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Digital Payments: Powering Chicago’s Cannabis Hub

October 16, 2023
Olivia Bobrofsky

Chicago is positioned for an exciting resurgence as the city’s population has tripled since 2020 and fintech leaders like PayPal and Square have established operations in the area.

As the city’s economy, culture, and population grow, another industry is blossoming as well – cannabis. 

July 2023 was the second highest sales month for Illinois dispensaries taking advantage of high demand for legal cannabis. 

These retailers are also taking a page from the fintech influence in Chicago as many embrace digital cannabis payments instead of relying on cash. 

So who’s using digital payments in Illinois? We’re rounding up some Aeropay clients to showcase the solution’s increasing relevance.

First, what are digital payments and why are they important for Chicago dispensaries?

Digital payments are an exchange of money digitally, without any hard cash being involved. A common example of digital payment is ACH, or automated clearing house, which involves sending funds directly from a customer bank to a business bank.

The reason ACH digital payments are growing in popularity among Chicago dispensaries is they’re a safe, compliant solution to the significant risks of operating in a largely cash-only industry. 

Because big banks and major card companies won’t work with cannabis, retailers are forced to accept, store, and regularly transport enormous sums of physical money. The risks of this practice include: 

  • Internal and external theft
  • Shrinkage due to improperly counting bills
  • Significant time spent handling cash
  • Risky workarounds like PIN debit and cashless ATMs that promise dispensaries can legally accept debit and credit cards

The opportunity for a safe alternative to cash has been inevitable in the cannabis industry for some time. Now, Chicago, in the midst of its era of renaissance and growth, is leading the charge by onboarding digital ACH solutions like Aeropay

Chicago dispensaries leading the way with digital payments

The value and importance of digital payment options in cannabis is clear and we’re seeing the proof with some of the most popular dispensaries in Chicago leveraging ACH in their stores and online. 

Below are some prominent examples of Chicago dispensaries paving the way with Aeropay digital payments: 


Introducing our newest client in Illinois, nuEra! nuEra operates dispensaries at 6 distinct locations throughout the state, offering both medical and adult-use cannabis. Conveniently situated as the nearest dispensary to downtown Chicago, they also cater to cannabis enthusiasts and patients in East Peoria, Urbana, Aurora, Champaign, and Pekin.


Since 2015, Rise dispensaries have been helping patients and shoppers discover well-being through the power of cannabis. Now, they’re operating across 14 states and 83 locations (and counting).

The Chicago Rise locations leveraging ACH payments include:

Zen Leaf

With dispensary locations across the U.S., Zen Leaf makes it easy for medical and recreational customers to “find their Zen.” They place the highest importance on education with a team of skilled staff to support in-store shoppers and a catalog of digital resources for online learning. 

The Chicago Zen Leaf locations leveraging ACH payments include:

The Happy Cannabis Company

The Happy Cannabis Co. is a female-owned and independent adult-use cannabis dispensary near Chicago. Their entire staff is eager and happy to help ensure every experience with their dispensary is positive. 

With enticing local discounts and deals virtually every day of the week, this store is worth the visit. Plus, customers can digitally pay for their products when they walk in and avoid dealing with cumbersome cash transactions. 

Mapleglen Care Center 

Mapleglen Care Center was the first dispensary to open in Rockford, Illinois. The word “care” is in their name for a reason – everything this dispensary does comes back to the quality of care they offer. They carefully selected their location, products, and staff to create a valuable experience for customers. 

They’ve also taken care to offer digital payments, allowing customers the option to pay by scanning a barcode


With multiple locations in Illinois, Hatch has curated a dispensary experience unlike any other. Their knowledgeable staff puts the guest first, guiding them to the perfect product – and they even have a curated paraphernalia section of their stores!

Plus, Hatch knows how frustrating it can be to have to carry cash or pay ATM fees, which is why they partnered with Aeropay to provide a cashless digital payment option. 

Ivy Hall

Ivy Hall’s
“sensory dispensaries” were created as a warm and welcoming alternative to the sterile, transactional cannabis retailers that are typical of the industry. They take pride in lifting your spirits with concierge-level service and premium products, all in an atmosphere that simply can’t be beat.

The Chicago Ivy Hall locations leveraging ACH payments include:


With dispensary locations in multiple states, Mission takes full advantage of cashless payment options, offering Aeropay to their regulars and ensuring the best possible experience. 

Body and Mind (BaM) 

For Body and Mind, ​​their name is more than a slogan. It’s what they strive for in every strain they grow, product they deliver, and decision they make. Since 2016, BaM’s customers have trusted them to provide quality products and services. 

Now, their customers have a new, trustworthy way to pay – with Aeropay’s digital ACH solution!

Karma Club Dispensary

Karma Club
is a social equity recreational cannabis dispensary in Lincoln Park. They serve as an inclusive hub for wellness by providing informed and friendly service.

High Haven Cannabis

High Haven offers premium cannabis and unique entertainment experience. Their goal is to break the outdated stigma around cannabis through social responsibility, education, high standards and culture.

Want to be like these Chicago dispensaries? Get Aeropay digital payments!

As you look for effective ways to improve your business, keep in mind that retailers using Aeropay digital payments experience: 

  • 25% higher customer spend 
  • 30% increase in completed online orders
  • 70% increase in online customers returning at most locations

The simplicity, security, and efficiency of Aeropay removes the need for cash or cards at your business – so you can focus on your business. 

Schedule a 15 minute demo to see our full payments solution and put bank-to-bank transfers to work for your business.


Olivia Bobrofsky

Enterprise Sales & Account Manager
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