EBT (Food Stamps)

Accepting government benefits as payment is now as easy as accepting a debit card.

Government assistance programs now come in the form of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

Instead of paper coupons, most states use EBT to distribute all cash benefits, such as unemployment, grocery and housing assistance.
Partnering with industry vendors ensures that the EBT solution is fully integrated into key third-party software packages,
which makes processing seamless and simple for all parties involved.
Customers can even choose to get cash back with cash benefit EBT transactions
How to accept EBT (Food Stamps) as Payment
If your business is able to process credit or debit cards, participating in EBT couldn’t be easier.
The service may utilize existing equipment and processes at the point-of-sale (POS).
Using an EBT card and Personal Identification Number (PIN), customers are able to easily
and discreetly make purchases at participating locations.
All states are transitioning to EBT for all forms of benefits, and merchants who are
ready to accept EBT are better positioned to capture their share of this sizable market.
If you have a FSN Merchant Number Issued by the government, you can accept EBT.

Your government mandated that every state in the US implement an EBT program by 2002, and most states have already complied.
The most well known instance of EBT is the food stamp program.
This program was influenced several years ago by the USDA requiring that states switch from paper food stamps to electronic transfer.
Consumers can swipe a debit card in the debit card terminal, instead of keeping up with paper coupons.
42 states are fully online with EBT for food stamps and most of the rest are pending.

Merchants in nearly every state now have the opportunity to accept customer payments via an EBT card.
This payment option enables customers to access funds electronically from their government-authorized food stamp or cash benefit accounts.
The EBT card eliminates paper coupons and checks for these programs, which annually account for $500 billion in government-dispersed benefits.

EBT cards generally are linked to a food stamp and / or cash benefits account. EBT cards can be linked to two accounts - a checking and a savings account.

EBT Program Options: [cash benefit, EBT, electronic benefits transfer, food stamps]
Merchants may offer customers one or both of the following EBT programs

Food stamp EBT replaces paper coupons
The recipient will receive a plastic card and PIN to access food stamp benefits electronically.
Cash Benefit EBT replaces various paper checks that are issued to pay out benefits.
There are a variety of cash benefit types, such as state and local welfare payments,
unemployment and housing or energy assistance, as well as childcare costs that are not available through the EBT program.

Supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores - which have been authorized for food stamp acceptance by the USDA-FNS
- are the primary markets for the food stamp EBT program.

Farmers Markets:
Farmers market vendors are growing the demand for Wireless EBT processing. State EBT programs have become very popular and are being used to promote healthier eating by the offering the opportunity for consumers to purchase fresh produce from local farmers markets. By purchasing produce locally, it helps to grow the economy locally.

The Food Stamp Benefits:
After you selects the appropriate transaction to run (food stamp or a cash benefit purchase) and run the transaction, the funds are transferred to the merchant's bank via ACH deposit. Accepting and processing EBT cards electronically has proven to be a terrific means of reducing fraud and paperwork, while speeding the reimbursement process. An added security - No More chargebacks !
Easily and conveniently a merchant can process credit card, debit card, and EBT transactions all on one (1) credit card terminal with a printer and pin pad.
The Cash Benefits:
Any type of retail merchant can accept cash benefit EBT cards.
Most states have no set qualifying criteria, although a few states do have restrictions on EBT card use for purchasing nonfood items and for using the card in gambling establishments. Some states or cities (e.g., Texas, Illinois, California, San Diego ) require merchants to have a food and nutrition service (FNS) number to process EBT. Since an FNS number requires the merchant to accept food stamps, processing cash benefits is an option for only food-related businesses in these locations.
How can I obtain an application?

First, you can check your eligibility.

You have four ways in which to obtain an application for Food Stamps (EBT)

  1. You can call the toll free telephone number at 1-877-823-4369 (within the Continental United States)
  2. Stop by your local USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) field office that services your area
  3. Complete the on-line request form to have an application package mailed to you
  4. Visit the USDA Website for more information
Merchant Account Information:

You may apply for an FNS number and then provide a copy of your acceptance letter with the FNS number with your Merchant Application submission.