Online dating services have been around for quite some time now, and more recently users have been given the option to avail premium services along with an additional VIP service fee. To pay for these services, users must have some option to pay via debit or credit card. To process such cashless transactions, it’s vital for the dating service provider to own a merchant account.
Due to the fact that online dating services are considered high risk, traditional merchant service providers shy away from offering them their services. Finding a bank that is willing to take on the risk associated with the online dating industry is an almost impossible task. Such companies often have to look for alternate service providers to meet their merchant account needs.
To oversimplify the matter, there are two types of online dating sites. Those that offer their services on a subscription basis and those that target specific niches. Alternate merchant account providers who specialize in offering their services to online dating companies and startups primarily focus on the following types of offerings.
• Compatibility Websites
• Geographic Locations
• Dating Websites for the elderly
• Dating sites based on cultural and race preferences
• Religious Dating Websites
• Niche Dating Websites
• LGBT Dating Websites
• Adult Dating Websites
Time period for verification of merchant accounts.
Account approval periods depend on the nature of the company and various factors determine the time it takes for verification and approval. Below is an estimated time for the approval of various entities.

For experienced dating site merchants who possess previous processing history, the procedure can take from 5 business days to up to two weeks.
For a an offshore business which is inexperienced, the process can take up to 2 weeks.
Virtual check solutions for online dating can take up to 2-3 business days to process.
Obtaining an Online Dating Merchant Account
Alternative merchant account providers are readily available and easily found online. They offer 24 hour customer support with well trained professionals to quell any fears one might have about the registration and vetting process. There are a wide variety of merchant solutions available. Merchant service providers are able to provide quality tailor made solutions for individual companies based on the nature and demographic of their market.
What are the requirements necessary for the vetting process?
In order to fast track an offshore online dating site’s approval, the following documentation is a must when applying for a merchant account from an alternative financial services provider:
• A complete and detailed financial history of the company including chargeback history, sales volumes, and refunds. The documentation should include at least 3 to 6 months.
• Bank statements of the business for at least the last three months
• In certain cases of where offshore dating services are involved a business banking letter might suffice.
• In the event that the dating service is a new startup, the owner’s personal banking statement for the previous three months can be accepted.
• The approval timing can take 1-2 weeks
In the case of domestic online dating services, the conditions are a little different. The following items are required for verification:
• A government certified form of identification
• A business bank letter or a voided check
• A complete and detailed financial history of the company including chargeback history, sales volumes, and refunds. The documentation should proceed at least 3 to 6 months.
• Appropriate documents of incorporation.
• The approval of such domestic accounts can take up to 2 weeks
Virtual Check Solutions for online dating merchants
Similar documentation is required for virtual check solutions, and the approval time can be as little as 2 to 3 days.
Why Are Online Dating Merchants Considered High Risk?
There are many factors which can lead to an industry being stereotyped as high risk, here we look at a few of those reasons.
An increased number of chargebacks adds to the high risk status of online dating merchants. A chargeback occurs when a customer basically cancels their transaction with the merchant. This results in the merchant and possibly the merchant service provider being liable for the shortfall. The realm of online dating has a slew of dissatisfied customers, especially those who find it more difficult to match up with would be suitors. The client suffers from typical buyer’s remorse. Clients then cancel their subscriptions, due to failure to live up to the expectations cited by the merchant. This results in a chargeback issued to the merchant.
Another major reason for the high risk label is due to the appeal of online dating sites to married people who have the intention of committing some form of adultery. If their spouses happen to find out, the best bet for the cheating partner is to erase all evidence of cheating by cancelling their subscriptions.
Often during the underwriting process illegal or fraudulent activities of the merchants are discovered. In the realm of online dating, one of the major dubious activities of companies is to use their dating site platform as a front for other illegal operations such a prostitution or escort businesses. For this reason the vetting of such merchants have to be thoroughly undertaken before their approval is given. Usually traditional merchant account providers simply refuse to offer even high-risk accounts to dating site companies; hence, the need for such businesses to look elsewhere for their credit transaction processing needs to be met.
Alternative financial service providers help to provide sustainable and long term solutions to your business needs. In the world of online dating where the threat of fraud is an everyday reality, they can offer the latest advances in technology and software to protect your valued assets.
In addition to all these attractive add-ons they help to effectively grow your business by giving potential clients a multitude of options regarding payments. They work closely with your business to determine the exact nature of your establishment and the offer unique client based solutions to suit your every need.

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