Small, independent merchants looking for the best EBT system have several things to take into account. With lightning-fast advancements in technology, we’ve outlined some considerations for future proofing your EBT system.
If you’re a small, non-traditional retailer or run a farm stand or farmer’s market, you understand the importance of accepting EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards. These cards enable people to use their SNAP and WIC benefits in the same way one makes a purchase with a credit or debit card.
If you are authorized by FNS to accept WIC and/or SNAP, it’s important to choose the best POS with EBT capabilities. It may seem daunting at first as EBT payments can be complex for merchants to accept if they are not well-equipped with a user-friendly, modern and compliant EBT POS solution.
Merchants that try to layer an EBT POS on top of legacy systems find that they are juggling multiple card readers, paying additional costs for software and hardware, and hurting check-out efficiency. Additionally, managing two POS systems with separate record keeping requirements adds complexity to payments operations and can be detrimental to business. It also complicates access to transaction data and recordkeeping. More often than not, merchants attempt to process EBT payments in an ad hoc manner that increases the probability for errors and fraud, which put merchant compliance at risk.
Yet the ability to accept EBT payments is critical for these types of merchants. Some of the benefits include:
- Broader customer base: Roughly 40 million people in the US used federal aid for financial help to buy groceries and other essentials in 2018. It’s easy to see how accepting EBT payments not only allows merchants to expand their customer base but also better serve the local community.
- Improved customer retention: Small grocers, convenience stores, and farmer’s market merchants are an integral part of the community and often have loyal customers. If customers have a change in personal circumstances and must use EBT, merchants that accept these payments can continue seamlessly serving these loyal customers.
- Higher value transactions: Customers that are able to use EBT as a form of payment can spend more money. By not limiting payment options, merchants can see higher transaction amounts.
The value proposition of accepting EBT payments is clear. That said, merchants should be selective in choosing an EBT system. The pace at which technology is advancing makes it imperative that merchants consider how to future proof their EBT system to be most cost-effective and efficient.
Future Proofing Your EBT System
For merchants, there are several certainties in retail:
- Shopper expectations are dynamic and constantly changing
- Merchants are expected to keep pace with these expectations and evolving shopper behaviors
- Technology plays a large role in dictating consumer expectations, and it can be difficult to keep up with constantly advancing systems
- Regulations are constantly evolving, which can impact EBT systems
EBT services are procured by each state per its individual needs, though systems are developed by vendors. In most cases, EBT vendors can adjust parameters within the software to adapt to each state’s needs and applicable laws. In tandem is the reality that technology continues to advance, and vendors must remain flexible in order to provide the most modern, adaptable EBT system that can evolve with technology and regulations. Retailers should consider each vendor’s track record in adaptability and forward-thinking improvements to EBT systems when choosing a provider.
In short, merchants must choose an EBT POS system that goes beyond being a one-dimensional checkout station. They should consider how an EBT system will integrate with existing technology and strengthen the customer experience. We’ll explore some ways to do this.
Anytime, Anywhere POS
Our society is increasingly “on-the-go” and small grocer and farmer’s market merchants see this firsthand. As merchants increasingly turn to tablets and smartphones to streamline the checkout process, an “anytime, anywhere” mentality must be applied to EBT payments, too.
By choosing an EBT POS system that can integrate seamlessly with tablets and smartphones to provide a fast checkout experience, merchants can future proof against the already-in-motion trend of utmost flexibility in making purchases.
Data & Insights
At a minimum, a great POS system should deliver comprehensive data on transactions, including:
- Sales per day, week and year
- On-demand reports that can be printed
- Sales across all stores
- Sales from specific vendors (for farmer’s markets)
- Total sales by terminal
Not only does this aid in easy reconciliation, but it can simplify adherence to reporting requirements for merchants who accept EBT payments. Comprehensive visibility into sales is a must, and it’s a bonus if merchants can find an EBT POS system that also caters to their unique reporting needs. Farmer’s markets, in particular, will want to find a solution that offers flexible tracking and reporting options to accommodate multiple farmers/stands/vendors.
No one knows where future technology will take us, but merchants can future proof their EBT system by choosing one that has robust functionality and a broad set of benefits. Small, independent merchants in particular should be considering solutions that:
- Support SNAP and WIC EBT transactions as well as debit and credit cards via an all-in-one device
- Has the ability to email or text cardholder receipts to reduce paper consumption for receipt printing
- Operates without the need of a local electrical power source
- Supports multiple connectivity configurations, cellular or wi-fi
- Requires very little counter space with an easy-to-use interface
- Enables audit/fraud tracking and remote monitoring with a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS)
- Allows vendors the ability to use the same device at multiple locations
The EBT POS of the Future
TotilPay, formerly known as Mobile Market+, is an easy and secure way to process SNAP and WIC EBT and Cash
Value Benefits, EBT cash, credit and debit transactions with your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. In addition to meeting the future proofing requirements we’ve listed above, this solution is approved for use by the USDA, FNS and EBT card processors.
It’s an ideal EBT POS solution for farmers markets and small independent retailers, or mobile vendors. One single device affords merchants payments flexibility by accepting popular forms of payment and providing the ability to print, email or text cardholder receipts. This streamlined solution gives merchants the features they need to grow—and get customers through checkout faster.