If you’re an e-commerce owner whose faced challenges with conventional payment methods like Shopify Payments, you’ll be seeking the best payment gateways to replace it.

While Shopify itself has no problem with higher risk sectors, Shopify Payments, owned by Stripe, will often eject people once you move beyond a certain risk level. Perhaps your store has has a spate of chargebacks? Or potentially your income level has now grown to the point where Shopify will dig deeper into your business model.

In those cases, you’ll be pleased to know there are are a range of superb payment gateways you can use to replace Shopify’s own payment methods. As an expert in the payments industry, I’ve spent time researching each to understand the options available.

While it isn’t possible to compare each of these on pure price – since each high risk business has it’s own risk profile based on a complex range of factors – I have investigated functionality, customer service, fraud prevention, integration options and the diversity of international payment methods. This list combines the very best options available to you.


What Does Shopify Consider High Risk?

Shopify considers businesses high-risk based on two main aspects: the type of industry they operate in and the characteristics of their orders.

High-risk Industries:

  • Highly regulated: Pharmaceuticals, gambling, cryptocurrency exchange. Shopify itself doesn’t handle payments for these industries due to stringent regulations.
  • Intangible products: Music downloads, software, virtual goods. These lack physical presence and can pose chargeback risks.
  • Sensitive products: Weapons, adult toys, tobacco. These raise ethical and legal concerns, often falling outside Shopify’s scope.

High-risk Order Characteristics:

  • Suspicious information: Mismatched addresses, free email providers, proxy servers. These indicate potential fraud attempts.
  • Unusual patterns: Large orders exceeding your average, multiple orders to the same address, orders from high-fraud regions. These can be red flags for suspicious activity.
  • Payment method red flags: Pre-paid cards, stolen credit card numbers, rapid-fire orders using the same card. These raise concerns about payment legitimacy.

Shopify also has a built-in fraud analysis tool that flags potentially risky orders based on various factors. This tool assigns a risk score, helping you decide whether to fulfill the order, request additional verification, or cancel it.

The best high-risk payment gateways on Shopify

Running a high-risk business on Shopify presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to secure and reliable payment processing. Thankfully, several specialized gateways cater to these needs. Here’s a closer look at five top options:

Total Processing

Total Processing

Total Processing is a top-notch payment gateway that caters to the specific needs of high-risk businesses on Shopify. Recently bought by NomaPay, they have a level of expertise in this sector which is unmatched.

With a straightforward approach and a commitment to simplifying payment processing, Total Processing has gained the trust of many e-commerce owners in similar situations.

Key Features:

  • Risk Mitigation: Total Processing employs advanced fraud prevention measures to protect your business from chargebacks and fraudulent transactions.
  • Multiple Payment Methods: It supports a wide range of payment methods, including credit cards, e-wallets, and more, ensuring convenience for your customers.
  • Integration: Easy integration with Shopify, allowing you to set up and start processing payments quickly.
  • Transparent Pricing: Clear and transparent pricing structures, so you know what you’re paying for without any hidden fees.

Who Should Use it

  • Businesses with a turnover of 500k pa
  • Any kind of high risk sector
  • Registered entity (and at least one director in the same region) needs to be UK / EU / UAE 
  • Crypto / Adult / Drop-Shipping / Money Remittance / Gaming / Gambling – generally require at least 6 months processing history


worldpay logo

Worldpay is a reliable and well-established payment gateway known for its global reach and secure transactions. For high-risk businesses on Shopify, Worldpay provides a robust solution that can handle high volumes of transactions with ease.

Key Features:

  • Global Reach: Worldpay offers international payment processing, making it an excellent choice for businesses with a global customer base.
  • Security: Enhanced security features, including encryption and fraud detection, protect your business from payment-related risks.
  • Reporting: Comprehensive reporting and analytics tools help you gain insights into your transactions and customer behavior.
  • Customization: Tailor your payment solutions to match your business needs and customer preferences.


Checkout Logo

Checkout.com is a modern and innovative payment gateway designed to meet the demands of high-risk businesses on Shopify. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, it can be a game-changer for your e-commerce store.

Key Features:

  • Fast Processing: Enjoy quick and efficient payment processing, reducing checkout friction for your customers.
  • Scalability: Checkout.com grows with your business, accommodating increased transaction volumes without compromising speed or security.
  • Responsive Support: Access to a dedicated support team that understands the unique challenges faced by high-risk businesses.
  • API Integration: Seamless integration with Shopify through APIs for a hassle-free setup.


Cashflow Logo

Cashflows is a payment gateway that specializes in providing solutions for high-risk businesses. With its focus on reliability and security, it offers a dependable option for Shopify store owners in need of a robust payment processing solution.

Key Features:

  • Risk Assessment: Cashflows conducts thorough risk assessments to minimize fraudulent transactions and chargebacks.
  • Customization: Tailor payment solutions to suit your business, including subscription billing and recurring payments.
  • Multi-Currency Support: Easily handle international transactions with support for multiple currencies.
  • Secure Transactions: State-of-the-art security measures protect your business and customer data.



Trustpayments is a trusted payment gateway that understands the unique challenges high-risk businesses face. It provides a comprehensive solution that covers all aspects of payment processing, ensuring peace of mind for Shopify store owners.

Key Features:

  • Industry Expertise: Trustpayments brings industry-specific knowledge to the table, helping you navigate the complexities of high-risk e-commerce.
  • Chargeback Prevention: Robust chargeback prevention tools and strategies to safeguard your revenue.
  • PCI Compliance: Trustpayments is PCI DSS Level 1 certified, guaranteeing the highest level of security for your transactions.
  • Payment Optimization: Optimization features to increase authorization rates and reduce cart abandonment.

What are Shopify’s Prohibited Sectors?

  1. Alcoholic beverages and products: This category includes items like wine, spirits, hard liquor, wine-making kits, and bottling items.
  2. Animal and pet supplies: Certain animal and pet supplies are restricted, including animals (alive or deceased), pet food, treats, and supplements.
  3. Artwork: Artwork that violates copyright or trademark and digital artwork valued over $2000 USD are restricted.
  4. Automotive and powersports: Products in this category, such as amplifiers, engine parts, and car wash accessories, are considered dangerous goods and require pre-approval.
  5. Batteries and electronics: All batteries are restricted, and electrical items with attached batteries are also restricted.
  6. Beauty and cosmetics: Some cosmetics and beauty items are restricted due to compliance reasons or hazardous materials.
  7. Business and industrial: Certain business and industrial products are restricted, including heavy machinery and laboratory equipment.
  8. CBD products: Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in any form are restricted.
  9. Charities and nonprofits: Donations to charities and nonprofits are restricted.
  10. Consumer safety: Heavily-regulated goods and occupational safety equipment are restricted.
  11. Digital products or goods: While digital products are allowed, there are specific requirements, such as orders containing both physical and digital products.
  12. Drugs and drug paraphernalia: Items related to drugs or drug use are restricted.
  13. Explosives, weapons, and related items: Explosives, weapons, and related items are restricted.
  14. Export controlled items: Items subject to export regulations, including dual-use items, are restricted.
  15. Farming: Items used in farming are restricted.
  16. Flammable and pressurized goods: Flammable and pressurized items, like adhesives and aerosols, are restricted.
  17. Food and beverage: Food and beverages require permits and testing, making them restricted due to the time-sensitive nature of e-commerce.
  18. Ingestibles, wellness, and medical devices: Ingestible items, medicines, and medical devices are restricted.
  19. Home and garden products: Some home and garden items, such as candles and essential oils, are restricted.
  20. Human hair: Wigs, extensions, or similar products made of real human hair are restricted in specific regions.
  21. Inactive products: Items that are archived, draft, or inactive on your Shopify storefront are automatically restricted.
  22. Jewelry and precious gems: Loose stones and accessories with mother of pearl, coral, and shells are restricted. Jewelry and watches valued over $5000 USD are restricted.
  23. Materials depicting illegal acts: Products depicting or endorsing illegal activities are restricted.
  24. Money or monetary items used as payment: Currency, cash equivalents, gift cards, and loose precious stones are restricted.
  25. Mystery items or poorly-described products: Products must have clear titles and descriptions; vague or poorly-described items are restricted.
  26. Pawn shops: Pawn shops are restricted.
  27. Plant, wood, and seed products: Items made of natural/plant fibers or containing wood are restricted in specific regions.
  28. Sex and sensuality products: Items related to sexual content or activities are restricted.
  29. Speciality apparel: Items containing components from endangered species and items promoting restricted items are restricted.
  30. Subscription products: Markets Pro doesn’t support products sold with a subscription selling plan.
  31. Tobacco and tobacco-related products: Cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and products containing nicotine are restricted.
  32. Warranties, service plans, contracts, and guarantees: Non-tangible goods like warranties and service plans are restricted.

Why Might Shopify Hold Your Funds and What to do About it?

Understanding why Shopify sometimes puts your funds on ice can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a breakdown of the common reasons behind fund holds and what you can do to navigate them smoothly:

Risk Red Flags:

  • High-Risk Business: Certain industries like adult entertainment or gambling raise red flags, leading to temporary holds while Shopify assesses your business.
  • Unusual Sales Surges: Sudden spikes in your transaction volume, whether genuine or suspicious, can trigger holds as Shopify mitigates the risk of fraud.
  • Account Activity Shifts: A drastic change in your business location or type within a short period might raise concerns and prompt Shopify to investigate with a fund hold.

Transaction Issues:

  • Chargeback Woes: Frequent customer disputes or chargebacks can lead to Shopify holding funds to protect against potential losses.
  • Verification Delays: Incomplete or unverified account information can stall your payouts until everything is in order.

Compliance Matters:

  • Regulatory Concerns: Failing to comply with legal or financial regulations can trigger a hold while Shopify ensures everything is aligned.
  • Security Suspicions: A suspected security breach or fraudulent activity will put your funds on hold as Shopify prioritizes security for both you and your customers.

Payout Peculiarities:

  • Uncommon Withdrawal Requests: Deviating significantly from your usual payout patterns might raise eyebrows and lead to a temporary hold for verification.


  • Fund holds are usually temporary, lasting until the underlying issue is resolved or the risk is minimized.
  • Transparency is key: Maintain clear policies, prompt customer service, and proactive dispute resolution to minimize hold risks.
  • Be prepared: Having backup funds can keep your business afloat while navigating temporary holds.

By understanding the reasons behind fund holds and taking proactive steps, you can maintain a smooth flow of business on Shopify and avoid unnecessary financial hiccups.