Despite difficult economic conditions, the UK vaping and e-cigarette industry has consistently grown since 2018 and is forecasted to generate a total revenue of £3.34 billion in 2024.
Operating online comes with some hurdles, however, since traditional payment processors consider the sector high risk and choose not to serve it.
I’ve researched the top specialist payment gateways who are more than happy to work with vaping businesses. You can read about each below, along with a comprehensive analysis of which businesses they work for.
Why Do Vape & E-Cigarette Businesses Need a High-Risk Payment Gateway?
Vape and e-cigarette businesses require a high-risk payment gateway due to several industry-specific challenges:
- Regulatory Environment: This sector faces stringent and frequently changing regulations that differ by location, necessitating a payment gateway capable of navigating legal complexities.
- Age Verification Requirements: To comply with age restrictions, payment solutions must incorporate strict age verification mechanisms, adding to the operational complexity.
- High Chargeback Rates: The industry’s nature increases the likelihood of chargebacks, posing a financial risk to payment processors.
- Perception and Stigma: Despite legality in many areas, vaping products are often viewed negatively, making financial institutions wary of association.
- Higher Transaction Volumes: The high volume of transactions typical in this industry elevates the risk of fraud, requiring more sophisticated processing solutions.
- Product Liability Concerns: Health and safety scrutiny of vape products increases the risk of legal liability, making them a higher risk for payment processors.
- Emerging Industry: As a relatively new and rapidly evolving market, the vape sector presents unique challenges for traditional payment processing systems to effectively manage risk.
Best Payment Gateways for Vape & E-Cigarette Shops: My Verdict
Our top recommendation for a high-risk processor is Total Processing. Their range of payment options, bespoke pricing, and facility with international banking make them a genuine expert in high-risk sectors. With a 4.9 star rating on Trust Pilot, their customer service is also impressive. Although they will accept lower in certain circumstances, their preferred clients have a minimum turnover of £500k per year.
Also on my list, Mollie is the best payment gateway for smaller vape and e-cigarette businesses.
Worldpay supports over 300 alternative payment methods and 126 local currencies, making it ideal for vape and e-cigarette businesses accepting international payments. However, long contracts and high termination fees are unsuitable for small businesses that need more flexibility.
Offering a real-time account updater to reduce failed payments due to outdated information, Pixxles is an excellent choice for vape shops that offer subscription services. However, you’ll only be able to process Visa and Mastercard card payments, making it unsuitable for large vape businesses that need greater payment options.
Cashflows is the best payment gateway provider for seamless integrations. It offers pre-built integrations with popular eCommerce platforms, making it simple to connect your shopping carts. However, customers have commented on transactions frequently being flagged as suspicious, so it isn’t suitable for businesses with a high volume.
For quick onboarding and refund processing, Trust Payments is a fantastic choice. The onboarding process has been streamlined, so you can start accepting payments in as little as three days, with refunds being processed in just 2 hours through Visa Direct. However, rates are more expensive than other systems, making it unsuitable for small vape and electronic payments.
Comparison of the Best Payment Gateways for Vape & E-Cigarette Businesses
|From 1.2% + 20p for UK Mastercard and Visa transactions
|Packages from £19.95/month Transaction rates from 1.5%
|Packages from £9.95 per month. Transaction rates from 1.95% + 25p for standard UK card
Best Payment Gateways for Vape & E-Cigarette Businesses
Total Processing: Our Top Payment Gateway
Total Processing is an excellent payment gateway choice for large vape and e-cigarette businesses.
They specialise in high-risk merchant accounts and boast strong relationships with over 300 acquiring banks, ensuring quick and reliable account setup.
The seamless integration process and support for a wide range of e-commerce platforms and in-app solutions make it easy for you to start accepting payments.
One of the standout features for vape and e-cigarette merchants is Total Processing’s secure payment gateway, which offers advanced functionalities designed to mitigate risks and enhance security. These features include smart, dynamic routing, integration with multiple acquiring banks, chargeback alerts, and the ability to create blacklists to prevent fraudulent activity.
The Total Control dashboard provides real-time insights and detailed transaction visibility, allowing you to effectively manage payments, track commercial activity, and predict revenue trends.
Understandably, these advanced features bring added complexity, which could overwhelm new and small vape and e-cigarette shops.
With a stellar 4.9 TrustPilot rating, Total Processing is a trusted partner offering responsive customer service.
They offer tailored solutions for account setup, including negotiating with acquiring banks to provide payment security options such as fixed bonds, rolling reserves, and deferred payments.
However, you must have an annual turnover of at least £50,000 to apply for an account, making Total Processing only suitable for large vape and e-cigarette businesses.
✅ Specialised solutions for high-risk industries such as vaping and e-cigarettes
✅ Advanced features like blacking capabilities, smart, dynamic routing and chargeback alerts
✅ Partnerships with over 300 acquiring banks for quick and reliable account set-up
✅ Tailored account setup, including negotiating rolling reserves, deferred payments and fixed bonds
✅ Real-time insights for effective payment management and revenue prediction
❌ Only suitable for large vape and e-cigarette businesses that have an annual turnover of £50,000
❌ Technical support is only available by e-mail
❌ More complex than other providers
Cashflows Payment Gateway
Launched in 2010, Cashflows was the first independent payment provider to be accepted as a principal member of Visa and Mastercard in the UK.
Tailoring the packages to each business, they can create a bespoke solution that addresses the most common challenges vape and e-cigarette businesses face.
Through Cashflows, you can accept major credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, alongside popular digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay to give your customers more convenient options.
However, it’s worth noting that it does not support PayPal.
The payment gateway supports multiple currencies, allowing you to cater to international customers and capitalise on global opportunities.
Other payment options include secure payment links for e-mail or social media sales and a virtual terminal for telephone sales.
3D Secure version 2.2 adds an extra layer of protection, reassuring your customers and reducing the risk of fraudulent activity.
While advanced security features keep information secure, customers have commented that transactions are frequently flagged as suspicious, leading to their accounts being suspended.
You can integrate Cashflows payment gateway seamlessly into your website or opt for the customisable hosted checkout to create a smooth customer experience.
Monitor transactions, track sales trends, and analyse customer behaviour from the intuitive Cashflows Portal. You can make informed decisions to drive growth and profitability with actionable data.
✅ Pre-built integrations with popular eCommerce platforms, including Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce
✅ Multi-currency payment capabilities for international customers
✅ Accept phone orders securely with a virtual terminal
✅ Simplify remote payments with secure payment links
✅ Gain valuable insights into sales trends and customer behaviour with real-time reporting tools
✅ Returning customers can order with one click by saving a card on file
❌ Doesn’t support PayPal
❌ Users have commented on transactions frequently being flagged as suspicious leading to accounts suspended.
❌ Customer highly hidden charges such as PCI compliance fees.
Mollie Payment Gateway
Since 2004, Mollie has been used by over 210,000 businesses to streamline their payment process.
While they offer payment gateways for various businesses, high-risk businesses such as vape and e-cigarette shops are assessed case-by-case.
With Mollie, you can efficiently integrate all major payment methods, including card payments, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Klarna, catering to your diverse customer base.
Mollie simplifies billing management and drives revenue effortlessly for vape and e-cigarette shops, focusing on recurring billing and subscriptions.
One-click payments and automatic localisation also reduce customer friction and build trust.
Mollie Components allows you to customise your checkout experience by offering customisable UI that matches your branding.
One of the standout features of Mollie is its single integration, which enables you to accept multiple payment methods without the hassle of separate setups. This streamlines the checkout process for your customers, enhancing their shopping experience and boosting conversions.
While you can access the API, some customers commented on its insecure storage, leading them to create a server script. For businesses with limited technical experience, this could be too complex and overwhelming.
The Mollie Dashboard lets you effectively track every transaction with ease. With intuitive search options and real-time data insights, you can manage refunds and analyse performance from the desktop or mobile app.
Mollie ensures compliance with PCI-DSS and PSD2 standards, providing you and your customers peace of mind. The platform’s multiple acquirers and reliable infrastructure offer assurance for smooth payment processing.
To safeguard your business against fraud, Mollie offers advanced machine learning algorithms and configurable risk controls. With features like Dynamic 3DS and fraud analytics, you can maximise acceptance while minimising fraudulent transactions.
Pricing with Mollie is transparent and flexible, with pay-per-transaction options and no minimum costs or lock-in contracts suitable for new and small vape shops.
Transaction rates vary depending on the type of payment used, with a rate of 1.2% + 20p for UK Mastercard and Visas or 2.9% + 20p for international cards. This pricing structure could make understanding how much you will pay difficult.
Although these prices are published on Mollie’s website, the actual transaction rate for high-risk businesses such as vape and e-cigarette businesses is likely higher.
Mollie offers volume pricing for high-volume businesses, ensuring cost-effectiveness as your business grows.
✅ Integrate all major payment methods through a single integration to streamline the checkout process
✅ Recurring billing solutions for subscription-based vape and e-cigarette businesses
✅ Customisable checkout process to align with your brand identity
✅ Real-time insights to track payments, manage refunds and analyse performance
✅ Mobile app for on-the-go management of transactions and real-time notifications
✅ No monthly fee, lock-in contracts of minimum costs.
❌ Transaction rates vary widely depending on payment method and location, which could be confusing.
❌ Support isn’t available 24/7
❌ Customers have commented on the insecure API storage, causing them to create a server script.
Worldpay Payment Gateway
Part of the Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) Global since 2019, Worldpay has been used by over 250,000 businesses in the UK.
Worldpay supports all major card networks, including Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners, and Discover, so customers can easily purchase using their preferred payment method, enhancing convenience and satisfaction.
You can also accept over 300 alternative payment methods and 126 local currencies, enabling you to cater to international customers by offering localised payment options.
The built-in Pay by Link and Virtual Terminal functionalities allow you to sell through social media or accept payments over the phone.
Although Worldpay says their transaction rate is 1.5% for Visa and Mastercard payments, the rate for high-risk businesses such as vape and e-cigarette shops is likely higher.
Customers have frequently commented on the high termination fees and long contract lengths, making Worldpay unsuitable for new or small businesses that need greater flexibility.
Next business day settlement at no extra cost is a significant advantage for vape and e-cigarette businesses, ensuring that funds are available promptly to improve cash flow.
Worldpay’s authentication of card payments using 3DS Flex provides an extra layer of security, safeguarding your business and customers against fraudulent activities.
The platform’s comprehensive reporting and analytics tools empower you to gain insights into customer behaviour and market trends, improving data-driven decision-making and targeted business strategies.
Worldpay’s 24/7 customer support and PCI DSS compliance programs reassure that your business remains secure and compliant with industry standards, mitigating risks and ensuring smooth operations.
However, PCI DSS compliance isn’t included as standard, incurring an additional cost of £29.99 per year.
✅ Card payment authentication using 3DS Flex adds an extra layer of security
✅ Pay by Link and Virtual Terminal capabilities for flexible payments
✅ Next Business Day settlement at no additional cost for improved cash flow
✅ Accepts over 300 alternative payment methods and 126 local currencies, ideal for international vape and e-cigarette shops
✅ 24/7 customer support to minimise downtime
❌ PCI compliance is an additional charge
❌ Customers comment on high termination fees and long contracts
❌ Customer support is more for developers and the tech-savvy
Pixxles Payment Gateway
Founded in London in 2018, Pixxles has a range of products designed to make it easier for eCommerce businesses to accept payments.
Pixxles stands out from other providers because they don’t rely on 3rd party feedback when assessing applications.
Instead, their in-house underwriters will assess businesses case-by-case, streamlining the process.
However, Pixxles is upfront about their due diligence checks, clarifying that they will only consider fully compliant customers. This means that the onboarding process can be longer than other providers.
Pixxles payment gateway accepts payments in over 100 currencies, facilitating seamless transactions for your international clientele.
However, unlike other payment gateways, you can only accept Visa and Mastercard, which could be inconvenient for your customers.
The Virtual Terminal is perfect for vape and e-cigarette shops that accept phone or mail orders.
The recurring billing feature automates payment processing for subscription renewals, ensuring a steady stream of revenue and enhancing customer retention.
The real-time account updater service is a standout feature, helping to minimise failed recurring and automated billing. Card information is updated without contacting the customer using information from participating card issuers.
For businesses that sell vapes and e-cigarettes at pop-up shops or festivals, Pixxles will soon be launching a mobile payment acceptance feature, allowing you to use the Virtual Terminal on iOS and Android devices.
Pixxles’ advanced fraud prevention tools, including the dynamic 3D Secure plugin and real-time account updater service, help mitigate risks and safeguard your business and customers from fraud.
Pixxles’ payment gateway can be integrated with popular eCommerce shopping carts, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Ecwid, Magento, BigCommerce, and more.
Pixxles offers SDKs and APIs for custom integration, allowing you to enhance the functionality of your e-commerce platform according to your specific requirements.
The Dashboard Control gives you 24/7 access to account management and reports highlighting transactions, chargebacks and deposit statements.
Pixxles’s pricing is transparent, with the Ecommerce Evolved plans priced at £9.95 per month, with the first three months free.
The transaction rate for standard UK cars is 1.95% + 25p, increasing to 2.35% + 25p for Premium cards.
Some previous customers have commented on sudden terminations of their contracts and slow payouts.
Due to the high-risk nature of vape and e-cigarette businesses, you will likely need a higher customer rate.
✅ Accept over 100 currencies, ideal for international customers
✅ Recurring billing for seamless payment processing for subscription-based services
✅ Real-time account updater minimises failed payments
✅ Integrations with popular eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, plus SDKs and APIs.
❌ Can only process Visa and Mastercard payments
❌ Customers commented on the sudden termination of high-risk payment gateway contracts
❌ User highlights slow payouts and withholding of funds
Trust Payments offers a comprehensive online payment gateway tailored specifically for vape and e-cigarette businesses, providing seamless digital payment solutions to enhance your online transactions.
You can cater to diverse customer preferences by accepting payment methods like bank transfers and e-wallets in over 100 currencies.
Trust Payments’s gateway is extremely efficient, with refunds processed in as little as 2 hours using Visa Direct.
TRU Connect offers flexible integration options, including APIs for total control or hosted payment pages for quick setup with brand customisation.
Customers can securely enter their payment details with hosted payment pages, ensuring PCI DSS compliance without handling sensitive data directly.
eCommerce shopping cart integrations include Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento), BigCommerce, WooCommerce, SAP and PrestaShop.
Trust Payments ensures compliance with EMV 3DS (3-D Secure version 2) as regulations evolve for European online card payments.
Trust Payments offers intelligent fraud management solutions powered by advanced machine learning models.
With real-time fraud detection, you can reduce chargebacks while optimising acceptance rates, supported by dedicated global risk analysts and emergency assistance.
TRU Insight provides comprehensive payment analytics, helping you to track transactional data.
Gain insights into payments, fraud, chargebacks, geographic data, and industry benchmarks to make informed business decisions and enhance your eCommerce performance.
The streamlined onboarding process ensures you can start accepting transactions in as little as three days, with quick underwriting and rapid account creation.
However, some customers have commented that their contract is auto-renewed, preventing them from switching to an alternative provider without paying expensive termination fees.
Fees also tend to be more expensive than other providers, so small vape and e-cigarette businesses would be better using an alternative provider such as Mollie.
✅ Accept payments in over 100 currencies for global accessibility
✅ Secure hosted payment pages to ensure PCI DSS compliance
✅ Quick onboarding process allowing you to start accepting payments in as little as three days
✅ Seamless integration with popular shopping cart providers with Magento and WooCommerce
✅ Intelligent fraud prevention tools powered by advanced machine learning
❌ Doesn’t support Maestro cards
❌ Contracts automatically renew
❌ Tends to be more expensive than other providers
How to Find the Best Payment Gateway for Your Vape & E-Cigarette Business
Finding the best payment gateway for a vape and e-cigarette business involves several key considerations and steps:
- Research and Understand Industry Regulations: Familiarise yourself with age verification requirements, product restrictions, and compliance standards relevant to the vape and e-cigarette industry.
- Identify High-Risk Payment Gateway Providers: Look for payment gateway providers that specialise in vape and e-cigarette businesses, as they’re more likely to offer tailored solutions and risk management services designed to meet the needs of the industry.
- Evaluate Compliance Features: Choose a payment gateway that offers features such as age verification mechanisms and check that the payment gateway complies with regulatory standards.
- Assess Integration Compatibility: Determine whether the payment gateway integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform, website, or point-of-sale system to streamline the payment process for customers.
- Review Pricing: Compare the fee structures of different payment gateway providers to identify the most cost-effective option for your business. Consider transaction fees, monthly subscription costs, chargeback fees, and any additional charges associated with currency conversion or international transactions.
- Evaluate Security Measures: Prioritize payment gateway providers that offer advanced fraud prevention measures to protect against unauthorised transactions, data breaches, and fraudulent activity. Look for encryption protocols, PCI DSS compliance, and real-time fraud detection capabilities.
- Consider Customer Service Levels: Assess the quality and responsiveness of customer support offered by payment gateway providers. Choose a provider that offers 24/7 customer support and dedicated account management services to promptly address any issues or concerns.
- Read Reviews: Read reviews and testimonials from other vape and e-cigarette businesses to gauge the experiences and satisfaction levels with different payment gateway providers. Seek recommendations from industry peers, trade associations, and online forums to identify reputable and reliable payment gateway options.
- Review Contract Terms: Carefully review the terms and conditions of the contract or service agreement provided by the payment gateway provider. Pay attention to contract duration, termination fees, dispute resolution procedures, and any restrictions or limitations that may impact your business operations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common issues Vape businesses may face with payment gateways, and how can they resolve them?
Some common issues that vape businesses may face include high transaction fees due to the industry’s high-risk classification, restrictions or limitations imposed by payment processors, and challenges in obtaining approval for merchant accounts. To resolve these issues, vape businesses can explore specialised high-risk payment gateway providers that cater to their industry and negotiate competitive fee structures.
How do payment gateway fees typically affect vape businesses?
High-risk classification often leads to higher transaction fees, monthly subscription costs, and increased chargeback fees. These additional expenses can eat into profit margins and increase operational costs for vape businesses. It is crucial to carefully evaluate fee structures and choose a payment gateway that offers competitive rates and transparent pricing models.
Are there any specific compliance requirements for vape businesses when using payment gateways?
Yes, vape businesses must ensure that customers meet the legal age requirements for purchasing vape products and comply with relevant regulations such as the UK’s Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) and similar regulatory frameworks in other jurisdictions.
Are there any specific considerations for subscription-based Vape businesses regarding payment gateways?
For subscription-based vape businesses, specific considerations when selecting payment gateways include the ability to handle recurring billing cycles seamlessly, customer account management capabilities, automated subscription renewal reminders, transparent billing practices, and flexible cancellation policies to enhance customer satisfaction and retention.