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Marijuana Credit Card Processing: Why Is It So Complicated?

Currently, marijuana is legal in several states, and it can be legal in your state as well. But wait, does that mean you can pay for marijuana with your credit card? There are two answers to this:

First: Maybe. Some dispensaries claim to accept credit cards.

Second: No. According to experts, the major card service providers do not allow businesses to use their cards for purchasing marijuana. They don’t even have any merchant code for these purposes. If a merchant uses a credit card for marijuana purchases, the credit card company will block that card immediately for violating the policy. They do so because marijuana or cannabis is still an illegal compound under the federal law.

Now, it is clear that major credit card networks do not allow marijuana credit card processing. So, without the option of credit cards, cash becomes the primary option of payment to buy marijuana from a cannabis dispensary. However, not allowing people to purchase marijuana through their cards can lower sales and revenue for marijuana dispensaries and stores. Let’s explore some of the ways merchants are currently running transactions.


Cash Payment

For maximum store or dispensary owners, cash is a burden rather than a help. When marijuana dispensaries only accept cash payments, it automatically decreases sales. Because credit card companies don’t allow marijuana purchases, if they accept marijuana card deposits, the federal government authorities could close down their services. As a result, all cannabis transactions are made in cash, such as buying from vendors, paying taxes, and more.

Payment via ATM

Many dispensaries use different types of on-location ATMs to conduct payments. Usually, the ATMs at a marijuana store can do the following two things, such as:

  • Enable consumers to withdraw cash directly from their bank accounts.
  • Allow people to exchange their cash in bank accounts for vouchers, which can be used as in-shop credit for the cannabis business – this is referred to as “cashless ATM.”

The whole process of using cashless ATMs is similar to regular ATMs; only instead of getting cash, you will get a receipt that says you may use the specific amount on that slip to make your marijuana purchases at a dispensary.

This type of dispensary transaction option is way more comfortable than cash payments but comes with several risks. If you check your payment status after making an ATM transaction for marijuana, you might find it listed at a flower store or health food shop. That means you are lying to your bank about the business, making it a high-risk payment option.

Also, Using ATMs for transactions is quite expensive for both businesses as well as customers. Business owners have to pay a monthly charge to use those ATMs and consumers have to pay a terminal fee. And for cashless ATM payments, the fee is even more.

Mobile Payments

Another option is to pay through apps using your mobile phone. There are several mobile apps that can be used to pay for marijuana purchases. These apps are generally linked to the users bank account. When you pay using these apps, the money deducts from your account automatically. Overall, mobile apps are an efficient method to process cannabis payments in marijuana stores.


Marijuana Industry – A Growing Field with Increasing Needs

As the demand for marijuana is increasing every day, flexible payment options have also become a necessity. States which allow operating recreational dispensaries or stores are shaping the marijuana or cannabis industry. They have prepared state by state guidelines to maintain legalization and benefits. The cannabis industry is quickly turning into a multi-billion dollar market.

To allow marijuana credit card processing, cannabis businesses have to rely on high-risk processors. This is the only way to authorize credit card payments at stores so far. These systems utilize encrypted technology for secure and private transactions. By optimizing transactions through this method, credit card transactions process in proper accordance with the federal level.


Merchant ePay can help your dispensary process credit cards with a fully FDIC insured platform. The system allows you to accept all major credit cards as well as features like adding tips and surcharging.


Absolutely! Our proprietary P2P solution is completely legal in all 50 states in the U.S. with more areas coming soon. This solution works for retail dispensary payment processing, cannabis merchants, hemp oil, CBD vape, and medical marijuana dispensaries. Federal governments can regulate substances and payments on the federal level. Credit card processing for hemp, cannabis, and marijuana merchants is completely legal when you follow processing and banking regulations and federal laws.


It’s not for merchants who want to sell cannabis in states where it has not been approved. Our cannabis card processing solution is only available in the 33 states in which the sale of cannabis is legal to purchase and sell. This is NOT an e-commerce solution.

This solution is designed for those that have a brick and mortar storefront or offer curbside pick-up. Delivery is allowed as dictated by local and state laws.