Best MMJ Merchant Processing Partners

Anecdotal evidence for the benefits of medical marijuana remains unbelievably overwhelming. Even today when medical marijuana remains questioned in many states and rigidly controlled in others, its popularity continues to rise. However, that doesn’t make a difference for most financial service providers.

Unfortunately, most traditional, conservative financial institutions and banks will refuse to deal with medical marijuana merchants, leaving these businesses with limited options for payment processing. Nonetheless, there are providers out there that will gladly take the risk and accommodate MMJ merchants with open arms.

Payment Cloud

Payment Cloud merchant processing

Payment Cloud is relatively new to the payment processing industry. But even though they were started just in 2015 with only three members and an office in a garage, they’ve become well-known across the market as one of the most reliable providers for hard-to-place merchants.

The reason for that is precisely because they’ve tailored their services to provide the best outcomes for high risk ventures. They incorporate a range of security and efficiency tools and solutions that work wonders to keep their partner merchants well monitored and maintained.

They work with a number of high risk industries including cannabis. What’s particularly interesting is that they designate dedicated account managers for their merchants so you can get prompt support whenever you need it. In terms of pricing, they impose flat rates which makes it easier to map out your expenses over the course of the contract.

eMerchant Broker

Established in 2011, eMerchantBroker has had over 10 years of experience in the payment processing industry. Much like Payment Cloud, they offer their services to high risk merchants who might struggle to get support and approval from traditional and conservative financial service providers.

It’s openly disclosed on their website that they support and accommodate medical marijuana dispensaries. This means that they also offer distinct tools and security features that are tailored for that specific industry. In terms of holistic services, they offer the entire range of solutions that you might need to get started on payment processing whether on or offline.

What’s worth noting however is that eMerchant Broker doesn’t offer a flat rate, but tiered pricing which makes it a little harder to picture out how much you might spend over the long haul. They also have pretty long-term contracts and expensive early termination fees, which might not be ideal for some merchants. Nonetheless, reviews place them at the top as one of the best providers for high risk merchants.

Instabill merchant processing partnersInstabill

Having opened their doors in 2001, Instabill is what you might call an early adopter in the payment processing industry. These guys have over two decades of experience under their belts, which is sufficiently backed up by countless positive reviews from thousands upon thousands of previous clients.

While they might not offer the full range of solutions for medical marijuana dispensaries, they do offer two distinct payment options. These include a debit solution that lets you process payments through ACH, or their cryptocurrency solution for clients who prefer to pay with Bitcoin or whatever other digital currency they might have.

Instabill does what it can to accommodate merchants that might be coming from an MMJ background. But that also means that potential merchants have to meet their standards, which means you should have at least four months of transaction history to get approval for your account. If you have that though, expect your application to get approved in 10 days or less.

Shift Processing

Shift Processing is relatively new to the ball game, which might disenchant those that equate longevity with success and reliability. But hey, these guys give their veteran competitors a run for their money with their ultra-modern and contemporary solutions that challenge more traditional methods of processing payments online and offline.

Small but formidable, Shift Processing implements a number of methods that aim to help their merchants cut back on credit card processing fees. They also work similarly to Venmo, in that the payments won’t have to pass through credit card networks, effectively lowering the cost of the processing expenses associated with each transaction that comes your way.

Perhaps the biggest downside to working with Shift Processing is that they can’t accommodate deliveries. That means orders need to be either in-store or pick-up orders. They also currently only work with merchants that operate in states where medical marijuana is legal.

SMB Global

Headquartered in South Jordan, Utah, SMB Global first started in 2016 with its main focus centered on high risk and off shore merchant accounts. While they don’t explicitly mention that they work with MMJ merchants, they do openly work with cannabis and CBD merchants. So it’s worth checking them out nonetheless.

Of course, they’re not a perfect provider and they will still put a protocol in place to protect their own interest. So expect to get at least a three-year contract with a steep early termination fee to boot. They also impose an auto-renewal clause that means your contract will be automatically renewed at the end of the term unless you take action.

Another thing worth thinking about is that SMB Global requires at least a $50,000 monthly revenue for their merchants. This just helps ensure that their partners are the right size for their risk appetite. It also seems like they presently only accommodate CBD businesses through an offshore account. But if you’re okay with all of those details, then their stellar customer support, pristine security features, and fraud protection suite might be worth every penny.

Evergreen Payments Northwest

Evergreen Payments Northwest merchant services

Catering specifically to merchants dealing in the marijuana and cannabis industries, Evergreen Payments Northwest recently opened with the goal of providing tailored needs to what they recognize as an often neglected and poorly managed industry. These guys offer holistic payment processing and merchant services that give you the complete package for your business regardless of size.

Much like Payment Cloud, they provide a dedicated agent to represent your account and provide you prompt support when required. This is particularly impressive considering their small size and says a lot about their dedication to providing their clients with reliable assistance.

Another thing worth mentioning about Evergreen Payments Northwest is that they only work within a trusted referral network. Despite being relatively small and new to the payment processing industry, they’ve managed to grow their circle of financial partners to make sure all of their clients get the best service and holistic solutions from well-established financial service providers.

Why is Medical Marijuana Merchants High Risk?

Advocates for medical marijuana have worked long and hard to see changes in the legislation that gatekeeps the use of the wonder herb. Today, more and more jurisdictions are starting to open their minds to the benefits of medical marijuana, but the challenges are far from over.

More than just the laws surrounding MMJ, financial services that are available to the vendors that offer these products are limited because of the often negative connotation that medical marijuana has in terms of its risk. But what exactly is it about MMJ that makes it high risk?

  • Changing legislation – The issue of legislation is the biggest problem with the risk surrounding MMJ merchants. The issue is that laws are still constantly changing, and one sudden shift in the rules that regulate the industry could put a number of merchant service providers at risk. No one wants to operate in an industry where rules are volatile, which is why financial service providers tend to steer clear.
  • Potential fraud – Then, of course, there’s the issue of fraud. In most states, recreational marijuana remains illegal. This means that acquirers and payment processors face the possibility of being found guilty of aiding and abetting the distribution of a controlled substance in case things go awry. This can make medical marijuana merchants incredibly unattractive, especially for conservative partners that don’t want to have anything to do with such risky conditions.
  • Chargebacks – Again, chargebacks remain a serious concern for MMJ merchants. No two batches of marijuana are ever the same. Even slight changes in temperature and sunlight conditions can alter the chemistry of a batch of marijuana. So buyers who expect consistency in their purchase might be unhappy to find that the effects change with each new batch. Then there’s the risk of the products not producing the expected effects at all. Unless an MMJ merchant has a flexible and convenient refund and returns process in place, then chargebacks become all too likely.

It’s a Hard Knock Life

Needless to say, MMJ merchants face unique challenges on the way to being able to seamlessly and effectively process payments — both on and offline. And while there are a lot of payment processors out there that might reject MMJ merchants, there are still those proud providers that choose to take on the risk and support these dispensaries.

But be careful — not all payment processors are created the same. Consider these six tried, tested, and trusted providers to get fair rates, flexible terms, and complete solutions to aid your business and to help you cater to your target market in the best way possible.

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