Trust Payments has a small but expanding team based out in Atlanta, USA. One of the number one things we are asked about is how to help retailers take payments for CBD products in the US. We caught up with Pete Gove from our Commercial team in Atlanta to find out how we can support European entrepreneurs who want to sell into the US market.
Interview with Pete Gove, Trust Payments, Atlanta
Pete is a 15-year industry veteran. He has worked for Verifone, TSYS, and Worldpay in addition to consulting for various ISO offices. Pete specializes in securing payment processing solutions for non-traditional merchants that face challenges establishing merchant accounts.
Trust Payments has been operating out of Atlanta since 2014. The company saw an opportunity to help European and UK businesses become more global and take advantage of the golden opportunities offered by growth into the largest consumer market on the planet. The company has initially focused on supporting online gaming companies, offering payment and payment-related compliance services. Later, Trust Payments has expanded into other emerging verticals such as CBD and cryptocurrencies.
CBD has exploded globally in recent years, what do you think is driving its popularity?
Cannabidiol products have become some of the most in-demand wellness products of the last few years. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (or 2018 Farm Bill) legalized the farming and selling of industrial hemp and its derived products in all 50 U.S. states, making it suddenly accessible to consumers. CBD has soared in popularity since then. Customers can choose from CBD oils and drops, gummies, makeup, creams, shampoo, and even pet treats. It has captured the imagination of the 21st Century with its reported health benefits, making it popular with a young, educated and affluent crowd. It has even become available in mainstream stores such as Walgreens. It’s no wonder the United States CBD market value was just over $4 billion in 2019 and is estimated by Brightfield Group to top $25 billion by 2025.
What are the complexities businesses face when trying to take payments for CBD products?
While CBD products are legal, they are heavily regulated. Businesses are only able to sell CBD products to consumers in the US if the CBD comes from industrial hemp containing less than 0.3 percent of THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis). Due to the regulations, payment providers need to be careful that they are not facilitating an illegal sale. So, any merchant who wants to use our service must be fully vetted to make sure they are marketing and operating correctly. For example, we would not be able to facilitate the payment of a product which is not FDA approved, nor which makes unproven claims on the label. There also only three banks in the entire US who will settle CBD payments (we work with all of them). This extra layer of complication means that not all payments providers are able or willing to work with retailers of CBD products in the US.
Fully vetting and onboarding a merchant who wants to sell CBD sounds quite time-consuming. What sort of process should merchants expect if they want to set up payments for CBD products?
CBD payments processing is the no. 1 thing we are asked about, and we have a very smooth process which we are proud of. We manage our incoming lead flow via the [email protected] inbox to ensure each prospect is responded to in a timely manner. Our initial consultation with each client allows us to best determine how we can service their business, as no two CBD accounts are the same. We provide prospects with a list of accepted documents upfront so that their applications are turned around in a timely manner. We assign a designated account manager to make sure the process is seamless from application to implementation.
What tips would you give partners or merchants who want to start exploring adding CBD to their portfolio?
Do not be afraid of stepping into the market. CBD is an emerging vertical that is worth exploring and may very well take your business to the next level. Reach out to our team at [email protected] , We would love to educate you and help you become a successful player in the CBD industry.
Read our blog on the five essential tips for CBD businesses needing a payments provider.