A scrip system uses a single point-of-sale (POS) device at a central location in a Farmers’ Market to process EBT transactions and the market’s own currency (scrip) that customers use to shop at the market.
A market can be approved to accept SNAP benefits on behalf of all the farmers that sell eligible food items at the market, including individual farmers that are not approved to accept SNAP. To do so, the market must have a scrip system.
Types of Scrip
- Paper scrip or tokens : Some markets create a paper or token scrip unique to their specific market. The scrip must be in specific whole dollar amounts such as $1, $5, or $10. For example, the SNAP customer goes to the centralized POS location to purchase $10 worth of paper or token scrip swipe with their SNAP EBT card. The SNAP customer then uses the scrip to pay for eligible food items at the market.
- Receipts: In a receipt scrip system, the SNAP customers select eligible food items at a vendor’s booth, which the vendor sets aside. Then, the vendor gives customers a list of the selected items and price to take to the centralized POS location. Customers use their SNAP EBT card to pay for the items on the list and receive a receipt. Customers then take the receipt as proof of payment back to the vendor and pick up food items they selected.
- Scrip purchased with SNAP benefits can only be used to buy eligible foods.
- SNAP customers must be able to get a refund back to their EBT card for any unused SNAP scrip.
- Scrip issued for SNAP benefits must be different from any other scrip the market issues.
- The scrip must be hard to counterfeit. For paper scrip, the market must use paper that cannot be photocopied. FNS strongly advises markets to place sequential serial numbers on all scrip.
- Design a scrip system.
- Develop an accounting system and method for reimbursing vendors.
- Determine a secure place where the POS equipment, tokens, and supplies will be stored when not in use and who will be responsible for proper storage.
- Train all market staff and vendors in scrip redemption rules and procedures, and SNAP eligible/non-eligible food items. Training resources are available.
- Protect the market's FNS permit. If a vendor commits a SNAP violation while operating at your market, such as accepting scrip for a non-eligible food item, the market’s FNS permit could be taken away.
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.