No, legal US cannabis stores cannot accept credit or debit cards from the major card brands, including Visa and MasterCard. Despite the many companies purportedly offering a high risk merchant account solution, when all the facts are considered, it’s against the card rules. By opening an account, cannabis shops risk a shut down with little or no notice.
Accepting Credit Cards for Cannabis
Can merchants accept credit cards for marijuana? No. Any company offering cannabis credit card processing is doing some type of hack that could get your merchant services shut down instantly once the card networks are fully informed of the activity. It’s only a matter of time and how will that disrupt daily operations? For example, here’s the stated rule in Visa Core Rules, April 2019:
An Acquirer must ensure that a Merchant, Marketplace, Payment Facilitator, Sponsored Merchant, or Staged Digital Wallet Operator does not accept Visa Cards for, or display a Visa-Owned Mark on a website and/or application that is used in relation to, the purchase or trade of photographs, video imagery, computer-generated images, cartoons, simulation, products that claim or imply a similar efficacy as prescription drugs, controlled substances, or recreational/street drugs, irrespective of claims of legality or any other media or activities including, but not limited to, activities listed in Section X.
MasterCard does not explicitly have a similar rule in their latest December 2018 rules of card acceptance, however, rules for Canada are explicitly outlined. Thereby, the implication for US is clear- not acceptable.
There are ways to accept non-cash payments and we can help. Read more about Cannabis credit card processing here.
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