The program is presently in the “early access” stage and potential participants will need to apply.
Square has higher fees associated with each transaction, due to the heightened risk that they take on for the companies.
Square is a well-known payment processor that always tends to be on the forefront of innovation. The point-of-sale company already works within the cryptocurrency sector, and their recent decision will likely secure them as a necessary part of the cannabis community. According to a recent Twitter post that highlights a report from Forbes, Square will be announcing payment processing services for CBD.
NEW: @Square is announcing today that it's opening up payment processing to more CBD businesses.
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) October 3, 2019
CBD companies have struggled with securing any kind of banking or payment services, due to cannabis’s present status as a schedule 1 substance. Even though much of the CBD in the United States presently comes from hemp, hemp still contains trace amounts of THC, leaving banks apprehensive about offering services that could violate federal laws. While there are several bills in Congress that could help, Square is aiming to offer a more immediate solutions, and they don’t share the fears implied by the traditional financial industry.
Presently, Square is accepting applications for an early-access program for CBD brands, which was preceded by a beta program that was started in May. Shopify seemingly beat Square to the punch, as it announced willingness to work with CBD brands last week by hosting their e-commerce pages and providing payment processing options.
Presently, beauty and personal care businesses make up 12% of the payment volume at Square, while retail companies account for another 17%. For each sale, businesses will pay up to 4.8% to Square, along with another $0.10 to $0.30 per transaction, which varies based on the way that the transaction is handled. Other sellers have much lower rates, starting at 3.5% of each sale and $0.15 per transaction, which is due to the higher risk that Square takes on with these agreements.
Square’s general counsel, Sivian Whiteley, stated,
“From our perspective, what we are doing is bringing more sellers into the mix and bringing economic empowerment to a new audience. This allows sellers flexibility to sell in multiple channels.”
Any business that uses Square in the sale of their products will have to confirm that they are adhering to the regulations that the 2018 Farm Bill established. An employee with Square has to check and verify that the information on the brand’s website is true and accurate, though CBD transactions will not be functionable in Idaho or South Dakota. Both of these states have already established regulations to prevent these sales.
Even though the actions of Square could help with the CBD industry’s legitimacy, there is a possibility that CBD brands will be negatively impacted. New brands will have a smaller barrier to enter the market, which could let in bad players, but at least there will be room for these companies to grow as the federal policies evolve as well.