Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an opportunity for all merchants who want to earn more revenue and serve their local communities. EBT merchant services make it simple and easy to start accepting SNAP – and other EBT forms of payment.
What is SNAP?
SNAP is a government program offered by the USDA through the Food and Nutrition Service, which offers needy families a way to supplement their traditional food budget. When you accept EBT payments, you’re assisting these families by providing staple foods to them.
Benefits for most families are modest.
The following information from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows how benefits are distributed:
- $125 – households with seniors
- $185 – households that have non-elderly disabled persons
- $245 – the average for all households
- $296 – working households
- $392 – households with children
Per person, per meal, people receive about $1.40. While the cost of food is increasing due to inflation, the need for SNAP benefits to help families offset higher food prices is also rising.
Who SNAP Helps
SNAP works through local officials who will help people apply for food stamps. If you want to become a food stamp merchant, you’ll need to file for a permit and offer staple food items to consumers.
The consumers that you’re helping are:
- Families that apply on the state or federal level to receive benefits.
- Families that fall within 130% of poverty, such as one-person households that have an income of $1,074 to $1,396, depending on 100% or 130% poverty.
- Individuals that are U.S. citizens and certain lawful non-citizens.
If a non-citizen is allowed to receive benefits, they must meet a stringent set of requirements, such as having lived in the US for a minimum of five years, be under the age of 18 or receive disability-related benefits or assistance.
Nationwide, 38 million people need food, and this also extends to children.
When used properly, the anti-hunger program can lead to:
- Long-term health improvements
- Improvement in well-being
- Reduction in food insecurity
- Reduction in poverty
Most of the rise in SNAP benefits over the last decade occurred during the recession in 2007. In fact, in 2007, there were 37 million people on benefits, and this number rose to 52 million by 2010.
Statistically, there is data demonstrating how SNAP also helps families start improving their lives.
While the maximum number of benefits hit highs in 2010 and 2011, the number of beneficiaries is on the decline. Millions of people have been able to feed their families and maintain food security without going hungry.
As a food stamp merchant, you can become part of the overall solution to help families in deep poverty turn their lives around. Additionally, children are some of the main beneficiaries of SNAP benefits.
How Becoming a Food Stamp Merchant Can Benefit Your Business
Consumers want more payment options, and they will choose different retailers based on their preferences. However, some forms of payment are a necessity for consumers, such as EBT payments.
When you opt to accept food stamps, you’re also helping your business in numerous ways, such as:
- Increasing your customer base to 38 million additional people
- Improving your brand’s image by helping those in need obtain food staples
- Fees are low, so you can accept a payment option that leaves more money in your bank account
- EBT payments have no risk of being refunded because the SNAP program does not allow for refunds on goods
- Most customers that use EBT will continue frequenting your store, offering a boost in recurring revenue
- Retailers can improve their overall revenue and income by accepting this form of government assistance
- Requirements are minimal
As you can see, there are many benefits and reasons for store owners to want to accept SNAP benefits.
Brief Overview of Permit Requirements
All retailers that want to accept SNAP benefits must obtain a permit through the FNS. While your application for a permit can be denied, you do need to meet one of two forms of criteria:
- Carry staple foods in one or many categories, such as dairy, bread, meats and others
- Must make 50% or more of your gross sales from staple items
If you meet these requirements, you’ll have an easy time obtaining the necessary permit to accept SNAP benefits. You will need to reapply for the permit to ensure that you, as a retailer, are still meeting all of the guidelines to be a SNAP merchant.
Merchants already work with merchant service providers that handle the processing of all of their credit and debit card transactions. EBT merchant services are available that make it easier for retailers to begin accepting payments.
However, you will need a permit.
You can follow our guide on how to become an EBT merchant to get started.
Merchants that begin accepting more forms of payment, including food stamps and other forms of government assistance, are looked upon more highly in their communities. Additionally, you’ll be helping families and children in your community break free from food insecurity and allow them to shop at your store.