Thanks to the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the sale of cannabidiol (better known as “CBD”) became legal in the United States, so long as the amount of THC the CBD contains is no more than 0.3 percent. Less than 2 years later, CBD became one of the biggest industries in the country, raking in billions of dollars, and the growth of the industry doesn’t show signs of stopping, as revenues are projected to exceed $25 billion. Now that is impressive!
Because it’s a fairly new industry, numerous regulations have been established in relation to processing payments, as well as banking, for CBD sales. The regulations that apply to the sale of CBD products online are as follows:
- All products that are featured and sold on online CBD stores must include a Certificate of Analysis
- THC levels for all products sold online cannot exceed 0.3 percent
- Online retailers must include photographs of each CBD product they sell on their websites
- Prices must be included with all CBD products that are sold online
- A detailed refund/return policy must be included on the seller’s website
- Sellers must post their shipping policies
- Detailed terms and conditions must be posted on the website
- Authentic Visa and MasterCard logos are required in the footer of the website
In addition to the above regulations, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prohibits online retailers from making specific, unproven claims that promote CBD as a cure for the following physical and mental health medical conditions:
- Anxiety disorders
- Pain (the following terms cannot be used: painkiller, pain relief, alleviate pain, chronic pain, muscle injury, muscle soreness)
There are a number of other medical conditions/diseases that online CBD retailers cannot include on their websites. The reason these health claims are prohibited? Because, as per the FDA and the FTC, if CBD sellers were to make health claims and promises, consumers may be deterred from seeking professional medical care, which would negatively impact the earnings potential of the pharmaceutical industry.
It is because online CBD store owners and operators are limited to utilizing high-risk CBD payment processors.
High-Risk Processors are Required for CBD Sales
Though the sale and use of CBD in most of its forms is legal in the United States, it is still considered a high-risk industry. The Food and Drug Administration is still attempting to figure out the regulatory framework for this industry. As of the time of writing, most of the regulations that pertain to the sale of CBD remained unclear. Moreover, while it is legal to sell and purchase CBD on the federal level, the laws that pertain to the sale and purchase of products that contain CBD vary from state to state, which can create a number of challenges, legally speaking, for the merchants who sell cannabidiol.
If you’re thinking about getting into the business of selling CBD, the fact that the regulations are not well-defined may be a point of concern and may be holding you back on your decision to move forward; however, there’s no need to worry! Why? Well, because as long as you are properly prepared and educate yourself, you can avoid the possible financial pitfalls and achieve success with your CBD store. With that said, however, you can’t just overlook the fact that the strict – and unclear – regulations make selling products that contain CBD a high risk. As such, a lot of payment processors are reluctant to offer the services to CBD sellers. Furthermore, dubious manufacturers that want to make fast money have really made things difficult for those who want to sell their products honestly, as their shady activities have deterred payment processors from working with CBD business owners who sell their products online.
So, what’s the answer? Locating a high-risk payment processor who won’t be afraid of helping you establish a payment gateway that will allow you to conduct your business safely and securely online, just like a low-risk business would be able to do.
Features to Look for in a Payment Processing Gateway for CBD
In 2018, Cowen Investment, a highly regarded investment firm, stated that the retail sales of CBD consumer products in the United States fell between the $600 million and $2 billion range. Conversely, Brightfield Group, another investment firm, has projected that the global sales of CBD consumer products will reach an estimated $22 billion by the end of 2022.
Clearly, these predictions are quite varied. As such, more and more eCommerce business owners are clambering to find reliable payment processors that will work with them. If you’re seeking a reputable payment processor that you can depend on, here are some key factors that you should be on the lookout for.
- Willing to work with high-risk businesses. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the payment processor you choose will be willing to – and will be able to – work with transactions that are considered high-risk. Why? Well, because the sale and purchase of CBD products is still a relatively new industry, and as such, it is prone to payment card fraud, as well as charge-backs. Because there are a lot of unknowns regarding the regulations, and in turn, the legalities, that surround CBD sales, there are just a few payment processing services that will take on the risks that are lined with these risky transactions. That said, be on the lookout for a payment processor that has ample experience assisting companies that operate in high-risk industries. Examples of other high-risk industries include the following:
- Pornographic products and services
- Online dating
- Online gaming
- Pharmaceutical products
- Bitcoin trading
- e-cigarette and vaporizer companies
- Simple integrations. No one wants to find out that they have no other choice but to switch their eCommerce site to a new platform just so they can integrate a payment processor that will process the sale of CBD products. It comes as no surprise that not only is this very time-consuming, but it is also extremely frustrating; especially if you have invested a sizable amount of money, time, and effort into developing and maintaining your online CBD shop. That said, refraining from using CBD merchant processing systems that make will only allow you to utilize their established platform. Instead, choose a company that will allow you to seamlessly integrate their CBD credit card processing system with a broad scope of eCommerce software. Payment processors that offer these services are the ones that you will want to work with, as they will be able to support you and your business as it grows.
- POS Availability. To save yourself a lot of time, effort, and energy, and to reduce the cost of in-office work, look for a CBD payment processor that has point-of-sale (POS) availability. Payment processors who have POS availability will be better poised to assist you with managing the transactions you make, both online and offline. Transaction reporting is much more accurate with POS software, which means that the profitability of your CBD store will greatly increase. Moreover, customer loyalty and business intelligence will increase, and it will be a lot easier for your customers to access your sales portals. Additionally, POS software will help you make business decisions that are more financially sound, and you can utilize this kind of software to better control the input and output of your stock from specific locations.
- Low processing fees. Because the legality surrounding the sale of CBD products remains unclear, a lot of banks and payment processors require additional safeguards to make sure that they are well-protected from liabilities and financial losses, which increases the processing fees for CBD business owners. It goes without saying that you want to spend as little as possible on processing fees. Thankfully, when you’re trying to find a reputable CBD payment processor, you won’t be limited to companies that charge large upfront fees. Though more well-established processing companies may require their account holders to pay fees when they register, there are several that will either charge affordable rates or will provide their services free of charge. When you’re looking for a payment processor, inquire about the fees – if any – that you will be charged, and then determine if you can afford to pay those fees. If the amount will cut into your profit margins too much, look for another service provider. It’s important to note that there’s a chance that transactions that are made using credit may be more costly than those that are made using debit cards. Also, there are several other fees that you should take into consideration when you choose a payment processor for your CBD business, such as:
- Terminal fees
- Statement fees
- Compliance fees
- Non-compliance fees
- Terminal fees
- Monthly and/or annual fees
- Chargeback fees
- Sensible contracts. Not all payment processors will require their merchants to sign binding contracts. The fees and contracts that each company offers will vary, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to thoroughly research and consider the company that will best suit your needs. Steering clear of companies that will only allow you to establish long-term relationships is recommended, especially if the companies don’t have a sufficient amount of customer testimonials to support the claims that they make. If it happens that you find a payment processing company that you feel will meet your needs, but that the company requires you to pay an early termination fee (ETF) in the event that you decide to take your business elsewhere, make sure that you are ready to negotiate.
- Customer service. When it comes to handling transactions, both online and offline, for the sale of CBD products, you have to be ready for the worst to happen. For instance, if a customer decides that they would like to issue a $100 chargeback on an order that they recently submitted, you’ll want to know exactly how your payment processor’s customer service team will handle the said situation. This is important because the kind of customer service your payment processor offers will have a direct reflection on your business, so you want to make sure that you find out how the payment gateway that you are considering handles such situations before you make your final decision.
Experience the POSaBIT ACH Difference
POSaBIT is one of the most reliable CBD payment processors. They offer a variety of options that are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of your business, and all of these options will seamlessly integrate with POSaBIT Unlimited POS. Furthermore, the company functions as a standalone offering with other dispensary points of sales. All of the payment solutions that POSaBIT offers are completely secure and fully compliant, and the company has been accepting and running payments without any interruptions since 2016.
POSaBit Payment Options
PosaBit offers several payment options, including the following:
- Pin debit. The Pin debit option that POSaBit offers is the same option that typical retailers would use; supermarkets, coffee houses, restaurants, etc. The cards are completely compliant, are properly loaded, and are easy to use.
- Debit Point of Baking. This reliable, secure, and compliant debit payment option accepts sales that are tendered at $5 intervals, which requires cash change.
- Debit point of baking. A reliable, safe, and secure debit payment option, all sales are tendered out at $15 intervals, which means that you will have to have enough cash via custom tips
- ACH. ACH is one of POSaBIT ACH’s newest options. It allows customers to log in and overlook their banking information within our payments portal. ACH allows shoppers to log in and store their banking info without the payment portal.
The POSaBit Difference
In addition to offering a variety of options, all of the payment solutions that POSaBIT offers come complete with store-friendly features, which make using different the system a lot more fun. These features include the following:
- Back-end reporting
- Budtender tips
- Fully mobile hardware
Every company's approach is unique, so you need to be able to depend on a CBD credit card processing platform.
No matter your business goals, choosing a CBD payment processor is not a simple decision. Regulatory compliance, fraud protection, data security, chargeback management, and guiding you in the right direction are just some essential services you should look for in your CBD payment processor.