iPayTotal review

Strap iPayTotal specializes in providing payment solutions for high-risk merchants globally

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

iPayTotal is a good option for high-risk merchants who may be unable to take advantage of other processing services.


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    High-risk merchants accepted

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    Fast application and setup


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    Early termination fee

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    A new company with limited history

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iPayTotal: Key Features

- Traditional merchant account provider
- Fee free pre-approval
- 90% approval rate
- Accounts set up within one week
- Online portal
- Mobile app
- Virtual terminal
- PCI compliant
- Built-in tools to reduce chargebacks
- Variety of integrations
- Payouts every two weeks
- 10% ‘rolling reserve’
- Multicurrency solution
- Available globally
- Customized pricing
- Personal service
- Accept cryptocurrency

Many of the best credit card processing providers will not accept businesses considered high risk. If you run a business based around gambling, gaming, online pharmaceuticals or the adult entertainment industry, for example, you may find it hard to get a good deal through a provider that is geared up to protect these risky categories from payment fraud.

iPayTotal specializes in providing services for these types of merchant and, although they are registered in the UK, they work with businesses around the globe including the US. The company offers fast processing times for new business applications, competitive rates and in-house customer service. 

It is rated highly by its users, although not everyone’s experience has been positive. However, it is still one of the most affordable and responsive card-processing services for high-risk businesses on the market.

If you're not a high-risk business then you'll be better off reading our review of Dharma, our top pick in payment processing.

Looking for pricing information on credit card processing services? Answer the questions below, and our vendor partners will contact you with a free quote: 

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iPayTotal: Features

  • Fast application process
  • Multiple currency support
  • In-house chargeback management tools

iPayTotal also supports multi-currency transactions so you can open your online business up to clients all over the world. However, for some of its services, your business must be registered in either the US, UK or Europe.

Lower risk businesses are able to benefit from companies offering instant online setup, but if you are a high-risk retail or service provider you may find yourself with limited options that are expensive with tricky approval processes. iPayTotal claims it can set you up within a week, with a 99% approval rate due to its multiple acquirer relationships.

The process is clearly outlined on their site. You must sign up for their online application portal, and they will issue pre-approval within 1–3 business days. At this point the company will contact you to go through terms and rates. Because of the need to underwrite your risk assessment and because it works with a variety of acquiring banks, the rates differ between customers. While it’s frustrating not to be able to view rates upfront, it’s also good to know you are receiving a personal service where you will be provided with some options best for your business. In the high-risk merchant category, providers aren’t always so flexible. While it can’t be specific about the rates before application, iPayTotal does advise that rates will no doubt start around 3.5% for card processing, and warns that these could rise to 10% for particularly risky concerns.

When you have accepted the offer and signed the paperwork, iPayTotal will provide you with the details you need to integrate its service onto your website. There is a set-up fee for the service at this stage due to the additional paperwork that needs to be done. Visa, for example, requires some high-risk businesses to be registered, and the cost for registering that business with them is $500 – which iPayTotal as the processor will pass on to you. MasterCard operates a similar policy and costs which means your setup and account usage fee could be $1000 per year, which is outside of iPayTotal’s control.

The initial online application takes about five minutes and iPayTotal will ask you for all your registered company details including ownership, bank details and tax identification number. This helps the team narrow down the options for an acquiring bank, and gives them a good idea of which banks will accept your business. The application process is where you will be asked to submit all of your documentation such as proof of identity, processing history if any, and company incorporation letter. You can talk to your sales representative beforehand about exactly what is needed so you can get it all prepared and speed the process up.

Just a note here that your website needs to be fully compliant with Visa and MasterCard guidelines to progress the application. If it’s still under development, then you will need to submit the beta site for the underwriter’s approval. 

Chargebacks are one of the big risk factors for businesses operating in this category, and iPayTotal has developed in-house tools to help you manage transaction chargeback risk which the company says can lower chargebacks by 72%. Its general advice ranges from only shipping to the billing address, using AVS to verify that address and requesting CVV2 so you know the purchaser is actually holding the card. iPayTotal also provides a chargeback dispute resolution service.



(Image credit: IPayTotal)

iPayTotal Interface and usability

  • Personalized service
  • Flexible gateway with high number of integrations
  • In-house customer service team

Opening the account is cumbersome in comparison to service providers like Square or Helcim, but it’s relatively smooth in the high-risk category. This is because iPayTotal has developed relationships with acquiring banks specifically related to high risk businesses, and knows what questions to ask upfront and what documents your type of business will need to provide.

The company divides high-risk merchants up into different categories, such as online pharma or those who only accept mail and telephone orders. These categories are quite specific in some instances, with CBD oil falling into its own group. 

This means iPayTotal has a good idea upfront of the risks and needs of your business, and what banking relationships it can utilize to meet them. It also means the company can offer you some options around pricing and support you to make decisions on what works best for your business. 

When it comes to high-risk merchants, a more personal approach from an experienced team definitely rates higher than a fast, automated, online setup.

iPayTotal offers a flexible gateway with API developer tools for additional customization. It also offers a good level of integration, and for example has over 175 shopping cart solutions. 

For most merchants, when a customer makes an order they will be redirected to iPayTotal’s secure payment processing area. This is the most cost effective solution and for most small merchants it’s adequate. 

However, if you want to process transactions on your site iPayTotal offers a number of integrations and customizable options for real time processing and also a virtual terminal for manual orders. 

Again, there are costs associated with this so discuss it upfront. Be aware this also changes your PCI/DSS liability and may mean you have additional costs to stay compliant. 

Looking at online reviews, we note that merchant experiences of iPayTotal customer service seem to be either very good or very bad. It’s important to remember the company has only been operating for a year, so as well as accepting some teething problems may have been present, it’s also fair to say that it maybe hasn’t been long enough to get a clear picture.

iPayTotal does have a dedicated customer service team. While there is no phone support, you can Skype them or email them – an indicator of their international presence. If you are having trouble receiving your funding payout, there is also a direct email address for the finance team to resolve that issue, bypassing normal customer service channels.

iPayTotal: Performance

  • High set-up costs and fees
  • Limited processing options and delays in funding
  • Multi-currency solution

iPayTotal offers international accounts that can process payments in over 160 different currencies. It does this by working with international banking partners. There is an associated cost so if you want to take advantage of this then make sure you talk to the company about this before you sign any paperwork so you understand what is involved. 

It does mean you can expand without border limitations so is useful if you are a niche product or service provider looking for a wider geographical market. iPayTotal is also one of few processing services that accepts Bitcoin. 

With an increasing number of companies accepting Bitcoin makes it a particularly compelling option for high-risk merchants. Bitcoin funds are available immediately, come with a much lower average processing cost of 2–4%, and are not vulnerable to chargeback fraud.

It’s quite difficult to compare a processing service like iPayTotal to the wider market. The offering from standard payment processing service providers is often about convenience and they reduce the risk that comes with offering that convenience by only accepting certain types of businesses. High-risk businesses can find it hard to get a good deal from better-known processors.

One of the things that we liked about iPayTotal is that there is no application fee. We have heard of some processors charging up to $1000 just to apply for their service. With iPayTotal the application is free, and if you decide to withdraw at the pre-approval stage, or get turned down, you’ve not lost out financially.

However, once you have been accepted the set-up fees are quite high, over $1000 in some cases, and these are not one-off charges either, as they are payable annually. Some of these fees can be explained away by fees charged by Visa and MasterCard themselves who require some types of businesses to be registered with them as high risk. iPayTotal has assured us they try and keep all other fees as low as possible.

It does not publish setup costs or the processing fees because they differ depending on the type of business and the acquiring bank being used. For example, some businesses do not need to be registered with the credit card provider, and in some cases, you might need to register with Visa, but not MasterCard.

The processing fees will start from 3.5%, iPayTotal makes that quite clear, but again the company can’t be specific because of the variable involved. This is just the nature of the landscape in the high-risk business arena.

Unlike some other providers, such as Stripe, iPayTotal only accepts payments from Visa and MasterCard. It does not accept other credit card types like Amex, and although it can offer local currency solutions, it doesn’t accept payments from local cards.

Funds are also only paid out every two weeks, for the two weeks prior. This not only affects cash flow but needs to be taken into consideration when accounting. Payouts will also only be actioned when you reach a minimum of $5000 so low volume high-risk businesses need to consider their cash flow quite seriously. 

iPayTotal is quite clear that all goods must be shipped and received by your customer before you as the merchant can receive payout – if this is subverted your account will be suspended. It’s also worth mentioning here that the maximum single ticket size is $2000, and a rolling reserve of 10% will be applied to transactions which will automatically be paid out to the merchant after 180 days.

iPayTotal: Verdict

Operating a high-risk business usually means jumping through a lot of hoops at every stage. iPayTotal doesn’t reduce the number of hoops, but it will give you a leg up and a soft landing through each one. Finding service providers for high risk merchants is complex and time consuming, and iPayTotal removes a lot of the stress.

There is a cost involved and it’s much greater than if you were able to access a platform like Helcim or Square. However, iPayTotal is as transparent as it is able to be about those costs, and explains thoroughly why they are in place and attempts to keep them low. 

Unfortunately, it can’t publish its rates upfront because there are too many variables. This can cause concern, but as they also offer no application fee there is nothing to lose at the pre-approval stage.

The company has in-house customer care and a number of additional processes and tools to help reduce your business vulnerability to fraud and chargebacks. The payment gateway offers a virtual terminal and an mPOS app, along with developer tools for customization. This sort of offering is becoming industry standard and keeps iPayTotal’s system competitive with more mainstream providers.

Cash flow should be a big consideration for this service. It only pays out every two weeks, for the previous two weeks, and only if you hit a minimum of $5000. It also keeps a 10% ‘deposit’ on transactions, which is paid out after 180 days. These practices aren’t unusual in the high-risk sector, but you need to be sure your business can support that from a cash flow perspective before signing up.

Payment processing services can be difficult to secure for high risk businesses. iPayTotal offers a solution that is on a par with what’s available in the mainstream and doesn’t seek to take advantage of the complex situation these merchants find themselves in.

Looking for pricing information on credit card processing services? Answer the questions below, and our vendor partners will contact you with a free quote: 

Jai Breitnauer

Jai Breitnauer writes regularly for a variety of business and consumer publications including NZ Retail magazine and Idealog, the home of business innovation in Aotearoa. She has edited books about accounting and business journals for the optics industry. She works for Top Ten Reviews by doing reviews of chainsaws and other garden equipment.