Cashless ATMs have proven to be a practical payment method for marijuana retailers that don’t have access to traditional banking services.

Many cannabis dispensaries struggle to open normal bank accounts due to federal cannabis prohibition meaning customers cannot use debit and credit cards as a payment method in the traditional way.

To circumvent this problem, cashless ATMs generate a receipt at the point of sale and the money is then deposited into the dispensary’s account instead of being withdrawn as cash.

While many different types of businesses have adopted cashless ATMs, they are especially useful to marijuana businesses that want to avoid operating solely in cash.

Benefits of using cashless ATMs

Not only is it more convenient for the customer, it also reduces the risk of theft and fraud, and makes it easier to manage the business’ finances. This latter point is especially important for cannabis retailers as they are more likely to be subjected to an IRS audit than businesses in traditional industries.

Cashless ATMs are easy to set-up and, unlike standard merchant accounts, there are no transaction charges for the vendor. The payment process is just like using a credit or debit card normally. The customer simply swipes their card, enters their pin, and confirms their purchase.

All of the information concerning the sale is then digitally recorded and daily, weekly, and monthly metrics are then available to the merchant to track sales.

How do marijuana merchants get a hold of cashless ATM services?

To install a cashless ATM, merchants must submit an application. After filling out and signing the application form, it is then reviewed and, if accepted, a cashless ATM terminal will be sent to the retailer. The merchant them simply needs to connect the terminal with either a mobile 3g/4g, ethernet, wifi or dial-up connection and it’s then ready to go.

There are certain requirements for receiving a cashless ATM. You must submit an ACH authorization form, and your bank account must be verified and checked by the cashless ATM provider. You must also present a signed W-9 form.

If all is in order, the application process shouldn’t take longer than three days.

Accepting card payments with cashless ATMs

Once installed, the cashless ATMs regard payments for cannabis products by credit or debit cards as ATM withdrawals. This is also how it will appear to the credit or debit card provider.

Once a payment/withdrawal is approved, it usually takes between 48 to 72 hours for the funds to become available in the merchant’s bank account. It will take longer though if the process takes place over a US national holiday.

Drawback to Cashless ATMs

While as convenient as standard credit or debit card payments, there is one main drawback to using cashless ATMs. Typically, payments must be made in $5 or $10 denominations so it is necessary to either set the price of your cannabis products along these lines or offer change in cash. This could affect your pricing structure or it means that your marijuana dispensary isn’t entirely free from using cash.

Though far from perfect, cashless ATMs provide an alternative to standard credit and debit card payments that save marijuana retailers and their customers a lot of hassle. Until the US Congress passes federal cannabis banking reform, it will remain a solid payment option for marijuana dispensaries.

If you’re thinking about getting a cashless ATM for your business and want to learn more, click here.

About the Author: Brian Ellis

With 6 years' experience in business journalism, Brian is the person we turn to for anything related to the business of cannabis. His news coverage spans topics including marijuana business and finance. Brian's work features on,, , and