What defines 'high risk' payment gateways for adult stores in the US?

What defines 'high risk' payment gateways for adult stores in the US?

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Hi, I’m registered in the state of Indiana.  I was approaching the final steps before opening my store.  Until I came across the issue of high risk/high-level payment gateways as an Adult/SexToy Store.

The following is a list of high-level categories for prohibited products and services prohibited by the Shopify Payments Terms of Service

  • Adult products: products or services that contain sexually explicit content, such as adult videos, pay-per-view adult content, or adult magazines.

Above, it states sexually explicit content.  What’s their definition regarding an Adult/Sex Toy store?  I see under a couple products there’s an image of a nude guy with a penis sleeve/extender.  I was getting help with my store, but I deleted it when I came across these issues of selecting a payment gateway.  I see stores with the images that come with the products which may include:  couples and a sex swing or examples of bondage.  I don’t believe any more than I’ve seen on Amazon, Ebay or some other Shopify stores.  So what’s their definition?  Or is it all Sex Toy stores in the US?


(The following is #5 when selecting the United States)

Prohibited Businesses

The following categories of businesses and business practices are prohibited from using the Payments Services (“Prohibited Businesses”). Prohibited Business categories may be imposed by law or through the Payment Network Rules, by Shopify or the requirements of the Processor’s Financial Services Providers. The types of businesses listed below are representative but not exhaustive. If you are uncertain as to whether your business is a Prohibited Business or have questions about how these requirements apply to you, please contact us. We may add to or update the Prohibited Business list at any time. 

(Also, shows up for United States) below: 

IP Infringement, regulated or illegal products and services

  • Adult content and services **bleep**ography and other obscene materials (including literature, imagery and other media) depicting nudity or explicitly sexual acts; sites offering any sexually-related services such as prostitution, escorts, pay-per view, adult live chat features; sexually oriented items (e.g., adult toys); adult video stores and sexually oriented massage parlors; gentleman’s clubs, topless bars, and strip clubs; sexually oriented dating services

Then, I get to the above statement which includes:

  • Adult content
  • **bleep**ography and other obscene materials (including literature, imagery and other media) depicting nudity or explicitly sexual acts; sexually oriented items (e.g., adult toys); adult video stores

I see I can’t even copy the statement shown in the policies, as a basic term was censored.  How can we talk about issues or what’s stated?  If we can’t repeat what’s stated, so things are clear.


My store currently has sex toys, novelty, games and some apparel and merchandise not related to sex toys.  Possibly lingerie to come.

As this is an ongoing issue from searching the Community and Online.  Why doesn’t Shopify just provide a list of the High Risk/High-Level Payment Providers for stores like mine?  Specifically for what they consider high-level.  Just like they mentioned Third Party Payment Providers.  I’m so close to opening and hit this hurdle.  Just let us know if we are high risk/high-level, but provide options in the same time.  I’ve been searching and they’re not many of them that list pricing without having to do applications.   At this rate, I won’t open on time.

Replies 2 (2)

Shopify Staff
1120 99 200

Hi, @Mbatt53 


Thanks for posting your situation to the Community Forums.


While Shopify does allow stores of mature subject matter on the platform, we do not support processing the payments through Shopify Payments. It's important to note that while eBay and Amazon may process payments for this niche, Shopify is a separate entity, thus we have different guidelines.


Unfortunately, we aren't able to recommend specific gateways as this is a conflict of interest. That being said we do have a list of available gateways for you to review to see if any offer high risk services.


Best of luck!

Skye | Social Care @ Shopify
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New Member
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The credit card process gateways listed in the shopify partners list all appear to charge an additional 2% fee on top of the regular fees, That really cuts into our margins. Please provide options that do not tack on an additional 2%