As the owner of a respected marijuana testing lab, you may have been discouraged to learn that traditional credit card processing companies would not allow you to accept credit card payments for your services. This is not welcome news, but it is also not a capricious decision. While cannabis programs are legal in some states, marijuana is still federally illegal. Because there are no across-the-board regulations, banks and federal regulators had to figure out how to classify businesses in the cannabis industry, including the risks involved in financial transactions. Marijuana Related Businesses (MRBs) and Cannabis Related Businesses (CRBs) were organized into several tiers based on the level of risk.
Tier I MRB is classified as “product touching.” In other words, hands-on involvement with the product itself. Examples of Tier I include businesses that deal in seeds, processing, product testing, planting, and other elements of cultivation, plus dispensaries. They are required to be licensed by the state. Tier I MRBs are considered to be at the highest risk and are held to the highest standards for compliance. As a result, traditional financial institutions are reluctant to provide testing labs and other Tier I businesses with the means to accept any payments other than cash. To do so would require banks to assume significant compliance burdens on their end, including enhanced due diligence and on-going monitoring and assessment. As of now, most financial institutions and processors feel it’s just not worth their while.
While the foreseeable future of credit card payments for Tier I MRB businesses is filled with uncertainty, you may be wondering why this article is titled “Your Marijuana Testing Lab Can Accept Credit and Debit Cards”. You may not be aware, but certain merchant processing companies have been developed to service industries considered high-risk such as marijuana, cannabis, hemp, CBD, alcohol, tobacco, dating services, and gambling. As you learn about these companies, you may discover that many of them will charge you higher fees because they assume a higher risk.
It is typical for high-risk credit card processors to set their fees based on the volume of revenue processed and chargebacks experienced. Some processors will include hidden fees in your contract’s small print, and if you want to terminate, they may charge you high penalties to get out of your contract. Some processors choose to serve all high-risk industries, while others specialize in specific verticals.
An example of a dependable merchant processor specializing in meeting the demands of marijuana testing labs is Unity Payments. Specifically designed to provide transparent rates, powerful reporting, and simple integrations, Unity Payments offers marijuana testing labs advantages such as no contracts, no cancellation fees, locked-in service rates, 24/7 tech support, loss prevention specialists, and the ability to accept Visa® and MasterCard®. Unity Payments, powered by Nuvo Company, is an established leader in the merchant processing industry. Nuvo Company has over 35 years of experience serving various businesses, enabling Unity Payments to absorb a higher risk while serving MRBs and CRBs.
If you are interested in accepting credit and debit cards for your marijuana testing lab or would like a free audit of your existing processor, call Unity Payments at (321) 972-9838 or sign-up online.