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Retailer Requirements to Provide Online Purchasing to SNAP Households

Current Status

At this time, most states are operating with online purchasing capabilities, and FNS is working with other states/territories interested in expanding online purchasing. Please visit the FNS Online Purchasing Pilot webpage to view the current list of states participating in the pilot.

  1. The firm is an eligible SNAP retailer. Currently authorized retailers should note that a separate FNS authorization will be required in order to participate in SNAP online purchasing.
  2. The firm has an online e-commerce presence.
  3. The firm must have a website capable of being updated to meet the requirements to operate online purchasing, including but not limited to functionality for:
    1. Integration of the secure online PIN-entry via the Third Party Processor (TPP) Application Programming Interface (API). Retailers are responsible for ensuring that API connections and keys and are secure and protected from unauthorized access.
    2. Error Handling – includes messaging displayed to customer as appropriate to the situation.
    3. Matching refunds back to the original purchase.
    4. Handling of estimated pricing for items that are variably priced based on weight.
    5. Having only one SNAP card provisioned to a customer account.
    6. Ensuring only eligible foods can be purchased with SNAP benefits.
    7. Not charging sales tax on SNAP purchases.
    8. Allowing split tender transactions for the payment of non-SNAP eligible items and delivery fees.
    9. Allowing SNAP customers to choose the amount of benefits that they will use for each purchase.
    10. In order to mitigate fraudulent online EBT balance inquires, online retailers have the following two options:
      1. Removal of EBT Balance Inquiry from eCommerce Site – this will require an additional waiver.
      2. No guest checkout and limits to balance inquiries and EBT card changes. This includes:
        1. Removal of “guest checkout” from retailer site
        2. Limit the number of times an account holder can change their EBT card to a minimal number within a specified time period.
        3. Limit use of balance inquiry feature to 2 times per customer session.
    11. Meeting additional requirements found in the Online Purchasing Request for Volunteers (see Sections 2.4 and 2.5).
  4. Retailers must email a letter of intent confirming the firm can meet the requirements above to

Please use this checklist as a guide to determine if all of the necessary information is included in your letter of intent before submitting.

____ If my firm is an authorized SNAP brick and mortar retailer and I have provided the FNS number of at least one location. If I am a multi-store owner, I have provided my Corporation Number if known.
____ My firm has an e-commerce presence and I have provided the website and which platform hosts the e-commerce presence (if not the firm's own website).
____ I have included the TPP (Fiserv/PaySecure, FIS/Worldpay, Forage, or other) that will be used as the secure PIN solution provider for online transactions. This may differ from the TPP used in store.
____ I have included the states where the firm plans to operate.
____ I have provided confirmation in my letter of intent that I understand requirement #3 (a-i) and my website is capable of being updated to meet these requirements.
  1. Upon receipt of the letter of intent, FNS will work with the firm to secure the necessary information for their application as an internet retailer which includes their selection of Third-Party Processor (TPP) for secure PIN-entry.
    1. SNAP transactions, including SNAP online transactions, require secure entry of the PIN.
    2. At this time, FISERV/PaySecure, FIS/Worldpay, and Forage are the only certified TPPs for secure PIN-entry.
    3. Other TPPs are working on alternate solutions. If the firm selects another TPP, FNS will require confirmation once the TPP has been certified to the Issuer. At that point, the firm will then certify to their selected TPP for online EBT. Once complete, the firm must provide documentation of TPP certification to
  2. The firm's website must be updated to meet the requirements to operate online purchasing, as outlined above. Some e-commerce providers have already taken steps to meet SNAP Online Purchasing Requirements. While it is not required that you choose one of these companies, you are welcome to view the list of e-commerce providers that have met our SNAP Online Purchasing Requirements.
  3. Internet retailer onboarding is a multi-step process. Please review the SNAP Online Purchasing Processes Flowchart to better understand next steps.
  4. Ultimately, successful completion of end-to-end testing in the online production environment with FNS is required prior to opening up online shopping to the public. Test script execution will require participation of all stakeholders. A prerequisite to testing includes working with the appropriate state agency to obtain production EBT test cards. Contact information will be provided by FNS.
Updated: 09/08/2023