Sidestep the credit check and start accepting card payments online
Bad credit rating: three words that cause the hairs of any self-respecting business owner to stand on end. Let’s not sugarcoat it – having bad credit to your name is… well, bad news. A poor credit rating will affect your application for a merchant account, which you’ll need to start taking card payments.
The good news, though, is that there are payment providers that don’t require credit checks. In fact, there’s a range of companies willing to take a chance on businesses, industries, and individuals with a higher level of risk.
You have to be careful, though. Many high risk merchant account providers are known to take advantage of bad credit ratings. What seems like a liferaft for your business could actually be a sinking ship of long contracts, extortionate fees, and hidden restrictions.
That’s where we can help. We’ve reviewed the best no credit check payment processors for small UK businesses. Shake off the shackles of bad credit, start accepting card payments, and take your business to the next level.
What’s on this page?
Top 4 no credit check merchant accounts
Finding a way to accept card payments with bad credit can be a frustrating task
We took a look at the range of ways that UK business owners can start taking payments – without having to undergo a credit check.
From internet merchant accounts to third party payment processors, four companies stood out. Square, Nochex, Stripe, and Amazon Pay all lead the way in the UK for quick approval, straightforward pricing, and a headache-free approach to getting paid.
Here’s how to get a merchant account with bad credit in the UK.
The best no credit check merchant account services:
|Who?||Best for||Accepts face-to-face payments?||Online transaction fee (from)||Star rating||Learn more|
|Taking face-to-face payments||✔||2.5%||Square review|
|Instant approval merchant account||✗||2.9% + 20p||Nochex review|
|Low-cost online payments||✗||1.4% + 20p||Stripe review|
|High volume online sales||✗||1.4% + 20p||Amazon Pay review|
Best for taking face-to-face payments
Square. Four corners, one stylish mobile card reader, and zero credit checks. Unlike Nochex and Stripe, Square lets you take payments in-store, using a wireless, bite-sized card reader. Its fees are impressively low, and simple at that – there’s no monthly cost, and no charge to get set up. Though it’s not as suitable for larger merchants, the mobility and flexibility Square offers makes it a mouth-watering option for lower volume merchants, and a fair, square deal for small businesses.
|Face-to-face (card-present) transactions||1.75%|
|Virtual terminal (card-not-present) transactions||2.5%|
- Processes face-to-face payments in seconds
- Next business day payouts
- No hidden or PCI compliance fees
- Doesn’t accept all card payment types
Best instant approval merchant account
Nochex is an internet merchant account that lets your business accept card transactions online or over the phone. And as the name may suggest, there’s no ‘chex’ involved. It’s a payment gateway, a payment processor, and a merchant account, all rolled into one. Nochex is a simpler way to get paid online – and it’s just a short application form away. Get your merchant account set up and taking payments within a single business day. Then sit back, put your feet up, and start getting paid – regardless of your credit rating.
|Transaction fees||2.9% + 20p to 3.9% + 20p|
- Straightforward pricing
- Totally PCI compliant
- UK-based account manager
- Free support for you and your customers
- Won’t allow you to take card payments face-to-face
- Not suitable for bricks and mortar businesses
Best for low-cost online payments
Stripe isn’t technically a merchant account, but it does have everything you need to start taking payments online. You won’t get a PDQ machine to take payments in-store. But what you will get is a quick, affordable solution for taking online payments. And of course, there’s no credit check either, which means you can skip the stress and get straight to selling. And, while it’s true that a fairly large portion of Stripe’s customer reviews online aren’t so hot, it’s still one of the smoothest, simplest ways of taking card payments online.
|Transaction fee (EU cards)||1.4% + 20p|
|Transaction fee (non-EU cards)||2.9% + 20p|
- Most businesses get instant approval for merchant services
- Integrates beautifully with your website
- Supports payments in more than 135 currencies
- Poor Trustpilot ratings (5.4/10)
- Won’t allow you to take card payments in person
Best for high volume online sales
We know that anyone can sign up to an Amazon account to buy stuff online. But it turns out that it’s also pretty easy to sell online with Amazon, too. Amazon Pay integrates with your website to bring your customers a smooth-sailing buying experience. And for you? Well, it’s easy to set up – and there’s no credit check. Add to this the backing of a gigantic global brand, and you’ve got a reliable way of taking payments online. It’s not the cheapest provider out there, sure – particularly for smaller businesses – but if you’re selling in big numbers, Amazon Pay offers big value.
Amazon Pay pricing
|Monthly payment volume||Transaction fee|
|Less than £1,500||3.4% + 20p|
|£1,500.01 to £6,000||2.9% + 20p|
|£6000.01 to £15,000||2.4% + 20p|
|£15,000.01 to £55,000||1.9% + 20p|
|More than £55,000||1.4% + 20p|
- Impressive fraud prevention features
- Good customer support
- Provides hassle-free transactions for your customers
- Expensive for smaller businesses with lower sales volume
- Won’t let you accept card payments face-to-face
Now that having bad credit isn’t worrying you as much, why not start comparing merchant account quotes? It’s easy – just jump into our webform and enter some quick info about your business, plus what kind of payments you want to start accepting. You’ll get free, tailored quotes from top merchant account suppliers. It’s risk-free – with no credit checks involved!
What does a credit check entail?
Because there’s a degree of risk to the merchant account provider, credit checks are standard practice. A credit check looks at the history of debts amassed, plus whether these debts were paid, and if they were settled on time.
A credit check examines the business, its owner (that’s you!), your financial associates, and your other bank accounts. That can be your personal, business and joint accounts – no stone goes unturned. The period of time this check covers varies, but six years is common, and ten isn’t unheard of.
What is a high risk merchant account? Do I need one?
High risk merchant account providers are companies that specialise in processing payments for businesses that operate in industries deemed ‘high risk.’
Do you mainly deal in sales where a lot of time passes between payment and the delivery of the service? Do you regularly accept high value transactions? If you’ve answered yes to either of these, then your business is probably considered high risk.
High risk industries include:
- Travel agencies
- Online pharmacies
- Internet dating
- Online gambling
- Auction websites
Will the merchant account providers on this list let me take face-to-face payments?
Just one – as well as empowering businesses to accept online and phone payments, Square also offers a card reader. It’s small and stylish (and square, of course!) and lets you take mobile and contactless card payments at the point of sale (POS).
To take face-to-face payments, you’ll need a PDQ machine. As renting these often comes with longer contracts, the merchant account providers that offer them will usually perform a credit check. Mobile card readers are also great for taking payments at the POS, but big providers like iZettle and SumUp run credit checks, too.
▶ Read more: Best credit card machines for small businesses