Scrip System (Paper Scrip, Token or Receipts)

Last Published: 03/22/2016

Farmers' market sceneIn cases where individual farmers are not SNAP-authorized, a farmers market can become SNAP-authorized and accept SNAP benefits on behalf of farmers that sell eligible food items at that market.  To do so, markets must establish a “scrip” system, using a centralized EBT POS device to process transactions.

Scrip systems

  1. Paper scrip or tokens: Market staff swipe the SNAP EBT card at a centrally located POS device, debiting the amount requested by the customer, in exchange for paper scrip or tokens, which can then be used to “purchase” eligible food items from farmers at the market

    Payment: To receive payment for SNAP transactions, farmers must submit their tokens/scrip to market management for payment processing.

  2. Receipts: A customer sets aside selected food at a farmer’s booth, and the farmer gives the customer a list of the selected items.  The customer then takes the list to the centralized POS device, uses the SNAP EBT card to pay for the items, and receives a receipt. The customer then gives the farmer the receipt in exchange for the selected food.

    Payment: Market staff keeps track of the receipts and reimburses farmers for food they sold.

Scrip Rules

Scrip acquired with SNAP benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food

  • SNAP participants cannot receive cash back for purchases made with SNAP scrip.  Rather, the sale must be for the exact amount of the SNAP scrip, or the customer must pay the difference through other means.    
  • SNAP participants are entitled to have the value of unused SNAP scrip refunded onto their EBT card.  
  • Scrip issued for SNAP benefits must be visually distinct from any other scrip issued by a market.
  • NOTE: In addition to SNAP benefits, EBT accounts may contain non-SNAP cash benefits issued via other means, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  Scrip issued in exchange for such cash benefits can be used to purchase non-food items, and is not subject to SNAP rules.