Payment Providers for Conservative Businesses

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Payment Providers for Conservative Businesses

Key Takeaways

  • AlignPay, WinRed, Century Business Solutions and Orchid Solutions are among the more prominent payment processors in the United States that support and/or advertise directly to conservative-leaning groups.
  • Although there are very few payment providers that pay 1099 contractors and also explicitly support organizations with right-wing values, TransNational, Firearms Merchant Services and Blaze Merchant are operators in this space that promote their offerings to conservative organizations, such as supporters of Second Amendment rights.
  • Meanwhile, ActBlue, Stripe, PayPal and Square are among the payment entities that have taken public stances that limit or exclude the provision of their payment services to conservative organizations.

Introduction

The research team has curated a list of 7 additional payment processing companies that support or market directly to conservative-leaning groups, including 3 that facilitate payments to 1099 contractors. Additionally, the research team has identified 4 payment processors that have excluded conservative organizations from access to their services/offerings.

Notably, payment processors that explicitly cater to or ban groups with right-wing values/products are extremely rare, likely owing to the fact that such associations/statements are polarizing and inherently limit a company's customer base. In particular, payment providers that facilitate 1099 contractor payrolls and support/target conservative-leaning organizations are very uncommon, and appear to be limited almost entirely to very small-scale, niche operations that advertise to firearms/ammunition companies. In some cases, payment processors may serve such right-leaning customers unknowingly, however the research team has not considered these companies to be relevant for the purpose of this analysis. Despite these limitations, the research team took care to provide as wide a range as possible of relevant payment processors, in order to demonstrate the full breadth of political associations between such financial companies and their target markets. In select cases, slightly dated information about the noted companies was included to demonstrate their track record of political associations and/or to add robustness to company descriptions. In very few instances, data related to the annual revenue of these organizations was not publicly available.

Payment Processors that Target/Support Conservative Clients

#1: AlignPay

  • AlignPay (website link here) is a new, high-profile payment platform that specifically targets conservative businesses for its services.
  • Founded by Fox News host Dan Bongino, AlignPay was created after several major American payment processors banned organizations associated with former President Trump in the wake of the 2021 Capital riots.
  • As such, the payment processor markets its services to conservative-leaning groups by highlighting that the platform was "built for freedom" and is not beholden to the constraints of liberal-leaning "cancel culture."

#2: WinRed

  • Notably, the payment processor goes beyond transactional services such as collecting payments to provide a more holistic fundraising experience for Republican donors and candidates, including by supporting "zero-touch merchandise" sales, hosting team pages and providing a GOP candidate lookup database.
  • Meanwhile, business data aggregators (e.g., ZoomInfo) estimate that Virginia-based WinRed currently earns $3 million in revenue annually.

#3: Century Business Solutions

#4: Orchid Solutions

  • Orchid Solutions (website link here) is a "firearm merchant payment processing" and software company that specifically targets, supports and caters to this niche of the conservative business sector.
  • Notably, Orchid Solutions is one of three subsidiaries of Orchid, a larger Federal Firearms License firm that also offers licensing, compliance and legal advisory services.
  • Consistent with its various firearm-focused solutions (e.g., ORCHID PAY, ORCHID POS, ORCHID ERP, ORCHID EBOUND), the company actively targets conservative-leaning businesses through its owned media channels (e.g., corporate website) as well as through promotions in conjunction with the NRA Business Alliance.
  • Although the Connecticut-based private company does not publicly report its earnings, available information from business data aggregators (e.g., ZoomInfo) indicates that Orchid business units earn approximately $6 million annually each.

Independent Contractor Payment Processors that Target/Support Conservative Clients

#1: TransNational

  • TransNational (website link here) is an Illinois-based provider of merchant services including "credit card processing, full-service payroll, online payment services and mobile payments."
  • Within its suite of "full-service payroll" solutions, TransNational facilitates payments to 1099 contractors and 1096 vendors.
  • Although the company is broadly advertised as a solution provider to "businesses of all sizes" and from all industries, the company explicitly advertises its services to conservative businesses looking for a "Second Amendment friendly" partner.
  • Meanwhile, ZoomInfo estimates that TransNational attracts $45 million in annual revenue across its merchant services businesses.

#2: Firearms Merchant Services

  • Based in the southwestern United States, Firearms Merchant Services (website link here) is a much smaller merchant processor that exclusively caters to a conservative firearms client base.
  • The company is a subsidiary of Prolific Business Solutions, and earns approximately $3 million per year for services that include cash advance programs, gift cards, social and mobile media advertising and payment processing.
  • Specifically in the area of payments, Firearms Merchant Services provides both credit card processing support as well as "full-service payroll processing" that is "fully customizable" to support different types of contract/full-time employees and payment configuration needs.

#3: Blaze Merchant

  • Blaze Merchant (website link here) is an American provider of merchant accounts and payroll services for businesses in high-risk industries,
  • Consistent with this mandate, Blaze Merchant markets its services to companies with conservative-leaning products such as firearms and ammunition. However, beyond supporting these organizations, the company does not appear to espouse any political values or associations.

Payment Processors that Exclude Conservative Clients

#1: ActBlue

  • ActBlue (website link here) is a nonprofit payment processing service that is currently used by "nearly every Democratic campaign and group" in the US for fundraising purposes.
  • The organization highlights throughout its corporate website that is available only to "Democratic candidates and committees, progressive organizations, and nonprofits that share our values."

#2: Stripe

  • However, Stripe announced in January 2021 that it would no longer provide services to conservative-leaning groups such as former President Trump's presidential reelection campaign website, due to the fact that they "encourage violence," as evidenced by the riot at the Capitol.
  • Notably, Stripe has a blanket ban on any business that is "high risk" because it "a. engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property, or b. engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence toward any group based on race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other immutable characteristic."

#3: PayPal

  • PayPal (website link here) is a leading American payments processor that has a more long-standing history of political involvement in the country.
  • Historically, the online startup was considered to be right-leaning, after news broke that PayPal founder Peter Thiel donated $1.25 million to the Trump campaign in 2016.
  • However, since then, PayPal has blocked an increasing circle of conservative businesses and groups from using its services, in part by working with the "far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to help identify accounts to ban from the payment platform."
  • Conservative organizations/individuals that have been excluded from working with PayPal include Infowars, GiveSendGo, conservative leader Ali Alexander and groups directly affiliated with former President Trump.
  • PayPal CEO Dan Schulman states that the removal of these and other conservative-leaning businesses from its platform is consistent with the company's commitment to "diversity and inclusion" and mission around "democratizing financial access for all citizens."
  • Specifically, the company has announced that the "promotion of hate and discrimination" by the noted organizations "runs counter to our core value of inclusion."

#4: Square

  • Square (website link here) is an American digital payments processing organization that has been identified by conservative-leaning organizations as anti-conservative.
  • For example, conservative business reviewer 2ndVote currently rates Square a 2 out of 5 (with a 2 rating signifying a "lean liberal" organization).
  • Among the reasons for this perception is Square's decision in 2013 to "refuse payment processing for all firearm or firearm-related transactions."
  • Per its inventory of prohibited goods and services, the company bans "sales of (i) firearms, firearm parts or hardware, and ammunition; or (ii) weapons and other devices designed to cause physical injury."
  • Square publicly stated at the time in banned retailers of firearms/ammunition that it had decided not to provide services to these conservative-leaning groups because doing so was "consistent with our values and in the best interests of our customers."


Research Strategy

For this research on payment processing companies that either target or exclude conservative-leaning groups, the research team leveraged the most reputable and relevant sources of information available in the public domain, including top-tier media (e.g., The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times), conservative business tracking services (e.g., 2ndVote, Conservapedia) and the corporate websites of payment processing organizations (e.g., Stripe, ActBlue). In select cases, slightly dated information about the noted companies was included to demonstrate their track record of political associations and/or to add robustness to company descriptions. In very few instances, data related to the annual revenue of these organizations was not publicly available, as confirmed by an exhaustive search of each company's owned media channels/publications, information from business data aggregators and media coverage.
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