While CBD-derived products have been available for some time, the legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill accelerated the market’s growth.
Regrettably, the payment processing industry has been slow to embrace this new category of products, posing substantial challenges for CBD businesses trying to acquire a merchant account capable of processing credit and debit card purchases.
CBD (or cannabidiol) is a phytocannabinoid that is extracted from hemp plants (Cannabis sativa). As you probably also know, marijuana is also a derivative of the Cannabis plant.
The primary distinction between CBD products and marijuana is that the former usually contain less or no THC (also called tetrahydrocannabinol) or any other psychotropic compounds found in marijuana.
In other words, CBD products do not provide a “euphoric” or “high” feeling. Despite this distinction, CBD-based products were formerly unlawful under federal law. While this is no longer true, CBD rules differ significantly per state.
Almost all states now permit the purchase or sale of CBD products derived from hemp with a THC content of less than 0.3 percent, but each state has its own set of regulatory rules.
While medicinal marijuana and, by extension, CBD products are now legal in the majority of US states, many banks, and credit card processors have been extremely hesitant to accept CBD merchant accounts, with many such firms having their accounts terminated without warning.
Luckily, more and more payment processors who are accepting CBD have begun to pop up to fill the gap in the market left by the bigger banks. Let’s take a look at some of the best CBD payment processors on the market today to find the right one for you!
What’s A CBD Payment Processor And Why Do CBD Businesses Need One?
A CBD /payment processor/merchant account is a merchant account that has been set up to be used for the sale of CBD products in any form.
CBD businesses are considered exceedingly unsafe, and as a result, the vast majority of reputable merchant account providers (and even many high-risk specialists) will not allow merchants to sell these things.
As you can imagine, the processing industry has classed CBD products as high-risk, significantly complicating and increasing the cost of acquiring a merchant account.
Businesses can be labeled as high-risk for a variety of reasons, but the key ones for CBD products are the unsubstantiated claims about the items’ effectiveness, the high chargeback rates, and the regulatory complications affecting the product’s distribution.
As is the case with a large number of other nutraceutical products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has neither certified nor validated CBD oils’ alleged beneficial effects.
With few or no peer-reviewed research analyzing the benefits of CBD use available, the floodgates have been opened for businesses to promote CBD as a potential cure for pretty much everything.
Initially pushed to aid in relaxation and stress reduction, CBD is now being hailed as a potential therapy for depression, anxiety, and even some forms of cancer.
Chargebacks are a well-known risk for businesses of all sizes, but the possibility of facing one with CBD products is substantially larger.
Unfortunately, the unfounded claims about CBD’s beneficial health effects enhance the probability that consumers would initiate a chargeback if they believe the CBD-based product they purchased did not aid them or make them feel better.
Banks that underwrite merchant accounts also avoid working with businesses that sell questionable or unclear legal items. CBD rules have become much more varied across the country, creating a plethora of legal issues for shops that sell them.
All of this is to say that using a high-risk CBD-friendly merchant is vital for any CBD business to have and use.
The Best CBD Friendly Payment Processors
Just to put it simply, a CBD merchant account is a credit card processing account that has been approved by your service provider to sell CBD-derived products.
Because of the inherent heightened risk associated with CBD goods, CBD merchant accounts are compelled to be more costly and subject to more severe rules than their counterparts in the low-risk segment.
Here are the best payment processors that are accepting CBD merchants and businesses.
The majority of people are aware of National Processing as a result of its remarkable low-risk payment processing services, which are differentiated by their competitive pricing and unambiguous terms and conditions, among other things.
The fact that National Processing offers high-risk merchant accounts to CBD businesses may come as a surprise to many as they act like the type of processor that would reject this growing industry.
National Processing will provide high-risk businesses with many features that National Processing provides to lower-risk businesses, including terminals, mobile payment processing assistance, eCommerce support, and chargeback prevention tools, among other things.
However, to utilize this service, you can expect to pay higher transaction costs than those listed on the company’s website. In addition, high-risk enterprises are subject to a $15 monthly account fee per account.
It is possible that National Processing will be of particular interest to those who sell CBD products and wish to utilize the Clover line of terminals. National Processing is capable of supporting the whole line of terminals and add-ons that are currently on the market.
- Very good reputation – National Processing has a very good reputation and is known for their many useful services
- Line of POS systems and Clover terminals – allows you to make payment transactions from anywhere, which is very convenient
- Gives high-risk businesses the same benefits as low-risk businesses – you can access several features that would typically be reserved for lower-risk businesses. Very few other processors do this.
- Issues with “free” equipment – if you want access to any of the “free” equipment, then you must enter into a long-term contract with National Processing. This will be an issue if you find out later on that they are not the right merchant for your needs.
Easy Pay Direct
Easy Pay Direct has been providing high-risk merchant accounts for nearly a decade, and the company is still going strong.
However, even though it now accepts CBD merchants, it will not accept startups unless they are either highly well-funded or have previous operating experience. The EPD Gateway, which is a proprietary product of the company, is its most important offering.
Processing and account fees will be more expensive, but you will be set up with a domestic bank or credit card processor, which will save you money in the long term.
This company is unique in that it is one of the very few CBD firms that publish some pricing information on its website, which distinguishes it from the competition and also shows you exactly what you will be paying for.
The approval process for merchants located in the United States and Canada is expected to take 7-14 days if they match the conditions.
However, because these are volume-based charges, only the largest businesses will be able to make use of the company’s services. In addition, there is a $29.99 per month account fee that must be paid.
When it comes to contracts with Easy Pay Direct, one of the most attractive aspects is that they do not impose an early termination fee, even when dealing with high-risk businesses.
If you need to close your account, you may do so without being charged any fees or suffering any penalties.
While this isn’t quite the same as a real month-to-month payment schedule, it is far more practical than the alternative. Also, there is no necessity to pay a monthly subscription to use this service.
Using the load balancing feature supplied by Easy Pay Direct, it is feasible to split incoming payments over many merchant accounts. Having this functionality is very beneficial for small enterprises.
The ability to move payments electronically is particularly helpful for high-risk firms that routinely exceed the monthly processing volume constraints specified by the processor that guarantees their accounts.
Keep in mind, however, that you will most likely be required to pay separate monthly fees for each account, making this a less practical choice for certain small firms.
Another thing to consider is whether or not this choice will be necessary if you pick an offshore account.
Some (but not all) overseas countries have underwriting rules that are more lenient than those in the United States, and you may not be subject to a monthly processing restriction on your account in some (but not all) foreign countries.
- Accepts almost all CBD merchants – no matter what kind of CBD products you are selling, from topical to ingestible products, Easy Pay Direct will still work with you
- No termination fee – it is very rare for a payment merchant to not have a termination fee. This gives you the financial freedom to leave at any time
- No monthly minimum- this again gives you more financial freedom as you do not have to stress about meeting a specific target every month
- Does not work with startups – if you have started your own CBD business and are still in the early stages of operation, Easy Pay Direct will not work with you except in very specific circumstances, such as you have prior operation experience or you have a lot of financial backing
- Expensive application fee – Easy Pay Direct will charge you up to $250 just to apply
Founded in 2016, SMB Global is a high-risk expert in the insurance industry. High-risk and worldwide businesses benefit from the services provided by the firm.
A merchant account for virtually any high-risk company, including those making and selling CBD oils, may be approved through a variety of back-end processors, which the company employs to execute the transactions.
Electronic commerce merchants are the major target market for the company, which provides a choice between Authorize.Net and NMI and payment gateways, as well as integration with more than one hundred and seventy-five top online shopping cart platforms.
Because it partners with a big number of banks and processors to get you authorized for an account, the company does not provide pricing information.
It makes a considerable difference who manages the back-end processing of your account, since the processing rates, account fees, and contract terms will all change dramatically.
We highly suggest you request an interchange-plus pricing plan when spacing with this provider. nevertheless, you should be prepared to accept a tiered pricing plan instead of this, especially if your firm has not been in existence for an extended period of time.
With SMB Global you may anticipate a standard three-year contract with an automatic renewal clause and an early termination penalty.
It is reasonable to expect that your account agreement will include a rolling reserve as part of the terms and conditions for doing business with CBD companies.
SMB Global demands a monthly processing volume of $50,000 to qualify for an offshore merchant account, which might be a considerable barrier to entry for a freshly started CBD company.
If your corporation has a very strong financial history, the company may be able to get around this condition from time to time.
You may save money on cross-border transaction expenses by using offshore accounts, which allow you to perform transactions in many currencies.
There’s also a dynamic currency conversion feature that lets your customers pay in either their native currency or the currency in which you bill them.
According to the information available, SMB Global is only allowing CBD merchants through offshore accounts for the time being.
- Pretty reasonable contract terms – The terms that SMB Global gives you are the standard in this industry
- Will accept CBD companies through offshore accounts – this is very convenient, and if you use offshore accounts it is also slightly cheaper
- Very good customer service- if you have any issues at all, it is very easy to get into contact with SMB Global and get it fixed quickly
- Little information on POS systems – SMB Global seems to be oddly secretive about their POS systems as well as their credit card terminals. Deciding if this is the right merchant for you can be pretty difficult without this information
- Minimum $50,000 a month processing volume- while this only applies to offshore accounts, this is a huge amount of money and you may struggle to reach this target
Based in California, PaymentCloud has been in operation since 2010, and it now welcomes CBD-related businesses to join its clientele.
A cost for application or account creation is not charged by the company because of its high success rate in getting merchants approved for accounts, in contrast to the practice of many other high-risk suppliers.
According to the business, which is similar to other high-risk experts, it utilizes a quote-based pricing structure and does not disclose any standardized processing rates or account fees, which is usually in the industry in this situation.
Upon opening a new account, retailers are eligible to obtain a “free” EMV-compliant terminal.
In this context, “free” refers to the fact that you are free to use it as long as your account is active, and not that you will be able to keep it even if you close your account or switch service providers in the future.
PaymentCloud also offers Authorize.Net as a payment gateway, and their technology is also compatible with a range of other third-party payment gateways, such as PayPal, according to their website.
In addition, it provides a free virtual terminal with each new account that is established by the customer.
At this time, only CBD merchants that sell products that may be used topically, such as oils and lotions, are approved for PaymentCloud accounts.
CBD products that were previously permitted for consumption, including candies, dog treats, and other edibles, are prohibited by the company.
- No account set up or application fees- this is excellent as it saves you a lot of money
- “Free” credit card terminal – this is a great help to anyone who wants to make business transactions on the go
- No pricing info on their site – you will not be able to find any information about the prices of their services on their website, meaning that you will need to contact them directly for this information, which may take a lot of time
PayKings markets specifically to CBD merchants, particularly to those who have had their accounts with more traditional payment processors terminated or stopped.
The company partners with more than two dozen backend processors to get you accepted for an account (including numerous offshore banks).
The greatest thing is that it takes care of the whole application and underwriting process for you, and there are no application or account setup fees to worry about!
Alternatively, PayKings offers interchange-plus pricing, though this is not a particularly affordable choice. According to the market, rates are offered as interchange plus one percent or more.
Even while this represents a considerable increase above the prices typically offered to low-risk firms, it is still a better deal than being stuck with the significantly higher costs associated with a tiered pricing system.
PayKings provides a diverse selection of goods and services, as well as several third-party integrations, which is a pleasant convenience.
Merchants have a generally positive impression of the company, while there have been occasional concerns concerning early termination fines and rolling reserves.
Realistically, rather than PayKings, these two restrictions are imposed by the backend processor, and it is hard for any high-risk merchant to evade them entirely.
- No application fee – saves you a lot of money as these can often cost a few hundred dollars
- Interchange-plus pricing– this is a good option to offer, though it will be usually more expensive to do. It gives you a bit more choice though which is good
- Multi-Currency options – no matter where you are or what currency you use, you will be able to use this service
- Fee for early termination – of this merchant is not working out for you and your business, then you will have to pay a fee to get out of the contract early
What To Look For In Payment Processors
Before you open any merchant account, you have to do a lot of thinking about what you need the account to do, and what the merchants offer.
Here are the essential things that you need to consider when opening one of these accounts.
Do They Work With High-Risk Businesses?
The ability of your CBD payment processor to cope with high-risk transactions is crucial when dealing with this type of transaction type.
There’s a good reason for this; the industry is still in its infancy, making it particularly vulnerable to fraud and chargebacks on credit cards.
Only a tiny number of CBD payment processing companies will be prepared to handle the risks associated with this type of transaction because the sector is already operating in a legal gray area.
Pay close attention to whether or not the company has a significant amount of experience working with businesses that operate in high-risk sectors.
Do They Have POS Systems?
Find a CBD payment processor that offers point-of-sale (POS) capability to save time on administrative work and lower the cost of in-office activities, such as processing CBD payments.
Processors will be able to aid you in the administration of both online and offline transactions via the use of POS system integration.
Precision data offered by POS software, which also boosts store profitability, may improve customer loyalty, business intelligence, and the convenience with which customers utilize your sales portal.
Apart from that, point-of-sale software will aid you in making lucrative business judgments. This type of software may also be used to govern both the input and output of stock from a single point of control, which is very advantageous.
A CBD payment processing system is something that no eCommerce website owner wants to hear about since it means they will have to transfer to a brand new platform to implement the system.
When you’ve invested a significant amount of time and money into improving the way your online cannabis or hemp store appears to your customers, this may be highly time-consuming and discouraging to experience.
Because of this, it is recommended that you avoid using a CBD merchant processing system that forces you to use their existing platform.
As an alternative, seek out a company that will allow you to seamlessly link their CBD credit card processing system with a range of eCommerce software systems.
Because they will be able to assist you as your company develops and prospers, companies who can supply these services will be the most advantageous to do business with.
API integration will be used by the vast majority of CBD payment processors since it is the most often encountered payment gateway among them. Several CBD payment processors will rely on API connectivity to function properly.
The fact that APIs may be managed by the business owner and that they can provide you with information about how your eCommerce store appears to clients are just a couple of the advantages APIs have over alternative payment gateways to consider.
When it comes to dealing with CBD-related businesses (and all other businesses for that matter), you must be prepared for the worst-case scenario when doing both online and offline transactions for them to avoid being scammed.
Before making a final choice on which provider to go for, make sure to speak with a member of the payment gateway team about how they handle complaints, as well as how fraud prevention may lessen the possibility of disputes occurring in the first place.
Although personalized customer service is the best if you are unable to locate an organization that provides this service, search for one that has a customer care team that is available to answer calls and react to emails at all hours of the day and evening.
Some payment processors will not need you to enter into a legally binding contract with them to do business. Because fees and contracts will differ from one organization to the next, allow yourself plenty of time to decide which one is the greatest fit for your CBD enterprise.
Organizations that are only interested in long-term connections should be avoided while looking for business partners, especially if they do not have a sufficient number of testimonials to back up their claims.
You should be prepared to negotiate vigorously if a company gets your attention but only offers a partnership on the condition that you pay an ETF (early termination fee) if you decide to seek other options.
While it is true that “you must spend money to create money,” that does not mean that you can just spend your money with no thoughts on how to make it back.
The process of finding a reputable CBD payment processor does not have to be time-consuming, and you will not be limited to companies that charge hefty up-front costs.
Although some of the more well-established companies may charge account holders a registration fee, many others may provide their services for free or at a moderate cost to those who qualify for them.
Consider if you have the financial means to pay the specific percentage that your chosen payment gateway will deduct from your account for each transaction you complete.
If the service provider you now use does not function well with your profit margins, you should look for another one.
Always keep in mind that credit card transactions, in some cases, may be more expensive than debit card purchases in certain circumstances.
When selecting a CBD payment processor, there are a variety of extra charges to consider, including the ones listed below:
- Statements must be submitted for a fee.
- Complying with the law incurs fees.
- Fees for disobedience with the law
- Terminal fees that must be paid.
- Fees that are payable on a monthly or yearly basis.
- Before engaging in a partnership with a CBD merchant processing provider, you should establish whether chargebacks will result in additional fees for you.
It is recommended that you contact a CBD payment processor to enquire about any additional and/or customized services that they may be able to supply.
With each company having its own set of payment regulations, it is vital that you can rely on a CBD credit card processing platform to meet all of your payment needs.
Choosing a CBD payment processor is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly, regardless of your company’s goals.
Working with regulatory standards, fraud prevention and data security, chargeback management, and providing you with appropriate advice are just a few of the critical things to look for when choosing a supplier.
Learn more about the ins and outs of this topic in our payments content hub.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Make CBD Payments On PayPal?
CBD merchants are out of luck due to PayPal’s restriction on high-risk firms. PayPal’s policy page states that cannabidiol-containing products are not authorized to be sold on the site. PayPal does not yet accept or enable CBD payments.
Can You Sell CBD Products On Amazon?
Marijuana and products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) are prohibited from being sold and bought, regardless of their legal status in any given state.
Additionally, the restrictions and requirements set out on Amazon’s Restricted Products pages for Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia and Dietary Supplements apply.
What Is The Difference Between Hemp And CBD?
Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is obtained entirely from the seeds of the hemp plant. The key difference between CBD and hemp is the concentration of cannabinoids.
Both products are made from hemp, however hemp plants contain a significant amount of CBD, whilst hemp seeds do not.
Is Hemp Or CBD Better For Pain?
Due to the absence of CBD in hemp oil, users benefit only from the nutrients included in the oil.
On the other hand, CBD oil may provide several benefits, including the relief of stress and anxiety, increased sleep, and effective pain management.
Paul Martinez is the founder of EcomSidekick.com. He is an expert in the areas of finance, real estate, eCommerce, traffic and conversion.
Join him on EcomSidekick.com to learn how to improve your financial life and excel in these areas. Before starting this media site, Paul built from scratch and managed two multi-million dollar companies. One in the real estate sector and one in the eCommerce sector.