If you are involved in marketing of CBD products, or plan to be, then this article contains essential information for you covering issues around banking for CBD online businesses.

 

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In our related article, we cover what a CBD business needs to do to establish the necessary Merchant Accounts that are essential for operating an internet marketing enterprise.

 

Which banks accept CBD businesses as customers?

Accepting CBD businesses is a matter of individual bank policy. The first question relates to the legal status of CBD trade in the country where the bank is based. Next, most established commercial banks have more conservative policies and will either refuse such accounts, or classify them as high-risk with greater restrictions and charges. In general, working with an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) is much more likely to provide easy acceptance, as well as all of the features you will need.
Finding a bank that will accept CBD business is not easy. The number of banks and financial service providers that accept CBD activity is very limited. In the USA, the difference between state and federal laws makes the process extremely complicated. In Europe, CBD laws vary between the individual countries. Some products like skincare or medications containing CBD are permitted in some countries but illegal in others, and making it more complicated, the level of THC content permitted can be different both by country and by type of product.
Banks have to be assured that you will only be dealing with permissible products, and only supplying customers in countries where they meet all legal requirements. As well, the bank may impose stricter conditions, require more comprehensive reporting, and charge higher rates than would be the case for normal non-CBD customers. Make sure all of this is specified at the time that you are setting up the account.

Know the laws!

There have been substantial changes in the laws governing hemp in the USA over the past two years. President Trump signed the farm bill into law in December 2018, legalizing hemp. Prior to this law, hemp itself, and CBD extract, were both classified as parts of the most restricted category in federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s list – Schedule 1 substances.

Before the legal change described above, “hemp” was generally used to describe non-intoxicating plant of the genus Cannabaceae that has been harvested for the industrial use of its derived products, which can be to produce crucial resources such as food, rope, clothing, paper, housing material etc.

As demand for CBD continues to skyrocket, the CBD industry has developed into a unique market that is independent, yet still closely related to the cannabis industry, including its evolving legalities and reputation. Due to the confusion and complications that this can present for CBD vendors, it has become increasingly important to understand the laws relating to business in CBD, hemp and cannabis (aka marijuana) and how they relate to doing business.

Understanding the differences between CBD, hemp and marijuana.

The basic distinguishing feature of hemp against cannabis is the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the plant. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent that causes it to be classified as a special substance. “Hemp” is the term used to classify varieties of cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC content (by dry weight). In 2018, President Trump signed new legislation

USA
In the USA, there are state and federal laws that treat CBD differently. The 0.3% rule draws a fine regulatory line between marijuana and marijuana-derived CBD. Both are still classified as schedule I drugs by the FDA, but different states adopt their own regulations. CBD which contains more than 0.3 % THC is allowed in 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) that allow medical and recreational marijuana for consumers at least 18 years old. Twenty-three states allow medical marijuana and marijuana-derived CBD, but have not legalized them for recreational use. A smaller group of states classify marijuana and marijuana-derived CBD differently, allowing CBD for specific medical purposes. Before you establish a merchant account to start selling CBD of any kind, you need to have a very clear picture of exactly where you fit in to this network and get guidelines from the merchant bank on whether they deal with your type of trade.

World
Outside the USA, individual countries have their own specific laws surrounding the legality of traffic in hemp and CBD products. An important factor when dealing with European jurisdiction is the domicile of the country that sets up the account. Find out if your specific jurisdiction allows the sale of CBD oil and most importantly what level of THC is permitted. If so, comply with all the necessary regulations and get any required licensing.

Banks and credit card processors may request copies of these documents when you apply for account services. Expect governments to scrutinize and pay very close attention to businesses that sell CBD products, therefore, know all the laws in your jurisdiction.

Also, there is a substantial difference between trade inside a single jurisdiction, and trade over state or national borders. Trade conducted with customers within the same state/country as the merchant falls under the particular country’s/state’s laws, but trade across borders comes under the umbrella of interstate law, subject to federal jurisdiction in the USA or EU regulations in Europe. The FDA considers dietary supplements and foods containing CBD unlawful.

Banking Solutions for CBD Businesses in Europe

One of the best options for CBD online businesses to get comprehensive banking services in Europe is from an EMI (Electronic Money Institute). European EMIs offer full-service accounts so you can send and receive funds; make SWIFT and SEPA transactions; wire transfers; receive an international debit card; use customer services and make cash withdrawals from ATMs. CBD businesses accounts with an EMI account receive a dedicated IBAN so that they can efficiently and easily make international wire transfers and currency exchange. EMI business accounts can be accessed from your desktop or mobile device and the services provided are highly secure, fast and comprehensive.

Which banks will accept CBD business customers?

In general, the larger bricks-and-mortar banks will not yet accept new customers dealing purely in CBD trade, but there is nothing to stop them from doing so as long as it is legal in their state/country. It’s a question of their idea of risk and reward. As global trade in CBD products is expected to grow phenomenally over the next decade, the attitude of even the most conventional banks is likely to change. Right now, smaller banks that have close association with younger start-up companies will be more favorably inclined to see the potential.

Friendly banks for CBD business

It is very important that you select carefully where you look for the right bank. There are many brokers who advertise to act on your behalf, but the bottom line is that they can do no better than yourself, and in some circumstances will waste time and money.

While the UK has for decades been the global hub of banking and finance, there is now a major growth spurt inside the EU to both attract EU-based businesses to move across away from the UK so that they are working inside the EU, and to attract foreign companies who see the EU as the larger potential market and now want to be based inside the union. However, right now the UK has the longest history and the most open policy for CBD businesses, so start there.

Choosing an offshore account for your CBD banking

Establishing an offshore bank account for your business can be very advantageous with potential for increased privacy and to save on taxes, on currency conversions etc. In the case of CBD business, it may be necessary to establish the business outside your country of residence, in cases where trading in CBD products is not legal.

Inside the EU, three of the most frequently chosen countries are the Czech Republic, Serbia and Cyprus. Now that Britain is out of the EU, it offers some special advantages, especially for the smaller Channel Isles, where offshore banking has been established for many years, but the more liberal UK laws on CBD also apply.

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Does Google Pay allow CBD sales?

According to the Google Pay website, payment for transactions in a wide range of CBD products is allowed using Google Pay application.

Does PayPal work with CBD companies?

This is a still a question for which no official response has come out of PayPal. According to their official Acceptable Use Policy, “PayPal currently does not permit the use of their payments platform for the sale of products containing Cannabidiol (CBD)”. However, there are many known cases of both websites and retail traders, especially national pharmacy chains in the UK, where you can purchase CBD oil using PayPal. It’s not possible for us to give a definite answer, although right now it seems it is possible, at least in the UK.

Does Amazon accept CBD orders?

There is no single answer for this. Many different factors will affect the outcome of an order on Amazon’s website. For example, sale of CBD oil for a vendor in California to a purchaser in the same state is OK, but a purchaser in Nevada cannot buy. Similarly, a purchaser in UK may be able to buy from California, but not the other way around – buyers in the USA cannot bring CBD into the country since that would be a federal customs transaction.

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