Many aspiring entrepreneurs have decided to take a leap of faith and enter the fast-growing cannabis market by creating a CBD oil merchant account. Following the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the legal status of several hemp-related products—including cannabidiol (CBD)—significantly changed.

Today, some CBD products are now legal to sell, possess, and consume in all 50 states. And in general, the rules regarding CBD oil continue to become more relaxed over time.

A Brief Look at the CBD Oil Industry

CBD is derived from hemp, a part of the cannabis plant, and has been used for a variety of different purposes for thousands of years. Prior to the Hemp Farming Act and the Farm Bill of 2018, the ability to grow hemp and sell its derivatives varied significantly from state to state.

The Hemp Farming Act defines hemp as any cannabis product with less than 0.3% THC (the component of cannabis that causes users to feel “high”). While CBD can be used for a variety of personal consumption purposes, it alone does not create any psychoactive effects.

In other words, in many cases, CBD is being treated (and regulated) more like any other consumer-directed relaxation product, such as herbal tea. However, the newness of the industry still causes challenges with some payment processing systems, which is why establishing a unique CBD oil merchant account is still sometimes necessary.

The CBD Oil Industry is Growing Rapidly

With federal and local legislation easing up the reins on CBD regulations, the industry has boomed. And consumers are intrigued. The fast-growing CBD oil industry has an impressive compounded annual growth rate of about 23%. In many cases, that means investing in a successful CBD oil business can generate significantly higher returns than you’d find on the stock market or most other speculative markets.

Here are just a few facts about just how quickly this industry has grown:

  • Today, the global CBD oil market is estimated to be worth about $5 billion.
  • Between 2022 and 2028, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to hover around 21.3%–this makes the broader CBD market one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world.
  • By 2028, the total value of the CBD marketplace is expected to reach about $50 billion.

Where Are CBD Merchants Getting Merchant Accounts?

Keeping these statistics in mind, it’s easy to see why so many people are excited about the future of CBD. That’s why hundreds—if not more—of CBD merchants will launch a new business monthly.

However, as is the case with pretty much every new industry, CBD merchants face their own share of challenges. For example, despite the increasing legitimacy of the industry as a whole, some CBD merchants have found challenges getting credit card companies to provide payment gateways.

In a world where the majority of consumer purchases are now made via credit or debit cards, it is clear that anyone who wants to thrive as a CBD merchant will need to find a platform that is willing to support them.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to establish a CBD oil merchant account. In many cases, the best merchant accounts for CBD will be on platforms that can associate themselves with “high-risk” industries or even merchants who have a less-than-acceptable credit history.

While CBD itself is generally not risky, the newness of the industry and the rapidly changing regulatory landscape can create payment problems down the line. By establishing CBD merchant accounts, businesses in the growing CBD oil industry can increase their customer base and improve their revenue streams.

Meaning, taking the time to create a secure, accessible account that can accept digital transactions is an absolute must for anyone who wants to do well in this budding industry.

If you are a relative newcomer to the CBD oil industry—or any industry that is “high-risk”—you naturally might have a lot of questions. In this comprehensive guide, we will answer some of the most common questions about opening a merchant account for CBD, including how to find the right account for you.

High-Risk Merchant Accounts For CBD Oil

Without a high-risk merchant account, the business in question might have difficulty accepting certain payment methods. There are several reasons why a particular merchant might be riskier than their counterparts.

Some credit card processing companies still fear that, while currently legal, the laws allowing the cultivation and sale of cannabidiol could eventually be rolled back—that would create a potential payment processing nightmare that they’d simply rather avoid.

Other processors worry that the industry could be prone to other widespread payment issues, such as fraud, high volumes of chargebacks, and more. In some cases, simply being a new merchant at all, might automatically label you “high-risk.”

There are also personal components of your business that might make you riskier compared to your competitors. For example, if you open your CBD business with a limited or poor credit history, you might have difficulties dealing with certain vendors and even specialized high-risk CBD payment processors.

Being a high-risk business certainly doesn’t mean you’re out of options—and it should not deter you from pursuing your dream of becoming a business owner. What it does mean, however, is that you will need to take additional steps in order to ensure your business can accept every type of payment possible.

This is where opening a high-risk merchant account can really make a difference. A high-risk merchant account, such as some of the accounts provided by ECS, is a merchant account for any type of merchant who poses a risk to a payment processor- whether financially or legally. These accounts, though most costly to merchants, can still facilitate and accept a wide variety of different payment types, including credit card payments, debit card payments, gift cards, digital payments, and ACH.

What Merchant Accounts Will Process CBD Website Payments?

If you are opening a high-risk merchant account with your payment processor and you want to sell online, there is one thing you will want to inquire about before signing any contract. Does the payment processor also offer high-risk payment processing for eCommerce sales?

Most notable high-risk processors do. However, some have regulations that restrict online high-risk payments. Your best bet is to research the right high-risk account for you and make sure they offer website payments as well as in-person…of course, depending on where and how you operate.

Can You Run a Successful CBD Business without a High-Risk Merchant Account?

While there are some ways to avoid the direct use of credit and debit cards in your business—such as treating transactions as “ATM payments” rather than traditional payments—these solutions are usually temporary band-aids.

Eventually, your customers will grow tired of paying $3.50 processing fees every time they make a purchase, especially if the purchase is for $10 or less (meaning that about 25% of their payment ends up being a processing fee).

Finding the Right High-Risk Merchant Account

This is why it is so important to find a CBD payment processing partner who can actually help you manage every component of the transaction process. Of course, with many different payment processors vying to help you open a merchant account, you might not always be sure where to begin your search for the right one.

To start, it helps to clearly define your business and determine how you might expand in the future. Do you plan to eventually open locations in multiple different states? Do you plan to eventually start shipping your product internationally? What are your current assets and how do you plan to pay your vendors?

Having at least a general idea of answers to these questions will help make it much easier to find a payment processing partner that works for you. It would also help to create a list of possible partners, such as ECS, and take some time to conduct a formal interview.

  • How does your platform support high-risk merchants?
  • What experience does your payment processing platform have with supporting CBD oil merchants?
  • How can I increase the number of payment options I accept?
  • What is your current fee structure? Does this structure change at all if my transaction volumes increase?
  • Which sorts of payment options do you typically accept?
  • How does your platform respond to regulatory changes?
  • What support do you offer if, for whatever reason, my company needs to make changes or we have trouble processing payments?

Any reliable payment processing company will gladly answer these questions. Additionally, you should take some time to explore their website, read reviews from verified customers (even better if they are in the CBD industry), and more. After you have done all that, you should be in a position to select a platform.

How to Get a Merchant Account For My CBD Business

Once you have decided on the platform you want to use, you will then need to go through the CBD merchant account approval process. If your business is well organized and you have all of the information you need in hand, approval and account set up should be fairly straightforward.

Most payment processing applications will ask some basic questions about your business, such as where it is located, the associated SSN or EIN, the legal name of the business, and more. In some cases, you might also need to prove that you have a current business license—getting a business license is especially important if your business operates at a physical location.

Once you apply for and receive approval for a CBD oil merchant account, you will then be able to fully utilize the payment processing portal. Each payment processing portal you consider will be a bit unique. But, in general, the portal can manage and track your payments, communicate with your payment processor, and organize other components of your business, as needed.

After you’ve created your account and customized the platform, your business should be all set up and ready to go and you can be fully operating as a CBD merchant.

Minimizing Risks in a Fast-Changing Industry

Establishing a high-risk merchant account CBD platform is a great way to start. This will put your business in a great position to adapt to new developments. Ultimately, if you hope to succeed as a CBD oil merchant, you will need to be able to navigate sudden changes, as well as a variety of other industry-specific risks.

For example, what if all lawmakers were to suddenly repeal all (or some) of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018? Would your business still be able to operate or accept payments coming from other states?

What if another country were to suddenly allow the importing of CBD oil from foreign countries? Would you, as a merchant, be able to take advantage of this new opportunity?

In a relatively new, quickly evolving industry, it is impossible to know with any certainty which of these changes is most likely to occur. There are also plenty of other changes that could happen as well such as major card providers (MasterCard, Visa, etc.) changing their CBD oil policies or even just changing consumer preferences.

But what you can be sure of is that being in a position where you can easily manage your payment processes will make it much more likely to succeed. So whether you are starting a CBD oil company from scratch or are expanding your existing infrastructure, be sure to choose a payment processing partner that can help you achieve your goals.

Open Your High-Risk Merchant Account Today!


Establishing a contract with a CBD oil merchant account provider can be an incredibly lucrative endeavor. After all, as a CBD oil merchant, you will have entered one of the most flourishing industries, and if managed properly, you will be well on your way to generating a substantial return on your initial investment.

While using a payment processor for high-risk merchants will usually carry a nominal fee, ensuring that you have the proper infrastructure in place will be absolutely essential. This is the only way to ensure that you are able to accept revenues from as many different sources as possible which, ultimately, will be essential for achieving any sort of long-term financial or expansionary goals.

To contact sales, click HERE. And to learn more about ECS CBD Merchant Accounts visit High-Risk.