Marijuana Credit Card Processing

If you own and operate any type of cannabis operation, you’re probably well aware of how hard it is to get credit card processing services.

It’s actually impossible unless you do something underhanded, which we’ll talk about in just a few minutes.

That said, it’s important to stay updated on everything merchant account providers are doing to try to offer this service to businesses just like yours. You’re in the right place to get some helpful information.

Our Top Picks for Cannabis Merchant Account Providers

Easy Pay Direct
Specializes in working with high risk businesses.
Domestic accounts have zero early termination fees.
Variable contract terms.
High risk tolerance.
Single point of contact for multiple merchant accounts.
Public pricing is available.



Best for

E-commerce companies, SaaS companies, "high-risk businesses", & established small/medium businesses ($500,000+ in annual sales)

Specializes in

Easy Pay Direct has unique gateway software and banking solutions to optimize payments for eCommerce, SaaS, information products, supplements, and CBD amongst other verticals.

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee:  $99

Monthly Fee: $24.95

Swipe Rate: 1.59% + $0.17

Keyed-in Rate:  2.39% + $0.29

Early Termination Fee: $0 (domestic accounts)

Contract Terms:

1 Year 3 Years
May require you to have an offshore merchant account, but they offer great customer support.
No setup fee.
No monthly fee.
Every business has a dedicated account manager to serve them.
Merchants have access to around the clock seven day a week support.
Account setup within twenty-four hours.



Best for

High-Risk Merchants

Specializes in

High Risk

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee: None

Monthly Fee: None

Swipe Rate: Unknown

Keyed-in Rate: Unknown

Early Termination Fee: Unknown

Contract Terms:

Offshore accounts are available, and they work with medical marijuana dispensaries.
Works with any size high risk business.
No setup fee.
Variable rates depending on the merchant's volume.
Merchants are notified whenever a fraud or chargeback occurs.
Checks are allowed to be accepted from customers.



Best for

eMerchantBroker is best for any size business that is considered high-risk. It's considered one of the top payment processors for high-risk businesses that would otherwise have difficulty finding a standard merchant account provider. 

Specializes in

eMerchantBroker specializes in credit repair, collections agencies, adult websites, travel and timeshare, firearms and guns, bankruptcy and bad credit, online and in-person smoke shops. They also work with electronic cigarettes and other companies that fit into the high-risk merchant account category.

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee: $0

Monthly Fee: Undisclosed

Swipe Rate: 3.00% + $0.15

Keyed-in Rate: 4.00% + $0.25

Early Termination Fee: Up to $595

Contract Terms:

1 Year 3 Years

What is Marijuana Payment Processing?

Most people pay for the products and services they purchase with a credit card, debit card, or something other than cash. Cannabis payment processing services are needed for dispensaries that sell these products.

This is how it works in other industries:

  1. Customers make a purchase using their preferred non-cash payment method.
  2. The business works with a merchant account provider to get a merchant account and payment processing services.
  3. Money from all sales gets deposited into the merchant account where fees are removed to pay for their services.
  4. From there, money is deposited into the business’s bank account, which is where the business owner has access to it.

Why do Cannabis Dispensaries Need Merchant Accounts?

Marijuana businesses need merchant accounts for a number of reasons, including:

  • They need to have a way to accept non-cash payments for the products they sell.
  • They can benefit from some of the many services merchant account providers offer, such as chargeback prevention.
  • They need to ensure that the money from their sales will be protected and deposited securely.
  • They need to keep their customers’ financial information safe and reduce the risk of fraud.

There are alternatives to merchant accounts and processing payments through an MSP, but utilizing those services could be detrimental to a business in the cannabis space.

What are the Challenges Marijuana Businesses are Facing?

Marijuana is a legal gray area right now. There are only a handful of states that have not legalized cannabis in some way, shape, or form, and most have legalized it for medicinal or recreational use.

But that hasn’t changed things on a Federal level - yet.

As of this writing, cannabis is still illegal at the Federal level, and while the SAFE Banking Act might be working to change that, the current laws prohibit the use of credit and debit cards for buying marijuana.

That leaves a lot of dispensary owners in a bind. But there are workarounds, and many of them use them.

Options for Processing Payments for Cannabis Sales

If you own and operate a dispensary, whether it’s for recreational or medicinal marijuana, you may have at least considered using any of the following methods to process your payments.

Using a Payment Aggregator

Payment aggregators - or payment service providers, as they’re often called - are services like Stripe, PayPal, and Square. These companies offer a quick way for businesses to be able to process payments.

They’re popular for good reason. Setting up a merchant account with them only takes a few minutes, and businesses are able to begin accepting payments almost immediately.

But all of them have strict policies against working with cannabis dispensaries because of the legalities we talked about above. That doesn’t always stop businesses from trying though.

Working with a payment aggregator may work for some businesses, but anyone who owns and operates a cannabis dispensary should avoid them at all costs.

Miscoding the Business

In Upstate New York, once cannabis was legalized at the state level, “sticker stores” began popping up in various cities. Customers would go to these stores to purchase “stickers” and leave with a “free gift” of cannabis.

It wasn’t long before these businesses lost the ability to continue to accept credit and debit card payments.

If you’re working with a payment aggregator and they suspect that type of dishonesty, they can quickly shut down your access to your business funds. Your account could end up getting frozen for months, and you may never be able to access your money.

This is also a good way to end up on the MATCH List, which is a type of payment processing black list. In the event that it does become legal for dispensaries to process credit and debit card payments, if you’re on the MATCH List, you may not be able to find anyone who will work with you.

Cashless ATMs

The use of cashless ATMs is sometimes referred to as Point of Banking. It’s a way of paying for goods and services that accesses the customer’s bank account at the point of sale.

Point of Banking involves using an ATM to process payments. The customer inserts their bank card and enters their PIN. But instead of getting cash to use for the sale, money is transferred to the business’s bank account.

For these types of sales, customers have to pay in $5 increments. Many dispensaries that use this method also charge a convenience fee to help cover the cost of the service.

Point of Banking is growing more and more popular. Customers love the convenience of it, and it offers a streamlined, legal payment processing option for dispensaries.

Should You Consider an Offshore Merchant Account?

Some payment processors can help cannabis dispensaries get offshore merchant accounts to use for accepting payments. Still, these businesses are considered high risk, so not all MSPs will work with them.

Working with a provider that offers offshore merchant accounts for businesses like yours is something to consider. But be aware that you may have to pay a lot more for their services.

Things to Think About Before Choosing a Marijuana Credit Card Processing Company

There are a few things that you’ll want to think about before you choose a cannabis merchant services provider.

Remember, take your time. Learn as much as you can about each one you’re thinking about working with before you make your decision.

Your Business is Considered High Risk

Like we mentioned above, if you own and operate a cannabis dispensary, merchant account providers consider your business high risk because of the products you sell. The same is true for similar products, like:

  • CBD
  • Delta 8
  • Delta 9
  • Delta 10

But it’s legal to work with an MSP in the United States if you’re selling any of those four products.

Contract Lengths and Terms

We’re hoping that cannabis dispensaries will be able to start accepting credit card payments soon, just like other businesses. But for now, you may have to work with a provider that can get you an offshore merchant account, or one that offers Point of Banking.

Regardless, you’ll want to check your contract length and terms carefully before you decide to sign on the dotted line.

Because you’re considered a high risk business, you may have to have a lengthy commitment with any processor you decide to work with. So a contract term of 3-5 years would be considered typical.

But be aware that you don’t need to enter into an expensive lease agreement for your equipment. It’s much more cost effective for you to purchase a POS system or card reader outright than to lease it, even though the monthly payments may appear to be reasonable.

Sometimes those types of contracts can rope you in for a very long time, and a machine that may have only cost you $500 if you’d purchased it could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

You May Need More Than One Merchant Account

It’s a good idea for any business to have more than one merchant account; especially those that are high risk.

Your merchant account provider can help you set up multiple accounts so that if one experiences an excessive number of chargebacks, the majority of your business funds won’t be affected.

This is something called load balancing, and you’ll want to ask every MSP you’re considering working with if they offer it.

How to Choose the Best Marijuana Merchant Services Provider

One of the first things you’ll want to learn about any merchant account provider is their pricing structure. There are several options, and every provider has their own preference.

  • Flat-rate pricing - Flat-rate pricing seems like it’s the simplest, but it can actually end up costing you more in the long run. Processors that offer this option will charge you one flat rate for every transaction you process. This is great for your accounting, but the fees could be quite a bit higher than you’d like.
  • Tiered pricing - There are three tiers with a tiered pricing plan - qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Processors that offer tiered pricing are quick to advertise their qualified rates, but cannabis sales would fall under non-qualified because they’re high risk businesses. Those rates are significantly higher.
  • Interchange-plus - This pricing structure is the most transparent of them all. Interchange rates are set by the credit card companies twice a year. The “plus” refers to the amount of money that is added to interchange to cover processing expenses. This is a much better deal for most businesses, regardless of their risk level.

There are other pricing structures too, such as surcharge programs and cash discount programs. But those are probably not going to work for your business until it’s able to accept credit card payments.

Additional Pro Tips

Look for MSPs that Work with Cannabis Dispensaries

As you’re shopping for a cannabis payment processor, look for one that has experience working with cannabis dispensaries.

Your account will need to go through an underwriting process, and you want an underwriter who understands what you do. They’ll know all of the legal information to get your account and services set up the right way.

Know Your Hardware & Software Options

There are plenty of ways for you to accept payments for your cannabis business. You’re definitely not limited to using just a POS system or card reader. Here are your other options:

  • Mobile card reader - If you live in a state where cannabis is legal for recreational use, eventually, you might want to set up shop at events where you can sell your products. Having a mobile card reader will be essential for you if that’s the case.
  • Virtual terminal - A virtual terminal offers you a way to process payments through the use of any device that has an internet connection. A lot of business owners like this option because they can also take payments over the phone or through the mail.
  • Payment gateway - There may come a day when you’re able to sell your cannabis products online. If you also have products like CBD or Delta 8, that might be something you want to set up right now. A payment gateway integrates with your website’s shopping cart and allows customers to make purchases right online. It’s seamless.

Have a conversation with every processor you consider to see what they can do to offer you a variety of options. You also want to know that they’ll grow with your as your business grows.

Customer Service Matters

Having an accessible customer service department in place is absolutely critical.

If you sell your products online, people could be purchasing from you day or night. If there’s an issue with a payment, you’ll want to be able to contact your MSP’s customer service department at any time.

We recommend looking for customer service departments that offer multiple ways to contact them. For example:

  • A general phone number
  • A dedicated phone number for sales or tech support
  • An email address
  • An online chat option

There are even some merchant account providers that make sure all of their customers have access to their teams’ cell phone numbers in case they need even faster assistance.

The Account Approval Process

When you work with a merchant service provider, you won’t get an instant approval for your account. You’ll have to wait a bit, but the amount of time it will take is dependent upon each company.

Some processors may be able to get you approved in as little as 2 or 3 business days. Others might take up to 10-14. Regardless, find out how long it might take before you get an answer on your approval.

To Wrap Up - Our Picks for the Best Marijuana Payment Processors