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Online Adult Billing: Beyond the IPSP

Friday, June 26th, 2009

This cybernet Expo 2009 seminar covered online billing specific to the adult industry and alternative billing methods. Especially with the adult industry where we see alot of worldwide traffic, it is particularly important to offer payment methods that address the needs of all your visitors.

What is considered “High-Risk”
High risk was defined by the panel members, and the general terms that the CC companies use to quantify high risk are service / subscription based, as well as adult. this contrasts with goods companies with tangible products that can be proven. Most adult industry sites fall into the high risk category.

What is an IPSP
High risk CC services processing agents exist for adult sites. CCBill and Epic were mentioned as good IPSP billing companies for smaller sites that are getting started, want to outsource customer service and password management in exchange for paying a premium. There is a potential risk that a smaller IPSP could get their merchnat account shut down due to a client they took on that gets shut down. Once you get up to the point where you are doing 30-50k a month, it might make sense to get your own merchant account and a program like NATS from, MPA3 etc.  Without an IPSP, you will need to handle chargebacks, customer service, affiliate payouts etc.

Adult Billing Issues
Vince Charlton from mentioned that primarily in Eastern Europe he sees no CC’s and typically there are country specific CC’s. He advocated looking at your traffic and then choosing your payment solutions based on that. He advocated some sites might want to use multiple merchant accounts. Vince advocated being very active with processing refunds vs waiting until chargebacks go through.

Ananda Sisk from  mentioned that many adult sites are not tracking their web analytics data well enought to determine whether or not they are good potential for alternative payment methods. She noted that multiple merchant account setups are sometimes preferable, as each different merchant account uses different risk profiling.  She was involved in the production of MPA3.

Jenni Dahling from explained the difference between phone billing vs. cc billing. Many people outside the us do not have bank accounts and cc’s like we do, so alternative billing methods exist. She advocated phone based billing methods that are completely anonymous and discreet. This is particularly popular in Europe.

Mace Horowitz from AMP Worldwide mentioned that relying on an IPSP that is shut down could possibly lead to a situation where you lose all of your billing. It is unlikely that you will be able to transition the existing accounts to your new merchant account and you would probably have to recharge and signup all of your customers again.

Michael Reul from Webbilling.comexplained direct debit. This is where you withdraw directly recurring. Most customers in Europe can use this method. 25-30% of germans were estimated to have a private CC. More may have cards for their company.

Fraud Scrubbing
Fraud Scrubbing is a system that CC processing agents use to lower chargebacks. Basically they will assign various metrics to form risk profiles. Depending on the agent, they will scrub out a certain number of potentially good CC sales. Some will select a potential sample of their scrub to a secondary of tertiary agent to screen. Aggressive fraud scrubbing is a good reason to have multiple merchant accounts, because they all use different risk profiles.

Cascade Billing
Cascade billing basically runs through multiple merchant accounts until one of them accepts, or if all of them decline, the system will reject the customer. This is a good way to match a potential customer against a number of different risk profiles to increase your chances of taking their money. provides cascade billing.