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Request for Information: SNAP and WIC Seeking Input Regarding Procurement and Implementation of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Services

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The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is interested in identifying ways to stimulate increased competition in the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) marketplace and identify procurement or systems features that are barriers to new entrants. FNS is also seeking suggestions which will improve procurement of the delivery of EBT transaction processing services through modifications to, or replacement of, the existing business model. The procurement and implementation of EBT systems by state agencies administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) needs to be sustainable for all parties involved.

The landscape of EBT is in a heightened state of change, due in part to the recent decision by one of three primary companies providing EBT transaction processing services for SNAP and WIC to no longer solicit or accept any new prepaid card business, including for SNAP and WIC EBT services. In addition, there are numerous EBT projects moving toward the Oct. 1, 2020, statutorily-mandated deadline for WIC program implementation.

This Request for Information (RFI) seeks to obtain input from EBT stakeholders and other financial payment industry members and interested parties, regarding options and alternatives available to improve the procurement and current operational aspects of EBT. In this document, FNS has posed various questions to prompt stakeholder responses.

We intend to consider and follow up on the alternatives and suggestions that appear to be most viable from both a technical and a cost/benefit standpoint. Interested stakeholders are invited to respond to any or all of the questions that follow, and to identify issues which may not be listed.

06/23/2015