How Can a Small Business Qualify for EBT / SNAP Benefits Permit?

ebt/snap for small businesses
Accepting EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards from those enrolled in the federal SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) program brings great benefits to independently owned, small-to-mid-sized groceries and bodegas, especially in diverse inner-city, multicultural neighborhoods, including immigrant communities.

Taking EBT allows your business to truly become part of the community and grow your customer base by meeting their needs as EBT is used to purchase staples like bread, milk, fruits and vegetables. By using programs like National Retail Solutions (NRS) EBT Unlimited!, merchants needn’t worry about multiple transaction fees taking a chunk out of their profits. With EBT Unlimited!, proprietors pay a simple and affordable monthly fee with no transaction fees or hidden costs. Customers that patronize your store for EBT items are likely to purchase other, non-program products, further boosting your sales.

Those that have not signed up for EBT acceptance may think it’s too time consuming. Running a store, especially a bodega or grocery, is a 24/7 job. Who has time for the paperwork? They may also fear a long and complicated, bureaucratic process. Or maybe they think that they won’t qualify as an EBT store.

NRS, the leading provider of POS systems to independently owned small to mid-sized groceries and bodegas around the country, especially in urban areas where EBT usage is prevalent, has extensive knowledge on signing up for EBT. In this post we’ll guide you through the process, which is not as complex as you might think.

Step 1: Signing up

The federal government provides EBT cards to low-income individuals to buy eligible staples such as bread, milk, fruits and vegetables. If you sell these items and are not yet a SNAP provider, the first step is to contact NRS’ EBT department to begin the process. To start the process, make sure that you have name(s), home address(es), and Social Security Number(s) for each store owner, and sales data for the store.

Step 2: FNS authorization

Completing the first steps doesn’t mean you can begin accepting EBT right away. Business owners must receive authorization from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Your NRS representative will give you a call when the USDA approves you to get your equipment up and running.

Step 3: EBT acceptance

NRS Pay provides you a free credit card reader or EBT acceptance device which connects to your POS. This device enables you to process EBT transactions and track those sales with your POS. The NRS POS is ideal for EBT acceptance. Its user-friendly merchant interface makes EBT acceptance a SNAP!

In general, using a POS system lowers the user error in selling non EBT eligible items with EBT cards which can result in thew withdrawal of your FNS license in actuality, if you have an NRS POS system, the integration of EBT acceptance is seamless and cost-efficient, with no new hardware or software needed. The NRS system is more than just a credit card processor and a cash register – much more. It’s an entire computerized ecosystem with integrated features and options that eliminate the time and stress of shopping for a whole new POS system.

NRS’ advanced system is a far cry from the make-up of POS systems in the past. The origin of the modern POS system can be dated to the 70s – the 1870s! The first cash register was invented in 1879. The stand-alone, manual cash register continued to be the only method of accepting payment until the mid-1970s when IBM launched the first electronic cash register.

A huge innovation came with the advent of credit cards in the 1980s, necessitating new hardware and software to process magnetic swipes. Gift certificates, first paper and then by credit card, necessitated more innovation in POS systems. The systems were made more user-friendly when colored widgets and a touch-screen interface were introduced in the mid-1980s. This especially helped POS systems adapt to the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1991.

The 2000s have seen a further revolution spurred by the restaurant and food industry. Swipeable gift cards replaced paper certificates; online ordering became prevalent; the refillable store card was introduced; and the use of continually advanced ordering Apps made it imperative for business owners to further adapt to the digital world and the cloud.

NRS POS systems accounts for everything listed above and more. In addition to simply accepting various digital and physical payments, they also integrate vital business functions including managing inventory and sales tracking in real time.

If you don’t already use NRS POS, whether or not you’re looking to apply for EBT authorization, it’s approachable and transparent – no hidden fees or surprise bills. There’s a reason why NRS is the leading provider of POS systems to independently owned small to mid-sized bodegas and groceries around the country as well as liquor, tobacco and hardware stores, and minimarts. Its services are also backed up by a stellar customer service team ready to answer any and all merchant questions.