Dating Merchant Account — All You Need to Know
Dating companies that process card-not-present transactions on their websites need a dating merchant account and a reliable payment gateway that will help them keep their business away from the fraudsters. So, how to get a dating merchant account?
A rapid Internet penetration leads to increasing the percentage of dating and social site users by 15% each year. There are nearly 8,000 dating sites worldwide and, according to Forbes, about 1,000 new websites are launched every year.
The global online dating market was valued $6,400 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $9,202 million by 2025. Plus, IBISWorld findings show that the dating sector reached $3 billion revenue in 2018 and it grew by 11.9% over 5 years.
The numbers show the industry potential and high customer lifetime value, as users are willing to pay for dating services. When combining it with other stats showing that the average dater spends $243 a year, dating companies should pay closer attention to the payment platform they use.
Complex pricing model
Based on Allied Market Research report, the online dating services market is categorized into matchmaking, social dating, adult dating, and niche dating.
This is why dating websites have various monetization solutions and usually utilize complex and custom pricing. The most common monetization methods are premium membership subscriptions, freemium, extra features charges, in-app purchases, virtual gifts, or premium content.
So, to cover various use cases and every payment scenario that fits into your business, you need a reliable payment platform that securely bills your customers.
It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
How do I get a dating merchant account?
If you made thorough research and decided what dating payment gateway you want to work with, it’s time to send an application online. Go to the payment processor website and fill out an application.
What’s next? For instance, if you choose SecurionPay, we will help you find a bank that matches your business needs. Then, you can start processing card payments on your dating website, as soon as the acquiring bank approves your business.
Here’s what you should prepare before you apply for a dating merchant account:
- Incorporation certificate
- Shareholders’ certificate
- Organizational structure chart (Shareholders)
- Copy of your passport and utility bill of local directors and shareholders holding more than 15%
- Incorporation certificate and shareholder certificate of other firms in case of being a shareholder
- Processing history for the last 6 months (total volume, number of transactions, chargeback percentage)
- Test user credentials with premium access to the platform.
Plus, prepare your website based on website compliance requirements.
When you complete and submit your application for your dating merchant account, you will go through a compliance process.
Keep in mind that the underwriters need to examine your website in order to check whether it’s not a front for another business, such as an escort or even a prostitution service (which is illegal).
This is why you should always work with a payment platform that puts the security and compliance process at the forefront. It helps to avoid approving risky businesses and provide them with a dating merchant account.
Note that many of the dating businesses are considered high risk because of the high chargeback rates that hit the industry. Online dating is also prone to fraud, so dating companies mostly need a high-risk merchant account.
Online dating merchant account security
Dating websites engage millions of users, and one of their biggest challenges is personal data safety. So, you need to take the necessary steps to prevent the suspicious activity of your users that can affect not only your company but also the whole industry you operate in.
ThreatMetrix reported that European online businesses had to face 80 million fraud attempts in Q1 2018, based on 1.9 billion digital transactions analyzes. According to analytic software company FICO, by 2020, fraud will have resulted in losses of $35.4 billion.
According to Scam Tracker, there were 37,345 scam reports across the USA and Canada last year (from December 12, 2018 to December 12, 2019). During this period there were 238 romance scams and the largest amount lost was $300,000,000, so the scale is large.
Some of the companies even started testing blockchain technology in order to provide a foolproof mechanism for verifying their users.
As an online dating could be considered as high risk, it’s better to have a dedicated dating merchant account (not aggregated one) and work with a payment processor that has broad experience in this field.
Choose a solution with PCI compliance level 1, so you don’t have to handle it yourself. Lots of payment gateways take the PCI burden on themselves, so you can be sure credit card data will never hit your servers (it’s provided with a token representation of the card).
Dividing transaction volume across multiple dating merchant accounts
Splitting transactions between multiple accounts help you diversify the risk, as dating websites usually have a large amount of traffic. It can also help with a sudden increase in sales volume, as you can efficiently distribute incoming traffic and mitigate technical payment errors.
When one payment gateway gives you access to multiple acquirers, you’re keeping all your stats in one place, so it’s easier to control your payments.
Dating website chargeback problem
Every chargeback equals lost revenue, and the more disputes to face, the bigger reputational damage (not to mention increased operating costs). So, you need solutions with fraud analytics tools that lower your risk, and it’s what comes with a reliable payment platform that accepts businesses with a higher risk of chargebacks.
The dating chargebacks happen, for instance, when users don’t find their match after several days of using your service. It always becomes controversial — you provided the service, so from your perspective, there is no reason that a customer can file a chargeback. This practice is called a friendly fraud, and it touches dating businesses severely.
Moreover, as dating websites usually run subscriptions, you may also have customers that started a free trial and forgot to cancel it before being charged.
Finding a balance in fraud prevention is not easy, especially when businesses need to tackle several friendly fraud, which hurt profits in the long run. You need to effectively eliminate suspicious users without turning away good sales and overstepping a chargeback threshold.
It’s recommended to tighten fraud controls and add a non-invasive 3D Secure authentication that reduces the number of chargebacks right away. This ‘non-invasive’ factor gives online companies the highest protection without causing any drop in conversion.
Also, dating businesses that operate in the European Economic Area (EEA) need to remember about the stronger authentication process for card-based payments, required by PSD2. They need an effective payment processor to avoid lower conversion rates with card payments.
According to chargebacks911, 86% of chargebacks that the dating industry faces can be stopped with the right anti-fraud tools and strategy in place.
Standard fraud controls, such as geo-targeting could not be enough any longer. Dating website owners need additional layers of anti-fraud tools, as fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated with their attacks.
But, businesses should beware of overly strict fraud filters that might cause labelling genuine transactions as suspicious, which leads to losing customers. They should aim for a flexible machine learning-based solution with filters that automatically adjust to a particular industry.
This will keep you away of false declines, also known as false positives (incorrectly rejected valid transactions), that could be more expensive than fraud itself and could significantly decrease the conversion rate on dating websites.
Subscription payments for online dating business
Charging customers at regular intervals makes it much easier to predict cash flow. It’s up to you what the frequency of payments will be — it might be monthly, quarterly or a yearly amount.
Choose a payment platform that gives the possibility of creating an unlimited number of plans to improve customer retention so that you may offer a variety of billing cycles with flexible periods and multiple pricing levels.
When looking for a dating payment gateway, ask for recurring billing with retry logic. If payment fails, it can be automatically retried at specific intervals, or when a customer’s default card is declined, a merchant can charge another card, assigned to the customer.
What to consider before choosing an online dating merchant account?
Don’t know how to choose the right dating payment gateway from all the players on the market? There are several things you need to take a closer look at, before making the final decision.
So a dating business can be categorized simply as dating (with the 7273 code) but also as a high-risk business (with 5967 codes). What really matters is the website’s content (mainstream vs. adult content). However, the final decision may be the result of both types of website content, your current chargeback ratio, and the acquirer’s opinion.
Note that when you choose a dating payment gateway that provides APIs, you can set a tailored payment scenario, but it also makes you the owner of the code. This means you have full control over the entire payment process on your website. What you need is a customization.
This is why providing solutions with the highest level of security is paramount. To limit fraud attempts, dating websites need highly-secure solutions with several security layers and highly accurate anti-fraud tools. It will help you score every payment and check it against fraud.
Then, when they see a different amount on a bank statement (caused by currency conversion), they are more likely to contact the bank and ask for their money back, as they don’t recognize the transaction amount.
First, it’s good to determine what type of payments your company needs. Do you only want to process recurring payments or also charge the customers for a one-time purchase? Make sure that a dating payment gateway lets you set up a payment scenario tailored to your service.
Compare your needs with the features the dating payment processor offers to make sure that you will have everything you need in the future.
One of the most important things for dating websites is the number of registered users converted into paid subscribers. And how the payment process on your site is designed has a huge impact on the conversion rate. Give your customers simplified payment flow with only required fields to complete (just three input fields are enough to complete payment: card number, CVV, and expiration date).
The importance of mobile in online dating
Businesses that accept payments online need to understand that providing seamless, quick, and safe mobile payments are necessary. Let your customers pay on the go — when commuting, in a queue, or even during a lunch break.
The top 10 mobile dating apps in the United States grew 53% in 2018, and it’s estimated for $679 million in gross consumer spending. Bearing this in mind, the checkout process in your mobile dating app has to be as simple as possible — without redirections, distractions, misleading links, buttons, etc. It would be best if you asked only for essentials.
Here’s what you need to look for:
Dating merchant account fees
The fees depend on a payment gateway that the dating business chooses to process with, but it usually starts with 2,9% + 0.25 euro for a successful transaction. The price could get higher when a dating company is considered a business of higher risk. Then, the fees for high-risk companies may apply.
Before you choose a dating payment gateway, ensure that the processor doesn’t ask for extra fees, such as monthly or yearly fees, setup fees, or similar. And remember that a lot depends on your business model, processing volume, etc., so you should always ask for a custom pricing.
Look for a payment gateway with competitive fees tailored to your business needs and volume. And remember that nothing with value is free. Even if a payment gateway seems to be more expensive, it could make up for it in the end.
Many payment processors require a rolling reserve when a business is considered high-risk. This means that a processor withholds a percentage of a certain amount from the merchant for a short time in the event of chargebacks or some unexpected costs. A rolling reserve usually takes 5 to 10% for six months, depending on the processed volume.
Find your perfect match
Online dating is an ever-expanding market, so companies that want to run a dating website need to find the right payment processor and a dating merchant account that will enable them to accept card payments securely.
All the given knowledge will simplify you making a perfect match with the right dating payment gateway and provide users with a unique experience.
Are you looking for a reliable dating payment gateway? Contact us for pre-approval.
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