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Merchant Services For Terpenes And Terpene Products

by Kimberly Baylies on December 5, 2019

Credit Card Payment Processing For Terpenes And Terpene Products is getting more difficult by the day as banks consider them a "high risk" product.

Terpenes - misunderstood by payment processorsPoor Terpenes are grossly misunderstood…  Well, by the banking and payments industry anyway! Making it incredibly difficult to accept payments for terpenes and terpene products.

State legal cannabis along with a burgeoning “legal” CBD market has brought on an increased awareness surrounding terpenes. Or, maybe it’s just that there is more recognition of the word ‘terpene’ since terpenes are by no means new. More attention is being drawn to terpenes due to the cannabis market. But, unfortunately, there is also a gross misconception about terpenes. And it’s affecting many business owners, even those who have nothing to do with the cannabis industry.

Don’t judge a terpene by its cover.

Terpenes are organic molecules found in all living plants which give plants their aromatic scent. They are essentially the main component of the essential oils and resins that plants produce. Therefore they are responsible for giving each plant its own unique smell and taste. Humans have been exposed to terpenes in nature our whole lives. They are what give us that pine smell when we walk through a forest, the calming scent that puts us to sleep when we lay on that lavender pillow, and what kicks us into gear when we get a whiff of bright peppermint.

These terpenes occur naturally in plants for a purpose. Sometimes it is to ward off foes, much in the way the thorns on the stems of roses deters predators. Terpenes in plants try to discourage prey such as insects or deter fungi and bacteria from growing. Sometimes the purpose of a plant’s terpenes is to serve as the hydrogen/carbon atom base for other more complex molecules.

So what is the problem? Why won’t banks process terpene payments?

Accept credit cards for terpenesWell, in short, there has been a gross lack of education on the part of the financial institutions providing merchant services for terpenes. Recently many businesses have had their merchant accounts shut down for selling terpene products. And business owners have been denied a new merchant account to accept payments because of the terpenes in their products.

As the legal marijuana industry grows, terpenes and talk about the effects of different terpenes have become more prevalent on the market. 

This has caused acquiring banks, payment processors, and the underwriters working within them to view terpenes as a high-risk commodity. One that they are not willing to be associated with. Unfortunately, they are not bothering to make a differentiation between terpenes derived from the cannabis plant and terpenes from all of the other plants occurring in nature. 

For instance, Cannabis contains a very prevalent terpene called Myrcene. It also occurs in thyme, a spice so common we use it every day, as well as in lemongrass and mangoes. Myrcene is even found in the hops brewers use to give the beer that wonderful “hoppy” aroma and bitterness.

Pinene is an example of another terpene occurring naturally and in plants that we cook with on a regular basis. Herbs such as rosemary, basil, and parsley all contain Pinene and are all used in everyday cooking.

Linalool, abundant in lavender, is the main reason we commonly associate lavender with relaxation due to it’s calming and sedative effects. Interestingly, Linalool is also the aromatic compound that contributes to the floral and citrus notes found in many popular white grape cultivars used to make wine. Ever had a Pisco Sour at your favorite watering hole? Yep, Linalool, serving to distinguish Pisco from other young distillates.

Banks unfairly judge terpene containing products.

Banks pass judgement on terpene companies.  Get payment processing for terpenes.So you can see why the bank’s closed-minded view of terpenes is particularly concerning. Especially considering the fact that the FDA has given naturally derived plant terpenes a GRAS rating (generally recognized as safe). 

While non-cannabis derived terpenes are legal in all 50 states, terpenes, in general, are getting a bad rap in the payment card industry. And this is largely due to their assumed association with cannabis. But this is where the lack of education comes in to play. Banks have taken a stance that terpenes are high risk and have chosen to lump all terpene merchants together. 

Businesses who want to accept credit cards for terpenes are met with a “guilty by association” attitude. Many businesses that have been operating for years are finding themselves between a rock and a hard spot when it comes to being approved for a merchant account.

These businesses are selling products that have already been approved by the FDA. They only contain terpenes derived from plants and flowers deemed common to the public (and not associated in the slightest with the cannabis plant). 

Banks are unfairly judging these business types. Acquiring banks have chosen to treat merchant account applications that deal with terpenes as too risky. They are not looking into whether the terpenes are sourced from legal sources, or are FDA approved products. Underwriters see the word terpene and quickly decline the application. Making it extremely difficult for businesses to accept payments for terpenes.

Accept credit card payments for terpene containing products.

Accept credit cards for terpenesThere really is no excuse for this. A terpene’s legality is truly based on its source. If a merchant is selling a furniture polish containing limonene derived from a citrus rind it is legal. There is no reason for an acquiring bank to deny the business a merchant account. 

At Bankcard International Group (BIG), we make a concerted effort to stay on the pulse of the industry. Our team is dedicated to bringing the best and most affordable high risk merchant services to our merchant partners. We think outside the box to find the right partners who will allow our merchants to continue to accept payments and service their customers. We believe you deserve to be treated fairly, regardless of the difficulties involved in the type of business you run. If you have had a difficult time finding a merchant account for your terpene related business, or you just want to work with a company that works for you, give us a call today and “Experience The BIG Difference!” 


Topics: High Risk Merchant Account, Cannabis Related Business