Although the sale of medical marijuana is now legal in 14 states as well as the District of Columbia, these businesses often encounter great difficulty in obtaining merchant accounts. Considered "high risk" businesses, dispensary owners often face personal prejudices as well. Unfortunately, many banks just are not willing to consider opening a merchant account for the owner of a medical marijuana store; they consider the legal due diligence to be too much of a hassle.
Options Beyond the Banks
When you consider that approximately 75% of the American population uses their debit or credit cards regularly to make purchases, being able to process such transactions can be critical to the success of many businesses. Granted, the marijuana industry was strictly cash based until recently, but times have changed. If your bank is unwilling to even consider offering you a merchant account, it is time to look somewhere else.
Merchant account firms are often more flexible and a number are now providing essential financial services to the owners of legal dispensaries. Since most dispensaries are still new ventures and they sell a medical product, they are, by default, considered to be a higher risk. However, as long as the store owner has a decent credit record and a clean criminal history, that will not necessarily prevent them from qualifying.
A Word of Warning
One concern you should have with regards to obtaining a merchant account for your medical marijuana dispensary is that not every provider is the same. Business owners in Colorado were recently surprised when their provider shut off service without any warning. Make sure that you select a company with a reliable track record.
3 Advantages to Credit Card Payment
Once you have set up your merchant account, your business will profit from several advantages. First, you will be able to take orders by phone or online – completing the sale at the store and speeding your customers on their way. Second, you will be able to hold less cash at the store, reducing the concerns associated with a cash rich business. Finally, tracking sales will be identical as every purchase will show up in your evening balances.
If you want to accept credit cards at your dispensary, skip the banks and head online to find a company that understands the unique opportunities and obstacles facing your business.