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As unemployment rates rise, it is common for the number of individuals and families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to rise as well. These individuals receive food stamp benefits in the form of an EBT card to purchase qualifying food items from food retailers. As a food retailer looking to cater to the needs of all of your customers, you may be interested in learning how you can accept EBT cards through your credit card processing terminals in your food business. Read on, and learn how to become licensed as a food retailer so that you can expand your market share and attract a new market niche to your business.

What Do Food Retailers Need to Do to Accept EBT Cards?

To accept EBT card payments to be deposited into your merchant accounts, you must first be licensed as an authorized food retailer through the US Department of Agriculture. TO apply for and receive this license, you must meet specific requirements that are set by the Department to prevent fraudulent transactions. You should review the requirements of eligibility before you submit an application to accept SNAP transactions to avoid a delay.

SNAP Retailer Requirements

If you want to broaden your customer base by appealing to low income families, you must be a food retailer who sells food that is for home preparation and consumption. Hot food that has already been prepared does not qualify in most cases. In addition to this general requirement, you must also sell at least three different types of food in all of the food groups with perishables as well. At least 50 percent of the stores sales must be from the sale of a staple food of any kind. These foods can include cheese, yogurt, milk, vegetables, bread, fruits, chicken, meat and poultry.

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible for licensing to accept EBT cards at your credit card processing terminal. To start the process, you will need to set up an account with the USDA through the department’s official website. Once you are registered, submit your application online or by mail within 30 days for review. After the application has been received, you will be required to submit documentation to evaluate your store for eligibility. Allow about 45 days for review and for a visit from inspectors and then you can start accepting EBT payments into your merchant accounts.