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How to Choose the Best Bank for Your Cannabis Business

Picture paying bills with a backpack full of cash — a reality for many cannabis businesses. But there’s hope to find the best bank! Many financial institutions serve cannabis companies in states where medical or recreational cannabis is legalized, but there’s a need for more.

Why are banks hesitant to accept cannabis companies? It’s the costly burden of compliance. Being a Schedule 1 drug, serving this industry demands banks meet rigorous due diligence and compliance requirements.

This requirement often entails purchasing new software, hiring specially trained staff, and dedicating extra time and funds to handle paperwork, audits, and follow-ups – all necessary to meet regulatory standards in cannabis banking.

What Does This Mean for Banks?

Many banks must weigh the cost and benefits of serving a cannabis business and the entire industry before deciding. Banks that do decide to go for it are slowly and carefully rolling out these programs.

Even then, many that serve cannabis businesses won’t broadcast their affiliation with said clients. Some will even deny serving cannabis companies because they are unable to take on a large number of them at once.

What Cannabis Businesses Need to Know

Obtaining a bank account for a cannabis company is possible but challenging. Unlike traditional businesses, cannabis businesses face limitations and added complexities. Due to compliance restrictions, banks are technically not allowed to serve them and offer a cannabis business loan.

Accessing cannabis-friendly banks often requires a personal introduction or a unique approach, as they don’t serve just anyone. Each business undergoes thorough vetting, paying extra fees for stringent due diligence.

Banks view cannabis companies as risky, necessitating intense and costly compliance efforts. Partnerships are carefully considered, highlighting the challenges in the banking landscape for the cannabis industry.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cannabis Bank

Cash has long been the go-to option, with ATMs in nearly every dispensary. However, besides security worries, this tangible choice can be inconvenient and costly for customers due to high ATM fees.

Cashless alternatives exist, but distinguishing between legitimate and risky options takes time and effort. Finding the best banks for small business and the safest and most secure payment choice for your business involves asking the right questions and determining the factors one should consider.

If you’re unsure about how to proceed with your cannabis banking option, check out these factors.


Numerous payment services attempt to bypass regulations by concealing transaction origins, thinking they can get away with it. They may use false business names, route money through foreign banks, misrepresent merchant category codes, or utilize digital currencies like Bitcoin to obscure credit card purchases.

While these tactics temporarily mask cannabis transactions, they are unreliable in the long run. Risk and compliance teams are vigilant for patterns — discovery can lead to severe consequences for the business of cannabis.

Long-term sustainability lies in transparent payment solutions. Fortunately, there are now straightforward options available.

Ethics in Offering Financial Services

Keep it ethical in cannabis financial services. Choose legit payment solutions that openly disclose their ties to cannabis, hold the necessary licenses, and follow the rules. Identify the right ones by asking:

  1. Are they licensed as money transmitters or service businesses registered in all operating jurisdictions?
  2. How long can funds take to reach the merchant’s bank account after purchase?
  3. What name appears on the deposit to the merchant’s bank account?
  4. Do they publicly list cannabis businesses using their service?
  5. Does their website clearly state they offer cannabis business financing? Avoid vague terms like “cash-intensive” or “highly regulated.”


Ensure compliance for a lasting cannabis payment solution. Legitimate services demand cannabis businesses to provide valid state marijuana licenses and adhere to federal guidance. Ask your payment provider:

  1. Do they collect and keep current state-issued cannabis licenses for each business they serve?
  2. Do they insist on cannabis businesses banking under the Cole Memo and FinCEN Guidance?

In a regulated industry, transparency, ethics, and compliance matter. Your payment provider should align with the rules and laws, so ensure they check all these boxes. And if they avoid answering or citing a “non-disclosure agreement,” take note of their non-answer.

Fair Warning

Beware, not all cannabis business banking options are user-friendly. Many credit unions provide banking services, but their technology may need to be updated. Issues include delayed fund clearance, limited electronic services, potential transaction costs, and payment delays.

Research thoroughly, ask questions, and consult experienced cannabis accounting professionals before choosing where to bank.

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Talk to Us

Discover peace of mind in your cannabis business with Safe Harbor Financial, your trusted partner for compliant, ethical, and reliable cannabis banking. Don’t settle for uncertain options — ensure your financial transactions align with regulations.

Reach out to us at Safe Harbor Financial, the best bank for a transparent banking solution custom-fitted to the unique needs of the cannabis industry. Your success is our priority — let’s navigate the financial landscape together.

Contact us now for a partnership prioritizing compliance, ethics, and dependability in cannabis banking.

Business Banking You Can Trust

Do you own a hemp, CBD, dispensary, marijuana, or cannabis business and need a business bank account? We’ve validated over $8 billion dollars in cannabis-related funds since 2015. Bank with confidence. Bank with Safe Harbor Financial today.

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