It is more important than ever for businesses to offer a wide variety of payment options to customers. EBT processing capabilities which allow your business to accept SNAP benefits as payment are pivotal, and merchant services help make them possible. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aims to help low-income individuals and families by providing financial assistance to them to help afford food. The goal of the program is to help fight hunger and get families the nutrition they need to live healthy, quality lives. EBT processing capabilities allow retailers involved in the SNAP program to have a more inclusive customer base and help support the overall health and wellbeing of their respective communities.
Defining the Idea Behind EBT
EBT is also known as Electronic Benefits Transfer. The program, which has been around since June of 2004, gets used by many every day. In simple terms, it is a system allowing retailers to accept government benefits as payment for approved food items. The benefits come from a Federal account, which transfers to the retailer’s account after the transactions have been approved.
Accepting SNAP as a Retailer
As a retailer, there are some things to keep in mind when signing up for EBT processing. First and foremost, you do need a permit. Accepting SNAP benefits, sometimes referred to as “food stamps,” as payment requires a federal permit which authorizes the retailer to initiate the transfer of funds through the SNAP program.
Provided the retailer meets the program requirements, a SNAP permit will be available for free; however, if the retailer has multiple locations, then a permit must be acquired for each individual location.
Outside of the permit, you as a retailer need to verify that you sell certain types of foods. Foods approved to be purchased using SNAP benefits span all the major food groups which are widely considered to be staples of a healthy, well-rounded diet. These food groups include: meat and poultry; bread and grains; fruits, and vegetables. As a retailer authorized to accept SNAP benefits via EBT, you are required to sell food products from at least two of these four food groups.
Types of Foods Consumers Purchase Through SNAP
SNAP food stamps help consumers afford healthier food options, which in turn improves their overall quality of life. Grocery stores get a lot of business from SNAP customers. Some examples of SNAP eligible items you might find at a grocery store include: ingredients to prepare meals; ethnic and health foods; snack foods, candy, and soda.Customers can purchase almost any type of food with SNAP; however, foods that are sold hot or foods intended to be eaten on the premises are not eligible to be purchased through the program.
Getting Ready for EBT Processing
Preparing your business to accept EBT processing is straightforward, especially with the guidance of a merchant services provider. Special equipment, which the retailer is responsible for acquiring, is required to read the magnetically-encoded payment cards provided by the government to SNAP participants.
Merchant services providers such as BankCard make it easy to accept EBT. Your merchant services partner will assist in the setup of any specialty equipment required to process EBT transactions, allowing your business to quickly begin accepting this common form of payment. BankCard even provides 24/7 technical support if you need it.
Becoming a more inclusive merchant by accepting SNAP benefit payments using EBT processing will increase your sales potential and expand your customer base. Preparing your business to accept EBT payments is simple with the help of a skilled merchant services payment processing partner, which is exactly what you will get when working with BankCard Merchant Services. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get started with payment processing.
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Mickael is an entrepreneur and the Co-founder of Bankcard Services. He is a family man and loves technology, innovation, and soccer.