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How to Accept SNAP

  1.  Applying for an FNS Number
  2.  Market Bank Account
  3.  Methods of Transaction

In order to accept SNAP benefits, your market must have a Federal Nutrition Service (FNS) Number and a bank account. Then, you must determine a method of transaction for SNAP transactions. 

Applying for an FNS Number

SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) are issued through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and its nationwide network of FNS field offices. The state FNS office is the first stop for accepting SNAP at your market. You’ll need to fill out an application, which is available online through the FNS website, www.fns.usda.gov/snap, or you may contact the Little Rock FNS office at 501-324-5858. Read detailed instructions in How to Apply for an FNS Number.

Once you are approved, you will receive an FNS number and will be eligible to accept SNAP at your market.

Market Bank Account

Your market must have a bank account that accepts direct deposits.

Methods of Transaction

Manual Vouchers – This process can be used when the market is unable to have a POS device on-site.  It requires a landline phone. You use the phone to check if funds are available in the customer’s EBT account and to place a hold on the purchase amount.  The market must then mail signed vouchers to the State’s EBT processor by the deadline.  The market will be paid by direct deposit.  If the market is eligible for a free POS device, the market can keep the device at an off-site location and clear all the manual vouchers through the device at the end of the day instead of mailing them.

  • Low start-up costs
  • Requires a landline telephone, manual vouchers and postage
  • SNAP funds are direct-deposited into your market’s bank account
  • Transactions can be time-consuming

 

Free government-supplied POS devices – Markets that conduct $100 or more in SNAP business per month are eligible for a free POS device for EBT transactions only.

  • Free
  • Requires a central location with electricity and a phone line
  • SNAP funds are directly deposited into your market’s bank account
  • Quick, easy transactions

 

Wireless POS devices – A market can choose to purchase or lease a commercial, wireless POS device. These devices also accept debit and credit cards, and can be used at multiple locations operated by the same farmers’ market organization. The market will need to obtain these devices through an independent Third Party Processor and will be responsible for all service/lease, card provider and transaction fees.

  • Centrally located (i.e., at the manager table)
  • Initial cost to purchase the machine (approx. $800-$1000).
  • Monthly fees (approx. $30-$50/month) and transaction fees (approx. .05cents/SNAP transaction).
  • SNAP funds are direct-deposited into your market’s bank account
  • Quick, easy transactions
  • Can also be used to accept Credit and Debit Cards (Note: Your market may choose to charge Credit and Debit customers a small fee. These funds can be used to pay for monthly fees and transaction fees)

For detailed instructions on using a POS machine to accept SNAP benefits, see Using a POS Machine.