to any one of hundreds of merchant account providers by merchant processors, payment consultants, and independent credit card processing sales offices and agents.

This all means that although you may think you were declined for a Pinwheel merchant account, depending on the reseller, you could have actually been declined by a large, low-risk merchant account provider. Pinwheel’s terms do mention some obvious items, like a prohibition on using their service for illegal activity. Still, the bulk of their restrictions would actually be handled by the merchant account provider used behind the scenes.

If Pinwheel has turned you down, we’d love to help you accept credit cards

Tower Payments can help your high-risk website accept credit cards on dozens of website shopping carts, including WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix.  With Tower’s expert guidance and clear upfront terms and pricing, your will know exactly who you are applying with and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

When there are decisions that need to be made, we will go over all the details by phone, email, or both. We’re different than the big high-risk credit card processors and all-in-one payment gateways.

Contact us for a free, fair quote – we think you’ll be happy you did.