Nearly 12% of the population in the U.S. participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In the past, it’s been called the Food Stamps Program. SNAP participants can pay with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards instead of actual stamps. If you run or own a business that sells food items, you should consider purchasing a POS system that accepts EBT. Otherwise, that’s 12% of the population that you’re excluding from your store.
There are a number of popular POS systems that accept EBT. But beyond that, they provide a number of other features and functionality that are essential to your business: cash management, inventory management, employee management, reports, and more. Thus, if you choose to purchase an EBT-supporting POS system, you could look at whether it will provide value to your business on a holistic level.
In this article, we’ll walk through the ins and outs of EBT, including the qualification requirements and how your business can obtain a permit. Then, we’ll dive into those top four POS systems that accept EBT to help you determine which one is the best option for your business.
Top EBT POS Systems
Here’s a brief overview of each of EBT-compatible POS systems, along with some of their core features and functionality.
eHopper functions on multiple device types, including Windows, Apple, and Android, allowing you to save money by keeping your own equipment. While the system is cloud-based, you can still function in offline mode to ensure no downtime for your business.
eHopper enables you to manage your assets properly and maintain all of your profits. Close out your batch at the end of the day to immediately send money to your bank, use pay-ins and payouts to add or subtract money from your register, track the bills and coins in your cash drawer, view smart reports of all transactions and profits, and integrate directly with QuickBooks to manage your accounting data.
Ensure that your inventory is up to date with automatic adjustments to stock totals when new inventory comes in. eHopper enables you to prevent stock shortages with purchase order receiving, and always gives you a view of your stock totals, by store or across the board.
eHopper makes it easy to transfer items between stores, record and adjust stock of damaged, lost, or stolen items, and specific the record and reason for stock adjustment. All of this information is available via reports.
Leverage eHopper to keep customer records, so you always have the information you need at your fingertips. View order history, loyalty points, engagement with marketing campaigns, and notes all form one location. This enables you to provide more personalized customer service.
Reporting & Analytics
eHopper comes with a variety of standard reports that give you deep insight into your business performance. These include reports on inventory, modifiers, PO receipts, store transfers, adjustments, transactions, tips, time clocks, profit margins, and much more.
AccuPOS offers a fast, secure option for your POS system. Here are some of the key features that come with the system.
Point of Sale
AccuPOS is fast, efficient, and highly adaptable, capable of running on multiple device types, including phones, tablets, and computers. The fast-performing software is able to help you sell to more customers, more efficiently. Plus, the intuitive interface means fewer staff errors.
Make more money per customer with AccuPOS’ loyalty program features. You can build a custom points system, follow up with customers via email marketing, and track customer purchases and behaviors.
Reports & Analytics
AccuPOS features a number of detailed, fully customizable reports to ensure that you always have access to the stats and data you need to run your business.
The more efficient your system, the more products you can sell and the more revenue you’ll bring in. CashierLive provides a highly efficient and powerful point of sale system to enhance your revenue-generating capabilities.
Quick & Easy Sales
Taking payments shouldn’t be a hassle. CashierLive allows you to make quick and easy transactions from an iPhone, iPad, or computer. The system allows you to take multiple forms of payment, add tips, and accept signatures. This keeps your checkout lines running smoothly and revenue coming in.
Always have a clear picture of your inventory with CashierLive’s automated purchase orders for when an item drops below your restock levels. Plus, CashierLive’s simple import tools can bring all of your inventory into the system, where you can track it from there.
CashierLive provides an integrated time clock that generates reports for each employee’s logged hours as well as their transaction reports. This allows you to measure individual productivity and ensure each employee is profitable.
Eliminate hardware hassle with CashierLive’s direct integrations. Your receipt printer, cash drawer, barcode scanner, and more, all integrate with the system to provide a seamless experience, both for your cashiers and the customers.
Reports & Analytics
Pull up a series of reports that will take you as broad or as detailed as you want to go. Generate automated end-of-day reports. Analyze cost, pricing information, and actual sales data to determine your store’s profitability. Examine financial data like sales, returns, tax collected, and more to help you when tax season comes around.
4. Plexis POS
With a deep bench of features, including EBT support, Plexis POS is a compelling option for many stores. Here are some of the platform’s top features.
Point of Sale
Process payments across the board, including credit cards, EMV, contactless, gift cards, and EBT. PlexisPOS allows you to customize aspects of the order, including multiple sales tax percentages. The terminal itself has a built-in credit card processor, barcode scanner, and receipt printer.
There are a number of timed discounts that you can set up with Plexis POS. These could be timed based on time of day, date range, quantity of items, or a hand discount on a specific item. You can also leverage discounts based on coupons, club cards, or wholesale vs. retail customers.
Manage your back office accounting from a central location, including your accounts receivable and purchase orders.
Reports and Analytics
Plexis POS enables you to view integrated sales reports that are updated in real time, and access them on any device.
Plexis POS supports a number of hardware types, including weight scales, barcode scanners, receipt printers, touchscreens, Kitchen Display Units, and more.
What Is EBT and How Does it Work?
EBT allows those who qualify for SNAP financial assistance to use a special card to pay for food at supermarkets and groceries. They receive a set amount of funds in their SNAP account each month and can use their EBT card to purchase food items, same as with a credit card.
Who Qualifies for SNAP and EBT?
In order for someone to qualify for SNAP, they must meet a number of conditions. Their monthly household income must be below a specified threshold, depending on the household size. This allows for more assistance for households with more people to support.
In addition to financial requirements, SNAP participants must meet work-related criteria to qualify. To qualify, applicants must:
- Actively seek employment, if unemployed
- Work at least 30 hours per week if employed
- Enroll and participate in the SNAP Employment and Training Program
- Take a job if they are unemployed and are offered one
- Not quit or leave a job voluntarily
- Not reduce their weekly work hours below 30 without a valid reason
Understanding Which Items Can Be Purchased via EBT
SNAP was created so that those living close to the poverty line could feed their families using public funds. Therefore, people can only use EBT cards to purchase food. Items like shampoo, alcohol, cigarettes, vitamins, clothes, etc. don’t qualify, nor do restaurants or pre-prepared foods.
How Can I Accept EBT Cards in My Store?
If you want to accept EBT as a form of payment, your business must meet certain conditions.
In order to qualify for accepting EBT cards, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Your store must carry a wide range of qualifying food items, as well as a broad spectrum of food types such as fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, canned goods, etc.
- If you don’t carry such a wide variety of food items, you can still qualify to receive EBT payments if the majority of your revenue comes from food-related purchases.
Because EBT payments are made using a physical card that must be swiped, businesses need POS systems that accept EBT payments.
A strong POS system that accepts EBT payments not only allows you to tap into that 12% of the population that participates in SNAP. It also provides many more benefits via automation and streamlining of internal business processes.
Acquire a Permit to Receive EBT Payments
The Food and Nutrition Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, is the federal agency that regulates and oversees SNAP.
This agency enforces the qualification rules around accepting EBT payments, and they require a permit from participating businesses.
You can apply for a permit by calling the Food and Nutrition Service and requesting an application form, completing it, and mailing it back to them. You can also apply for a permit online via the Food and Nutrition Service website.
At the end of the day, grocery stores that don’t accept EBT are cutting out 12% of the population. Thus, having an EBT-supporting POS system is absolutely critical.
Among the four systems we reviewed, we found that eHopper had the most well-rounded platform, both in terms of features and functionality and intuitive user interface. That said, any of these options could be an excellent choice for your business. We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to make an informed decision around accepting EBT in your store.