While putting together an adult site may seem like the easiest thing in the world to do, making money off it is not quite as painless. The resources for content and images are a dime a dozen while payment processors serving the adult industry will barely reach a handful.
To start you off on this new world, it is important that you understand that in business, particularly in e-commerce, the adult entertainment world is considered a high-risk account. For this very reason, acquiring a merchant account for your billing needs usually proves to be the biggest difficulty adult merchants encounter. As a high-risk account, payment processors usually charge an arm and a leg for even the most basic adult billing service. That is, if you get an approval at all. Major credit card associations like Visa and MasterCard have very strict standards against high risk merchants. Both card association keep lists that will alert merchant account service provides of high-risk merchants that have high chargeback ratios.
So back to the basic question: How do you begin billing for your adult service? What you need is a merchant account. So, do a search on the Internet. Simply typing in “merchant account” or “Internet billing” maybe a complete waste of time. It will yield hundreds, if not thousands, of search results. Try to refine your search to focus more on your field. “High Risk Merchant Account” or “Adult Merchant Account” are good search strings to start with. Next, make a list of the possible candidates out there that you might want to check on later.
Now, prepare the questions you’ll be asking your candidate merchant account service providers. Jot down the things that are important to you. Check out what the sites out there are offering in terms of rates and depth of service to get a general idea of the fee range that you are looking at. Will upfront fees be a problem for you? How much are you willing to pay every month? Will per transaction fees work better for the kind of service that you are offering?
When it comes to service, what are you expecting? Do you need a quick response time to queries and emails? Is uptime important to you? What kind of security do you require for your site?
Now that you have all those questions ready, you should also be prepared to answer their questions. Be ready to provide information about your company, the adult services you offer and how much you process in a month.
Get in touch with the merchant account providers and get to know them better. Once you’ve found the one that can deliver the kind of service that you are looking for at the price point that you can afford, start thinking about the next step.
Submit all the necessary paperwork and obtain an approval. The paperwork may include the application form, your incorporation documents and proper identification for members of the board. Some adult billing service companies may even ask for the business credit report or statements from your current processor.
After all that is done and a decision has been laid down, you should now be ready to integrate the adult billing service provider’s payment gateway to your shopping cart system (if you have one). The billing processor should set up your merchant account on their payment gateway and provide you with the URL of your secure gateway as well as other technical details to complete the integration process. Once this step is finalized, you should be able to start server-to-server processing of live transactions. The payment gateway should be able to provide you with all the security you need to safely complete all transactions for your adult website.
The next step is of course the most important. Payout. With consistent and regular transaction processing you should be able to get consistent and regular payouts as well. Some merchant account providers have a threshold before they release your first check (for instance, some wait until you reach your first hundred dollars). Others process payments on a monthly basis with payouts set on a certain date of the month (usually the 15th or the 30th). Still, there are other adult billing service providers who offer an even more ideal weekly processing where you can get your money every week. It is often the standard for the merchant account provider to hold 10% of your gross volume of transactions for the rolling reserve fund. The purpose of this reserve fund is to provide security against potential credit risks. After a certain amount of time, when the credit risk has ceased, the amount is repaid to you.
This article should give you a general idea of how to start billing for your adult site. Adult billing, while a long and often times tedious process, is not all that difficult if you understand the basics.