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6 Best Cannabis Credit Card Processing Companies in 2024

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist June 18, 2024
June 18, 2024
Despite the legality of cannabis in many places, US banks and credit card networks generally avoid cannabis-related payments – meaning your store can’t easily take credit cards. And yet, running a cash-only cannabis business increases the risk of robbery and limits your profit to in-person sales. With 66% of CBD sales happening online, securing a reliable payment processor is essential.

The challenge in payment acceptance in the cannabis industry lies in the dissonance between federal and state laws. Federal law prohibits the possession and distribution of marijuana, so most financial institutions – which are federally regulated – reduce legal risk by avoiding cannabis transactions entirely. This creates a complex landscape for businesses operating legally at the state level.

Finding a reliable payment processor for your business is challenging because most processors don’t accept cannabis merchants. Partnering with the right payment processor allows you to offer various cashless payment options, including PIN debit, ACH transfers, mobile and digital wallets, point-of-banking, and cryptocurrency.

I evaluated dozens of services to identify the best options. Square emerged as the best cannabis credit card processing solution for its transparent pricing and merchant program specifically designed for CBD businesses.

Check out Square’s rates or keep reading for five other reliable cannabis processors.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Credit Card Processors for Cannabis in 2024

  1. Square1 – Predictable and transparent pricing, flexible contracts, and favorable CBD loans.
  2. POS Pros1 – The largest POS selection and cannabis business POS software for physical dispensaries.
  3. PaymentCloud1 – The widest range of cannabis-friendly payment methods, including crypto.

See 3 More Great Options | Comparison Table

What We Look For in the Best Cannabis Credit Card Processing Companies

When evaluating cannabis payment processing companies, I focused on these key features that address the unique challenges of the cannabis industry:
  • Fair pricing. As a high-risk business, you’ll undoubtedly pay higher rates than low-risk businesses. I sought processors with competitive rates to ensure you get the best value for your money.
  • In-person and online processing. I found services that support in-person and online sales, so you can seamlessly accept payments regardless of your customers’ shopping preferences.
  • High-risk merchant accounts. Given the cannabis industry’s nature, finding a processor specializing in high-risk accounts is vital. The services I recommend here can handle the complexities and regulations specific to cannabis businesses.
  • Chargeback management. Effective chargeback management protects your revenue and reputation. My recommendations include robust tools and support for managing and disputing chargebacks.

Square has a CBD program tailored to the unique needs of the cannabis industry that you can join through a dedicated CBD sign-up page. Unlike traditional businesses that can begin processing with Square as soon as they make an account, CBD merchants must apply and wait for approval, which typically takes two to three business days.

Square is one of the rare processors that transparently showcases all its fees on its website. Its flat-rate approach makes it a reliable choice for CBD businesses seeking predictable processing costs. You’ll pay 3.5% + 10¢ for in-person and 3.8% + 30¢ for online transactions, with no monthly, PCI compliance, or hidden fees. Square also offers nice perks supporting in-person and online CBD sales, like a free online store and discounted card readers.

On top of that, you’ll get your funds as soon as the next business day, a benefit that other processors usually charge extra for. (You can also further expedite payouts for a fee.) While there’s a risk of account termination, Square clearly details the do’s and don’ts in its CBD program and will typically ask you to address any issues before taking more drastic measures.

Features and Benefits

  • CBD business loans. Square provides specialized loans to help your cannabis business grow. There are no long forms or wait times – eligible businesses can receive between $300 and $250,000 in funding as soon as the next business day.
  • Hundreds of integrations. Square offers hundreds of third-party integrations through its App Marketplace, including for popular e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. It also integrates with multi-carrier shipping software like Shippo and inventory and sales management software.
  • Accept in-app payments. With the In-App Payments SDK, you can integrate Square payments into your mobile app. You can even control the appearance of the payment form so that it matches your app’s branding.
  • Accept payments everywhere. The Square Point of Sale or Square for Retail apps allow you to accept card payments at your store or on the go, providing flexibility and convenience for your cannabis business.
Read our detailed Square review for more features and benefits.

Cannabis-friendly payment
methods
  • PIN debit
  • ACH
  • Digital wallets
  • Invoices
Security features
  • PCI and GDPR compliant
  • End-to-end
    encryption
  • Tokenization
  • Two-factor
    authentication
Customer support Phone and email support
available Monday – Friday
(24/7 on some plans)
Transaction fees on
cheapest plan
3.5% + 10¢
Monthly fee on
cheapest plan
N/A

POS Pros stands out by providing access to WeedWare, a robust POS system for cannabis businesses. It supports inventory tracking, online ordering, real-time reporting, and more. You can also scan barcodes and IDs, look up customers’ information, and perform other tasks from one place. Though POS Pros has fewer e-commerce features, it integrates with the trusted Authorize.net gateway, so you can still sell online.

For an alternative or complement to WeedWare, POS Pros offers an extensive selection of POS equipment with over 25 brands. This makes it ideal for brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensaries. POS Pros typically suggests Clover StationR and Revel POS for cannabis businesses.

If you’re unsure, don’t worry – you’ll get a free consultation with a POS specialist and enjoy a personalized approach that ensures you find the best system for your needs. POS Pros typically charges low rates of $5.00/month and 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)/transaction, but it’ll likely quote higher fees for the cannabis industry.

Features and Benefits

  • Free POS. If you qualify for POS Pros’ “free hardware challenge,” you can save on upfront costs. Answer a few simple questions, and a representative from POS Pros will offer free equipment that fits your cannabis business needs.
  • Rewards and loyalty programs. WeedWare has a specialized rewards program that lets your customers earn points they can convert into rewards. Similar loyalty programs are available from Clover and Revel.
  • 24/7 technical support. Round-the-clock technical support ensures you can resolve any issues quickly, which is particularly handy for an industry prone to credit card constraints.
  • Comprehensive anti-fraud features. POS Pros employs advanced anti-fraud measures, including end-to-end encryption and tokenization, to protect your cannabis business from fraud.
Check out our expert POS Pros review for more details.

Cannabis-friendly payment
methods
  • PIN debit
  • Digital wallets
  • ACH
  • Bank transfer
Security features
  • Level 1 PCI compliant
  • Tokenization
  • Fraud prevention
  • Chargeback management
Customer support
  • 24/7 support and POS technical help
    desk
  • Sales support
    available Monday to
    Friday from 6:00
    AM – 9:00 PM (CT)
    via phone and email
Transaction fees on
cheapest plan
0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on
cheapest plan
$5.00
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PaymentCloud supports the sale of various CBD and hemp products that fall within the 0.3% THC threshold, making it perfect if your business sells beauty or health products. It’s one of the most risk-tolerant processors, ensuring your account won’t be terminated after review.

With a 98% approval rate and an expedited account approval process, PaymentCloud provides access to merchant services for nearly every cannabis business. You’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager for smooth onboarding and ongoing communication, so you always have access to someone who understands your business.

PaymentCloud offers the most extensive suite of payment methods among the options on my list, enabling cannabis sales online, in retail settings, and over the phone. While its pricing is not very transparent, as a high-risk merchant, you can expect to pay around Around 3.95% + 15¢ per transaction and $14.00 per month.

Features and Benefits

  • Innovative payment methods. You can accept cryptocurrency payments, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero, providing your customers with modern and secure payment options.
  • Free hardware. PaymentCloud provides some merchants with a complimentary credit card reader so that you can accept in-person payments without any initial cost.
  • Payment gateway options. While most credit card processors just offer access to one or two payment gateways, PaymentCloud can work with 9 different options. This means you can be as picky as you want in finding an affordable, secure solution for e-commerce.
  • Hundreds of integrations. PaymentCloud supports integrations with CRM, accounting, database, and e-commerce platforms, ensuring smooth operations and seamless management.
Cannabis-friendly payment
methods
  • PIN debit
  • ACH
  • Bank transfers
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Digital wallets
Security features
  • Level 1
    PCI-compliant
  • Advanced fraud
    detection and
    prevention
  • Tokenization
  • End-to-end
    encryption
Customer support Email and phone support
available Monday to Friday
Transaction fees on
cheapest plan
Around 3.95% + 15¢
Monthly fee on
cheapest plan
$14.00

Sekure Payment Experts is ideal if you’re primarily selling CBD and hemp products online. Through its vast network of partners, it connects you with the best processing solution. For example, it might suggest North American Bancard for a CBD merchant account, offering compliant payment options and back-office tools for CBD businesses.

Sekure integrates with multiple e-commerce solutions, including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ZenCart, and X-Cart. Whether you sell exclusively online or through multiple channels, Sekure creates a personalized e-commerce plan for your business and provides free equipment for in-person processing.

Sekure offers versatile pricing options that can scale with your business. New businesses struggling to qualify for a merchant account can start with the simplified flat-rate plan, which has predictable, if somewhat high, transaction fees of 3.5% + 19¢ (in-person & online). Sekure’s Interchange Plus plan is usually a better option, with average transaction fees of 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online), but actual fees might be higher due to the high-risk nature of your business.

Features and Benefits

  • CBD-friendly payment gateways. Sekure Payment Experts integrate with CBD-friendly payment gateways, such as Authorize.net and NMI, ensuring reliable and secure payment processing for e-commerce sales.
  • Comprehensive online merchant portal. Sekure has a comprehensive online merchant portal that provides tools to simplify customer, employee, inventory, and chargeback management.
  • Robust security features. Sekure’s PCI Plus program, free for qualified merchants, ensures your business is PCI compliant. Additionally, its dedicated chargeback management protects your reputation and minimizes financial losses.
  • Breach forgiveness. As part of its PCI Plus program, Sekure offers breach forgiveness of up to $100,000 for PCI Level-3 and PCI Level-4 cannabis businesses. This means that in case of a data breach, your business won’t have to reimburse expenses until the amount exceeds $100,000.
See our expert Sekure Payment Experts review to learn more.

Cannabis-friendly payment
methods
  • PIN debit
  • Digital wallets
  • ACH
  • Bank transfers
Security features
  • Level 1
    PCI-compliant
  • Advanced fraud
    detection
  • Breach forgiveness
Customer support 24/7 phone support, email
and live chat
Transaction fees on
cheapest plan
2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Monthly fee on
cheapest plan
$0

5. Paybotic: Best for Rapid Approval

Paybotic’s rapid approval process often takes about 48 hours, making it suitable for cannabis businesses that need quick access to payment processing services. It specializes in CBD businesses and understands the challenges of this high-risk industry.

Paybotic’s pricing structure generally does not involve transaction fees but higher onboarding and monthly costs. This setup can benefit larger businesses with high transaction volumes, but small dispensaries could find it costly.

Features and Benefits

  • Generous CBD loans. Paybotic offers generous instant-approval loans, allowing you to receive between $50,000 and $1,000,000 to support your cannabis business’ growth and operational needs.
  • Cannabis and hemp insurance. Paybotic helps you protect your business with specialized cannabis and hemp insurance coverage. Plans can be tailored to your business’s level of risk, the interests you’d like insured, state mandates, and other factors.
  • Support for delivery and curbside pickup. You can enhance customer convenience with Paybotic’s integrated delivery and curbside pickup solutions.
  • Gift cards and loyalty programs. Paybotic offers gift cards and loyalty programs to boost customer retention. The available gift card types include promotional, reloadable, e-cards, and even PIN-secured cards.
Cannabis-friendly payment
methods
  • PIN debit
  • eCheck
  • ACH
  • Digital currencies
Security features
  • End-to-end
    encryption
  • Advanced fraud
    detection
Customer support 24/7 phone, email and live chat support
Transaction fees on
cheapest plan
Varies
Monthly fee on
cheapest plan
Varies

6. Instabill: Best for International Cannabis Businesses

Instabill is one of the few cannabis credit card processors that cater to international cannabis businesses. It supports both domestic and international merchants, allowing you to reach a global market.

It’s important to note that Instabill requires CBD merchants to prove 4 to 6 months of previous processing history, making it inaccessible to new businesses. It also has a high minimum weekly processing requirement of $1,500. The requirement is more relaxed for hemp oil businesses: They should have 3 months of business history but can also provide a letter from the bank if they’re new.

Features and Benefits

  • Transparent pricing and conditions. Instabill lists all the fees and conditions on its website. While you have to call to get information about the exact rates you’ll be paying, its approach ensures no hidden fees or unpleasant surprises on your processing bill.
  • Offshore merchant accounts. Instabill provides offshore merchant accounts for businesses processing payments in other currencies, high-volume businesses, and those looking to expand in particular regions.
  • Instabill payment gateway. The Instabill payment gateway is easy to integrate and works with both local and international banks. Instabill also provides payment modules to integrate the gateway with popular shopping carts, like Xcart and Zencart.
  • In-house customer support. Unlike some processors that outsource support, Instabill keeps everything in-house. Merchant support managers are available during standard business hours to assist with issues and provide expert guidance.
Cannabis-friendly payment
methods
  • Card payment
    solution funded with
    cash, similar to
    debit
  • Cryptocurrency
Security features
  • PCI-compliant
  • MaxMind Fraud
    protection
  • 3D secure processing
Customer support
  • Phone support
    Monday through
    Friday from 8 AM
    to 6:00 PM (EST)
  • Email
  • Live chat
Transaction fees on
cheapest plan
Varies
Monthly fee on
cheapest plan
Varies

Choose the Best Cannabis Payment Processing Company for Your Business

Finding the right credit card processing company for your cannabis business can be challenging. Because of differing federal, state, and local laws, each cannabis business requires different features, support levels, and, most importantly, a range of compliant cashless payment methods.

If you want a super transparent solution and sell products with less than 0.3% THC content, Square’s flat rate pricing is ideal1. Plans start with no monthly or PCI fees and competitive transaction fees, suitable for both retail and online CBD shops.

Alternatively, brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensaries should use POS Pros1. It provides POS software specifically designed for cannabis businesses and POS hardware from 25+ brands. On top of that, you’ll get a free consultation with a POS specialist to help you choose the right equipment for your cannabis business.

If you’re struggling to qualify for a merchant account elsewhere, PaymentCloud is the best option1. As one of the most high-risk-tolerant processors, it lets you sell a variety of CBD and hemp products within the 0.3% THC threshold. It also offers the broadest range of cannabis-friendly payment methods, including cryptocurrency.

Here’s a quick comparison of my top cannabis credit card processing companies.
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee Transaction
Square Transparent,
flat-rate pricing
with free perks
(online store
and card
reader)
Businesses
selling hemp &
hemp-derived
CBD products in
person & online
N/A 2.5% + 10¢
POS
Pros
Cannabis POS
software
combined with a
large selection
of POS
equipment
Brick-and-mortar
cannabis
dispensaries
$5.00 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
Payment
Cloud
Expedited
account
approval and
setup
Cannabis
businesses
having a hard
time getting a
merchant
account
$14.00 Around 3.95% + 15¢
Sekure
Payment
Experts
Customized
e-commerce
plans
Businesses
selling CBD &
hemp products
online
$0 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Paybotic Fast approval
within 48 hours
Large cannabis
businesses with
high transaction
volumes
Varies Varies
Instabill Support for
international
processing
International or
well-established
cannabis
businesses
Varies Varies

FAQ

Why don’t most payment processors work with cannabis businesses?

Payment processors avoid cannabis businesses due to federal law, which categorizes cannabis as an illegal Schedule I drug. These regulatory risks and compliance challenges deter payment processors from offering services to cannabis merchants even though they operate legally on a state level. That said, popular processors like Square accept cannabis merchants.

Why can’t cannabis dispensaries take credit cards?

Cannabis dispensaries can’t take credit cards because while cannabis is legal in some states, credit card networks and banks fear legal risk from violating the federal prohibition on cannabis. Thankfully, credit card processors like PaymentCloud offer CBD-friendly payment options.

What is cannabis PIN debit card processing?

With cannabis PIN debit card processing, customers can use their debit cards to make purchases directly from their bank accounts to the cannabis business merchant account. The customer enters a PIN to authenticate the transaction. Aside from PIN debit, top processors like POS Pros let you accept digital wallets, ACH, and bank transfers.

What is a cannabis point of banking (cashless ATM)?

In point-of-banking (or cashless ATMs), customers swipe their debit cards and enter a PIN, similar to an ATM transaction. Unlike traditional PIN debit transactions, cashless ATMs round the amount, typically to the nearest dollar or $5, which could result in overcharging. Still, this workaround allows dispensaries to avoid credit card restrictions while offering electronic payments. The top payment processors on my list offer other cashless methods, too.

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