It's no secret. Electronic payment offerings for the cannabis industry leave plenty to be desired. The problem was even more prominent in 2013, when West Palm Beach-based Paybotic LLC jumped in to help. "I was in school and involved with an online ordering POS system for delivery businesses," Max Miller, Paybotic's founder and president, recalled. "A roommate went into the dispensary side of the business and asked me to do the processing."
According to Miller, this was what led his business into cannabis. "We started serving one dispensary, and another wanted the same service; then we went on to service different parts of the industry in a lot of capacities," he recalled. Paybotic now serves everything from testing labs, to software-as-a-service providers, to subscription services, and even larger cannabidiol (CBD) makers. "These businesses need solutions," he said. "If they can't transact, they're not in business."
Today, with more than 500 cannabis businesses in the company's portfolio and healthy year-over-year growth, Miller said he's ready to invest even more into ecommerce and technology in the coming months and years.
According to a company statement, Paybotic provides custom payment solutions to cannabis merchants and is versed in finding programs that suit a merchant's needs quickly and efficiently, while also constantly pushing for rigorous developments of service suites to accommodate their growing needs. Miller noted that Paybotic offers many types of products to businesses in the CBD vertical since there's no one-size-fits-all formula. "There's in-store, online, on-the-go, over-the-phone and more, and we have solutions for all of it," he said.
Miller went on to describe Paybotic's client intake process. "We start the process with our questionnaire, so we can advise the merchant on how we can provide the most bandwidth for their business to succeed," he said. "For example, if you're a retail store, we want you to give the experience of going into the store and using a card like any other business." According to Miller, the product set also includes out-of-box solutions like "crypto acceptance" and "cashless ATM," which he described as a "core solution at Paybotic."
Paybotic also stated that the company's payment professionals "educate our merchants through full transparency on payment processing, to ensure transaction processing is compliant and secured within the regulatory scope of the cannabis and payment industry."
Miller feels this is one main difference Paybotic has going for it, along with a culture of service, transparency and reliability. "We're always there for our customers," he said. "In the high-risk industry, nothing is forever, and some businesses can lose their bank or insurance coverage, so we need to be able to support them at all phases."
Miller also noted there are many independent brokerage houses that try to service the industry yet lack in delivery tactics. "If you call us, we answer the phone," he said. "We have a full-time, dedicated team that provides white-glove service." He added that transparency is important to enable cannabis businesses ethically. "A lot of business ethics will make or break this industry, because it's easy to screw people when they're desperate for service," he said. "We need to be looked at as enablers, not price gougers."
Referencing the reluctance in the payments industry to embrace the cannabis vertical, Miller indicated he understands why processing rates come at a premium. "Cannabis is never going to be a low-risk business, but as the industry opens up and laws progress positively, we'll see changes," he said.
Miller believes the cannabis industry, despite its challenges, will continue to grow. "The forward momentum can't be stopped," he stated. And Paybotic will be poised to help cannabis merchants along the way. "We'd love to get in touch with them all now," Miller said. "There's just going to be more business going forward."
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