Finding a high-risk merchant account provider for your CBD internet business

 

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Why do internet marketers need a Merchant Account?

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, and 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.

 

What makes CBD business a special case?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is the less active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). Cannabis has for many years been treated as an illegal Schedule I drug and it could not be sold in any market, including over the internet. It is really CBD’s sister ingredient THC that puts cannabis onto the banned list.

 

Everything changed in 2018 when President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law legalizing hemp, which is a type of plant totally without THC, and with very low levels (typically less than 0.3%) of cannabidiol. Before the change, “hemp” was generally used to describe a 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.
Prior to this law, hemp itself, and CBD extracted from it, were both classified as parts of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of banned substances. As a result, in setting up business to market CBD oils and related products, some special conditions kick-in.

 

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.

 

 

The whole scope of the trade is flagged as being “high-risk”. CBD is not the only kind of business flagged as high-risk and It shares many of the problems in setting up banking and merchant accounts. You can get a better picture of what high-risk means here:
How to setup banking for a CBD business

What Makes a Company High Risk?

When it comes to setting up the necessary banking facilities, as we describe here, many banks will neither establish a corporate banking facility nor will they provide merchant accounts for companies that are wanting to trade in CBD products. For this reason, the whole subject needs special treatment under the heading of this article – high-risk merchant accounts providers for CBD.

What financial services does a CBD online business need?

  • 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.

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.

High Risk Merchant Account Providers for CBD in Europe

We have conducted in-depth research into the subject of high-risk merchant account providers, along with which are most suitable for high-risk business like CBD trade. Read more of the up-to-date picture here:

Best High Risk Merchant Account in Europe 2021

Largest Electronic Money Institutions in Europe

How Do Merchant Account Providers Determine a Business’s Risk Level?

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.

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.

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