It is no surprise that cannabis retailers have long been targeted for theft and burglary due to the cash-heavy nature of the business. To mitigate the risks and handling expenses associated with cash, dispensary owners have been adopting cashless payment methods. Offering customers the option to pay with their debit card has proven to be transformative for cannabis retailers for several reasons. Not only does it provide convenience to customers, but it can also increase sales, improve cash flow, and mitigate security risks. Here’s how and why your dispensary should start accepting debit payments.
How to Start Accepting Debit Payments
Choose a Payment Processor
The first step is to find a payment processor that supports cannabis businesses. This has become increasingly challenging in recent months due to one of the major pin debit payment processors shutting down their service. Fortunately, there are still debit solutions that dispensaries can utilize without the fear of non-compliance or downtime.
Cashless ATM is a debit transaction that rounds up the order total to the nearest $5 increment and provides cash back to the customer for the difference in order total. For example, if an order total is $47 at checkout, the customer pays $50 with a debit card and receives the remaining $3 as cashback. This sustainable cashless payment method is compliant with BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) policies. It integrates directly into the BLAZE® Retail cannabis POS system making reconciliation a breeze and saving countless hours of manual data entry.
When selecting a cashless ATM processor it’s important to consider how long the provider has been servicing the cannabis industry. They must understand the challenges and risks associated with processing cannabis sales. It is worth inquiring about account support and hidden fees. These are two aspects that will significantly impact the success of your cashless ATM offering. Some of the most common hidden fees to watch out for are:
- Decline Fees
- Chargeback Fees
- Monthly Platform Fees (per terminal)
- Monthly Statement Fees (per location)
- Annual PCI Compliance Fee (per location)
- Monthly Percentage of Gross Sales
Vetting payment processors is time-consuming and oftentimes overwhelming. Fortunately, BLAZE® has integrated with one of the leading cashless ATM processors to provide dispensaries with our best-in-class payment platform; BLAZEPAY®. It’s simple to apply, without requiring extensive financial records, and dispensaries are typically approved for cashless ATM processing within 24-48 business hours.
Set Up Your Equipment
Once the approval and programming process is complete, the debit terminals are shipped and arrive as an ‘out of the box solution’. Dispensaries that sign up for BLAZEPAY® cashless ATM receive state-of-the-art terminals for their storefront or wireless terminals for delivery and curbside pickup.
Dispensary staff only need to configure the card readers and link them to cash drawers in BLAZE Retail®. If any questions arise during the configuration, the BLAZEPAY® onboarding and support team are available to assist in getting the debit terminals and point-of-sale working seamlessly together. Once this is connected, sales staff will simply select the BLAZEPAY® payment method at checkout and ask customers to insert their debit card and enter their pin number. Each terminal is backed with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Train Your Staff
Make sure your budtenders know the ropes of handling debit transactions and any potential hiccups. Give them the training, tools, and support they need to ensure that transactions paid with debit are convenient and painless. If technical issues occur, they need to have the resources and contact information for our expert payments support team.
Provide a talk track for front-of-house employees so they know how to speak about cashless ATM. They’ll be able to educate customers on how cashless ATM works, how transactions appear on statements, and any related fees that are charged during checkout.
Promote Debit Payments
Let your customers know that you now accept debit payments at your dispensary. You can do this with strategic signage at check-in, on entry doors, at your express pickup or drive-thru, and next to your point-of-sale. Take the same approach with your website, e-newsletters and social media channels. Consider offering incentives, such as loyalty points or discounts, to encourage customers to use their debit cards.
An increase in debit adoption means an increase in average order value. This is why your sales staff should echo this sentiment and recommend debit at checkout over cash. Save your customers a trip to the ATM and allow them to shop stress-free without cash limitations. The BLAZEPAY® support team is always there for support with additional resources and proven methods to increase visibility for debit payments at dispensaries.
The Perks of Using Cashless ATM
Fast and Easy Approval
Cannabis retailers frequently face rejected applications from payment processors unwilling to support their business model. Applying for BLAZEPAY® Cashless ATM is simple, straightforward, and only requires the standard know-your-customer (KYC) compliance requirements for any merchant application. Our application approval rate is unmatched and before you know it, you’ll receive new terminals at your door that have been pre-programmed for quick setup.
Seamless Checkout Experience
Customers appreciate the convenience of using debit payments and are more likely to return to your retail location next time due to the added convenience and optionality. It eliminates the need for cash and offers time during checkout to upsell customers on accessories such as lighters, rolling papers, and other necessary supplies. Informing customers early on in their shopping experience that you accept debit encourages spontaneous purchases, increasing your sales.
Influx in Revenue
Cashless ATM transactions are processed quickly, meaning the funds are available in your account within days. Payments are real-time and merchants receive an online portal to view all sales on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The additional revenue stream makes it easier to manage your business expenses and pay vendors on time to secure preferred rates on inventory.
Easily the biggest benefit to accepting debit is protecting your staff, customers, and business from the risks that large sums of cash inherently attract. Accepting debit payments not only reduces the reliance on cash but also enhances overall security. Electronic transactions are traceable and provide a digital trail, mitigating the risks associated with cash-based transactions.
The first step is completing an application with the BLAZEPAY® team. We offer guidance on your application and a last set of eyes to ensure all required documentation and information are included before submission. Once an application is submitted, you’ll be notified as soon as it gets approved.
This is when things kick into high gear. You can choose between wired terminals for in-store processing or wireless debit terminals for delivery, provide a shipping address, and our tech partners will program them before they ship. We take pride in the pace at which BLAZEPAY® adopters commence processing transactions. See how fast it can start bolstering your average basket size by scheduling a meeting with us below.