The Best E-Cig Merchant Account Providers

Whether you have a brick and mortar business that sells electronic cigarettes, or you’re operating 100% online, being able to accept credit card payments is critical.

There are a lot of ways you can set that up, but working with an e-cig merchant services provider offers a lot of benefits.

While it can be tricky to find a payment processor that will work with e-cig businesses like yours, they’re out there, and we can help you find the right one to meet your needs.

Let’s talk about our top picks for e-cig credit card processing companies for your business.

Our Top Picks for E-Cig Payment Processors

Easy Pay Direct
Specializes in working with high risk businesses and can provide them with merchant accounts and payment processing services for in-store and online transactions.
Domestic accounts have zero early termination fees.
Variable contract terms.
High risk tolerance.
Single point of contact for multiple merchant accounts.
Public pricing is available.



Best for

E-commerce companies, SaaS companies, "high-risk businesses", & established small/medium businesses ($500,000+ in annual sales)

Specializes in

Easy Pay Direct has unique gateway software and banking solutions to optimize payments for eCommerce, SaaS, information products, supplements, and CBD amongst other verticals.

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee:  $99

Monthly Fee: $24.95

Swipe Rate: 1.59% + $0.17

Keyed-in Rate:  2.39% + $0.29

Early Termination Fee: $0 (domestic accounts)

Contract Terms:

1 Year 3 Years
Offers many options for high risk businesses that need to accept in-person payments.
No setup fee.
No early termination fee.
Works with small businesses.
Month to month contract.
Works with merchants in the United States and Canada.



Best for

Small businesses

Specializes in

Online, retail, service industries

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee: $0

Monthly Fee: $20

Swipe Rate: Variable

Keyed-in Rate: Variable

Early Termination Fee: $0

Contract Terms:

Can approve many high risk businesses on the same day for merchant accounts and payment processing services.
Works with any size high risk business.
No setup fee.
Variable rates depending on the merchant's volume.
Merchants are notified whenever a fraud or chargeback occurs.
Checks are allowed to be accepted from customers.



Best for

eMerchantBroker is best for any size business that is considered high-risk. It's considered one of the top payment processors for high-risk businesses that would otherwise have difficulty finding a standard merchant account provider. 

Specializes in

eMerchantBroker specializes in credit repair, collections agencies, adult websites, travel and timeshare, firearms and guns, bankruptcy and bad credit, online and in-person smoke shops. They also work with electronic cigarettes and other companies that fit into the high-risk merchant account category.

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee: $0

Monthly Fee: Undisclosed

Swipe Rate: 3.00% + $0.15

Keyed-in Rate: 4.00% + $0.25

Early Termination Fee: Up to $595

Contract Terms:

1 Year 3 Years

What is an E-Cig Merchant Account?

An e-cigarette merchant account is a special type of bank account that is used to allow businesses to accept credit cards and other payment methods.

A merchant account is not the same as your business bank account, but the two are connected once you have services set up. Some merchant account providers only offer merchant accounts, while others also provide payment processing services.

This is how the process of accepting payments works:

  1. The customer uses a credit card (or another form of electronic payment) to pay for their order.
  2. The payment processor contacts the credit card company to get payment authorization.
  3. Once the payment is approved, a hold is placed on those funds until all transactions in the batch are settled; typically at the end of the day.
  4. When a batch is settled, money is pulled from the customer’s credit card account and deposited into the merchant account.
  5. The merchant account provider will remove any appropriate fees to cover the cost of their services.
  6. The money is then deposited into the business bank account, which is where you have access to it.

Accepting payments is a complicated and involved process. But working with a merchant services provider that has experience working with vape stores will help to make it go smoothly from start to finish.

Why do Electronic Cigarette Businesses Need Payment Processing?

Vape stores - whether they operate online or brick and mortar locations - need to be able to process payments made with credit cards, debit cards, and other methods. Without this service, online e-cig stores could not exist and others would have to restrict their customers to only paying with cash.

That could spell serious trouble for your vape shop; especially if your competitors have payment processing services in place. People enjoy the convenience of paying with credit cards.

Payment Processing Options for Vape Stores

E-cigarette businesses have many options available to them for processing payments. It really all depends on the type of business they have and if they have plans to expand.

POS Systems and Credit Card Terminals

Vape shops that operate in brick and mortar locations need a way to accept in-person payments. This is typically done through a POS system or a credit card terminal, although there are other options as well.

Both POS systems and credit card terminals allow customers to swipe, tap, or dip their payment cards. They can choose to enter a PIN or process the payment as credit.

Today’s POS systems offer a lot of additional features that many business owners enjoy. They can be used to manage payroll, keep track of inventory, and complete many other daily tasks.

Mobile Payment Card Readers

Using a mobile card reader may not be as common in e-cig shops, but many business owners might prefer this option because it’s more compact.

This type of hardware functions much like a POS system, and it can be used to keep track of sales as well as complete other tasks.

Any vape shop owner that plans to sell products in-person but outside the walls of their store may want to consider having one of these on-hand.

Virtual Terminals

A virtual terminal is similar to a POS system, but there are some differences.

Instead of using more traditional POS hardware, a virtual terminal provides a way to make payments through a website. The website can be accessed through a desktop computer, a laptop, or any other device that has an internet connection.

Virtual terminals involve inputting the customer’s payment information manually, though it is possible to find attachable card readers too.

If your business accepts orders over the phone or through the mail, having a virtual terminal makes processing those payments a lot easier and more convenient.

Payment Gateways

If your e-cig business is online, you’ll need a payment gateway to process your payments.

Anyone who has ever purchased anything online or from an app has used a payment gateway. This is a type of software that integrates with your website’s shopping cart.

Payment gateways can be branded for your business, making it easy for your customers to know their purchases and confidential information is secure.

What’s the Difference Between a Vape Merchant Account Provider and a Payment Aggregator?

There are two main ways of processing credit cards for your vape store. You can work with a merchant account provider, or you can opt for a payment aggregator.

Payment aggregators are also called payment service providers. You are probably very familiar with them if you know about PayPal, Stripe, and Square. They all fall under this category.

Payment aggregators have a lot of benefits, and working with them is a good choice for some business owners. For example, they offer:

  • Quick approval; sometimes even on the same day.
  • Flat-rate pricing, which is easy for accounting purposes.
  • Fast access to sales proceeds for businesses.

The problem is that as of this writing, payment service providers do not work with electronic cigarette businesses. There are some business owners that try to work around this by coming up with clever names for their products or disguising what their stores actually sell.

This approach is problematic because if the lie is ever discovered, that business could risk having their account frozen. They could lose access to all of their money, and even end up needing to close.

To make matters worse, that level of deception has landed many vape businesses on the MATCH list, which is a type of merchant blacklist. Once you are on the MATCH list, getting off it is extremely hard, and sometimes impossible.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a Merchant Services Provider for Your E-Cig Business

Electronic cigarette businesses are considered high risk, which means that MSPs that only work with standard risk businesses will not work with them.

But there are many high risk MSPs that will. Even so, they are not all the same, and it is important to understand what you should be considering before you decide to work with one.

Understand Your Contract Terms

This is of utmost importance.

Before you sign on the dotted line and begin working with any vape friendly merchant account provider, take a look at the proposed contract terms very closely.

You may be offered two contracts - one for your merchant account and payment processing, and one for any equipment you may need.

The top payment processing experts advise against entering into any type of contract or lease agreements for hardware. Doing so can result in you having to pay thousands of dollars for equipment that would have only cost you about $500 if you had purchased it outright.

Also, read over the terms of the contract carefully.

What happens if you decide you need to cancel services? Will you be hit with a huge cancelation fee?

Not all high risk payment processors charge cancelation fees, but it’s important to know what it is in advance, just in case.

Look for Chargeback Prevention Services

A chargeback occurs when a person disputes a charge on their credit card. Your customers have six months following a purchase to request chargebacks.

Chargebacks are expensive, and if you have too many of them, it could be problematic for your business. Your merchant account could get frozen until an investigation is completed, which could take months.

Many merchant account providers offer chargeback prevention services, which is very helpful and can save you money. Instead of allowing the chargeback to process, MSPs can work out a way to refund the customer.

This method saves you from having to pay chargeback fees to your merchant account provider.

Learn About Transaction Fees

Payment processing is not available free of charge, in most cases, and especially not for businesses in the high risk category.

It’s important to learn about the various types of transaction fee structures and what they mean for your business.

  • Flat rate pricing - This type of pricing model charges the same amount for all purchases across the board. Businesses often like it because it makes accounting easier for them. But in the long-term, it can be rather expensive.
  • Tiered pricing - This model categorizes purchases into tiers or levels. They are qualified, mid-qualified, or non-qualified. Qualified purchases get the lowest transaction fees, whereas non-qualified get the highest. Because you sell electronic cigarettes, with this model, you would be charged the non-qualified rate.
  • Interchange-plus pricing - This model is considered the most transparent, even though it can be complicated and difficult to understand. In the simplest of terms, interchange rates are set twice per year by the credit card companies (in April and October). Depending on the type of payment used, you will be charged the appropriate interchange rate for that transaction. The “plus” refers to the amount that is charged by your processor, which is usually only a few cents per transaction.

There are also surcharge programs and cash discount programs available, which can offset the cost of processing payments significantly. But it may be difficult to find MSPs that offer them for vape shops.

How to Choose the Best Vape Payment Processing Company

There are a couple of things you’ll want to look for before you make a decision to work with an e-cig merchant account provider.

Customer Service

Even though technology has made our lives a lot easier, it’s certainly not foolproof. You may experience issues at some point, and if and when you do, you need to know someone will be available to help you.

Make sure you know how to contact customer service, and look for multiple contact options. You should be able to call, email, or even chat with a representative online to get your problems solved.

It’s also a good idea to find out about the availability of tech support too. Many merchant account providers and payment processors offer 24/7 customer service.

Ease of Use

Nothing is worse than getting set up with a payment processor and not being able to use their equipment or website.

You may be able to get a demo before you decide so you can see exactly how a company’s system will work for you. This also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about the software and get clarification on its features.

It shouldn’t be complicated to process payments for your business.

No Hidden Fees

This goes back to your contract.

Many payment processors are not upfront about their fees, and it’s possible that they won’t disclose all of them to you in the very beginning.

Ask about all of the fees you’ll be required to pay on a monthly and yearly basis. Clarify that those fees are spelled out in your contract.

Additional Pro Tips

Consider Your Future Plans

Maybe at the moment, your vape shop is a brick and mortar store with a physical location in your town. But what do you want to be?

Do you want to eventually have an online presence? If you do, you’ll need to work with a processor that can scale with you as your business grows.

If you work with a company that only offers POS systems and then next year you want to go online, you’ll have to break your contract to make that happen. That could end up being very expensive.

Our advice? Find an MSP that has everything you need to grow. You’ll be thankful you did.

Expect a Rolling Reserve Requirement

Most high risk businesses will be required to have a rolling reserve to cover chargebacks, if necessary.

A rolling reserve means that a certain percentage of your sales - usually about 10% - will be held back to cover that type of expense. The term is typically about six months.

Once six months has come, one month’s worth of sales proceeds will be released to your business bank account. This process will continue until the provider decides you don’t need it anymore, but for many, it is a stipulation that never goes away.

Opt for Multiple Payment Options

If there’s one thing that customers like, it’s having options. More people are choosing to pay with alternate forms of payment like Apple Pay and Google Pay simply because they’re more convenient.

The more payment options you have, the better. In time, mobile wallet payments are going to get even more popular, so you’ll want to have that technology in place right from the start.

Our Picks for the Best E-Cig Merchant Services Providers