Merchants and Accepting EBT

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (click here)

Merchants that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are an important part of the EBT program.
Once your business is authorized to accept SNAP benefits, representatives from companies providing point-of-sale (POS) equipment and transaction processing services will contact you. You must evaluate all commercial options and select the vendor that best meets your needs. 

If a SNAP-authorized merchant already has POS equipment, EBT transactions can be processed through that equipment, as long as it includes a PIN pad and is set up to process California EBT transactions. The issuer identification number (IIN) for California EBT is 507719. The Primary Account Number (PAN) length is 16 digits.

If a retailer does not currently have POS equipment, options include:

  • Commercial POS equipment – Obtain POS equipment that can process debit cards, credit cards, and EBT cards. Retailers make arrangements with commercial providers for this type of equipment. Retailers are responsible for all costs associated with operating commercial POS equipment. This is the only option available for most EBT retailers. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service provides a list of EBT third-party processors you can contact for more information at: https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/snap/SNAP-EBT-TPP-guidance.pdf.
  • EBT-only POS equipment – ONLY Eligible farmers’ markets, direct-marketing farmers, military commissaries, non-profit cooperatives or organizations, group living arrangements, treatment centers, and prepared-meal services can request free POS equipment that processes only EBT food benefit and EBT cash aid transactions from the state’s EBT services provider. Eligible merchants that are authorized to accept SNAP benefits may select this option at no cost for POS equipment, processing, and training. For information, call (866) 328-4212.

If you’re interested in applying for authorization to accept SNAP benefits at your business, call (877) 823-4369 or click here.
EBT cash transactions are quite similar to debit card transactions. Merchants that only want to accept EBT cash benefits may participate without any authorization or approval from the state or federal governments. Go to www.ebtproject.ca.gov/contactus.shtml to request information.
There are certain types of stores that are restricted from processing EBT cash transactions. The following business types cannot participate in California EBT: adult entertainment locations, gambling locations, spa/massage parlors, cannabis retailers, smoke shops, tattoo/piercing establishments, bail bond merchants, and cruise ships. If you have questions about this, call the Retailer Helpline at (866) 328-4212.

http://www.ebtproject.ca.gov/images/EBT%20Images/pdf_icon.jpg  For tips on how to use PDF files or to download a free copy of Acrobat Reader, Click here.