Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp industry has seen an unprecedented surge. What was once a highly restricted market is now one of the fastest-growing industries on US soil. So there’s no wonder why so many businesses have flocked to take their slice of the CBD cake.
Fortunately for start-ups hoping to strike gold with CBD, modern-day shopping carts like Shopify make setting up a digital storefront as easy as simply dragging and dropping its features to customize your website. But while setting up your CBD store on Shopify might be as easy as pie, their built-in payment feature might not work for you.
The short answer is no; you can’t. To be clear, hemp and hemp-derived CBD products are not illegal anywhere in the United States. Of course, the regulations that control their use and sale vary from state to state, but generally speaking, the stuff isn’t prohibited anywhere.
But even then, Shopify doesn’t have the risk appetite to accommodate payments for such products. So they encourage their clients to look for third-party merchant service and payment processing providers that can accommodate their payment collection needs.
If you already have a Shopify set up, and you want to add hemp or CBD to your product line-up, then you will not be allowed to continue using Shopify Pay for any of your offerings in your store. If Shopify detects that you’re using Shopify Pay to collect payments for hemp or CBD, they can remove your Shopify Pay access, but this will not bring down your Shopify website.
You might be wondering — what’s wrong with hemp or CBD and why won’t Shopify Pay accept payments for these products? Well, the answer is simple — hemp and CBD are both high-risk. That said, Shopify Pay will not work for almost all businesses that operate in high-risk industries. These include (but are not limited to):
A high-risk merchant is a business with a greater risk of incurring chargebacks. These chargebacks happen when a buyer disputes a transaction with your business on their account. When a buyer requests a chargeback, the bank bypasses your authority as a merchant; they go into your account, take back the transaction cost, and send it back to the buyer.
Chargebacks also come with steep fees and penalties imposed on the merchant. This helps ensure that businesses toe the line and provide quality products and services that can satisfy the expectations of their consumer base.
Unfortunately, Shopify Pay doesn’t have the facilities to perform or deal with the risk of chargebacks since they’re not a high-risk merchant service provider. They prohibit certain businesses from using their integrated payment feature since they can’t accommodate the chargeback process.
Nonetheless, Shopify does allow merchants to sell hemp and CBD through their servers. The only nuance is that they’ll have to integrate their third-party payment processor to collect payments on-site. Shopify allows several third-party payment processing and merchant services that seamlessly integrate with their shopping cart service.
For the record, yes, you can sell CBD on Shopify. Again, the stuff isn’t illegal. But since the laws surrounding hemp and CBD are constantly changing, and because the industry is more prone to chargebacks, Shopify aims to protect its enterprise by refusing to process payments for such a delicate product.
Aside from that, Shopify has a few unique requirements that apply solely to CBD and hemp. For instance, before any business can sell either of these products through the Shopify platform, they must complete an Attestation for the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products.
This digital document details all the specifics businesses need to know to safely and legally sell CBD and hemp on the Shopify platform. One of the terms of the agreement states that the business is responsible for staying updated on the latest rules and regulations concerning the sale and purchase of CBD and hemp in their local area.
The document also states that in case the seller does anything that violates any laws or regulations, they can’t turn around and go point their finger at Shopify. Finally, there’s the issue of advertising. The agreement states that when a business submits the signed document, they agree to abide by all of the FDA’s requirements for marketing products like CBD and hemp, which means no medical claims.
Other than that, businesses must integrate an age-checker facility to ensure that individuals of the right age only access their offers. And then, of course, there’s the issue of finding a payment processor that integrates with Shopify while accommodating high-risk merchants in the CBD and hemp industry.
Since you can complete CBD transactions with the integrated Shopify Pay, you’ll have to find a merchant service provider that you can use to perform the function. Remember that this will also entail setting up a high-risk merchant account with a trusted provider.
Your high-risk merchant account will enable you to take credit and debit card payments online through your Shopify. However, they’re not always that easy to set up. Most acquirers have a limited risk appetite, so depending on the scale of your business, the kind of transaction history you have, and your chargeback frequency, you might find yourself face-to-face with a lot of rejection.
On the upside, there are lots of providers out there that cater specifically to high-risk merchants. Although their rates might be higher, they will accommodate high-risk clients more willingly. Once your merchant account is up and running, you can find a payment processing service provider that gives you the tools to safely and efficiently collect payments online.
Some merchant services will also have payment processing features that you can bundle with their merchant account. But make sure to shop around since rates vary widely between the available options.
So, Shopify can’t and won’t process payments for CBD transactions through their integrated payment facility. But you can still use their services and collect payments for CBD and hemp products by integrating your third-party payment processor.
Today, there are several options available to CBD and hemp merchants. And some of the most noteworthy include:
While it’s not illegal, there are a few roadblocks to successfully setting up your CBD store on Shopify. Today, the Shopify Pay facility might be a little limited. But even then, there are loads of payment processing and merchant service providers seamlessly integrating with Shopify while providing better tools and solutions. Make sure you shop around and check your options to find the perfect payment processor to streamline your buyers’ online shopping experience.
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