Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized all hemp-derived products, the CBD industry has witnessed a tremendous boom in recent years. According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the CBD market worldwide was valued at $6.4 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2% from 2023 to 2030.
However, despite the legalization of CBD products in most regions, many traditional banks and payment gateways continue declining merchant account applications from businesses that wish to sell these products. In fact, even some of the businesses that were previously approved have had their merchant accounts closed without notice. This is mainly because banks and payment providers still consider CBD products as high-risk due to the complicated legalities, increased risk of chargebacks, and bad societal reputation associated with these products.
That said, there are still many merchant account providers out there specializing in working with high-risk industries like CBD. These payment providers even integrate seamlessly with WooCommerce, the popular e-commerce platform that powers over 30% of all online stores.
In this article, we’ll review everything you need to know about CBD merchant accounts, what to look for in a CBD credit card processor, and the best CBD merchant accounts for WooCommerce.
A CBD merchant account refers to a merchant account specifically designed to accept and manage electronic payments for all kinds of CBD products. Due to all the legal complexities and state-specific regulations associated with the CBD industry, many traditional banks and payment processors usually avoid working with CBD businesses, leaving them in financial obscurity. This hesitation is mainly because all CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC content are still federally illegal in the United States.
Many other countries across the globe also impose strict laws on the manufacturing, sale, distribution, and consumption of CBD products. Consequently, online businesses on leading e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce find it difficult to get a suitable payment processor.
Fortunately, some merchant account providers cater specifically to the payment processing needs of CBD businesses and other high-risk industries. These payment providers usually navigate the CBD industry’s complex legal and regulatory compliance landscape to provide reliable payment processing solutions to CBD businesses in exchange for higher fees and rates.
As mentioned, several payment processors allow online CBD businesses on WooCommerce to accept and manage electronic payments in the same manner as low-risk businesses. However, it’s worth noting that all high-risk CBD payment processors are not equal. There are several factors you should consider to ensure that you select a CBD credit card processor that aligns with your respective business needs and goals.
These factors include the following:
Some high-risk payment processors take a long time to approve your application and set up your CBD merchant account. Such a delay can easily affect your cash flow, damage customer relationships, and result in stunted business growth.
To avoid these complications, ensure you partner with a CBD merchant account provider that offers quick and easy approval to get your CBD business up and running in the shortest time possible.
As a CBD business owner, it’s important to partner with a payment processor who has years of experience working in the CBD industry. Such credit card processors will have a better understanding of all the unique challenges of businesses in the industry, including varying regulatory compliance and a high risk of chargebacks.
As a result, they’ll be best suited to provide your CBD business with customized payment processing solutions that address these challenges and help you achieve your long-term goals.
High-risk payment processors usually charge high credit card processing fees. However, just because you operate a CBD business doesn’t mean you should settle for outrageous credit card processing fees.
Instead, look for a high-risk credit card processor that is competitive and transparent about its fees, including merchant account setup, transaction, chargeback, and monthly maintenance fees. Experts often recommend comparing fees charged by different credit card processors to ensure you get the best deal in the end. It’s also vital to look out for hidden fees, as they can easily inflate your operational costs and reduce your profit margins.
It’s important to verify that the payment gateway you intend to work with is PCI-compliant and understands the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). This is the best way to ensure that your customers’ data is secure and your CBD business does not get into any legal trouble in the future.
If you’re planning to expand your CBD business globally and cater to customers from different countries, it’s in your best interest to partner with a payment processor that supports different currencies and alternative payment methods (APMs), such as digital wallets, bank transfers, domestic cards, cryptocurrency, and prepaid vouchers. This will help boost conversion rates, increase CBD sales, and improve customer satisfaction in the long run.
Customer support is vital, especially when you’re running a CBD business. That said, look for a payment provider with a dedicated and responsive customer support team. A reliable payment provider should offer 24/7 customer support through phone, email, social media, chat, or other dedicated channels. This way, you’ll be able to address any merchant account, transaction, or payment integration issues promptly and minimize downtime and revenue loss.
Transaction fraud is one of the biggest challenges facing online businesses that accept online payments. That said, you want to work with a high-risk payment processor equipped with state-of-the-art fraud prevention tools and systems to protect your CBD business and customers.
Some fraud prevention tools you should look for to keep fraudsters and scammers at bay include Address Verification Service (AVS), proxy piercing, velocity checks, device fingerprinting, and 3D Secure (3DS).
Chargeback fraud presents a threat to your CBD business. Chargebacks usually occur when a customer disputes a credit card payment citing that they didn’t authorize the transaction or receive the product. Increased rate of chargebacks over a short period can easily result in financial losses, penalties from the payment processor, damage to the merchant’s reputation, and increased operational costs.
Therefore, choosing a high-risk payment processor with a reliable chargeback management system is vital to reduce, prevent, and resolve chargebacks in good time.
A reputable payment processor instills confidence in businesses and their customers. Therefore, check a payment processor’s reputation to ensure you work with a reliable and trustworthy company. This can easily be done by checking the processor’s online reviews to see what others say about its products and services.
Here are some of the best CBD merchant accounts for WooCommerce you can consider partnering with.
Shark Processing boasts updated technology and unparalleled industry expertise, making it a great option for CBD businesses looking for a reliable merchant account provider. The company understands the unique challenges of businesses in the CBD industry and has developed customized CBD merchant processing solutions to overcome them. In addition to possessing advanced tools for fast and secure payment processing, Shark Processing also provides CBD merchants with cash advance solutions, fraud detection tools, and a reliable chargeback protection system.
Shark Processing is also known for its state-of-the-art payment technology that ensures all CBD transactions are processed promptly and securely. With the help of SharkPay Crypto, Shark Processing allows CBD merchants to accept and process payments in over 20 cryptocurrencies. This feature enables them to expand their international reach and increase revenue.
Headquartered in California, PaymentCloud is a reputable merchant account provider specializing in high-risk businesses, including those that sell CBD products. The company has been providing high-quality payment processing services to CBD businesses since 2010 and shows no signs of slowing down. Some of PaymentCloud’s most sought-after features include an EMV-compliant terminal for all merchant accounts, Paysley QR code payment, eChecks and ACH processing, and full support for retail and online CBD businesses.
PaymentCloud charges some of the most competitive rates you’ll find in the CBD industry. This can be quite beneficial, especially if you’re operating a small CBD business and want to keep your expenses under control. It’s worth noting that PaymentCloud approves only merchant accounts for businesses selling CBD products that can be applied externally, such as oils, lotions, cleansers, soaps, serums, and balms.
Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, PayKings is a reliable merchant account provider that serves standard and high-risk merchant industries. The company works with several backend payment processors to get you approved for a merchant account in the shortest time possible without charging you any application fees. Some features that make PayKings stand out among other high-risk payment providers include ACH and eCheck processing, extensive customer support, and several third-party payment gateway integrations.
Even though PayKings charges relatively higher CBD merchant processing fees than other providers on this list, the products and services are worth every penny. Additionally, the company enjoys a positive reputation among many CBD merchants on WooCommerce, with most citing fast approval and unmatched customer service.
Finding the best CBD merchant account provider for your WooCommerce store doesn’t have to be difficult. With the help of the above guide, you’ll be better positioned to choose a reputable and reliable high-risk merchant account provider that suits your CBD business needs.
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