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9 Best CBD Merchant Accounts in 2024

Kamso Oguejiofor Kamso OguejioforFinance Specialist May 06, 2024
May 06, 2024
Credit card processors (CCPs) tend to avoid high-risk businesses, so it can be challenging to find a suitable one for your cannabidiol (CBD) company. Even in the US, where most states have legalized CBD products, I’ve come across several banks and CCPs that won’t approve merchant accounts for CBD businesses. That said, finding a payment processor is still possible – but you need to ensure that it won’t disrupt your sales.

While account termination is a risk you’ll need to navigate no matter which provider you choose, CBD businesses are also prone to high chargeback rates. For this reason, you’ll want a processor that offers chargeback management to help minimize this issue as much as possible. If you’re an established CBD store new to payment processing, you’ll also need a service that can integrate with your existing systems.

Among the 30+ processors I’ve evaluated, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) stands out with its high approval rate, low fees, and negotiable pricing. Unlike many providers, it has a department focused solely on handling chargeback issues. You can check out LMS and its rates, but I also found 7 other options you might prefer, depending on the type of products you sell.

Short on Time? These Are the Best CBD Merchant Accounts in 2024

  1. Leaders Merchant Services – Negotiable pricing and low fees for CBD businesses.
  2. Paysafe – Wide range of options for accepting payments.
  3. Sekure Payment Experts – Multiple offerings that appeal to small CBD businesses.

See 6 More Great Options | Comparison Table

What We Look For in the Best CBD Merchant Accounts

In evaluating credit card processors for CBD businesses, I focused on features and benefits crucial to their unique needs. Here’s what stood out:
  • Low fees. Since operation costs are generally high for CBD businesses, you can’t afford a costly CCP. Therefore, I prioritized services that offer low transaction fees and competitive pricing.
  • Multiple payment options. All services I reviewed support various payment methods, including credit cards, digital wallets, cryptocurrency, bank transfers, and more.
  • Integration with existing systems. Whether a newcomer or veteran in the CBD market, you’re likely already accustomed to specific tools and software. Most of my recommended merchant accounts integrate with multiple platforms like QuickBooks, Xero, Shopify, WooCommerce, and more.
  • Responsive support. Quick and effective support is essential for resolving payment-related issues promptly. Most services I looked at provide excellent customer support, so you’re not left stranded in times of need.
  • Strong security. Protecting customer data is paramount, especially in the CBD industry. All the services on my list come equipped with robust security measures like end-to-end encryption, tokenization, and fraud prevention.

Credit Card Processing for CBD Businesses in the US

Despite the 2018 legalization of CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC in the US, CBD remains under the scrutiny of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) at the federal level. Meanwhile, at the state level, each state has its own set of laws and regulations governing the sale, use, and distribution of CBD products, which often change and evolve.

Failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in enforcement actions such as raids, seizures, and fines. These challenges make finding compliant and risk-aware credit card processors a daunting task for CBD businesses. That said, our recommended credit card processors are attuned to these unique challenges and fully equipped and willing to accept CBD businesses.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) offers some of the lowest rates in the industry, starting at ~2% + 0¢. But you can also negotiate rates – LMS claims to either meet or beat the pricing of your current payment processor and will give you a $200 gift card if it doesn’t. You can also negotiate extra features like loyalty programs or subscription tools that may suit your business needs.

LMS has a high approval rate of 98%, which is one of the reasons I recommend it for your CBD business. The application process is straightforward – you can either apply on the official website or speak to a sales rep via phone. What’s more, LMS offers same-day onboarding, ensuring your business can start accepting credit cards and processing payments quickly.

Additionally, LMS stands out with its large department dedicated to assisting merchants with chargebacks. This is a vital feature since chargebacks can be a frequent issue in the CBD industry. Having a dedicated team helps you efficiently handle customer disputes and related issues, protecting your revenue and maintaining a positive customer relationship.

Features and Benefits

  • CartManager. If your CBD business is online, you’ll like the LMS CartManager. It’s a customizable shopping cart that you can easily integrate into your website and comes with SSL data protection.
  • Cash advance. LMS funds new CBD businesses that need extra capital to start or grow their business. This funding program comes with a flexible repayment plan where you pay back via commissions on future sales.
  • Free hardware. CBD businesses looking to minimize initial investment costs can get free equipment from LMS by signing a long-term contract.
  • QuickBooks integration. LMS lets you access a virtual terminal directly from your QuickBooks application via Instant Accept. This feature makes it easy for your customers to address any open invoices.
For more details, check out our comprehensive Leaders Merchant Services review.

Payout time 72 hours
Customer support 24/7 phone support
Security features PCI-compliant, advanced fraud detection and prevention, end-to-end encryption, tokenization
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~2% + 0¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

Paysafe provides over 250 payment methods, making catering to your customers’ preferences easy. Its payment solutions include credit and debit cards, digital and virtual wallets, prepaid vouchers, and bank transfers. Paysafe also allows you to process payments in 40+ currencies and easily handle international transactions.

Paysafe takes risk management very seriously. It has a team dedicated to flagging and blocking payments from suspicious IP addresses or regions. Moreover, it uses advanced security technology like address verification and end-to-end encryption to prevent fraud during checkout.

If you process high-ticket transactions at lower volumes, you’ll appreciate Paysafe’s rates, which start from 0.99% + 25¢ (debit cards) and include a fee of $16.00. I wish Paysafe didn’t offer next-day funding for an additional cost, as other payment processors provide this as standard. Nevertheless, the 24-48-hour payout time is not bad.

Features and Benefits

  • Enhanced Security Package. For an extra cost, you’ll get access to Paysafe’s Enhanced Security Package, which provides insurance coverage against any compromise of customer data.
  • Paysafecash. Your customers can pay for their CBD products in cash online through Paysafecash. The tool converts every online transaction into a barcode that customers can scan and pay for in cash at any of Paysafe’s 200,000+ partner locations in 29 countries.
  • Numerous payment channels. Paysafe allows you to accommodate different customer preferences by supporting MOTO, QR code payments, digital invoicing, and pay-by-link. It even supports subscription-based billing for recurring payments.
  • Free mobile card reader. If you own a physical CBD store, you’ll like Paysafe’s free mobile card reader, which allows you to accept payments easily in person.
To learn more, check out our comprehensive Paysafe review.

Payout time 1-2 business days
Customer support 24/7 email and phone support for customers, phone support during business hours for non-customers
Security features Level 1 PCI-compliant, end-to-end encryption, and tokenization
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.30% + ¢10
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95
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3. Sekure Payment Experts: Best for Small CBD Businesses

Sekure Payment Experts is a great option for small CBD businesses. The biggest selling point is that you get free POS equipment without any fees or long-term contracts so that you can minimize or eliminate your hardware costs. Sekure also lets you receive your funds free of charge the same day you process a transaction. Most processors typically offer same-day payouts for an extra fee, so seeing Sekure go a different route impressed me.

If you run an online CBD store, you’ll appreciate Sekure’s integration with the Authorize.net payment gateway, which you can get at a discounted price or even for free, depending on the situation. You’ll also be able to integrate “Buy Now” buttons on your website or social media platforms, allowing you to sell your CBD products faster and easier.

Small CBD businesses would benefit more from Sekure’s Simplified Pricing plan, as it’s more stable and predictable than Sekure’s other plans. It includes a per-transaction fee of 3.5% + 19¢ (in-person & online) and no monthly fees. But if you own a brick-and-mortar CBD store, I recommend Sekure’s zero-processing plan (Edge), which lets you pass on transaction costs to your customers. Just ensure you carefully review your contract, as Sekure tends to have hidden fees.

Features and Benefits

  • ETA-certified payment experts. Sekure employs Electronic Transactions Association (ETA)-certified payment experts. You can leverage their industry-specific expertise to help find the best payment processing solutions and POS equipment for your business.
  • No PCI fees. Sekure’s PCI Plus program waives your PCI compliance and non-compliance fees and even lets you avoid the self-assessment questionnaires (SAQs) and scans associated with PCI compliance.
  • Breach forgiveness. If your CBD business is PCI Level-3 or PCI Level-4 compliant, Sekure offers breach forgiveness of up to $100,000. Effectively, if you experience a data breach that incurs a maximum of $100,000 in expenses, you won’t have to cover any costs.
  • Dedicated chargeback management team. As a Sekure merchant, you get a dedicated chargeback management team to mitigate chargebacks and settle disputes.
Read our full Sekure review for more on pricing.

Payout time Same or next day
Customer support 24/7 phone support, email, and live chat
Security features Level 1 PCI-compliant, advanced fraud detection
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 3.5% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $39.95

Square offers a specialized payment processing program for CBD businesses. The program ensures compliance with legal standards, such as the 2018 Farm Bill, and provides everything you need to manage your business, including next-day funding, payroll, hardware, and more. However, these benefits do come at a premium. The processing fees for the CBD program start from 3.8% + 30¢, which is higher than Square’s regular fees, which start from 2.5% + 10¢.

For startups in the CBD industry, Square offers a free account and complimentary mobile card reader, which can help lower initial costs. The onboarding process is fast and efficient so that you can commence operations immediately.

One thing I particularly like about Square is that you don’t need an existing website to use its services. You can launch an online store for free using Square Online. Alternatively, you can sell CBD products without a website using Square’s buy buttons/QR codes, which you can share with your customers on social media or via email. On the other hand, if you already have an existing website, you can easily integrate Square into your site.

Features and Benefits

  • FDIC-insured business checking account. This account gives instant access to your sales proceeds, circumventing the usual delays associated with traditional banking processes. Plus, it doesn’t include any monthly fees or overdraft charges, which are common with other banks.
  • Sales data and reporting. The Square dashboard offers a comprehensive view of total sales, real-time data, and customer insights, allowing you to track sales trends and understand customer preferences.
  • Great e-commerce tools and integration. In addition to its free online store, Square integrates with platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and WordPress.
  • Wide range of hardware. Square’s hardware offerings include a free mobile card reader, a compact contactless chip reader, a full-featured card terminal, and a dual-screen POS register – none of which include maintenance fees.
For more information, read our expert Square review.

Payout time 48 hours (standard), same-day (for an additional fee)
Customer support 24/7 phone and email (on some plans)
Security features PCI-compliant, tokenization, end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 2.5% + 10¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $12.00

5. POS Pros: Specific POS Solutions for CBD Businesses

POS Pros offers a personalized approach to selecting point-of-sale equipment for your CBD business. After signing up, you’ll engage in a free consultation, during which a POS Pros specialist will recommend options that best suit your business. Then, you’ll be invited to test all the recommended options.

I really like POS Pros’ approach, as it prevents you from buying the wrong equipment. Some payment processors only offer one-size-fits-all hardware that may not be suitable for specific functions. But apart from hardware, POS Pros also provides e-commerce functionalities through Authorize.net. You can easily integrate with popular software like Shopify, WooCommerce, QuickBooks, and more.

POS Pros offers competitive rates for both in-person and online payments. Both its interchange and tiered pricing plans have a monthly fee of $5.00 and an online fee of 1.95% (online). High-volume CBD businesses may prefer the Cash Discount plan, which has zero processing fees and a monthly fee of $30.00. However, while POS is great for brick-and-mortar CBD businesses, its limited e-commerce solutions might not appeal to online CBD stores.

Features and Benefits

  • Diverse POS hardware. POS Pros provides a wide range of hardware from 25+ brands. You can also qualify for a free Clover Mini LTE, Clover Flex terminal, or Dejavoo Z11.
  • Next-day deposits. POS Pros offers next-day payouts as standard, so you can expect your funds in your bank account within 24 hours.
  • Quick loan approval. POS Pros offers merchant loans of up to $500,000, and the approval process can begin as little as 10 minutes after registering. But to qualify, you must have been in business for at least a year and have revenue of at least $50,000 annually or $4,200 per month for the past three months.
  • Additional tools from Authorize.net. Through Authorize.net, you get extra features like digital invoicing and fraud protection.
Check out our full POS Pros review to learn more about POS Pros.

Payout time Next day
Customer support Phone and email support, 24/7 POS technical help desk
Security features Level 1 PCI compliance, tokenization, fraud prevention, and chargeback management
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $5.00

6. CreditCardProcessing.com: Best for Established, High Volume CBD Businesses

CreditCardProcessing.com offers 4 subscription-style plans suitable for CBD businesses that process high volumes. The Starter plan has the highest per-transaction rate (0% + 30¢ (Starter)) and the lowest monthly fee ($15.00). But if your processing volume is high, you can opt for the High Volume plan, which has a lower transaction fee of 0% + 0.05¢ (High volume). The interchange-plus fee is also reasonable, but I don’t like that it comes with several unnecessary fees, including one for customer support.

Fortunately, CreditCardProcessing.com provides free training for its POS terminals and e-commerce solutions. This way, you’ll have all the information you need to process payments, and you won’t need to spend time calling support for help. This is a good thing since I had experienced long wait times and unhelpful responses when I tried its support channels.

That said, one of my favorite features is CreditCardProcessing.com’s partnership with Vindicia. Vindicia is a subscription management platform that allows you to set up and manage recurring payments for your customers. It also provides analytics that can help you optimize your plans and increase customer retention. Moreover, you get access to Vindicia Retain, a tool that can recover up to 30% of your failed transactions.

Features and Benefits

  • High approval rates. CreditCardProcessing.com has one of the highest approval rates in the US. It’s willing to accept CBD businesses with low credit scores without charging them extra.
  • Data breach insurance. CreditCardProcessing.com offers data breach insurance of up to $100,000 to protect you from any financial losses resulting from a breach.
  • Free POS terminals. Committing to a one-year contract gets you a free portable Pax A920 POS terminal. Meanwhile, if you pay for the Premier or High Volume subscription-based plan, you’ll get a free Clover terminal.
  • Customizable checkout system. CreditCardProcessing.com provides a PCI-compliant checkout system that you can customize to fit your CBD business’ brand. Unlike the checkouts other payment processors offer, you need to do some coding to set it up fully.
Read our expert CreditCardProcessing.com review for more details.

Payout time 72 hours
Customer support Phone and email support, 24/7 technical support
Security features Level 1 PCI compliance, end-to-end-encryption, data breach insurance, tokenization, advanced fraud detection and prevention, payer verification
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 0.05¢ (High volume)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $15.00

Other Notable CBD Merchant Accounts

7. PaymentCloud

PaymentCloud has a 98% approval rate, which is great for mid to high-risk merchants like CBD business owners. It even offers free hands-on assistance with your application and helps you achieve PCI compliance. That said, PaymentCloud’s starting rate of Around 2.1% + 15¢ and monthly fee of $14.00 are less appealing than Leaders Merchant Services’ pricing.

If you handle in-person transactions, PaymentCloud offers a variety of hardware options, including a full POS kiosk, a wireless terminal, and a mobile credit card reader – all of which are free for the duration of your contract. Meanwhile, for card-not-present transactions, PaymentCloud provides a secure payment gateway that comes with fraud and chargeback prevention tools.

8. ProMerchant

ProMerchant provides high-risk accounts to ensure your CBD business can process credit card transactions without unnecessary hindrances. As a high-risk merchant, you get access to the same features as low-risk merchants and fraud mitigation tools to reduce chargebacks.

If your customers prefer ordering their CBD products over the phone, ProMerchant supports Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO) payments. It also provides a virtual terminal from Payments Hub that allows you to process transactions via phone, mail, email, or text. ProMerchant isn’t very transparent with its pricing, but I got a quote for a monthly fee of $7.95 and a per-transaction fee of 3% + 10¢ (credit).

9. Flagship Merchant Services

Flagship Merchant Services provides a swift and simple onboarding process that doesn’t include any set-up fee. The application process only takes a few minutes, and you typically only need to wait a few hours for a representative to contact you and complete your application. In other words, you can have your Flagship account up and running within a few hours of applying.

Flagship offers convenient month-to-month contracts that start as low as 1.58% + 19¢ (in person) and include no early cancellation fees. However, if you sign up for a long-term contract, Flagship gives you a free terminal with a small insurance and maintenance fee. While all this is great, Flagship isn’t very transparent with some of its fees, such as the ACH fee and PCI compliance. With that in mind, I recommend thoroughly checking its terms of service before deciding.

Finding the Best CBD Merchant Account

Finding the right credit card processor is crucial for a CBD business due to the industry’s high-risk classification. Therefore, you need a processor that supports high-risk merchants and has high approval rates. Fortunately, all the processors on this list check these boxes and more.

Leaders Merchant Services is my top recommendation if you’re looking for a payment processor with cheap rates, custom pricing, and high approval rates. It has a 98% approval rate and allows you to negotiate a price that suits your business.

If your CBD business caters to a large customer base, consider Paysafe instead. It offers over 250 payment methods and accepts 40+ currencies for international transactions.

Alternatively, if you own a small CBD business and need to limit your costs as much as possible, go with Sekure. In addition to same-day payouts, you get free POS equipment without signing up for a long-term contract.

Check out this brief comparison of the best CBD merchant accounts:
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Custom rates, low fees CBD businesses that want to negotiate their rates $9.00 ~2% + 0¢
Paysafe 250+ payment methods CBD businesses with a very large customer base $7.95 0.30% + ¢10
Sekure Payment Experts Free same-day payouts Small CBD businesses looking to save costs $39.95 3.5% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Square CBD-specific program New CBD businesses on a budget $12.00 2.5% + 10¢
POS Pros Personalized POS selection approach CBD businesses that handle mostly in-person transactions and want multiple POS hardware $5.00 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
CreditCardProcessing.com Subscription-style plan, low processing fees CBD businesses that process a high volume of micropayments $15.00 0% + 0.05¢ (High volume)

FAQ

How do I accept payments for CBD?

To accept payments for CBD, you need to use a credit card processor with a high approval rate and support for high-risk businesses like the CBD industry. The best option is Leaders Merchant Services. It has a 98% approval rate, a chargeback support team, low rates, and even allows you to negotiate prices. It also offers a lot of e-commerce functionalities, including a customizable shopping cart.

Do I need a high-risk merchant account if I sell CBD products?

Yes, you do. Due to the regulatory challenges and the high rate of chargebacks associated with CBD products, traditional banks and credit card processors often avoid working with CBD businesses. As a result, CBD businesses will benefit more from working with payment processors that support high-risk businesses and have a high approval rate — a good example is Leaders Merchant Services.

How do merchant accounts for high-risk businesses differ from standard ones?

High-risk merchant accounts differ from standard ones by accepting businesses with challenges such as poor credit scores, sales of specific product or service types, transactions with countries prone to high fraud levels, or histories of excessive chargebacks. Paysafe, for example, can accommodate such businesses.

What makes CBD businesses considered high-risk for payment processing?

CBD businesses are considered high-risk because of the scrutiny and confusion around the legalities of CBD transactions. Additional factors include a lack of clarity and uniformity in the laws governing CBD products and the high chargeback rate in the CBD industry. That’s why using a payment processor like Leaders Merchant Services is essential. It supports high-risk businesses and has a dedicated chargeback management team.

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