Navigating Payment Processing in the Evolving Hemp Industry

Payment Processing

Introduction: The Hemp Horizon Widens Post-2018

The 2018 Farm Bill marked a pivotal moment for hemp-derived cannabis products, broadening the commercial landscape for CBD businesses. Yet, the journey to economic prosperity has been riddled with regulatory hurdles, notably in securing reliable payment processing for online transactions. Now, as legal stances on cannabinoids fluctuate, a breakthrough in e-commerce for cannabis may be on the horizon.

The Quest for CBD-Friendly Payment Processors

Locating a merchant account or payment processor that embraces cannabis transactions has traditionally been an uphill struggle for online CBD vendors. But the landscape is shifting. With hemp-derived CBD products federally legalized under the Farm Bill—provided they contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight—a new wave of financial services is emerging to support the industry.

Financial Industry’s Cautious Embrace

This legislative shift hasn’t rendered cannabis fully legal, but it’s nudged enough financial entities to reconsider their stance. 

Selecting Your Ideal CBD Payment Processor

For a CBD business, the choice of a payment processor is crucial for seamless operations and customer satisfaction. Here are vital considerations for making your selection:


  • Prioritize high-risk expertise to ensure knowledgeable support through the industry’s challenges.
  • Opt for processors with a stellar industry reputation to safeguard your transactions.
  • Transparency about your “high-risk” status can foster trust and set clear expectations with processors.
  • Deliberate on your options, considering that well-known processors may lack the necessary underwriting standards, risking potential service interruptions.

The Hurdles for Payment Processors in Cannabis

The CBD landscape is a minefield for payment processors due to the interplay of complex regulations and the high-risk nature of THC-containing products. Compliance challenges, federal-state law discrepancies, product safety, lab credibility, and ambiguous regulations are daunting factors that keep many mainstream processors at bay.

The Path Forward for CBD Brands

To align with payment processors, CBD companies should position themselves as compliant and low-risk partners. This involves actions like registering with credit card associations as a high-risk merchant and ensuring product lab reports and labels are thorough and transparent, avoiding items like high-THC flower and seeds.

Conclusion: Partnering for Payment Success

As the industry matures, CBD companies must adapt to meet the stringent expectations of payment processors. By proactively demonstrating compliance and commitment to quality, these businesses can solidify their standing as desirable partners in the eyes of financial institutions, paving the way for a flourishing future in cannabis e-commerce.


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