Cannabidiol or CBD is a chemical ingredient extracted from the Sativa plant (also called hemp or cannabis) in the form of oil. The manufacturers use this extract in products such as gummies, serums, lotions, creams, and capsules. CBD is an approved medical drug in many US states. In 2018, FDA allowed it to be used as Epidiolex for treating epilepsy seizures
Currently, all the states allow the manufacturing and purchase of CBD products with less than 0.3% of THC but have different legal requirements. The CBD market is growing exponentially, and with the growth in the market, more merchant service providers are aiming to provide payment processing services to CBD vendors. The market’s growth is being augmented by research linking CBD extracts to countless therapeutic benefits.
Another factor driving up the acceptance and awareness of these products is government approvals for medicinal and even recreational use in some states. But with the rising demand for CBD payment processing, many vendors have faced unfortunate problems that hinder the ability of the business to function. This stems primarily from the lack of awareness about adequate merchant account providers for CBD services. The review below will discuss the complications the CBD industry faces in payment processing, followed by a review of some of the best merchant account providers for the CBD industry.
Complications for CBD Merchants
CBD products have been in the market for years, but the sellers ran small-scale businesses on cash payments because banks resisted authorizing payments for CBD merchant accounts. Even though CBD has a minor quantity of THC (a psychoactive component that causes the high feeling affiliated with most drugs) and is legalized in many states, it is still listed as a schedule 1 drug in the US. Consequently, CBD businesses are labeled high-risk, making it challenging for merchants to find a payment processor for their business.
There have been cases of banks closing a CBD merchant account without notice. As there are just a handful of CBD merchant account providers, merchants in desperate need fall prey to scams. These scams hide the business under a false name and run off with the money after merchants sign up and pay for the registration.
The few authentic payment processors charge high service costs, and merchants must deal with fundholding and rolling reserves. The CBD merchant accounts have more restricting policies than other low-risk merchant accounts. Below is a review of some reliable merchant account providers for CBD businesses.
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services was founded in 2012 in Newark and provides merchant accounts to low- and high-risk businesses. The company offers interchange plus pricing and has reliable customer service. HMS provides online and in-person payment processing services with EMV and Swipe-based card readers and virtual terminals. Merchants are free to cancel the contract anytime without paying an early termination fee.
HMS is one of the only providers that will tell you beforehand whether or not your business is suited to its rate structure. Companies that are too cost-prohibitive and have a very low-volume business are suggested to review their choice before they sign-up. This allows them to avoid unwanted trouble in finances along the way. Host Merchant Services claims to put “service first, ” which is clearly shown by almost no complaints online. While it has a relatively small client base, the lack of negative reviews is credited to the customer handling of HMS. Good customer service can go a long way, and Host Merchant Services ensures they never neglect a customer’s grievance.
The pricing structure and rates of HMS are easily amongst the best in the market. They have no monthly minimums like countless other providers do and do not have a setup or application fee. HMS is one of the few merchant account providers with an elaborate website and customer service that handles issues and complaints well. It has very affordable rates and is excellent for merchants other than the CBD business as well. Based on the information above, HMS is easily the best choice for any high, or low-risk merchant.
Headquartered in California since 2010, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider for low, medium, and high-risk businesses, now offering services for CBD sellers. The company does not charge any setup fee, and merchants are offered free EMV-compatible terminals for their accounts. PaymentCloud has Autorize.Net as its payment gateway but is also compatible with other gateways. It provides multiple POS solutions, mobile credit card readers, virtual terminals, cash advances, and online payment services.
A merchant’s existing credit card reader can be reprogrammed to be compatible with PaymentCloud. The company is integrated with WooCommerce, Shopify, WordPress, and others, making online shopping easier for consumers.
The provider has a variable processing rate and does not disclose their fee and important terms publicly. Moreover, it should be noted that PaymentCloud only provides merchant accounts for CBD businesses selling externally used products like lotions, oils, and serums. PaymentCloud does not cover companies that deal in CBD edible products.
National Processing is a US-based merchant service provider located in Utah. The provider is transparent about contract terms and offers the full Clover terminals and POS system lineup, providing payment processing services to high-risk businesses. Although, these services are subjected to approval for CBD merchandise.
The provider offers electronic check conversion, turning paper checks into a secure digital transaction. National Processing check guarantee helps merchants in verifying the validity of a check. Another offering is the effective iProcess smartphone app that allows users to conduct transactions through their phones efficiently.
National Processing does not provide a fixed processing rate, and for high-risk businesses, merchants have to pay a high transaction fee and a $15 account fee per month. The company offers chargeback prevention tools, in-person payments, and e-commerce services. They claim to lease free equipment, but merchants have to sign up for a long-term contract to get the equipment and pay an early termination fee for contract cancellation.
Offering high-risk e-commerce processing to CBD merchant accounts, eMerchant Broker is an LA-based account provider. Their products and services include chargeback management solutions, cash advances, online payments, and ACH funding. However, high cash advances cost higher rates.
eMerchant Broker processing rates vary for each business, and their website does not provide sufficient information about their payment plan and contract terms. A merchant has to sign up on the website or deal with sales representatives to ask for the required information. In addition, the company’s payment processing services are limited to CBD oil merchants and other low-risk businesses. Merchants dealing with other CBD merchandise are advised to look for providers better suited for their business type.
Square, a US-based payment service provider, started its payment processing services for CBD merchants in 2019. Most of the terms are disclosed on the website, like their rates and no account or sign-up fee. The provider does not charge hidden fees and CBD merchants have access to all their products like other low-risk businesses affiliated with Square. Funds are deposited to the merchant’s account within two days, but the process can speed up with an additional fee.
Square debit and credit card transaction rates are the same resulting in a higher PIN debit transaction rate. Square pricing and contract terms depend on the features that you subscribe to. Square, being an aggregator and not a traditional payment processor, does not provide a full-service merchant account and aggregates all merchant payment accounts. This means that vendors have to deal with unexpected account freeze, fund holding, and termination regularly. The company has a mediocre customer service department and does not provide call support until you sign-up.
Easy Pay Direct
Easy Pay Direct, in business for over nine years, has now started payment processing for CBD businesses. US-based merchants can set up an account with Easy Pay in 7-9 days. The company does not charge an early termination fee and offers load balancing. Merchants can divide their funding into different merchant accounts without worrying about the processing volume limit. The provider has an EPD payment gateway for online payments.
Easy Pay also provides merchant accounts for CBD ingestible sellers but does not accept startups. Their pricing is not entirely disclosed on the website, but based on sources, merchants have to pay a premium fee, $250 application, and a $29.99 account fee. The company’s processing rate is volume-based, and only specific businesses will get approval.
For load balancing, merchants have to pay the account fee for each account. However, offshore businesses do not have the processing volume limit and can process their payments with one Easy Pay Direct account.
PayKings started in St. Petersburg, in 2001, has been one of the most compatible choices for CBD vendors and has been planning payment processing for many high-risk businesses. They offer Autorize.Net and NMI as their payment gateway. PayKings integrated with Shopify, allowing merchants to sell their CBD products online through this platform. The company also provides high-risk ACH payment processing at lower rates than credit card processing.
The provider affiliates with many offshore banks and processors, getting the merchant’s account approved within days. Their documentation is accessible, and consumers do not have to sign up to get an idea. In addition, PayKings provides a significant amount of information about their pricing and products on their website, and their customer service is pretty decent. The provider does not charge a setup fee and gives chargeback protection.
However, merchants are bound to a long-term contract with an early termination fee of $300 to $500 and a tiered pricing plan that can be expensive for most businesses. However, merchants can request an interchange plus pricing plan, but the rates will vary.
Started in 2016 in South Jordan, Utah, SMB Global is a spinoff subsidiary of Payline Data, a reliable service provider for high-risk businesses. SMB Global deals with providing merchant accounts to domestic and offshore companies and specializes in getting CBD merchant accounts approved. Like countless other providers, SMB offers NMI and Authorize.net as their payment gateways.
SMB Global products and services include a chargeback prevention software that checks and prevents chargebacks and provides automated analytics. Their mobile processing app is available for iOS and Android, and users are offered a free mobile card reader with their account. The company has EMV-compatible terminals but does not provide any information about its lease.
SMB Global is compatible with ACH payment processing, charging a monthly fee, and over 175 online shopping platforms are integrated with the company. Merchants can request loans under specific circumstances. The provider also offers currency conversion, so merchants do not have to pay a cross-border fee. The consumer has to sign an automatically-renewed three-year contract with an undisclosed early termination fee.
SMB Global has an interchange plus pricing plan, but merchants can be forced to accept a tiered pricing plan. If you are new to a CBD business, ensure no unwanted terms are added to your contract and negotiate your agreement before signing. Currently, SMB Global only accepts CBD businesses with offshore accounts.
It is common for merchants in high-risk businesses to fall prey to sub-par merchant account providers. Not many providers take on high-risk industries as it also entails risk for them. CBD products are still considered high-risk despite government approvals for their medicinal and recreational use. Therefore, merchants that deal in CBD products often face unduly high processing fees, sudden account holds, terminations, and many chargebacks. These problems are common with processors only out in the payment industry to capitalize on the already troubled merchants.
Luckily, not all providers are the same. The abovementioned ones put customer satisfaction first by providing affordable rates and matchless customer support. While more and more payment processors are now switching toward accepting the high-risk industry of CBD products, not all can offer you the same quality of hardware and software offerings. So, if you are a merchant dealing in CBD products, check out the providers reviewed above if you are looking for a streamlined and effective merchant account provider.