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.