CanPay Provides First Debit Card Payment App for Marijuana Retailers

November 22, 2016, Written By John H. Oldshue
CanPay Provides First Debit Card Payment App for Marijuana Retailers

Cannabis legalization is spreading across the country. Many states already allow recreational or medical marijuana purchases, and eight new states voted to do the same on November 8.

A significant issue the cannabis industry has faced is the ability to accept debit and credit cards. Mastercard and Visa do not want to work with marijuana retailers until sales become legal on a federal level, so most distributors can only accept cash at their facilities.

A new program called CanPay hopes to change this situation. This is the “world’s first debit payment app for cannabis.” It is similar to a mobile wallet, where users download an app, upload their debit card information, and then use the app to pay at the register. There are no fees associated with the transaction, unlike an ATM where users may pay $3-$5 per withdrawal to get cash for their purchases.

CanPay is currently available for shoppers in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Users must be at least 21 years old to sign up for the app, and must have a valid driver’s license, checking account, email address, and Internet access.

CanPay’s CEO Dustin Eide says there are some dispensaries that already claim to accept debit cards, but those companies either “misled the banks as to the nature of the business or…have discovered creative ways to obtain a merchant account for the dispensaries.” In both cases, the debit card system or the entire dispensary may be shut down once the bank discovers the truth. CanPay eliminates that risk and makes the process of purchasing cannabis more convenient for both consumers and retailers.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 22, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
View all posts by John H. Oldshue