Cashless ATM, PIN Debit, and ACH: What’s the Difference Between Cannabis Payment Systems?

Cashless ATM, Pin Debit, ACH, BLAZEPAY

When it comes to cannabis payment systems, it can be stressful for operators to make the right decision for their business. There are some very important considerations to make when deciding on cannabis payment systems like Cashless ATM, Pin Debit, ACH, and BLAZEPAY. Before you settle on a primary payment system, ask yourself some of the following questions: 

  • Is this the most compliant system that minimizes risk for my business?
  • Is this a system that customers will prefer?
  • What will my costs be, both upfront and ongoing?
  • Does this system improve the bottom line for my business?
  • Can I reduce the amount of cash, and the associated cash handling costs, at my retail location?

As new ways of purchasing cannabis continue to become available, it’s important to stay up to date. As dispensary owners and operators, offering multiple ways to pay opens the door to earning more revenue and servicing more customers. A few common cannabis payment systems that support this are Cashless ATM, PIN Debit, and ACH. We’ll explore what each one is and how they can benefit your dispensary.

Cashless ATM

With credit card use not currently available at dispensaries due to federal regulations, one common workaround in the past has been Point of Banking providers, more commonly referred to as “Cashless ATMs.” Cashless ATMs offer an alternative to credit cards by allowing dispensary customers to withdraw cash from their bank electronically by using their debit card in order to receive funds that can be used to purchase cannabis goods. 

However, there are a few concerns regarding cashless ATMs that have recently been surfaced:

  • Visa and Mastercard have both raised concerns with Cashless ATM networks since Visa and Mastercard are of the opinion these aren’t cash disbursements, but rather purchase transactions not coded for cannabis goods.
  • Oftentimes the sponsoring bank that works in conjunction with the payment processor or Cashless ATM provider is unaware that they are processing for cannabis transactions.
  • The cannabis consumer does not always see a clear and transparent purchasing process. This is because the “Merchant of Record” on their receipt and bank statement is a generic ATM name instead of the dispensary name itself, causing the consumer to attempt to issue a “chargeback” for the transaction.  Consumers also commonly receive an additional “Out of Network” bank charge from their bank for the cash disbursement, which can leave a negative experience impacting that consumer’s likelihood  to purchase through that store again.
  • Each Cashless ATM transaction requires you to “round up” the final payment to the nearest $10 dollar increment.  This requires you to keep on hand additional cash to complete the transaction than other cashless payment options. 

While BLAZE does understand the convenience of Cashless ATM systems, and we provide an integrated Cashless ATM product for those who are comfortable with it, there are alternative  methods to cashless payments that do not present these concerns. Let’s explore them.

Pin Debit

A Pin Debit system is when customers complete a purchase by using their debit card and enter in their pin number, just like a traditional retail environment. This cannabis payment system processes transactions through a more traditional payment processor  for a small fee for the merchant. Dispensaries benefit from pin debit because it’s a simple payment method for their customers and one that people are already familiar with. Here are a few of the features that make Pin Debit a popular choice amongst dispensaries:

  • Processes the EXACT value of the transaction (“to-the-penny”)
  • Allows a seamless transaction experience that does not require rounding up and cash back (like in Cashless ATM systems)
  • Eliminates out of network bank fees for your customers
  • Clearly states the “Merchant of Record” on your receipt and bank statement
  • Keeps the transaction properly coded and transparent with the banks so that there are no risks with regards to cannabis compliance


ACH or Automated Clearing House networks are direct deposit and payment systems. This type of cannabis payment system benefits compliance by facilitating payments directly from the customers bank account without card processing or cash.  

Here at BLAZE, our customers access ACH through our robust integrations. After the initial account is set up, this integration allows customers to easily link to their bank account to make their payments. With our integrations, your dispensary can expect to increase basket sizes and replace cash transactions. Here are a few of the benefits of ACH:

  • Requires no hardware
  • Allows customers to pay at home online before delivery or pickup
  • Is secure because it only uses existing bank login (no app downloads required)
  • Increases Average Order Value by 35%+
  • Retailers commonly use ACH as an e-commerce payment solution that is complementary to Cashless ATM or Pin Debit because it captures more prepaid transactions at what is normally a higher average order value, meaning even more revenue for retailers. .

BLAZEPAY: A Better Cannabis Payment System

BLAZEPAY is where we tie it all together by fully integrating with our BLAZE POS, allowing card-based cannabis payment solutions through Pin Debit and more. With BLAZEPAY, your dispensary increases its average cart size, eliminates errors that come with manual entry, and allows for seamless budtender tipping. Automatic batching is performed for merchants nightly as well, keeping everything up to date. Our system makes sure merchants get paid on time, everytime. BLAZEPAY works for anyone with a MRB bank account and can be used by both retail store-fronts and retail delivery. 

Here are a few more of BLAZEPAY’s amazing features:

  • Increase the average order value  25%-35%
  • BLAZEPAY is fully mobile, allowing you to process sales from anywhere
  • Payment reconciliation
  • Cash draw integration with BLAZE Retail
  • Budtender tipping support

Conclusion of Cannabis Payment Systems

There are many cannabis payment systems that may work for your dispensary goals. Understanding the differences between cashless ATM, Pin Debit, and ACH is crucial for driving increased revenue to your store and keeping your shop in complete compliance. No matter what solution suits your dispensary best, BLAZE and BLAZEPAY are here to help. Book a demo with our payment experts and learn more about how our software and industry-leading integrations can take your business to the next level.

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