FNS is supportive of other companies and alternative secure PIN encryption solutions for online purchases. Currently, Fiserv, Forage, and Worldpay are the only FNS-approved secure PIN encryption solution providers. FNS cannot speak to other potential provider’s timelines.
Retailers are free to select any FNS-approved PIN solution provider. However, retailers must contract and pay for PIN encryption services as part of their online participation. As such, and as with any aspect of their EBT payment solution (e.g., choice of point-of-sale provider, of web service provider, or of third party processor), the choice of a PIN encryption provider is up to the retailer.
SNAP Online Purchasing allows for a PIN-less refund. The refund can be initiated in the retailer’s system and the transaction data will tie the refund back to the original purchase for a refund.
Retailers must follow the SNAP refund regulations and may not issue refunds for SNAP purchases using cash, credit, or gift cards. SNAP must be refunded to SNAP.
Online purchasing will work for EBT cardholders in States that have updated their EBT systems for their cardholders. All 50 States and the District of Columbia are now participating in SNAP Online. Online retailers may limit their delivery/shipping locations, but currently all SNAP participants in the U.S. should be able to use their EBT cards to purchase from retailers in every State and D.C., keeping in mind that not all retailers offer delivery or shipping to all States or locations.
In the New York/New Jersey example, yes, the EBT card from New York may be used in New Jersey and the reverse (the transactions are “interoperable”). However, it is important to note that the New Jersey retailer would be responsible for delivering the purchases to the New York cardholder through the delivery processes the retailer supports (e.g., store pickup, local delivery). If the cardholder is outside the delivery area for the retailer, the online order should be denied.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regulations state that “no minimum dollar amount per transaction or maximum limit on the number of transactions shall be established.” Therefore, retailers can have a suggested, but not required, minimum purchase amount. This applies to online orders paid in full or partially with SNAP EBT.
7 CFR 274.7(c) No minimum dollar amount per transaction or maximum limit on the number of transactions shall be established. Nor shall transaction fees be imposed on SNAP households using the EBT system to access their benefits.
The retailer is allowed to charge a fee for delivery or pickup, as long as the fee is not charged to the SNAP account. Further, if pickup and delivery are options on the site, the retailer can set an order minimum for options such as free delivery or free pickup but cannot establish that a customer must pay a minimum dollar amount per order to be able to pickup or receive delivery for online orders paid in full or partially with SNAP EBT.
Additionally, below are some alternatives for consideration. Note that if these are enacted, they must apply to all customers under SNAP Equal Treatment regulations.
Online pricing must be the same for all online customers, SNAP or non-SNAP. Online prices do not need to be the same as in-store prices.
7 CFR 274.7(f) and 278.2(b) SNAP benefits shall be accepted for eligible foods at the same prices and on the same terms and conditions applicable to cash purchases of the same foods at the same store, except that tax shall not be charged on eligible foods purchased with SNAP benefits. No retail food store may single out SNAP clients for special treatment in any way.
Retailers are not required to accept EBT Cash Benefits. However, retailer websites must be able to accept split tender payments so that some form of payment can be accepted for non-SNAP eligible items and/or delivery fees.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorizes only food retailers for SNAP and SNAP Online, and eCommerce platforms are not retailers. There are a variety of eCommerce platforms that have enabled SNAP Online for their retailers, but each individual SNAP Online retailer - even those using the same eCommerce platform used by other authorized SNAP Online retailers - needs to be approved by FNS. FNS does not endorse or recommend any eCommerce provider over another. This is a business decision made solely by the retailer.
There are several steps in the process of becoming a SNAP Online retailer. The SNAP Online Purchasing Retailer Onboarding Process document provides more details. After a Business Requirements Document (BRD) for the retailer’s SNAP Online eCommerce solution is approved, the retailer must internally test their system to be sure it meets all the program requirements. USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will provide a list of test scenarios that must be completed by the retailer and “pass” (i.e., work as required). Once the retailer has completed internal testing, FNS will complete the same set of test scenarios to confirm the functionality. After successful FNS testing, the retailer will receive the go-ahead to move forward to implementation, and will coordinate with FNS, the eCommerce provider, Third Party Processor, and EBT Processor to set a date for go-live of SNAP Online.
Yes, this is quite common. USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will issue a separate FNS number to stores for their online sales than the FNS number used for a brick & mortar location.