One of the things that makes it difficult for any cannabis or CBD business to function is the lack of banking support. A solid merchant account is something that all businesses need, whatever the industry, but in the cannabis space finding one is a real challenge. Even though the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to cultivate hemp on a federal level, and even though most states have legalized the cultivation and sales of cannabis and cannabis products to varying degrees, cannabis and CBD businesses are still having a hard time with banks and credit card companies. It makes the running of a legal, professional business difficult, if not impossible, which is why merchant account service providers, like InclusivePay, have come to the rescue.
What is InclusivePay?
We spoke with Orleatha Smith, one of the founding members of InclusivePay, to learn more about how the company was formed and what’s available to CBD and cannabis business clients in need of help and support.
Orleatha is a certified holistic lifestyle coach. Kelly Raulerson is a published author with a background in ecommerce business. Both have always had their eyes on the banking industry, harboring a genuine interest for getting into the field. They also know what it’s like to run into problems when a bank closes its doors, as not too long ago they had one of their business accounts closed for simply writing about CBD.
“If we were suffering from banking issues just because we were writing about CBD, we knew that it had to be almost impossible to find a solid banking solution when growing, manufacturing, or selling cannabis in any of its many forms,” Orleatha explained to us. “So, we decided to create InclusivePay, to help people process their payments, and to find banking services that they could rely on.” InclusivePay launched into action in May 2018 and, since that time, things have been more than a little busy.
InclusivePay doesn’t discriminate
Whether you own a hemp-derived CBD business in California, or you manufacture THC-high disposable vapes in Colorado, InclusivePay can help you find payment processors and banking services you can rely on. “We’re called InclusivePay,” says Orleatha, “because we help everyone”. InclusivePay is a worldwide operation, connected to banks and processors in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.
They help cannabis businesses, hemp businesses, brands that sell products high in THC, statewide organizations, brands preparing for a national roll-out, and even brands that hope to go global at some point. They have connections with local banks and payment processors all over the world, which means they’re able to assist all cannabis brands, no matter where those may be based. In fact, when it seems appropriate or useful, InclusivePay suggests that cannabis businesses work with foreign banks, and they can make those connections happen. “Each client has different needs,” says Orleatha, “and we make sure we respond to that individuality.”
InclusivePay offers services to help cannabis businesses deal with delivery payments, access secure banking, process credit card and debit card payments and, in the case of Canadian cannabis companies, manage online sales too. They operate in all U.S. states, support all types of cannabis businesses, both medical and recreational, and they keep a check on all your paperwork to make sure that everything on the banking side of things moves along smoothly.
Important things for cannabis businesses to bear in mind
When the 2018 Farm Bill was passed in November of the same year, InclusivePay received a surge of interest from potential clients who thought that with federal law to back them up, they’d have no problems opening bank accounts and processing payments. But that simply wasn’t and isn’t the case. Most people erroneously believe that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and CBD across the U.S. in all forms. What the Farm Bill actually did was to make it legal to cultivate hemp, not to sell, manufacture, or craft hemp-derived CBD products.
“One of our main priorities at InclusivePay is to educate our clients. Many people had, and continue to have, many misconceptions about the power of the Farm Bill, which made things super tricky,” Orleatha confirms. “What’s more, while the Farm Bill may have made it legal to grow, banks just don’t care about growers who are legal,” she explains. Just because a commodity happens to be legal, that doesn’t instantly mean that banks need to show their support of that commodity. Banks, Orleatha reminds us, can do what they want with their investments. “This is why we focus on educating our clients, to help them understand the way things work in the financial sector”.
With that in mind, InclusivePay runs a series of What to Expect videos on their Facebook page; videos that prepare prospective clients for everything involved in getting access to a bank account or payment processor. The application can take anything from two days to two weeks, depending on the level of banking services the client requires. “When clients are used to being able to open a PayPal account and begin receiving payments within a matter of minutes, the idea of having to wait two days or two weeks to get things going can be a little frustrating. We like to outline these important things from the start,” Orleatha assures us.
Another useful educational resource for cannabis businesses comes from the CBD Business Summit that InclusivePay ran a few months ago, and the plan is to run another summit in the future.
Why choose InclusivePay?
Naturally, there are a number of different banking services providers out there. Most cannabis businesses need banking solutions, so there are now an array of providers in operation designed to help them with their needs. “We don’t worry about the competition,” says Orleatha. “We know there are plenty of competitors out there, but there’s enough business to go around and we believe it’s more important for us to be keeping an eye on the banks.”
“Banks pull out and change their policies all the time,” she explains. “We keep our ears to the ground and we take the time to verify that the banks we have working with us actually offer what they claim.” InclusivePay runs test applications on all the banks that they work with. They go through the process of filling out a bank application and they check to see if what the bank has promised matches up to the application experience. They also aim to stay ahead of the game so that they know if a bank is about to change its policies ahead of time. It’s this attention to detail, this special client care, that makes InclusivePay such a trusted choice.
The team at Cannaverse is excited about maintaining links with InclusivePay in the future. We hope the relationship will provide even more support for the clients that come our way.
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