If you’re a seller authorized to accept EBT/SNAP (or you’re interested in becoming one), you might have come across the term ‘FNS number.’ Despite it being an important aspect to the entire process, most retailers probably don’t know much about it. What is it? Why do you need it? How do you get one? We’re here to answer all these questions and more, so continue reading.
FNS numbers are actually quite simple. An FNS number is a number issued by the Department of Agriculture this is your account with the government showing you can accept SNAP transactions. Basically, it’s integral for any merchant who wants to take EBT cards. Without one, you’re out of luck. To receive one, you’ll need to apply for a permit at the FNS website and wait to see whether you are approved or denied. Already finished this step? If approved, you can find your seven-digit FNS code printed on your SNAP permit. You’ll need to obtain a new FNS number for every location if you’re a merchant at a farmer’s market or if your business moves, so keep that in mind.
The Application Process
As previously mentioned, obtaining an FNS number isn’t quite as simple as just requesting one. You’ll need to jump through a couple hoops first and submit an application with the government. This sounds like a potentially long and taxing process, but it’s actually quite simple. Follow these steps and you’ll be good to go:
- Ensure you meet the store eligibility requirements
- Fill out the FNS permit application online or request one through mail by calling the FNS hotline
- Provide documentation including your bank info, copies of personal ID, copies of your social security, and your merchant account provider’s information
- Submit your application and wait for approval
Once approved, pretty much all you have left is to obtain a PIN pad and the proper POS system. Not too difficult, right?
Why Bother with an FNS Number?
Even with such an easy process, some may wonder what the whole point of it is? Why should you even bother obtaining an FNS number in the first place? Well, for starters, you can’t accept SNAP otherwise. As for why you should accept SNAP, the answer is to expand your customer base! By going through the short application process, you’ll be opening your business up to new people while simultaneously helping low-income families access the good food they deserve. It’s smart business that you can feel good about.
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