Now that CBD has grown into a powerful industry, several merchant processors now process CBD product transactions. The list of merchant processors that allow these transactions has grown to include major companies like SMB Global and Square. It’s likely that more companies will be joining their ranks in the near future, but it wasn’t always so easy to get a merchant processor on board with CBD.
Even though the federal government of the United States legalized the sale of CBD products through the 2018 Farm Bill, the number of merchant processors that allow you to sell CBD has remained small. While many of them recently came around to the idea that CBD is safe and legal for both consumers and merchant services, some remain wary of any CBD transactions.
This slow uptake process from the merchant processor side has left CBD product retailers wondering which processors allow them to sell hemp-derived products. Using this helpful guide, you’ll learn the basics of merchant processors, why they were slow to allow transactions for CBD, and which merchant processors currently process these transactions for retailers. In this guide:
- What is a Merchant Processor?
- The Common Concerns with Merchant Processors and CBD/Hemp
- Merchant Processors that Allow for the Sale of CBD Products
- Which CBD Friendly Processors Work with Different Web Platforms
- A Look into the Future of Merchant Processors and CBD
What is a Merchant Processor?
A merchant processor (also known as a payment processor or merchant services provider) is a company that provides a variety of financial services for both online and in-person retailers. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing primarily on the payment processing services that these companies provide.
As most business owners likely know, merchant processors provide the useful service of moving funds from a customer’s debit or credit card to your store’s account. Without a payment processor, you cannot accept card payments. Considering that most people carry cards rather than cash these days, being unable to find a payment processor presents a huge problem. This problem becomes particularly dire for online businesses, which cannot rely on a cash-only model like some brick-and-mortar retail locations do.
All merchant processors have policies about the types of transactions they allow. Many of the major processors, such as Chase Merchant Services, Paysafe, and Merchant One, have historically avoided transactions on “high risk” products. This label often covers illegal goods, but has occasionally impacted recently legalized goods such as CBD, hemp products, and cannabis.
The Common Concerns with Merchant Processors and CBD/Hemp
While CBD and hemp were made legal in 2018 when the Farm Bill passed, many merchant processors continued to place these products in the “high risk” category. The reasons for the continued high risk classification varied, but most processors expressed concern over FDA regulations. Some were also concerned that states would pass laws restricting the sale of CBD products, putting the processor in a legal gray area.
Thankfully, many of these concerns have been eased over the past few years. The Farm Bill has held strong, and the latest rules from the USDA actually relax many of the restrictions on industrial hemp programs. Some merchant processors have accepted that CBD is here to stay, and are now allowing transactions on CBD products both online and in-person.
Merchant Processors that Allow for the Sale of CBD Products
Because the FDA still heavily scrutinizes and regulates CBD and hemp products, most of the merchant processors that allow for the sale of CBD are high risk processors. These merchant processors provide much needed transaction services to high risk industries. While most processors in this space specialize in high risk industries, some are major groups that process payments for all kinds of businesses.
Here are a few of the merchant processors that currently allow for CBD product sales along with a brief description of what customers have to say:
- DigiPay Solutions: DigiPay Solutions specializes in high risk industry transactions. The service is powered by Tranzlytics and is well regarded for their wide range of services. Of these many services, people routinely praise their fraud and chargeback management that protects both buyers and sellers.
- Easy Pay Direct: One of the most widely used CBD payment processing services, Easy Pay Direct has facilitated CBD transactions for over 20 years. They have an excellent reputation for their payment gateway and load balancing features, which allow users to process higher monthly payments. The commonly cited complaints mostly center on account fees and lengthy contracts.
- PaymentCloud: PaymentCloud has recently been touted as the gold standard of merchant processors when it comes to CBD. Customers praise their easy-to-understand billing rates and customer service. Some users have expressed concern about the age of this company, which started only recently, but otherwise there have been few complaints.
- SMB Global: The high risk offshoot of Payline Data, SMB Global routinely receives high marks from customers for their online integration and ease of use. The primary criticism of the service is its high minimum processing volume of $50,000 for an offshore merchant account.
- Square: A recent addition to the list of CBD-friendly merchant processors, Square provides transaction services for just about every industry under the sun. Customers have praised their service for being easy to use, though some note that the high risk service is expensive compared to their standard low risk service. While it’s certainly something worth considering, this higher pricing is common across the industry. Square helpfully displays all of their rates on their website.
- USAePay: USAePay is PCI-certified, and has a long history of providing transaction services for a variety of businesses. Some customers have expressed misgivings about their hardware, but the company offsets this with excellent customer service and integration features.
Which CBD Friendly Processors Work with Different Web Platforms
Setting up an online store shouldn’t be difficult, but sometimes issues arise when it’s time to link your payment processor to your web marketplace. Luckily, more and more web platforms integrate with CBD-friendly merchant processors every day.
Here are a few of the most common web marketplace platforms and some of the merchant processors with which they integrate:
- Shopify: Shopify works with DigiPay Solutions, Payment Cloud, USAePAy, Easy Pay Direct, and a variety of other payment processors.
- Wix: Wix integrates with Square, SMB Global, Easy Pay Direct, and some other processors.
- Ecwid: USAePay, Easy Pay Direct, and Square all integrate with Ecwid.
A Look into the Future of Merchant Processors and CBD
As the CBD industry continues to grow, more merchant processors will add CBD transactions to their list of services. We’ve already seen some traditional payment processors, like Square, jump into this exciting marketplace. More are certainly on the way.
CBD itself is beginning to move away from the high risk categorization as the FDA continues its research. With time, we expect that a majority of payment processors will allow transactions for CBD products.