Prohibited & Restricted Businesses

While Instant offers its services to a wide range of industries, there are certain businesses that are prohibited or subject to restrictions when it comes to using payment services. These restrictions are in place due to various legal, regulatory, and risk considerations. 

Certain businesses listed on the Restricted Business list can use Instant after additional detailed review and approval. This requires us to gather additional information and documentation about your business during the sales process.

Prohibited Businesses

  1. Illegal products and services: Instant prohibits businesses involved in the sale or distribution of illegal drugs, fake references or ID-providing services, telecommunications manipulation equipment, and organisations promoting unlawful violence or harm.

  2. Intellectual property infringement: Instant restricts businesses from selling unauthorised copyrighted materials, pirated music/software, counterfeit goods, unauthorised brand name or designer products/services that infringe upon intellectual property rights.

  3. Unfair, predatory, or deceptive practices: Instant prohibits businesses engaged in pyramid schemes, deceptive marketing, predatory lending, or offering unrealistic rewards without delivering on promises.

  4. Adult content and services: Instant does not permit businesses involved in the sale or distribution of pornography, adult services, adult video stores, or online dating services focused on adult content.

  5. Certain legal services: Instant restricts businesses such as law firms collecting funds for non-legal purposes, bankruptcy attorneys, and bail bonds services.

  6. Firearms, explosives, and dangerous materials: Instant prohibits businesses engaged in the sale or distribution of guns, firearms, explosives, or toxic materials.

  7. Gambling: Instant does not allow businesses engaged in gambling activities, including games of chance, internet gambling, sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries.

  8. Marijuana: Instant restricts businesses involved in the sale or distribution of cannabis products and cannabis dispensaries.

Restricted Businesses

  1. Financial products and services: Instant has restrictions on businesses offering investment and brokerage services, lending services, buy now pay later services, crowdfunding platforms, debt collection agencies, insurance services (including medical benefit packages), money transmitters, and other financial institutions.

  2. Government services: Businesses involved in government grants, embassy or foreign consulate services, and services related to foreign governments are restricted from using Instant.

  3. CBD Products: Instant allows CBD products containing negligible amounts of THC, but restricts businesses engaged in other CBD-related activities.

  4. Pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and telemedicine: Instant has restrictions on online pharmacies, prescription-only products, regulated medical devices, telemedicine, and tele-health services.

  5. Tobacco: Instant restricts businesses engaged in the sale of tobacco products, including vapes, e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

  6. Credit card and identity theft protection services: Businesses offering credit card and identity theft protection services are restricted by Instant.

  7. Other age-restricted goods or services: Instant has restrictions on businesses selling age-restricted goods or services.

  8. Travel:  Instant restricts businesses in the travel industry, including travel reservation services, airlines, cruises, and timeshare services
  9. Non-fiat currency and stored value: Businesses involved in non-fiat currency and stored value, such as virtual currencies, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), prepaid phone cards, sim cards, phone services, and sale of stored value or credits by anyone other than the seller. Additionally, the sale of in-game currency or game items is restricted unless the merchant is the operator of the virtual world.

  10. Business models prone to abuse by 'bad actors': Instant has restrictions on multi-level marketing businesses, network marketing and referral marketing programs, shipping and forwarding brokers, and businesses involved in shipping services, including shipping brokers, forwarding brokers, and drop shipping.

  11. Charity sweepstakes and raffles for fundraising: Instant restricts businesses conducting charity sweepstakes and raffles explicitly for fundraising purposes.


 Why can't Instant work with these businesses?
Behind the scenes, Instant works closely with payment networks and banking partners. These institutions are governed by strict legal regulations and have specific rules regarding the types of businesses they work with. Instant must adhere to these requirements and also comply with the laws of the countries where it operates. Additionally, Instant must consider the financial risks associated with different businesses, both for the benefit of customers and the company itself.

While the goal is to provide businesses using Instant with a seamless payment experience, the reality is that every payment transaction involves multiple financial companies, each with their own set of restrictions. These restrictions can be broad and often confusing, making the decision to support a business not solely up to Instant but also dependent on the regulations and guidelines imposed by the various financial entities involved in the credit card processing chain.

Why are entire business categories prohibited or restricted?
Rather than assessing each business individually, many financial institutions prefer to make decisions based on broad categories of businesses. As a result, certain categories are often restricted or prohibited from accepting payments. These restrictions can be quite rigid and may not provide nuanced consideration to individual businesses. Instead, they are designed to manage risk in a general sense, rather than support the maximum number of businesses possible, offering a blunt and uniform solution rather than a precise and tailored one.