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Adult Merchant Accounts – Taking Care of Your Merchant Needs!

Sex work is one of the oldest professions in the world. The adult entertainment industry continues to be one of the most successful and growing fields in the global market with a revenue share of $167.6 billion in 2019. This is expected to grow to $301.61 billion in 2030.

Adult Entertainment Market Type Prostitution

The sex industry has exploded with the advent of the internet. Digitalization, coupled with people’s changing attitudes towards porn and sex, has given adult businesses a plethora of opportunities to reach millions of customers worldwide. Users can access sex-related products and services at the click of a button. 

Interestingly, consumption of pornography increased worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic as most of the world’s population was under lockdown and turned to the internet for entertainment. In the UK, half of the adult population watched porn during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Source: Half Of British Adults Watched Porn During Pandemic

Types of adult entertainment merchants accepted by CutPay

  • Pornography
  • Escort & Dating Services
  • Adult Massage
  • Adult Bookstores 
  • Strip Clubs
  • Adult Content Websites
  • Webcam communication platforms
  • Chat communication platforms
  • Phone operator platform
  • Live streaming platforms
  • Gentlemen’s clubs
  • Sex toys and novelties
  • Lingerie sales
  • Lubricants and lotions
  • Fetish sites

Why is the adult entertainment industry considered high-risk?

Although there are many legal adult businesses that follow all rules and regulations by the book, the taboo and stigma attached to the sex industry make it difficult for the players in the market to open a merchant account. Therefore, banks classify these businesses as high-risk. 

Here are some of the factors that contribute to this phenomenon:

Reputational risk

Most banks are conservative and highly concerned about their reputation. They do not want to be associated with any controversy. Adult content, products and services might be perceived as questionable by many financial institutions. There have also been cases of some businesses partaking in illegal activities like human trafficking, child pornography, copyright infringement, etc. Most ‘respectable’ institutions would be prejudiced against adult businesses no matter how legitimate they are.

High Volume Turnover

Adult businesses usually have a high volume turnover. This contributes to the overall risk when the business is being assessed by an acquiring bank. A higher sales volume increases the likelihood of liability, especially in the case of credit card payments.

High chargeback turnover

Adult merchants are prone to high refunds or chargeback rates. Customers may call their credit card provider and deny their purchase or claim it was unfulfilled. These users are embarrassed and do not want a record of their use of adult services. This phenomenon is known as ‘friendly fraud’. Chargebacks can also occur due to customer confusion. Adult businesses may charge users under a different name to protect their identity. Customers might forget and not recognize such a transaction in their bank statement. They may also dispute billing charges after opting-in for monthly billing for their credit card. 

Card Not Present (CNP) transactions

Most adult businesses are based offshore. It becomes difficult for financial service providers like banks or merchant service companies to conduct the necessary KYC and AML checks. This increases the risk of adult products being misused by users colluding with one another/or with the adult business. Important financial information of clients might be compromised online during a CNP transaction. There are numerous fraudsters hacking bank accounts, skimming credit card information and stealing identities.

Complex regulations

The adult entertainment industry is heavily regulated by governments all over the world. In the UK, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has incorporated strict rules and regulations. Adult merchants need to ensure all their customers are aged 18 or above. Some adult products and services might be banned in certain areas. In the eyes of merchant service providers, these laws limit their ability to sell to a wide, diverse audience. In fact, opening a merchant account is also a complex and tedious process for adult businesses. Merchant service providers might not want to engage in these long and complicated procedures.


New adult businesses or start-ups have little experience. Financial service providers are sceptical of working with a new entity in an industry that carries a huge stake for all parties involved. These young companies might be open to working with consumers with a bad credit history which could expose them to the risk of these customers defaulting on payments and claiming chargebacks or refunds. 

Lack of infrastructure

Most online adult businesses do not provide clients with appropriate levels of customer support and lack policies and procedures in place to deal with their complaints. In the event of a dispute, disgruntled clients may turn to banks or merchant service providers for refunds or chargebacks.

Why Choose CutPay?

CutPay specializes in processing payments for adult businesses. We are one of the best merchant service providers for adult entertainment companies in Europe and the UK.

With our extensive network of various acquiring banks, we can help you diversify the processing of your payments among multiple banks to mitigate risk as well as expand your business globally.

CutPay offers high-risk businesses a host of fraud and chargeback protection features as well as a secure payment gateway that provides adult businesses with long-term, reliable payment processing solutions.

Industry Account Experts
Easy Application
Competitive Rates
Fast Account Approval
Medium/High Risk Accounts
Relationships with Leading Acquiring Banks 
Large Merchant Case Studies
E-Commerce and Retail Options
B2B Vendors Supported
Multiple Payment Solutions
Multiple E-Commerce Gateway (Mobile apps or website)
Chargeback Prevention
Credit Cards
B2B-Level II/III Data Discounts
3D Secure Frictionless Checkout
Level 1 PCI-DSS Merchant Gateway
Fraud Prevention
Mobile Payment
EMV Reader
NFC technology
Support  & Guidance
International Merchant Accounts
Gateway Recurring Billing
E-Commerce Cart Plugins 
Developer API /SDK/ Docs
POS/Terminals (Virtual or MOTO)
Dedicated Account Managers
Superior Customer Service

Terms & Conditions

Please   click here to view the eligibility criteria, restrictions and requirements for an adult business to open a merchant account with us.

Ready to Get Started? 

So are you an adult business that wants to open a high-risk merchant account? Don’t know where to start? Fear not – CutPay is here to solve all your problems!

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