The legal cannabis industry is going from strength to strength, but banking reform that will allow dispensaries to receive the same financial services used by every other business remains a distant dream.

This has typically meant that cannabis retailers are stuck as cash-only operations, which is risky for the business and inconvenient for the customer. That’s why many retailers are now incorporating a cashless dispensary payment alternative into their POS.

There are several such options available for cannabis retailers, the best of which will provide safety, security and regulatory compliance. Here are five essential features to look for in a dispensary payment solution that will help you achieve this.

1. Integration with POS and e-commerce

It’s crucial that your payment software is integrated with your POS and e-commerce platform. This ensures you don’t need to reconcile bills and repeat data entries. Whether a customer pays at the cash register or online, the payment is recorded and ends up in the same account.

2. Multichannel and mobile dispensary payments

Having several payment options for customers is important, and for this you need a multichannel payment solution.

If possible, ensure you can provide the same payment solutions across all of your POS to streamline your cashflow, as well as to offer consistency to customers.

This includes having the flexibility to accept payments for marijuana deliveries and curbside pickups. For this, you should consider a mobile tablet POS.

Another option to consider is the ability to include extra payment methods such as gift cards.

3. Transparency and deposit wait times

When choosing a payment processor, make sure you are fully aware of the pricing and costs. Each has their own particular payment plan that may include monthly subscription costs, support fees, termination fees, and annual compliance fees, among many others.

Knowing these in advance allows you to set the prices for your cannabis products accordingly, and ensure you don’t pass on extra costs to your customers.

Another important aspect to be aware of is how long it will take for your payment partner to deposit payments into your bank account. To ensure adequate cashflow, this should happen no later than the next business day.

4. Data analytic insights

Every transaction creates data that can provide invaluable insights into your customers’ preferences and behavior. Capturing this and analyzing it can, in turn, help to drive more sales.

To do this though, you need integrated payment data analytics software. The best services will incorporate graphs, charts and metrics to help you understand where your business is doing well and what it can improve on. As an example, you could use payment data analytics to evaluate the success of a reward or gift card program.

5. ACH payments and security features

It is essential for every business to comply with all relevant regulations, and this is even more so for marijuana businesses as they tend to be especially under the microscope of the authorities. As such, make sure your payment processor is qualified to guarantee the security of your customer’s sensitive information.

To ensure compliant payment processes, use an Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. This is a bank-to-bank transfer that is triggered, for instance, by the customer via a QR code in-store or through an online payment page embedded in your company’s e-commerce platform.

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