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New Strides In Cannabis Payment Solutions Make Dispensaries Safer

by Kimberly Baylies on August 10, 2021

Compliant cannabis payment processing.The cannabis industry is booming as legalization continues to sweep across America. We’ve seen a slew of legalizations over the first half of 2021. New Mexico and 4 eastern states, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Connecticut, each signed legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

This brings us to 18 total states, plus Washington D.C., that allow the recreational use of cannabis. But as the East Coast begins rolling out licensing and regulations, they’ll find they face many of the same problems that haunt the West. 

The problem?

Cannabis businesses face inequality and its side effects. Lack of access to banking and payment services makes them a target for crime. Owning and operating a cannabis business is becoming increasingly dangerous.

State legalization of cannabis is creating a greater need for armed security guards. 

Cannabis legalization has made a significant contribution to the economy, with $18.3 billion in sales in 2020, raising significant tax revenue for communities. And the cannabis industry is responsible for creating over 321,000 full-time jobs. There is no argument that the cannabis industry as a whole presents many opportunities.

But being forced to run on cash alone also creates an opportunity for criminals and puts its staff in danger. 

Federal prohibition makes it difficult for businesses to gain access to banking and financial services, such as payment processing. This forces the industry to operate in a mostly cash-only realm. 

2020 was rough for dispensaries and their employees, with some areas reporting that burglaries have more than doubled over the prior year. Cannabis dispensaries have also experienced a rash of burglaries in the recent months that led to the injuries of employees and bystanders.

Cannabis dispensaries are a target for criminals in more ways than one. 

Any business that is as cash heavy as cannabis businesses are is a prime target for burglary. But armed robbers are also attracted to dispensaries for the product. It's very easy for criminals to sell stolen marijuana on the black market and across borders in non-legal states. 

Dispensaries offer a one stop shop where burglars have access to massive amounts of two different liquid assets. It's a double whammy for dispensaries.

Dispensaries are being forced to hire armed guards to protect employees and customers. While we are all for the industry creating jobs, this isn't necessarily the way we want to see it. 

Advocating for change for cannabis payment processing solutions.

Creating cannabis payment solutions for now and the future.

Until there is a change at the federal level, we must find ways to support the cannabis industry to make it safer. Helping dispensaries, delivery companies, and other MRBs reduce their reliance on cash will help make them safer.

The only way for cannabis businesses to reduce their reliance on cash is to have access to alternate payment solutions. We knew we had to create a payment solution that was sustainable. And that meant that it had to be completely transparent and compliant. For a cannabis payment solution to be sustainable, it must be 100% compliant with anti-money laundering laws.

In order to create a compliant solution, we knew we had to work closely with federal auditors each step of the process. Our bank and processor enlisted federal auditors to go through each step of the payment transaction to ensure full transparency and compliance. 

Through hard work and dedication, we created the industry’s first fully compliant cannabis payment processing merchant account. 

True PIN Debit for cannabis payment processing.

Federal and card brand laws do not allow merchants to accept credit cards for cannabis, whether directly or indirectly. 

However, True PIN Debit allows merchants to accept debit cards for cannabis without violating laws. Merchants are able to use their correct DBA and accurate descriptors on both customer receipts and bank settlement reports. 

What does it mean to be “transparent” and “compliant”?

What does it mean when we say fully compliant and transparent Cannabis Payment Services ?

It means there is full disclosure with every entity involved in the payment transaction. Full disclosure and transparency means that each financial entity is aware of the source of the funds and condones the transaction. The bank, the processor, the card brands, and the network have all agreed to take on the processes necessary to keep the solution legal.

The sponsor bank has created an internal BSA/AML team to run a compliant anti-money laundering program. We worked with that team, along with federal regulators to create a compliant flow of transaction data. Each entity involved in the transaction abides by or exceeds federal agency guidance and runs a compliant BSA/AML program. 

Then we brought in the federal regulators and the cannabis industry’s top legal team to dissect the program. Federal regulators analyzed, audited and approved every step of our transaction process. It is through creating and monitoring this high level of transactional transparency that we are able to offer cannabis merchants their first fully compliant cannabis merchant account. 

PIN Debit provides cannabis merchants with their first and only “traditional” payment solution. Their customers can walk into the dispensary and pay in a way that is familiar to them. The same way they pay at the grocery store. Customers are not subject to weird or sketchy work-arounds. And cannabis businesses are not subject to breaking anti-money laundering laws.

PIN Debit cannabis merchant account is better than cashless ATM.

This is not the same as a Cashless ATM. While a cashless ATM is still a viable option, and we do offer them, we believe PIN Debit is far superior.

Cashless ATMs make the transaction look like a cash withdrawal where the customer chooses a dollar amount in increments of $5-$20. Then the bud tender gives them change for difference between the withdrawn amount and the purchase price. These transactions also come with significant out-of-network fees for the customer.

ATM transactions are processed differently from debit transactions. Debit transactions are processed over the interchange network, the same way credit cards are. Merchants are given a real merchant account, and all authorizations and funding are completed through this account.

True PIN Debit is a purchase transaction. The customer pays for the exact sale price with the dip of their card. No change needs to be given, no cash involved. And NO extra fees for the customer. 

PIN debit cannabis payment processing allows you to offer a frictionless payment environment that is better for the customer while increasing both sales and safety.

Forging the path for fair access to banking for the cannabis industry.

Cannabis merchant account

Our cannabis merchant account solution was crafted with the strictest level of compliance and transparency in mind. Our banking partners took every precaution possible to create a sustainable and growth-focused payment solution.

We believe the best way to propel the industry forward is through the path of compliance and legitimacy. By demonstrating that transactions can be handled in a compliant and fully auditable manner, we can help forge the path for fair access to banking and other merchant services. 

When you have a compliant PIN Debit solution for cannabis payments, you set yourself up for first-in-line credit card processing. Cannabis merchants have the first bank-backed merchant account allowing them to accept card payments in plant touching businesses. This is a real and compliant merchant account that is ready to accept credit card payments as soon as there is federal change. Whether we see that change in legislation such as the SAFE Banking Act, or a change in federal prohibition. 

The foundation has already been laid with compliant rails, regulation and oversight. Once credit card acceptance is allowed for cannabis payments, all we have to do is flip the switch.

Begin PIN Debit Cannabis Payment Processing Now - Be ready for the future.

We would love to help you establish a legitimate payment solution for your cannabis business. 

Applying for a cannabis merchant account for PIN Debit is easy. All cannabis business owners need is a compliant business bank account. The only way our solution will work is if each institution involved has a compliant cannabis program in operation. That is because money for cannabis related transactions cannot be transferred between banks without both being fully aware. That would constitute money laundering. 

If you're having trouble finding a bank that will work with your business transparently, don't worry. We can help you open a bank account with a compliant bank. We’ve also included a list of supporting documents cannabis businesses will need to provide with their application for a cannabis merchant account on our website.

We have been on the forefront of the fight for fair access to banking and payment services for the cannabis industry since 2012. We continue to strive to create compliant and sustainable payment solutions, like our PIN Debit Program, in support of cannabis businesses.

We understand how important it is for you to have a payment solution that you can depend on. One that is sustainable and affordable, and keeps both your customers and your business safe.

If you have questions, or would like to understand more about how this solution satisfies regulators, give us a call. One of our ETA - Certified Payment Professionals would be happy to help.

Discover our Compliant Solution

Topics: Cannabis, cannabis dispensary, cannabis delivery