EBT or electronic benefits transfer payments are benefits that are given to families in low-income households. The government transfers money onto an EBT card, and it is similar to a direct deposit. People can use their EBT card to purchase food and other necessities for their home.
For retailers and merchants to accept EBT payments, they need to sell food that can be prepared and consumed at home. Merchants should sell at least three different qualifying food from each staple food groups, and half of all retail sales should be from the sale of staple foods that are eligible under the program.
Retailers with approval can accept EBT card payments from customers just as they would any other debit card or credit card payments. Retailers or merchants are paid for the total amount of the purchase, and as with any other form of electronic payment, they are transferred automatically to the merchant services bank.
Your business can accept EBT card payments if you are registered and authorized through SNAP or the supplemental nutrition assistance program. If your business is not yet registered, you can sign up to become a SNAP merchant.
Once your registration is complete, SNAP will give you a seven-digit identification number that is also referred to as an FNS number. Your SNAP identification number, your business is well on its way to accepting EBT cards for payment.
People who depend on EBT receive a card that can be swiped at approved retailers. They are processed just like other card-based transactions. Your business will need a point of sale software to handle these card transactions.
It is important that your business uses a credit card machine that can handle federal aid payments. Once you have been approved and have the right payment processing system in place to accept these payments, you will want to follow the government’s rules to maintain your authorization.
These guidelines include:
- Make sure your customers are purchasing eligible foods with their EBT cards.
- Never pay cash refunds for customers who pay with their SNAP benefits.
- Do not charge additional sales tax on foods paid for with electronic benefits transfer cards.
- Customers need their card and pin to make purchases.
- Payments should be processed on location and not on credit. Delayed or credit payments are not eligible for SNAP benefits.
If your retail business is food, the chances are that you will qualify to accept electronic benefits transfer and SNAP benefits from customers in the program. There are millions of potential customers with families that use the benefit program every month, so it could also boost revenue for your business. It’s also important to be an inclusive business offering the very best in healthy foods to all of your customers.