If you sell food products at farmers markets on a regular basis, then it would be wise to look into EBT processing. Farmers markets can take advantage of merchant services to accept SNAP benefits. The only requirement to do so is to have the appropriate permit and have EBT processing equipment.
To make the ability to accept SNAP at farmers markets even more appealing, the USDA and the Food Nutrition System guarantees that eligible farmers will get free equipment to take care of this payment processing. This means that many states will either fully reimburse you for the equipment or at least subsidize it.
Overview of the SNAP Program and EBT Processing
Before you can begin considering accepting SNAP benefits at farmers markets, you should take a few seconds to understand the program. SNAP benefits are government benefits, and they can be used to buy a range of food items, such as meat, poultry, bread, grains, fruits, and vegetables. EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer and is the way that retailers accept government payments in return for food items accepted by the program.
Why Farmers Should Accept SNAP Benefits
As a farmer, there are numerous reasons that you should strongly consider accepting SNAP benefits. You will be able to help both the community and your business at the same time, while taking advantage of merchant services to streamline the process.
To start with, accepting EBT payments at farmers markets will increase your customer base by allowing you to be more inclusive of all potential customers, regardless of their financial situation. Many people on SNAP struggle to find quality food items to include in their diet. By accepting SNAP benefits, you empower those on the benefits with the ability to purchase healthy produce, grains, and protein.
You will likely find yourself with clients at farmers markets who are not able to afford your items in cash due to a limited budget. By increasing your potential customer base, you also increase your sales potential, helping your bottom line.
At the same time, accepting SNAP benefits will help support your local community. This is done by providing everyone in the community, regardless of whether they rely on benefits, the opportunity to buy fresh, organic produce and other items.
To make it all even better, EBT processing is surprisingly easy with the right equipment and merchant services. In fact, farmers markets across the United States accepted $24.4 million in food benefits in 2017 alone.
How to Market Your Business to SNAP Customers
To make the most out of your EBT acceptance at farmers markets, make sure that potential customers are aware that you accept SNAP. At the very least, make signage that you can display at your booth that lets passersby and clients know that you accept SNAP benefits.
You should also consider creating posters and flyers and then putting them up in various locations around the community. Get permission from local business owners and consider posting flyers at public aid offices, soup kitchens, food banks, senior citizen or public housing, public transportation centers, and childcare centers.
Getting Started With Payment Processing
The first thing you need to do for EBT processing is to get your required permit that certifies you as a SNAP-authorized retailer. Then, you can start looking for merchant services that provide EBT processing.
BankCard Services is a great option for those who want to accept SNAP at farmers markets. We do not have any long-term contracts to worry about and allow for an unlimited number of EBT transactions. You will also get free equipment to assist you with payment processing, including EBT processing. In addition to providing you with 24/7 customer support, BankCard Services will take care of your general payment processing, so you do not have to use multiple merchant services providers.
Choosing to accept SNAP benefits at your farmers market stand can help you increase your business opportunities while also assisting the community. BankCard Services will provide you with the equipment and support necessary to get started with EBT processing. Expand your customer base and start accepting SNAP benefits at your farmers market stand today!
Mickael is an entrepreneur and the Co-founder of Bankcard Services. He is a family man and loves technology, innovation, and soccer.