HSBC Cuts Services For E-Cig Companies

Klaus Kneale
by Klaus Kneale
February 27, 2013

As surprising as it may be, some credit card processors don’t just provide services to anyone.   They like to avoid being held accountable for purchases that are found to be or ultimately become illegal.  Turns out British banking giant HSBC has decided to exercise its right to refuse service to electronic cigarette companies.

HSBC recently withdrew its merchant services (meaning primarily credit card payment processing) from electronic cigarette company SnG Vapor.   The sudden change in policy has left SnG in the lurch, unable to process purchases until they can get a new account in place.  HSBC hardly bothered to inform SnG owner Steve Johnson of the decision.

Johnson received an email citing 5 rather vague reasons for the change.   He shared the email here.  The reasons were flimsy at best, but that didn’t stop some from speculating that media sensationalism (including our own article) might have caused the change in policy.  More than likely, this decision moved through an elaborate process of legalese before it was handed down.  These may be HSBC’s excuses for the policy, but that doesn’t mean they’re HSBC’s reasons for it.

At the time of this post, HSBC had not responded to info requested about the decision.  We’ll let you know if we find out more.


29 Responses to “HSBC Cuts Services For E-Cig Companies”

      imtheboss on February 27th, 2013 1:49 pm

      nice article

        Zane on February 27th, 2013 4:27 pm


          RCO67 on February 27th, 2013 4:27 pm

          Seems getting merchant services for ecig vendors is a common problem.

            Morrinb on February 27th, 2013 5:32 pm

            Very common problem it seems. I’ve had trouble purchasing from a couple different vendors at different times over this same problem.

              chuckss on February 27th, 2013 8:26 pm

              Wow, thats just crazy.

                season 3 walking dead on February 28th, 2013 12:09 am

                Yep. I posted something similar earlier in this thread. Jason has quite the reputation as a player, so I was surprised to see him in a relationship with someone who has a child in the first place. I’m willing to bet she was ready to settle down and he wasn’t.

                  saboinia on February 28th, 2013 12:21 am

                  that aint right for them 2 do that

                    mrcrunch08 on February 28th, 2013 12:31 am

                    Things like this blow my mind and the lack of courtesy is absurd. God forbid you provide a money transfer service for a company that provides smokers a safer alternative.

                      mongrel on February 28th, 2013 1:51 am

                      What a shame, I know at least one other vendor who went through a similar problem, and was shut down temporarily until he was able to find a new company to process his orders.

                        Holly DeLain on February 28th, 2013 4:40 am

                        Pretty sad that they can’t at least give these companies a bit of warning! Truly… what are they supposed to do if on line is the most of their business!?

                          slap_maxwell on February 28th, 2013 5:13 am

                          HSBC is a scumbag outfit anyway; I had the unfortunate circumstance of using them for banking services when I lived in London, and couldn’t change institutions fast enough. I’m not at all surprised at their weaselish stance, sadly.

                            Chad on February 28th, 2013 5:54 am

                            dumb dumb dumb

                              Todd on February 28th, 2013 8:30 am

                              Ouch. If one does it… who’s to say others won;t jump on that bandwagon. Scary stuff especially with no warning.

                                flux83 on February 28th, 2013 9:21 am

                                AH I didnt like them anyways glad capital one is buying their credit cards up.

                                  Karla Lyle (MsV8PR) on February 28th, 2013 1:35 pm

                                  I just don’t get it. Why is everyone so against ecigs? They have the potential to save so many lives. People should be supporting ecigs just the same as nic gum. They sell that everywhere. Walmart, gas stations, teh grocery store. What is the big deal or difference with ecigs. It is just so frustrating.

                                    John "Shub" Fellhoelter on February 28th, 2013 4:10 pm

                                    Everybody seems to have their own business qualms with the industry and does their own thing to boycott it. It’s their own problem, as business will just go elsewhere.
                                    Their loss

                                      Zane on February 28th, 2013 6:30 pm


                                        brianwilson on February 28th, 2013 8:06 pm

                                        that is stupid

                                          DemonFire on March 1st, 2013 4:22 am

                                          Wow how shady.

                                            Tyler on March 1st, 2013 5:21 am


                                              Philippe Caron-Boutin on March 1st, 2013 9:16 pm


                                                Courtney C on March 1st, 2013 11:06 pm

                                                This is just crazy!

                                                  crystalT64 on March 3rd, 2013 6:24 pm

                                                  HSBC IS TERRIBLE NEVER HAVE LIKED THEM

                                                    Danielle on March 3rd, 2013 10:04 pm

                                                    Wow.. what jerks. No kind of warning or anything? Way to do business, HSBC.

                                                      Ralph on March 8th, 2013 8:38 pm

                                                      reminds me of when i was a smoker and i had a bunch of idiots with misinformation protesting against smokers, really pissed me off, who the heck is lobbying so hard against us this time?

                                                        ManuDawg on March 11th, 2013 9:48 am

                                                        This is hardly a surprise. Awhile back there was one Vendor who was shut down for at least a couple months when their credit card processing company cut them off.

                                                          Aaron on March 12th, 2013 7:30 am

                                                          I hate HSBC

                                                            Rob on March 24th, 2013 9:46 pm

                                                            When I worked in London I had dealings with a credit controller, who told me that HSBC were the bank of choice for drug dealers, money launderers and eastern european mafia, because they had less checks and scruples!
                                                            Might just be gossip, but no smoke without fire, unless of course you vape!

                                                              Dale Van Droof on April 12th, 2013 12:49 am

                                                              I think the big tobacco companies are paying them to not accept ecig related customers. Just my humble opinion.

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