Compete Guide for CBD Business
If you are involved in the CBD industry or plan to be then this article contains essential information for you and will cover issues such as payments and banking for CBD online businesses.
money-gate – CBD
Banks that accept CBD business
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.
Banking for CBD companies in Europe
There are differences between the USA and Europe when setting up bank accounts. CBD laws are changing rapidly and there is not yet any universal jurisdiction for European countries. One of the main changes that affect how best to structure your banking in Europe comes from the exit of Britain from the EU. The laws in the UK are different and will change more easily than in the EU, which requires acceptance by all member states.
Some of the best banking options for CBD business bank accounts in Europe are the newer purely internet based fintech institutions, cross-border banks and institutions that have been registered as Electronic Money Institutions (EMI). An EMI can provide almost all the regular functions of a bank, except for lending. Two important features to look for are membership of the SWIFT consortium in order to be able to handle credit and debit card payments, and for the ability to allocate virtual IBAN accounts so that you can issue facilities such as e-Wallet.
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.
Best bank account for CBD business
First stop should be at a bank with which you have some connection, either through the owners of the CBD business or from existing accounts. Although many of the main-street banks are reluctant to open new corporate accounts for businesses selling CBD products, there is no legal barrier for them to overcome, so it should be possible to negotiate with your own bank – with the added incentive on your side that if you have to move over to a different bank, you may as well take all your business with you.
When choosing, take into consideration where the account opening procedure must take place and what are the requirements for initial deposit and minimum account balance.
Offshore merchant accounts for cannabis
Establishing an offshore merchant 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.
Can banks do business with CBD companies?
Whether banks can do business with CBD companies depends largely on the laws of the country in which the bank is registered. In the USA, this depends on the state in which the bank has its headquarters, since federal laws currently do not permit CBD business.
What banks accept CBD business?
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.
Merchant Account Providers for CBD transactions
What are the specifics for a Merchant Account for CBD
When a customer makes an online purchase from a merchant’s website that is going to be charged to his credit/debit card, the payment gateway allows for accepting the card details, performing the necessary checks and validations. A merchant account is essential so that the account holder receives the payment processing services necessary for accepting credit and debit card transactions. Once processed, the funds are credited to a merchant account established by the business owner and when the payment is finally approved by the payment gateway, the merchant’s business bank account in their own bank is credited. A merchant has no direct control over his merchant account, it is simply a retaining account for funds to be held until the transaction is finalized.
Need for a High-Risk Merchant Account
All online businesses need a merchant account in order to accept online card payments. If banks refuse to give them a regular merchant account, then the company can apply for a high risk merchant account. High risk merchant accounts perform the same function as a regular merchant account but because the bank is taking a higher risk they impose higher fees and charges as well as stricter contract conditions. With high risk merchant accounts, the bank may use risk management strategies like a rolling reserve, to protect the bank and the merchant from potential losses.
The special case for CBD
For sale of CBD oils and related products, some special conditions kick-in. Because of the relationship between CBD and marijuana (more about that below), CBD has for many years been treated as an illegal product and could not be sold in any market, including over the internet. Changes in the laws in many countries over the past five or so years have changes this picture and now increasing business is being conducted supplying an exploding demand world-wide. However, the whole scope of the trade is flagged as being “high-risk” and many banks will not establish a merchant account for companies that are wanting to trade in CBD products. For this reason, the whole subject need special treatment under the heading of this article – high-risk merchant accounts providers for CBD.
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.
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 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.
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.
Credit card processors may request copies of these documents when you apply for merchant 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. Until the FDA changes its position or there is a court challenge, merchant account providers will seek to ensure that merchants are adhering to all laws regarding interstate traffic.
Finding a Merchant Account provider for US CBD business.
Immediately after the change in the laws, there was a massive growth in levels of business and demand for merchant accounts. However, most of the banks refused to provide these services, and within a very short time, more than 90% of total accounts supported came from a single CBD payment processor, Elavon Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp. However, very shortly afterwards, they decided that the risks were too great, and dropped this service, leaving just a single provider available to support the whole US market.
The CBD rules and regulations will continue to change and evolve as the culture, landscape, and markets continue to adjust. This potential of change creates a lot of uncertainty among more traditional service providers such as merchant account banks. If you want to move forward and accept credit and debit cards, you must find a merchant account service that fully understands and deals with all aspects of CBD business.
Without a CBD merchant account, you can’t accept debit and credit cards for CBD edibles, hemp, and cannabis oil you sell. Right now, banks and other financial institutions feel CBD businesses are too risky, may involve them in legal problems, and could spoil their reputations as reputable lenders. Since they are reluctant to work with these businesses, merchants suffer, losing sales and customers.
When searching for your merchant account service provider, take special care in distinguishing between brokers, who are simply acting as a channel for a fee to the actual merchant account bank, and the real bank. Using a broker can have multiple drawbacks – for example, you could end up having applied to the same bank three, four or more times (including your own direct application), and you may be required to pay up-front for the services of the broker that are no more effective than going the direct route yourself.
High Risk Merchant Account Providers FOR CBD in USA
We have done our best to pick out only account providers that specifically offer CBD services on their websites, and there may be many other providers that do offer this service, but we cannot guarantee that the ones listed here continue to offer CBD in their range of supported activity.
Some of the merchant account providers listed below also act as gateway providers, and some also operate both in the USA, in continental North America, and around the world.
- Host Merchant Services
- EasyPay Direct
- High Risk Pay
- SMB Global
- RISK Payments
Payment Gateway Providers in USA
- USA ePay
Offshore CBD Payment Processing
The main need for an offshore merchant account is where the account is underwritten by a bank or processor that is situated in a different country from the one where the business is located. The most common reasons for needing an offshore account are where the merchant does a significant amount of business in a foreign country and needs to accept payments in that local currency or has offices in different countries, and needs separate merchant accounts for each.
Another reason is when a business is considered to be so risky that it cannot obtain a regular high-risk merchant account in its own country of operation and domicile. This is one of the main features for CBD businesses right now, until the dust settles.
When considering an offshore merchant account for CBD, the many different regulations that will apply for interstate/cross-border trade in THC products will have an effect on whether the service will be provided, and on the rates charged by any banks that do provide such service.
Providers of Offshore Merchant Accounts in USA
- High Risk Pay
- Durango Merchant Services
- SMB Global
- Host Merchant Services
- Easy Pay Direct
High Risk Merchant Account for CBD in Europe?
If you have tried to open a European merchant account or take on a payment gateway for CBD and been rejected, then a high risk merchant account could be your answer. The more conservative banks and payments providers today tend to reject new online businesses in CBD, which has a double-negative image both because of the inherent eCommerce problems due to chargebacks and refunds, and the legal implications of transactions in banned substances in some countries. These merchant account providers don’t want to take on new clients just to find that money comes into the company’s account and straight out again and put them in danger of penalties from their regulators and could even lead to the loss of their banking license. Expect higher rates and fees and more stringent contract conditions because of the double risk involved.
- International Bank Services (IBS)
- EU Payments
Payment gateway for high risk business
How do I process CBD payments?
The merchant account providers listed in this document provide for standard processing when payment is made by credit card/debit card. The terms may vary depending on the domicile of the vendor and of the purchaser, including some features such as age validation. eCommerce payment gateways must have the necessary security and hack detection features to protect the transaction from start to finish. There should be no requirement imposed by the merchant account service provider for extra levels of protection.
Does PayPal accept payments for CBD products?
According to the PayPal website, there are no specific regulations about payments for CBD/Hemp products – it is not mentioned on the Accepted Use Policy website. But while PayPal may approve payment for CBD sales at the time of the transaction, there are numerous complaints about them shutting down the accounts of CBD businesses without warning and even withholding the related funds. For this reason, PayPal can be regarded as hard to work with for CBD trade.
Does Amazon accept CBD orders?
There is no single answer for this. May 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.
Does Google Pay allow CBD sales?
According to the Google Pay website, payment for transaction in a wide range of CBD products is allowed using Google Pay application.
CBD Businesses Bank Account
It is often challenging for CBD businesses to find a bank willing to open their corporate account mainly because of the banks’ lack of understanding of the CBD industry. It doesn’t matter what your involvement in the CBD industry – whether you are an affiliate business; online CBD store or a CBD producer opening a bank account is difficult because of the CBD industry’s lack of regulation and the confusion as to the legal and medical status of CBD. For this reason, any bank will ask CBD businesses to provide comprehensive information and documentation to prove they are legitimate before agreeing to open a new account. To be a successful online CBD company there is no other option other than opening a bank account in order to be able to make and receive payments.
Basic Banking Requirements for an Online CBD Business:
- Corporate CBD bank account
- E-money account (or EMI account)
- E-wallet (e.g. Skrill or PayPal) You can only open your e-wallet account after you have officially opened your business and your business bank account.
Ideally you can find one financial institution to provide all your financial services so that you can receive funds and make payments smoothly, with low fees, efficiently and in a timely manner. The financial dealings of an online CBD business are the same as any other. You will need to carry out several important financial operations on a regular basis and it is important to insure that your chosen bank can provide the necessary financial services.
CBD Online Businesses Need Financial Services to Make Payments
- CBD online businesses need to pay traffic generators like Google, Facebook and other platforms that create direct traffic and leads.
- CBD online businesses need to pay for the constant up-date, maintenance, operation and work needed on their website. This may require payment to social media accounts, content writers, domains, servers and office expenses.
- CBD online businesses will hopefully have expansion expenses including hiring new staff, renting office space and other operational expenses, legal services, utilities etc.
CBD Businesses Account Needs Financial Services to Receive Payments
- CBD online businesses will need a way to receive payment for their products sold online to direct customers.
- CBD online businesses need to be able to receive card payments from customers making online purchases. For this CBD online businesses need a high risk merchant account and business bank account.
- You may also need an account where you can accept funds from third parties.
Banking Solutions for CBD Businesses in Europe
One of the best places 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 account 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.