Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. It is commonly known for its natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties and potential to treat other neurological symptoms and disorders. As one of dozens of the naturally occurring cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant, it remains a well-known, yet poorly understood chemical compound. Unlike THC, the most abundant active constituent of the cannabis plant, CDB does not produce any psychoactive effects. Despite this, its use remains controversial. Following regulations and finding the right CBD payment gateway is key to a successful CBD venture.
However, because of its significant medical benefits, CBD oil has become one of the more popularized cannabis-derived products (over the last few years). That being said, it is important to look at the e-commerce potential surrounding CDB in 2018. As explained in a T1 Payments article, “CBD is rapidly capturing consumer interest as an effective way to manage health conditions in people and pets. As awareness grows, so does the number of people looking to build a business around CBD – including financial services for CBD merchants.”
Why is CBD a high-risk business?
High-risk businesses include those in any industry in which sales have, as T1 payments explains, a “higher-than-usual number of charge-backs or payment card fraud.” Some of these industries include pharmaceuticals, adult products and services, Bitcoin trading, e-cigarette and vaping devices, and of course, CBD.
CBD processing itself presents a unique problem. Because products that contain less than 0.3% THC are federally legal, the sale of CBD should be rather clear-cut. However, because state laws can vary, there is often uncertainty when it comes to the interpretation of laws concerning CBD sales. Because of this, companies that offer such financial and ecommerce services can be wary of working with CBD merchants.
Choosing a CBD Payment Processor
Being a cannabidiol merchant, while having high potential as a business venture, can result in financial disaster. Because CBD e-commerce is considered a high-risk activity the right payment processor needs to be chosen. It is common for merchants to get dropped by their payment processors (also known as CBD shut-downs).
For CBD merchants, the best option is to find a payment gateway that has previous experience working with CBD merchants. When looking for payment processors, it is also important that the processor or account provider has a stake in the CBD market, directly or indirectly. Payment processors are more likely to be proactive when it comes to finding CBD merchant account solutions if they also have financial interests in the market. Furthermore, the payment processor should have a diverse and well-established network of financial services partners. Because of the nature of CBD e-commerce, it is beneficial to have a payment provider who can respond quickly to new challenges within the industry. When the processor has a well-established network of partners they are more equipped to solve potential future problems.
Additional Services offered by CBD Payment Gateways
It is also worth looking for a CBD payment gateway that provides your company with additional services. This could include anything from data security and fraud protection to guidance concerning payment processing regulatory requirements (PCI DSS). The more services a payment processor provides, the better they will be able to support a business as it grows and (hopefully) flourishes.
Finally, as explained in the same T1 Payments article: “It’s also important to work with a proactive high-risk payment processor, one whose own business success relies on staying ahead of the laws and procedures affecting online CBD sales – and who actively works to keep you informed of changes and develops solutions to emerging problems/changes that could derail your business.”
Here is a summary of what to look for in your search for a CBD payment gateway:
- the payment processor has worked with high-risk (better yet, CBD) businesses before
- there is a mutual financial stake in the sale of CBD
- the payment processor has previously established a variety of financial services partners
- the payment processor offers a wide range of services
Best Merchant Accounts for CBD
Two of the best US merchant accounts for CBD vendors in 2018 are PaymentCloud and EMB. These are two of the top recommendations for taking credit card payments.
PaymentCloud, is high-risk merchant account provider to be aware of. The company also specializes in high-risk e-commerce processing are approving CBD merchants. According to the T1 Payments article, it is one of the best processors in the merchant services industry. eMerchantBroker (EMB), based in Los Angeles, also specializes in high-risk e-commerce processing solutions as well as credit card processing, AHC processing, an online payment gateway and chargeback management systems.
A few other merchant account providers to check out:
Instabill, founded in 2003, is a high-risk merchant account provider suitable for use as a CBD payment gateway. The company’s services include credit card processing and fraud protection. However Instabill only works in states where marijuana is legal.
High Risk Holdings, a credit card processing company based out of Berkeley, California also offers processing solutions. Similar to EMB, High Risk Holdings specializes in credit card processing, ACH processing, and chargeback resolution tools. While it does not offer all of the services we have recommended, it appears to be actively pursuing CBD merchants.
If you are a CBD merchant and need any help with branding, developing an app or a website don’t hesitate to let us know. Visit our IMPRiNT services page to find out more.
Parker, Phillip, “Best Merchant Accounts for CBD”, Credit Card Payment Options.
July 30, 2018, https://www.cardpaymentoptions.com/credit-card-processing/best-cbd/
How to Choose a CBD Payment Processor, T1 Payments, March 8, 2018. https://www.t1payments.com/how-to-choose-a-cbd-payment-processor/