Who are the Best CBD Credit Card Processing Companies?

If you own a CBD store - either brick and mortar or online - then you’ll need credit card processing services when you make sales.

But it can be tricky to find a CBD merchant services provider that can help you with that.

Fortunately, you’re in the right place. We can help you locate the right company that can get you accepting payments for your store before you know it.

We can also help you better understand the credit processing industry, learn what you can expect when you go to open your merchant account, and find out what you should avoid.

But first, let’s talk about our picks for the best CBD merchant account providers and payment processors.

Our Top Picks for the Best CBD Merchant Service Providers

What is CBD Payment Processing?

CBD payment processing offers a way for merchants (aka business owners) like yourself to accept credit cards and other forms of payment.

Without some type of service in place, you would only be able to accept cash (or checks, if you choose).

Working with a company that specializes in working with high-risk merchants - which CBD businesses are - will allow you to reach more customers and increase your sales.

Why do CBD Merchants Need to Process Payments?

Most people would rather pay for the products they purchase with a credit or debit card, so being able to accept these types of payments is very important.

High-risk businesses like yours need to work with payment processing companies that can provide them with these services.

Options for CBD Credit Card Processing

You have many options available to you for accepting credit cards, debit cards, and other types of payments at your store; whether it is online or a brick and mortar shop.

Note: You’re not necessarily limited to just one of these. You can mix and match them based on your needs.

In-Store Through a POS System

If you have a storefront CBD store, then you might want some type of POS system or credit card terminal for accepting payments.

With this type of system, your customers can use EMV chip cards, magstripe cards, and quite often, pay for merchandise with a mobile wallet like Apple Pay.

POS systems have a lot of benefits. They can often be configured to help you manage your inventory, take care of payroll, and even assist with scheduling your employees.

Online Through a Virtual Terminal

If a POS system isn’t really your style, then a virtual terminal might be a good fit for you.

A virtual terminal operates entirely online, and you log in to your terminal’s website. From there, you enter customers’ payment information and the system processes their payment.

A virtual terminal might be a good fit for you if you regularly make sales over the phone (these are called MOTO payments). They are very versatile and can work for in-store sales too.

With a Payment Gateway

If your CBD store is online, you’ll need a payment gateway to process your customers’ payments.

With this method, your store’s shopping cart is integrated with your merchant account provider’s gateway. Your customers enter their information into a checkout form and the gateway takes care of the rest.

Some stores have mobile apps, and as a CBD business, this might be something you’re considering as well. Payment Gateways can also be integrated with them too.

Through a Mobile App or with a Mobile Card Reader

It might be less common, but some CBD retailers may need to have the capability of selling their products on the go. You can do that with mobile payment processing services.

This method will require one of two things - a mobile app that you can use to process transactions, or a mobile card reader, which will allow you to swipe cards.

If you regularly sell your products at trade shows, farmer’s markets, or other such venues, this might be something to consider.

What’s the Difference Between Working with a Merchant Account Provider and a Payment Aggregator?

A lot of merchants don’t see the need to work with a merchant services provider because they feel it’s easier for them to work with a service like Square or PayPal.

These services are called payment aggregators, and they can cause a lot of problems for your business, like:

  • Freezing your funds - If you have too many chargebacks (which means, a customer disputed a charge or returned products), you run the risk of having your money frozen. This could be seriously problematic for your business.
  • High transaction fees - Many payment aggregators’ fees are much higher than they are for merchant account providers; even for high-risk businesses.
  • Account closure - Sometimes businesses find that the services they were using have closed their accounts and they lose access to their money. These types of issues are common among high-risk merchants working with payment aggregators.

It’s also important to note that not all payment aggregators will work with CBD merchants. PayPal is a perfect example.

To get around this, some merchants will lie about the products they sell. That is a surefire way to get your account closed and lose access to your funds.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a CBD Merchant Services Company

Before you choose a CBD credit card processor, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

Transaction Fees and Other Costs

There are many fees involved with opening a merchant account. Some of them include:

  • Application and/or approval fees
  • Monthly statement fees
  • Monthly and/or annual fees
  • PCI compliance fees
  • Payment gateway fees
  • Virtual terminal fees

You will also pay a certain amount of money per transaction. This is often based on how the transaction was made.

For example, let’s say your customer paid for a purchase with a regular credit card with an EMV chip. The cost of transaction fees might be 3.99% + $0.50.

Rolling Reserve Requirements

A lot of high-risk merchant accounts will be required to maintain rolling reserves. Simply put, this just means that a percentage of your sales will be set aside in a different account, usually for a period of six months.

Rolling reserves are there as a safety net for the payment processing company. This money ensures that in the event of excessive chargebacks, you always have enough to cover them.

Once six months have passed, a portion of those funds will be returned to you, and the process will continue.

Some merchant account providers may lift the rolling reserve requirement once a merchant has established a long-standing, positive payment processing history. But some will require them for the life of the contract.

Speaking of contracts...

Contract Length and Terms

Most merchant account providers will require you to sign some type of contract before they will begin doing business with you. Again, this is typical.

But it’s important to pay close attention to the terms of any contract you sign before you sign it.

Contracts come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure you understand any fees you’ll be charged, and ask as many questions as you need to.

You may want to avoid signing a long-term contract if at all possible. A five-year contract may be very hard to get out of if you’re not happy with the services you’re receiving.

Also, if you do decide to cancel before the term is up, you could get hit with a big early termination fee. Sometimes these fees can be more than $1,000, depending on the company.

Check the fine print. Make sure you’re happy with any contract before agreeing to its terms.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Payment Processor for Your CBD Store

Now that you’re ready to talk with merchant services providers, you’ll want to know what types of questions you should be asking them.

We’ve come up with a helpful list.

What Pricing Model do You Use?

There are several types of pricing models that payment processors use, and some are better than others. They are:

  • Flat-rate pricing - This model assigns a flat rate to all transactions, regardless of what they are. This makes accounting a lot easier for you, but it could also mean that you pay more in transaction fees in the long run.
  • Tiered pricing - This method assigns a category to your customers’ purchases (qualified, mid-qualified, or non-qualified). Non-qualified purchases (which most of yours might be at a CBD store) are charged much higher rates.
  • Interchange-Plus pricing - This model is the most transparent because interchange is set by credit card companies twice a year. The “plus” comes from any additional amount that the processor tacks on to pay for their services.

How Long Will Setup Take?

Your goal is to be able to process payments, so you’ll definitely want to find out how long that will take.

Many high-risk merchant account providers can have CBD stores ready to accept payments in as little as a few days, depending on their processing method. But if you need a POS system, you may have to wait up to 14 days to receive your equipment.

You’ll first have to wait until your account gets approved. That can be done in as little as 24 hours with some providers.

Once it’s approved, if you are going to be working with a virtual terminal or payment gateway, that can be set up in a matter of days.

What Type of Hardware/Software is Available?

You’ll find that many merchant account providers partner with other companies to get their customers ready to accept payments.

Ask about these partnerships before you sign any contracts. You should know what types of hardware and/or software is available for you before you start working with the processor.

Also, it’s a good idea to stay away from leasing your equipment. Many merchants get talked into expensive equipment leases when they really could have just purchased their POS systems and credit card terminals outright and saved hundreds of dollars.

How to Choose the Best CBD Merchant Account Provider to Meet Your Needs

At a first glance, many high-risk payment processors can all look the same. Trust us - they’re not. Here are our best tips on what you should look for:

  • Exceptional customer service and tech support are a must. It is inevitable that things will go wrong from time to time. When they do, you want to know that there will be someone on the other end of the phone who can fix them.
  • As many accepted payment types as possible. The world we live in is changing, and now more than ever, people want more payment options. For example, a lot more people want to pay with mobile wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay because they’re a lot more convenient. You may also want to have the ability to accept checks, electronic checks, and ACH payments because their transaction fees tend to be lower.
  • Fraud protection is vitally important. If you’re not familiar with the term, PCI compliance, this is one you’ll want to know. Your customers need to know that they can trust your business with their sensitive credit card data. Any credit card processor you choose should be able to help you get and remain compliant.

A Few More Thoughts Before We Go...

Know that CBD is a High-Risk Business

There are only a few payment processors out there who will work with CBD companies. This is due to its legality, which is still somewhat of a gray area in many states.

Because CBD is derived from hemp (or marijuana, for some products), these merchants are considered to be high-risk. As such, it will cost more for you to process payments.

But that doesn’t mean that you should just hand over your profits to your merchant account provider. Take the time to research the ones that will offer you the most in profits while still providing you with the services you need.

Make a Plan for Your Expansion in the Future

It’s possible that right now, you only have a brick and mortar CBD store. But that could easily change in the future.

A year from now, you may want to expand to online sales as well. Many merchants do.

You want to know that your payment processor will be able to grow with you and provide you with the additional services you might need in the future.

The Best CBD Payment Processing Companies