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Merchant Accounts For Terpenes And Terpene Products

by Kimberly Baylies on May 23, 2022

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

Payment Processing for Terpenes webSadly, Terpenes are grossly misunderstood… Well, by the banking and payments industry, anyway! And this can make it incredibly difficult to accept payments for terpenes and terpene products.

Yes, more attention is being drawn to terpenes because of 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.

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.

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. They play an essential role in the growth and survival of the plant. Sometimes the terpenes' role is to draw attention to the plant, like pollinators for propagation. Other times it's to ward off foes, much in the way the thorns on the stems of roses deter 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 do banks shy away from processing payments for terpenes?

Accept credit cards 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. But, unfortunately, there's a gross lack of education regarding terpenes on the part of the financial institutions that provide merchant services.

This has caused terpenes to be associated solely with cannabis. Because of this, 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're not making a differentiation between terpenes derived from the cannabis plant and terpenes from all 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.

Was your merchant account shut down for selling terpenes?So you can see why the banks' 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 all terpenes bring a high level of risk. And they've chosen to lump all terpene selling merchants together. They don't care whether the terpenes sold are derived from cannabis or the millions of other legal plants.

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 the FDA has already approved. They only contain terpenes derived from plants and flowers deemed common to the public (and not associated in the slightest with the cannabis plant). 

Many 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. This has made getting a merchant account to accept payments for terpenes extremely difficult.

Accept credit card payments for terpene containing products.

Accept credit cards for terpenes and terpene containing products.There 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. We employ our own in-house underwriting team that reviews each merchant applicant individually. We worked hard to find the right banking and processing partners who have the means to serve higher risk products and merchants. 

We have multiple solutions for accepting payments for all types of terpenes, and terpene containing products. Even if those products contain terpenes that are derived from cannabis, we can still provide payment processing. We are able to provide merchants with a traditional high-risk merchant account accept credit cards for terpenes. In addition, we can set up alternative payment methods such as ACH payments and E-checks. These payment types are often the best option for B2B wholesale suppliers.

Our strategic partnerships allow our merchants to accept payments and serve their customers with reliability. Our team is dedicated to providing the best and most affordable high risk merchant services to our merchant partners. We believe you deserve to be treated fairly, regardless of the difficulties involved, or the type of business you run. If you've 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