Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)
What is EBT?
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an additional service which can be added to a merchant account and credit card processing system that allows retailers to accept electronic payments from recipients of government and state financial assistance. Many merchants are under the misconception that these benefits only apply to food staples such as milk, bread, eggs, etc. however, this is no longer the case. The fact is there are now hundreds of approved food items that can be purchased via food stamps on EBT Cards. In addition, Cash Benefit recipients now receive their funds via these cards which can be used with no restrictions, at any merchant accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer or at any ATM to withdraw cash. Currently many merchants who were previously unable to process EBT now can qualify to do so. Due to the depressed economy, the fact that the number of food stamp recipients has increased from 25 million to 50 million people since 2008, and that cash benefits have increased exponentially as well, this is a service that qualified merchants cannot afford to do without.
How do I accept EBT?
Adding EBT to your merchant account and credit card processing system is easy. Merchants need to apply with the appropriate state and federal offices to have ID numbers issued for the various types of programs available through Electronic Benefits Transfer. A list of some of these programs are provided below but we urge you to contact your state offices to inquire as there seems to be new programs popping up all the time. Once issued, those ID numbers will be provided to 1st National Payment Solutions, we will add them on the back end of our systems and will simply turn on a flag activating your account for Electronic Benefits Transfer. At that point you are ready to go.
Can my credit card terminal accept EBT or do I need to upgrade?
Most credit card terminals and POS Systems we deploy are capable of processing transactions of this type. If you are running an older device we would be happy to upgrade you via free terminal placement. This applies to any of our existing clients as well as merchants using other processors looking to make a change. A key point to consider here is that although the food stamp programs do not require the cardholder to enter a personal identification number, the cash benefits programs do and these are the programs that have no restrictions with regards to the type of products to be purchased. 1st National can accommodate this by either adding an external pin device to your existing credit card terminal, or by replacing it with a new machine with an internal PIN Pad.
What are the types of Government Assistance Programs Supported through EBT?
There are many available and below we have provided a few examples along with links to search your government offices to inquire as to the availability of programs in your local area. If the program is offered, our merchant accounts will support it.
FEDERAL EBT PROGRAMS
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
EBT PROGRAMS OFFERED BY STATE
Interested in what 1st National can do for your business? For more information, please give us a call or drop us a e-mail. Between our well rounded inventory, Class A Settlement Banks & Processors, and a full suite of Merchant services, our talented agents are sure to be of value.