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Looking For A CBD Merchant Account? Here Are The 6 Best CBD-Friendly Payment Processors To Work With

CBD merchant accounts come with higher prices and more restrictive policies than low-risk accounts but good options include PaymentCloud and PayKings.

    Frank Kehl
  • UPDATED

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CBD oil

Products derived from CBD oils have been available for several years now, but the legalization of hemp by the 2018 Farm Bill kicked the market for CBD products into overdrive. Unfortunately, the payment processing industry hasn’t been very welcoming of this new class of products, leading to significant challenges for CBD merchants in finding a merchant account that will allow them to process credit and debit card sales.

Almost all states currently allow you to purchase or distribute hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC, but each state imposes specific legal requirements.

Although medical marijuana and, by extension, CBD products are now legal in most US states, most banks and credit card processors have been extremely reluctant to approve CBD businesses for merchant accounts. Many such companies have had their accounts suddenly closed without notice.

In this article, we’ll review the best merchant account providers that accept CBD businesses, and explain the many legal and financial issues that make it difficult to get approved for a CBD merchant account.

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  • Best for merchants selling topical CBD products
  • Variable monthly fee
  • Best for merchants selling topical CBD products
  • Variable monthly fee

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  • Best choice for merchants who want to use Clover terminals
  • Variable monthly fee
  • Best choice for merchants who want to use Clover terminals
  • Variable monthly fee

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  • Most affordable choice for low-volume CBD merchants and startups
  • No monthly fee
  • Most affordable choice for low-volume CBD merchants and startups
  • No monthly fee

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  • Best for merchants looking for transparent pricing and a domestic merchant account
  • $29.99 monthly fee
  • Best for merchants looking for transparent pricing and a domestic merchant account
  • $29.99 monthly fee

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  • Best for merchants looking for interchange-plus pricing
  • Variable monthly fee
  • Best for merchants looking for interchange-plus pricing
  • Variable monthly fee

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  • Best choice for high-volume CBD merchants
  • Variable monthly fee
  • Best choice for high-volume CBD merchants
  • Variable monthly fee

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Table of Contents

What Is A CBD Merchant Account?

A CBD merchant account is a merchant account that has been specifically approved for use in selling some or all types of CBD products. CBD businesses are considered very high-risk, so most popular merchant account providers (and many high-risk specialists) will not accept merchants selling these products.

Why Do You Need A High-Risk Merchant Account For CBD Sales?

As you might expect, the processing industry has placed CBD products firmly in the high-risk category, making it much more difficult and expensive to get a merchant account. Businesses can find themselves labeled as high-risk for any number of reasons. Still, for CBD products, the main reasons are (1) unsubstantiated claims regarding the efficacy of the products, (2) high chargeback rates, and (3) legal issues affecting the distribution of the product.

Like many products in the nutraceutical category, the purported beneficial effects of CBD oils have not been approved or validated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). With little or no peer-reviewed research currently available to evaluate the benefits of CBD use, the floodgates have been opened for businesses to tout CBD as a potential cure for… well, just about anything. Initially offered to help you relax and alleviate stress, CBD is now claimed (by some people, at least) to cure depression, anxiety, and even autism.

Chargebacks are a known risk for just about any business, but the chance of experiencing one is much higher with CBD products.

Unfortunately, the unproven claims of CBD’s beneficial health effects that we’ve discussed above make it much more likely that consumers will file a chargeback if they feel that the CBD-based product they purchased didn’t help them or make them feel better at all.

The banks that underwrite merchant accounts also don’t like to deal with businesses that sell a product that is on shaky or unclear legal ground. Currently, CBD laws vary widely from state to state, creating a number of legal conundrums for merchants who sell them.

The 6 Best CBD Merchant Services Providers

A CBD merchant account is simply a merchant account that allows you to accept credit card payments but has been approved by your provider for selling CBD-derived products. Due to the inherently higher risk associated with CBD products, CBD merchant accounts inevitably come with higher prices and more restrictive policies than low-risk accounts.

Here’s a brief overview of six of the best merchant account providers in the industry that accept CBD merchants.

1. PaymentCloud: Best For Topical CBD Products

PaymentCloud


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Exclusive Promo: PaymentCloud will give you $200 if they can't beat your current rate. Get Your Quote

Pros

  • No application or account setup fees
  • “Free” credit card terminal with each retail account
  • Dedicated account manager for customer support

Cons

  • No pricing disclosures on website

PaymentCloud Features

California-based PaymentCloud has been providing high-risk merchant accounts since 2010 and accepts CBD businesses as well. The company offers a full range of services, including the following:

  • High-risk merchant accounts for CBD businesses
  • Full support for retail and online sales
  • Wide range of mobile card readers, terminals, and POS systems available
  • Choice of Authorize.Net, NMI, and USAePay payment gateways
  • Virtual terminal included with every account
  • eCheck and ACH processing available
  • Paysley QR code payment service available

PaymentCloud Pricing

  • No application or account setup fees
  • “Free” terminal available with each account
  • Variable monthly fees
  • Variable processing rates (typically 2.95%-5.0%)
  • Variable recurring and incidental fees

Where PaymentCloud Really Shines

PaymentCloud uses a process called “scrubbing” to review your documents during the application process, improving your chances of getting approved for a merchant account with one of its partner banks. Unlike most high-risk providers, it doesn’t charge an application or account setup fee. As with most high-risk specialists, PaymentCloud utilizes a quote-based pricing system and doesn’t disclose any standardized processing rates or account fees. Retail merchants are eligible for a “free” EMV-compliant terminal with each account. In this case, “free” means you’re free to use it for as long as you maintain your account, not that you can keep it even if you later close your account or switch providers.

PaymentCloud offers online merchants a choice of several popular payment gateways, although its system can also be integrated with other third-party gateways.

Additionally, it provides a free virtual terminal with each account. Note that PaymentCloud is currently only approving accounts for CBD merchants that sell products applied externally, such as oils and lotions. Ingestible CBD products, such as gummies, dog treats, etc., are currently prohibited.

Customer service is a particularly strong point of PaymentCloud. Not only is this handled in-house, but the company assigns a dedicated account representative to each new merchant, giving you a single point of contact when you need help or encounter a problem.

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2. National Processing: Best for Clover hardware

National Processing


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Get a free Clover Go card reader from National Processing when you sign up. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • Full line of Clover terminals and POS systems
  • Excellent online reputation
  • Low-cost echeck/ACH payment processing

Cons

  • “Free” equipment may require a long-term contract
  • Early termination fee charged for “free” equipment

National Processing Features

National Processing is mainly known for its excellent low-risk payment processing services, which feature competitive rates and transparent terms. However, it also works with a variety of high-risk industries, including CBD products. Key features include the following:

  • “Free” credit card terminal available
  • Offers ACH and echeck processing as an add-on
  • Offers a choice between either interchange-plus or membership pricing plans (low-risk businesses)
  • No long-term contract if processing hardware is purchased outright

National Processing Pricing

  • Variable monthly account fee for CBD businesses
  • Variable processing rates for CBD businesses
  • $7.95/month PCI compliance fee
  • $39.95/month for the cash discounting program (optional)
  • $15.00/month + $0.48/transaction for ACH and echeck processing (optional)

Where National Processing Really Shines

CBD merchants will have access to most of the same features National Processing offers to lower-risk merchants, including terminals, mobile payment processing, eCommerce support, and chargeback prevention tools. Be prepared to pay higher transaction fees than those listed on the company’s website, however.

As a Fiserv reseller, National Processing offers the full line of Clover terminals, card readers, and POS systems. Note that most Clover products require a monthly software subscription fee in addition to the cost of the equipment.

National Processing enjoys a great reputation among users and can be a good choice for your CBD business. As with many of our top choices, the company provides excellent customer service that’s well ahead of the industry average.

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3. Square: Best for low-volume CBD merchants & startups

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Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • No monthly fees
  • Very affordable processing hardware
  • Suitable for low-volume CBD businesses

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Below-average customer support

Square Features

Square has been offering CBD processing services since 2019. Transaction processing rates are notably higher than the company’s low-risk rates, but the lack of account fees makes it a great alternative to getting a traditional high-risk merchant account. You’ll also have access to the same Square products and services as other merchants, including the following:

  • Free Square Online Store with each account
  • Free magstripe-only card reader
  • Inexpensive ($49) chip card reader
  • Virtual terminal included with each account
  • QR code payments supported

Square Pricing

  • No monthly fee
  • 3.5% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person (i.e., card-present) CBD transactions
  • 3.8% + $0.30 per transaction for online and in-app CBD transactions
  • 4.4% + $0.15 per transaction for keyed-in and card-on-file CBD transactions
  • No PCI compliance fees, gateway fees, or early termination fees
  • No chargeback fees

Where Square Really Shines

As with Square’s extremely popular services for low-risk businesses, the company fully discloses all prices for its CBD program on its website. This transparency allows you to make a reasonably accurate estimate of what it will cost you on a monthly basis to use its services. Processing rates are quite reasonable, although they’re naturally higher than what low-risk merchants are charged.

One word of caution: Square charges the same rate for credit and debit cards, which means that you’ll be paying a much higher rate for PIN debit transactions than you would under an interchange-plus rate plan. At low volumes, this is a reasonable tradeoff to avoid all of the numerous monthly and annual fees that come with a traditional merchant account.

Now that Square is an option for low-volume CBD merchants, we feel that this is a great opportunity for businesses that up until now have been operating on a cash-only basis. Square operates on a pay-as-you-go basis, eliminating virtually all of the onerous “hidden” fees that most other providers add to your bill. At the same time, you need to be aware that Square does have its limitations. As a payment service provider (PSP), Square aggregates your payment account with those of other merchants, rather than providing you with a true full-service merchant account. Because of this limitation, the risk that your account will suddenly suffer a freeze, hold, or termination is higher than it is with a traditional merchant account. Also, Square’s reputation for customer service and support isn’t that great, although it has improved significantly in this area within the past few years.

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4. Easy Pay Direct: Best for transparent pricing & a domestic merchant account

Easy Pay Direct


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Pros

  • Accepts CBD merchants selling ingestible and topical products
  • No monthly minimum
  • No early termination fee

Cons

  • Possible $250 application fee

Easy Pay Direct Features

Easy Pay Direct has been providing high-risk merchant accounts for over nine years. It now accepts CBD merchants, although it doesn’t take startups unless they’re either very well-funded or have previous operating experience. Key features include the following:

  • Offers high-risk merchant accounts to CBD businesses
  • Load-balancing feature available
  • Proprietary Easy Pay Direct (EPD) Gateway included with each account
  • Virtual terminal available with EPD Gateway
  • Countertop credit card terminals are available
  • Proprietary QuickClick shopping cart (plus support for 250+ third-party carts)
  • APIs and SDKs available for site customization

Easy Pay Direct Pricing

  • $99 account setup fee
  • $29.99 monthly account maintenance fee
  • 2.50% + $0.25/transaction (low-volume businesses will pay more)
  • Variable additional monthly and annual fees
  • A long-term contract may apply
  • No early termination fee (except for offshore accounts)

Where Easy Pay Direct Really Shines

Easy Pay Direct’s flagship product is its proprietary EPD Gateway. While you’ll have to pay a premium in terms of processing rates and account fees, you’ll be set up with a domestic bank or credit card processor. It’s also one of the very few CBD providers to offer some pricing disclosures on its website. US and Canadian merchants who qualify can get approved for an account in about 7-14 days.

The company’s processing rates start at 2.50% + $0.25 per transaction, although these are volume-based rates, meaning that only the largest businesses will qualify. One very positive feature of Easy Pay Direct’s contracts is that they do not have an early termination fee, even for high-risk businesses. While this isn’t quite the same thing as true month-to-month billing, it does make it much easier to close your account without penalty if you have to. Also, there’s no monthly minimum.

One helpful feature offered by Easy Pay Direct is called load balancing, where a business can divide its incoming funds among multiple merchant accounts. It’s particularly beneficial for high-risk businesses that often exceed the monthly processing volume limits imposed by the processor underwriting their accounts. Just be aware that you’ll usually have to pay separate monthly fees for each account, so it might not be cost-effective for some merchants. Also, be aware that you might not need this feature if you opt for an offshore account. Underwriting guidelines in some (but by no means all) foreign countries are more relaxed than they are in the United States, and you might not have a monthly processing limit imposed on your account at all.

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5. PayKings: Best for interchange-plus pricing

PayKings


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Pros

  • No setup or application fees
  • Multicurrency options
  • eCheck processing offered
  • Interchange-plus pricing offered

Cons

  • Early termination fee
  • Usually requires a rolling reserve

PayKings Features

PayKings specifically advertises to CBD merchants, particularly those who’ve had their accounts with more traditional providers shut down. The company offers a complete range of products and services for both retail and online CBD merchants. Highlights include the following:

  • High-risk merchant accounts through 24+ acquiring banks
  • Choice of NMI or Authorize.Net payment gateways
  • Shopify integration available
  • ACH & eCheck processing available
  • Extensive developer support

PayKings Pricing

  • No application or account setup fees
  • Variable monthly fee
  • Rates as low as 2.49% (tiered pricing) or interchange + 1.0% (interchange-plus pricing)
  • Variable recurring and incidental fees
  • Most accounts will require a rolling reserve

Where PayKings Really Shines

PayKings works with a network of over two dozen backend processors (including several offshore banks) to get you approved for an account  — and does it without charging you any application or account setup fees. While you’ll probably have to accept a long-term contract with an early termination fee (ETF), such conditions are all but unavoidable for most high-risk enterprises.

PayKings also offers both tiered and interchange-plus pricing, but neither option is cheap. Again, very high processing rates are a standard feature in the world of high-risk credit card processing. Luckily, you can offset some (or all) of these costs by implementing PayKings’ credit card surcharging or cash discounting programs. PayKings provides a very broad array of products and services, including numerous third-party integrations. The company enjoys a mostly positive reputation among merchants, although complaints about early termination fees and rolling reserves have come up. These two requirements are actually imposed by the backend processor, not PayKings making it more difficult to negotiate a waiver of either item.

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6. SMB Global: Best for high-volume CBD merchants

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Pros

  • Accepts CBD businesses through offshore merchant accounts
  • Reasonable pricing and contract terms
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • Requires a minimum $50,000 monthly processing volume for offshore accounts
  • No mobile processing system at this time
  • No information available about credit card terminals or POS systems

SMB Global Features

SMB Global is a high-risk specialist that spun off from one of our favorite providers, Payline Data, in 2016. The company accepts high-volume CBD merchants, using offshore accounts exclusively for this industry. Key highlights include:

  • Offers full-service offshore merchant accounts
  • “Free” credit card terminal included with each account
  • Includes dynamic currency conversion feature
  • Authorize.Net or NMI payment gateways available
  • Fraud & chargeback prevention features available

SMB Global Pricing

  • Variable monthly fee
  • Variable processing rates & rate plans
  • Variable recurring & incidental fees
  • Variable processing equipment costs

Where SMB Global Really Shines

SMB Global specializes in providing merchant accounts to high-risk and offshore businesses. Using a variety of back-end processors, it’s able to approve a merchant account for almost any high-risk business, including those selling CBD oils. The company primarily focuses on serving eCommerce merchants, but also supports traditional retail businesses as well.

Because it works with so many banks and processors to get you approved for an account, the company doesn’t offer any specific pricing information. Processing rates, account fees, and contract terms vary widely depending on which back-end processor is handling your account. While we highly recommend that you request an interchange-plus pricing plan, be prepared to have to accept a tiered plan instead, particularly if you haven’t been in business for very long. Likewise, you can also expect to have a standard three-year contract with an automatic renewal clause and an early termination fee. As a CBD merchant, you should be prepared to have a rolling reserve included in your account agreement.

SMB Global requires a minimum processing volume of $50,000 per month for an offshore merchant account, which can present a formidable barrier to a newly established CBD business. The company will occasionally waive this requirement if your business has a very strong financial history. Offshore accounts support multicurrency processing, allowing you to avoid cross-border fees. It also features dynamic currency conversion, letting your customers pay in either their local currency or the currency in which you bill them. SMB Global appears to accept CBD merchants only through offshore accounts at this time.

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Why We Don’t Recommend These CBD Merchant Processors

As CBD products become more mainstream, the number of merchant service providers offering CBD processing is steadily increasing. Unfortunately, many of these providers either don’t have much of a public track record, or we haven’t yet given them a complete review. In either case, while they might be a great choice for your business, we can’t include them in a “best of” list at this time. The following providers are worth looking into if you’re struggling to get approved for an account:

BestMerchantRates

BestMerchantRates (formerly PayWize) is a very small provider in business since 2017. The company was spun off from Payment Depot, one of our top choices for low-risk businesses. Its one-page website discloses some details about its CBD processing service but doesn’t disclose specific rates or fees. You can expect credit/debit card processing, eCheck acceptance, flat-rate pricing, and no rolling reserve. While the company appears promising, the lack of online feedback from users makes it impossible for us to confirm that merchants are happy with their service. BestMerchantRates is still worth checking out, particularly if none of our top six recommendations have worked out for you.

Shift Processing

Shift Processing is a high-risk specialist that markets its services to both retail and eCommerce CBD merchants. The company provides much more information about its services on its website than many other providers we’ve seen but doesn’t include specific pricing information. Shift Processing uses surcharging programs to help you pass some of your processing costs onto your customers and make it more affordable for you to accept credit cards. Online feedback for the company is generally positive, but we haven’t completed a full review of Shift Processing at this time.

Prior to 2018, CBD-based products were still listed as Schedule I drugs by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), effectively prohibiting their sale, transportation, or use under federal law.

However, many states (37 as of this writing) have passed medical marijuana laws that legalized marijuana and CBD-based products for medicinal purposes. Twenty-one states have gone even further, legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes and removing most prohibitions against CBD-based products.

The 2018 Farm Bill was supposed to change all of that. Under this law, hemp-based products (defined as containing less than 0.3% THC) were removed from the Schedule I list of controlled substances.

However, you must be a licensed grower and comply with all applicable federal and state laws to produce and sell your product legally. With so many variations in state laws, it’s well beyond the scope of this article to attempt to cover them all. We recommend you look into your state’s laws and consult with an attorney or qualified consultant to determine the specific requirements that apply to your business.

Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill was widely expected to open the floodgates for the CBD industry, making it much easier for CBD merchants to obtain merchant accounts and accept credit cards like any other business.

For a time, it seemed that this would happen. Elavon began accepting CBD merchant accounts but suddenly shut them down just a few months later due to quality control issues with the product. If merchants don’t take adequate steps to ensure that their products contain less than 0.3% THC (as happened here), they could easily put themselves in legal jeopardy for selling a controlled substance.

Another factor behind Elavon’s decision to pull out of the CBD business was that the regulatory framework wasn’t in place yet to properly handle these types of businesses without taking on unacceptable risks.

For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still considers ingestible CBD products (e.g., gummies, dog treats, etc.) to be illegal because it has already approved the drug Epidiolex, which derives from CBD, for use in treating certain forms of epilepsy.

The FDA has not approved using CBD-based products for any other purpose. Research that might confirm the touted health benefits of CBD (and, presumably, lead to FDA approval) is still in its infancy, so don’t expect this situation to change anytime soon. For this reason, some of the merchant account providers we’ve profiled above are only willing to take on merchants who limit themselves to selling CBD products that are applied externally (e.g., oils, salves, etc.).

Today, only a few high-risk specialists accept CBD businesses. In some cases, they’ll require you to obtain an offshore merchant account. Of the few providers that do take CBD merchants, there are an even smaller number that we feel comfortable endorsing. Our recommended processors are ones that we know already accept CBD merchants and have a strong reputation for providing fair prices and honest service.

However, you can still expect to be assigned a high-risk merchant account – one that will, unfortunately, come with very high processing rates. Until the day arrives when CBD products are fully legalized in all 50 states and approved by the FDA, we don’t anticipate that low-risk merchant accounts will become available. Also, some providers accepting CBD merchants impose additional restrictions beyond those typically required for a vanilla high-risk account. Some providers will only accept established businesses, while others impose a very high minimum monthly processing volume.

Discuss these restrictions when you obtain a quote from any provider.

How To Choose Credit Card Processing For CBD Products

Finding a good high-risk merchant account provider for your CBD business involves the same criteria as a low-risk provider. It’s just harder to find a provider that offers the right combination of reasonable prices, fair contract terms, and high-quality customer service. Here are the most important considerations:

  • Account Approval: The underwriting process required to get approved for a merchant account can be tedious for any business owner, but it’s particularly difficult if you sell CBD products. Nonetheless, completing this process before you start processing credit card sales can save you from having your account suddenly shut down once you’ve started using it. You should be skeptical of providers offering “instant” approval of your merchant account, as they often defer this critical step until after you’ve already signed a long-term contract.
  • Pricing: The bottom line here is that any high-risk merchant account is going to cost significantly more than a comparable low-risk one. Be prepared to have to accept a tiered pricing model (although some established businesses might be able to negotiate a more affordable interchange-plus model). You can also expect to be charged higher monthly and annual fees as well, although the difference in these costs isn’t as much as it is with processing rates. Another additional “expense” that most high-risk merchants have to contend with is a rolling reserve. That’s where your processor withholds a certain percentage of your funds every month until the reserve is met. While you’ll eventually receive all your money, rolling reserves can create serious cash flow problems for a small or newly established business.
  • Contracts: While we prefer month-to-month billing arrangements that don’t lock you into a long-term contract or force you to pay an early termination fee (ETF) if you close your account early, CBD merchants will usually have to accept both a long-term contract (typically for three years) and an ETF. Be aware that almost all long-term contracts include an automatic renewal clause that extends your contract, typically for one-year periods at a time.
  • Processing Hardware: If you plan to sell CBD products out of a retail location, you’ll need a dedicated countertop credit card terminal or a mobile processing system that uses your smartphone or tablet in conjunction with a mobile card reader. Your terminal should be able to accept EMV payments at a minimum, and preferably NFC-based (“contactless”) methods as well. For some specific recommendations, check out our article, The Best Credit Card Machines & Terminals For Small Business. We also highly recommend that you purchase your terminals outright rather than leasing your equipment. Leasing arrangements lock you into noncancelable long-term contracts, and you’ll wind up paying several times more in leasing fees than what your machine is worth.
  • eCommerce Support: Naturally, you’ll want to be able to sell your CBD products to as many customers as possible, and selling via a website allows you to do that. As we’ve noted above, there are still many legal grey areas regarding CBD sales across state lines that you’ll want to be aware of before you launch your website. At the same time, the recent legalization of hemp-based products is creating eCommerce opportunities that weren’t there as recently as four years ago. All of our recommended providers can set you up with a high-quality payment gateway that will allow you to process transactions over the internet and significantly expand the reach of your business. As not all states have relaxed their marijuana laws, you’ll want to find a gateway that will automatically filter out customer addresses where CBD products are still restricted.
  • Customer Support: In researching dozens of merchant account providers, we’ve found that high-quality customer service is the real secret ingredient that separates the merely average providers from the truly outstanding ones. Customer support issues occur more frequently with CBD and other high-risk merchants, so you’ll want to pay particular attention to a provider’s reputation in this area.

CBD Payment Gateways & eCommerce

While they’re essential for eCommerce, payment gateways are increasingly finding their way into retail businesses as well, often as part of an integrated payments platform. Although the core function of a payment gateway is to process a transaction over the internet, integrated platforms add many additional functions, including inventory management, employee scheduling, and sales analytics and reporting. Integrated platforms allow you to manage your business from anywhere – as long as you have a device with a web browser and access to the internet.

Before you can use a payment gateway to sell CBD products, however, you’ll have to have an account with a payment service provider (PSP) or merchant account provider that has approved this activity.

Many fledgling CBD businesses have ground to a halt because the merchant didn’t realize that their provider expressly prohibited CBD sales until it was too late. Getting your account shut down can make it more difficult to find a new provider that will approve you, so it’s critically important that you sign up with a company that explicitly supports CBD sales and be completely honest about the nature of your products during the onboarding process. Here’s a summary of the policies regarding CBD sales of some of the most well-known payment processors:

Square CBD Policy

In the early days of the CBD industry, many merchants simply signed up with Square, only to quickly have their accounts terminated when the company discovered what they were selling. Today, Square openly accepts CBD merchants through a specialized program. Introduced in 2019, this program imposes processing rates that are significantly higher than Square’s low-risk rates. However, there are no long-term contracts or monthly fees, and you’ll still have access to the company’s ever-expanding lineup of products and services.

PayPal CBD Policy

While PayPal will allow almost anyone to sign up for a business account, its Acceptable Use Policy has always prohibited using its platform to sell any CBD products. Violation of this policy will result in the closure of your PayPal account. As of 2023, this policy is still in effect, and we haven’t seen any indication that it will change anytime soon.

Shopify CBD Policy

Shopify supports the sale of hemp-derived CBD products (but not marijuana-derived products) in states where it’s legal to do so. However, you’ll have to sign up with a third-party payment gateway provider (DigiPay and Bankful are the only choices at the moment) and ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws. The Shopify Payments credit card processing service is not available for CBD sales at this time.

BigCommerce CBD Policy

BigCommerce offers extensive support to CBD businesses, including access to a choice of over 65 third-party payment gateways. The company also provides extensive information about the ins and outs of running a CBD business on its website and is an excellent resource to refer to when setting up your CBD business.

Authorize.Net CBD Policy

Visa-owned Authorize.Net doesn’t like to talk about CBD, but the truth is that you can process CBD sales over the Authorize.Net gateway. In addition to other legal requirements, you’ll have to be using a merchant services provider that has approved your business for CBD sales. This shouldn’t be a problem, as PaymentCloud and many other CBD merchant account providers use Authorize.Net as their primary gateway option. Note that if you’ve signed up for payment processing services directly through Authorize.Net, you probably won’t be able to use that account for selling CBD products.

Check out our full post on how to sell CBD online to find the eCommerce right platform for your shop.

Which CBD Payment Processor Is Right For Your Business?

Despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the deregulation of hemp and hemp-based products, the CBD industry continues to struggle with a mass of conflicting state laws that make it challenging to find a merchant account. Elavon’s abrupt decision in 2019 to pull out of the industry altogether left many CBD merchants struggling to find a substitute provider.

As of early 2023, the availability of CBD payment processing continues to expand as reputable providers such as Square now openly offer CBD payment processing.

At the same time, the industry continues to suffer from a combination of conflicting regulations, a high chargeback rate, and an often-erroneous association with the marijuana industry.

For these reasons, CBD merchant accounts can be unusually expensive – even compared to other high-risk industries – and consumers ultimately bear that cost. We firmly believe that the regulatory issues affecting the CBD industry will get sorted out – eventually.

The process of updating the law is never swift, and with 50 different legislative bodies working independently on these issues, it will probably be quite some time before most major banks and direct processors feel comfortable working with the CBD industry.

Further action by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also critical to the future of the CBD industry. If the FDA finds that CBD products are medically effective, there is the risk that they’ll be restricted to prescription-only status. At the same time, FDA studies that fail to back up the numerous health claims made by CBD proponents could doom the industry altogether.

As long as you meet their acceptance criteria, any of the six providers we’ve highlighted above should be able to provide you with high-quality service at a reasonable price. Square is probably the best and most reliable option available for smaller CBD merchants or those just starting out. PaymentCloud, National Processing, and PayKings are better choices for larger businesses that need the stability of a full-service merchant account.

If you’re in the process of launching your CBD business, you may need a business loan in addition to a payment processor. Our article, How To Get A Loan For Your CBD Business (Without Getting Scammed In The Process), offers some great tips and recommendations, so check it out!

FAQs: CBD Credit Card Processing

What is a CBD merchant account?

A CBD merchant account is simply a merchant account that has been approved for selling CBD products. The CBD industry is unusually high-risk due to the legal complexities involved, so CBD merchant accounts require a lot of additional underwriting to be approved.

How do I get a CBD merchant account?

To get a CBD merchant account, you will have to apply and be approved for an account with a provider that explicitly accepts CBD merchants. While there are still very few providers willing to work with the CBD industry, the pool of CBD merchant account providers has expanded in recent years.

What payment processors allow CBD?

Square, PaymentCloud, National Processing and several other reputable payment processors accept CBD merchants. However, approval is not automatic, and the underwriting process to get a CBD merchant account is more strict than it is for other, similar high-risk businesses.

Does PayPal accept CBD products?

Selling CBD products violates PayPal’s Acceptable Use policy, and will result in account closure once the company discovers that you are selling products for which your account has not been approved. Note that with Square now openly accepting CBD businesses, this policy may change in the near future.

Does Stripe accept CBD products?

No. As of September 2022, Stripe’s Prohibited and Restricted Businesses policy prohibits using the company’s platform to sell products containing any amount of CBD/THC. Violation of this policy will result in immediate account closure.

In Summary: The 6 Best CBD Merchant Services Providers

  1. PaymentCloud:
    • Best for merchants selling topical CBD products
    • Variable monthly fee
  2. National Processing:
    • Best choice for merchants who want to use Clover terminals
    • Variable monthly fee
  3. Square:
    • Most affordable choice for low-volume CBD merchants and startups
    • No monthly fee
  4. Easy Pay Direct:
    • Best for merchants looking for transparent pricing and a domestic merchant account
    • $29.99 monthly fee
  5. PayKings:
    • Best for merchants looking for interchange-plus pricing
    • Variable monthly fee
  6. SMB Global:
    • Best choice for high-volume CBD merchants
    • Variable monthly fee
Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Frank Kehl has been researching and analyzing merchant services, payment gateways, and international money transfer services since 2015. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from the Ventura College of Law.
Frank Kehl
View Frank Kehl's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

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