How to Accept SNAP Benefits at Your Store
SNAP recipients electronically receive SNAP benefits on an EBT Card, which operates like a debit card,
to buy eligible food at stores authorized by the Food and Nutrition
Service. In order to complete a transaction, the customer swipes the
card in a point-of-sale device (POS) and enters a four digit Personal
Identification Number (PIN). The store clerk enters the exact amount of
the purchase on the POS device. This amount is deducted from
the household’s EBT SNAP account and credited within two banking
days to the retailer’s bank account.
EBT cards are interoperable, which means that
an EBT card can be used in any authorized store in the United States
regardless of the state it was issued,
including the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In Puerto Rico, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was
replaced in 1982 by a block grant program, called the Nutrition
Assistance Program. Puerto Rico is not interoperable with other States.
Accepting EBT Cards at My Store
You must apply and receive approval for your
store from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service before you can accept SNAP EBT cards. Once your store is authorized under your
ownership, you may elect one of three ways to accept EBT cards:
existing point-of-sale equipment or purchase new devices. If
you have existing equipment, check with your vendor to see
if it can be programmed to accept both SNAP EBT and
commercial debit/credit transactions. Please note that you
should review all costs with your vendor prior to signing an
agreement as the government does not reimburse you if you
elect to purchase third party equipment.
government supplied point-of-sale devices provided by your
State. This equipment only works with SNAP EBT
cards and there is no cost for the device if your store
averages $100 a month in SNAP transactions. You must
sign an agreement to cover the use of the equipment and
provide banking information to the company that handles
processing before you can receive a device.
a paper voucher for each transaction. If you do not have
electricity, a phone line, or average at least $100 a month
in SNAP transactions, manually completing paper
vouchers offers an alternative.