In recent years, the CBD market has seen a remarkable surge, with projections indicating a whopping annual growth rate of just under 30% from 2020 to 2025.
This growth, however, brings its own set of challenges for businesses, particularly in finding a suitable payment gateway. With many traditional payment processors categorizing CBD companies as high-risk, many CBD brands have found their online expansion plans hampered by a simple inability to take payments.
This article aims to provide an expert guide on choosing the right payment gateway for your CBD business, highlighting those companies who we feel are reliable, knowledgeable of the sector, and competitive on price.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, widely known as CBD, is a naturally occurring compound found in the hemp plant, a member of the cannabis family. Unlike its cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, CBD does not induce a high. This key difference has propelled CBD to the forefront of numerous wellness and health discussions.
CBD is used in a variety of products, including oils, tinctures, edibles, lotions, and capsules. These products are touted for their potential health benefits, with users and some scientific studies suggesting effectiveness in relieving pain, anxiety, and a range of other conditions. However, it’s important to note that the full medicinal scope and regulatory status of CBD are still subjects of ongoing research and legal review.
In the UK, for instance, CBD products are legal provided they contain less than 0.2% THC, aligning with EU regulations. However, the scenario is different in other regions, where the legal status of CBD can range from fully legal and regulated to ambiguous or even outright prohibited.
Why are CBD Companies Considered High-Risk by Payment Processors?
Why is the CBD industry considered ‘high-risk’ by so many payment processors? The answer lies in the ever-changing legal status of CBD products. This shifting legal landscape means that payment processors often tread carefully to avoid potential legal issues.
But it’s not just about legality. The high-risk label also comes from the increased chance of chargebacks and fraud in industries where legal clarity is lacking. Payment processors are cautious of these risks, as they could face hefty penalties or legal hurdles for working with businesses that sell products in these grey areas.
For CBD companies, this caution from payment processors translates into a smaller pool of available financial partners. Those willing to work with high-risk businesses often charge higher fees and impose stricter terms to balance out their risks. This can squeeze the profit margins and efficiency of CBD businesses, making the choice of a payment processor a key strategic decision.
Moreover, CBD companies need to be extra vigilant about staying in line with the ever-evolving regulations. A slip-up here could mean getting your payment services cut off. This situation highlights the need for a payment processor that not only accepts high-risk businesses but truly understands the CBD world and can offer steady guidance through its complex landscape.
Choosing the Right Payment Gateway for Your CBD Business
Choosing the right payment gateway is a crucial step for any CBD business, and there are several key factors to consider to make sure you’re picking one that fits just right with your unique industry needs:
- Expertise in High-Risk Processing: The CBD industry comes with its own set of risks, so it’s vital to choose a gateway that’s not just familiar but specialized in handling these high-risk transactions. Look for processors with a track record of effectively managing these risks.
- Clear on Costs: Dealing with high-risk transactions often means higher fees. Make sure you fully understand these charges and how they’ll affect your bottom line. Transparency in pricing is key to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
- Top-Notch Security: In a high-risk industry, robust security measures are non-negotiable. Your chosen gateway should offer strong protection against fraud and data breaches, keeping your business and your customers safe.
- Seamless Integration: The gateway should integrate smoothly with your existing e-commerce setup and tools. This integration is crucial for providing a hassle-free transaction experience for your customers and streamlined operations for your business.
- Dependable Customer Support: In an ever-changing industry like CBD, having a responsive and knowledgeable customer support team is essential. They should be there to quickly address any queries or issues you might encounter.
- Ready to Grow with You: As your CBD business expands, your payment processing needs will change. Opt for a gateway that can grow with you, offering the necessary features and capacity to support your business’s evolution.
The 6 Best CBD Payment Processing Companies
Total Processing is our top choice for CBD businesses for its bespoke payment solutions tailored to high-risk sectors. They’ve tailored their services to tackle the unique challenges these businesses face.
Here’s what Total Processing offers:
- Handling Regulations: They’re clued up on the maze of rules and regulations that high-risk businesses have to deal with, offering guidance to stay on the right side of the law.
- Managing Chargebacks: Total Processing provides tools to manage chargebacks effectively, which is a common headache in high-risk sectors, including CBD.
- Building Trust: In an industry that’s often met with skepticism, they focus on transparent practices and strong security measures, helping businesses build trust and protect sensitive information.
- Expert Advice: They offer specialized support, understanding the unique challenges faced by businesses like those in the CBD industry.
- Comprehensive Payment Tools: Total Processing comes with features like dynamic routing for better transaction approval rates, chargeback alerts, and a suite of fraud prevention tools.
- Digital-First Approach: They emphasize solutions that fit well in the online world, including mobile optimization and using data analytics to understand customer behavior.
Square has made significant strides in supporting CBD businesses, but it’s important to note that this is currently limited to the US market. While Square USA has expanded its services to include CBD companies, offering a user-friendly platform and transparent fee structure, this option isn’t available to customers in the UK yet.
For CBD businesses operating in the UK, this means looking at other payment processing options such as Total Processing.
Viva Wallet is a decent payment processor for CBD businesses, particularly in Europe and the UK. During the application process, they will ask for information regarding your company/website, plus certificates of some of the products you plan on selling to view the THC content.
In European countries they have already released a Woocommerce plugin which integrates with WordPress, that is apparently launching in the UK soon.
Here are their basic requirements:
- Legal and Safe Products: CBD products must be legal, meet all applicable laws, including THC content limits, and be derived from the Cannabis sativa L. plant.
- No Sales to Minors: Merchants must not sell CBD products to anyone under 18 years old.
- Responsible Marketing: Advertising must comply with laws, avoiding misleading claims, especially regarding health benefits.
- Proof of Legality: Merchants need to provide documents like lab reports to prove their CBD products are legal.
- Viva Wallet’s Right to Stricter Rules: Viva Wallet can set stricter standards than the law and will notify merchants of any changes.
- Merchant’s Liability: If a merchant’s non-compliance leads to legal issues or costs for Viva Wallet, the merchant is responsible for covering these costs.
- Covering Legal Costs: If legal action is taken against Viva Wallet because of a merchant’s actions, the merchant must handle any related financial and legal responsibilities.
Cashflows specializes in offering payment processing solutions for high-risk sectors. Their approach is tailored to cater to the unique needs and challenges that come with operating in industries often considered high-risk by financial institutions. This specialization could be particularly beneficial for CBD companies seeking a reliable and compliant payment processing partner.
- Fast and Secure Payment Processing: They offer quick, reliable, and secure card processing, which is crucial for businesses operating in dynamic markets like CBD.
- Anytime Settlement: This feature allows businesses to access their funds within hours, an essential aspect for managing cash flow effectively in fast-paced industries.
- Comprehensive Payment Solutions: Cashflows provides a range of payment solutions, including in-person and online payment gateways, which are critical for CBD businesses looking to expand their customer reach.
- Advanced Security Features: With options like 3D Secure V2.2, they ensure a high level of transaction security, a necessary consideration for industries handling sensitive customer data.
Trust Payments is another top payment provider for CBD businesses, recognizing the burgeoning market and its exponential growth. They offer a payments platform that is well-suited for the unique needs of the CBD industry, which is rapidly expanding, especially in countries where CBD products are legalized.
Key Aspects of Trust Payments for CBD Businesses:
- Expertise in High-Risk Markets: Trust Payments has experience in handling high-risk accounts, which is critical for CBD companies due to the industry’s association with higher reputational risks.
- Competitive Transaction Rates: Despite the enhanced risks associated with CBD product companies, Trust Payments aims to keep transaction fees reasonable, understanding the business models and ambitions of companies in this sector.
- Global Reach with Local Payment Methods: With CBD trade flourishing in various countries, Trust Payments offers a versatile payments ecosystem catering to different markets. This is crucial for CBD businesses looking to expand internationally, as it allows for the incorporation of preferred local payment methods in key markets.
- Specialized Online Payment Solutions: Given that a significant portion of CBD sales are conducted online, Trust Payments provides a platform that minimizes customer drop-off and ensures fast, simple, and secure transactions.
- Tailored Solutions and Support: Trust Payments works closely with CBD businesses to understand their specific needs, offering tailored solutions and expert support to help these businesses grow online and tap into new international markets.
Pixxles offers a streamlined payment processing service for CBD businesses. They handle both acquiring and processing, which simplifies transactions. Their customer service is available 24/7, ensuring timely support. Pixxles also provides quick access to funds, an important feature for businesses needing efficient cash flow management.
The service supports payments in over 100 currencies, catering to a global customer base. Pixxles places a strong emphasis on compliance and security, with systems in place to mitigate fraud and chargebacks. Their approval process is efficient, usually completed within 24 hours, allowing businesses to quickly start or expand their operations.
As an FCA-authorized E-Money Institution, Pixxles adheres to regulatory standards, adding a level of trustworthiness to their services. This makes them a reliable option for CBD businesses seeking secure and efficient payment processing solutions.
- Full-Service Processing: Unlike some services that require a separate acquirer and processor, Pixxles handles both, streamlining the process for quicker and more efficient service.
- Responsive Customer Service: Offering 24/7 phone support, Pixxles prioritizes every call, ensuring world-class customer assistance.
- Quick Fund Access: Understanding the importance of quick fund access, Pixxles ensures less waiting time for businesses to receive their payments.
- Global Currency Support: With the capability to accept payments in over 100 currencies, Pixxles provides a global reach with a local touch, offering multiple payment options at checkout.
- Strong Compliance and Protection: Pixxles actively assesses and monitors the business ecosystem, providing a robust risk management system to protect against high levels of fraud and chargebacks.
- Streamlined Approval Process: The application and review process with Pixxles is designed for simplicity and efficiency, ensuring a swift setup.