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Retailer Criteria to Provide Online Purchasing to SNAP Households

Current Status

All 50 states and Washington, DC have online purchasing capabilities with work continuing to extend support to other interested territories. Check the FNS Online Purchasing Pilot webpage for the current participating states and retailers.

If you need additional assistance with the SNAP online application process, reach out to SEMTAC for guidance. (SEMTAC is the SNAP EBT Modernization Technical Assistance Center)

Retailer Criteria for SNAP Online Purchasing


  • Retailer must be eligible to accept SNAP.
  • Additional FNS authorization is needed for SNAP online participation.
  • Retailers new to SNAP should first apply and complete the authorization process for SNAP retailer authorization before returning here to begin the SNAP online purchasing process.
  • Retailers must have an existing online eCommerce presence.

Platform Requirements

Retailers’ online sales platform (website/mobile app/etc.) must be capable of being updated to meet the requirements to operate online purchasing, including but not limited to functionality for:

  • Securely integrating online PIN-entry through Third-Party Processor’s (TPP) Application Programming Interface (API).
  • Handling errors with appropriate messaging; processing SNAP and EBT refunds; variable and estimated item pricing, and more.
  • Having only one SNAP/EBT card provisioned to a customer account.
  • Ensuring only eligible foods can be purchased with SNAP benefits.
  • Allowing split tender transactions for the payment of non-SNAP eligible items and fees.
  • Allowing SNAP customers to choose the amount of SNAP benefits that they will use for each purchase.
  • Mitigating fraudulent online EBT balance inquires via one of the following options:
    • Removal of EBT Balance Inquiry from eCommerce site.
    • No guest checkout and limits to balance inquiries and EBT card changes, or similar velocity controls proven to be effective upon consultation with FNS. This includes all of the following:
      • Removal of “guest checkout” from retailer site.
      • Limit the number of times an account holder can change their EBT card to a minimal number within a specified time period.
      • Limit use of balance inquiry feature to two times per customer session.
  • Following all technical requirements outlined in Sections 2.4 and 2.5 of the Online Purchasing Pilot Request for Volunteers (RFV) as well as all additional criteria through the entirety of the document.

Application Process

Refer to the SNAP Online Purchasing Process for an overview.

  1. Retailers interested in SNAP online participation must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to More detailed information and requirements, as well as a fillable template for the Letter of Intent, can be found at SEMTAC.
  2. After receiving the LOI, FNS will review the document, potentially reaching out to the retailer to clarify responses or request missing items, before moving through the process.
  3. Retailers must update their websites to meet SNAP online purchasing requirements outlined in the SNAP online retailer RFV. Some eCommerce providers have met FNS’ standards for SNAP online. FNS does not endorse or recommend any eCommerce provider over another.
    Please note: If a retailer chooses to use an eCommerce platform that is new to FNS and Online EBT Payment Processing, a Business Requirements Document will be required. More information regarding the expectations of this document, along with assistance in creating it, can be found at SEMTAC.
  4. Successful completion of end-to-end testing with FNS in the online production environment is necessary before launching SNAP online purchasing publicly. This includes working with the appropriate state agency to obtain EBT test cards. Details will be provided by FNS during the testing phase.
Page updated: April 08, 2024