Does Square Take EBT? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are you someone who relies on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to make purchases for your food and household necessities? Have you ever found yourself wondering whether you can use EBT payments at your favorite store or online platform? Well, if you’re a fan of Square, the popular payment service, you might be interested to know the answer to this question: Does Square take EBT?

Square has become a popular option for small business owners to accept payments from their customers. The service is known for being easy to use and convenient for both sellers and buyers. As someone who uses EBT, you might be wondering if you can use this service to make purchases for your daily needs. The answer is yes! Square does accept EBT payments for eligible purchases made through their platform.

But there’s more to the story than just a simple answer. There are some limitations and considerations to keep in mind when using EBT with Square. For example, not all merchants who use Square may accept EBT, and certain items may not be eligible for purchase with EBT. So, if you’re someone who relies on EBT and wants to make purchases through Square, it’s important to do your research and check with the merchant before making a purchase. But overall, using EBT with Square can be a convenient and accessible option for those who depend on this payment method.

Overview of EBT

EBT, which stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, is a system that allows recipients of government assistance programs to access their benefits through a debit-like card. It was introduced in the early 2000s to replace the traditional paper vouchers that were used for food assistance programs. The card works like any other debit card, and can be used to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers.

  • EBT benefits are primarily used for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, but can also be used for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • The amount of benefits that recipients receive is determined by their income, household size, and other factors, and is periodically adjusted.
  • The card can only be used to purchase eligible food items, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products, and cannot be used for non-food items, such as diapers or cleaning supplies.

The main benefits of using EBT include the convenience and security it provides, as recipients no longer have to carry and exchange paper vouchers to get their groceries. Additionally, the electronic system reduces the risk of errors or fraud, as transactions are automatically recorded and monitored.

However, not all retailers accept EBT as a form of payment, and even those that do may not accept it for online or delivery orders. Furthermore, some ineligible items may still slip through the system and be accidentally purchased with EBT funds.

Does Square Take EBT?

While many retailers accept EBT as a form of payment, not all point-of-sales (POS) systems are equipped to process EBT transactions. However, Square, a popular mobile POS system, has recently announced that it now supports EBT payments through its Square for Retail platform.

Square for Retail is a specialized version of the Square POS system that is designed for retailers, and offers additional features such as inventory tracking, purchase orders, and customer management. The EBT integration allows retailers to accept EBT payments without having to use a separate EBT terminal or device, streamlining the checkout process and reducing hardware costs.

Advantages of using Square for EBTDisadvantages of using Square for EBT
Seamless integration with Square POS systemAdditional fees may apply for EBT processing
Reduced hardware costs and clutterMay not be available in all states or for all types of EBT programs
Automatic recording and tracking of EBT transactionsRequires compliance with EBT regulations and guidelines

Overall, the integration of EBT payments into Square for Retail is a welcome addition for retailers who participate in government assistance programs, as it provides a more efficient and streamlined checkout process. However, retailers should be aware of the potential limitations and additional fees associated with accepting EBT payments, and ensure that they comply with all relevant regulations and guidelines to avoid any legal or financial complications.

Benefits of accepting EBT

As a business owner, accepting EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) can provide multiple benefits that make it a worthwhile consideration. EBT is a government program that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families by providing them with a card to purchase food and other necessities. Here are some key benefits of accepting EBT:

  • Attract new customers – By accepting EBT, you open up your business to a new customer base. This can increase foot traffic and sales, especially if you are located in an area with a substantial number of individuals receiving government assistance.
  • Boost revenue – The ability to accept EBT can lead to a significant increase in revenue. Food and grocery stores, farmers markets, and convenience stores accepting EBT report higher sales and increased profits since low-income families have more purchasing power.
  • Improve your community image – By accepting EBT, you are demonstrating your willingness to help the less fortunate members of your community. This can create a positive image for your business and help you build trust with customers, employees, and the community at large.

How to accept EBT

Now that you understand the benefits of accepting EBT, let’s examine how to get started. The process involves obtaining an EBT terminal for your business, which is typically provided by your payment processor or point-of-sale system provider. Once you have obtained an EBT terminal, you’ll need to apply for a state-administered permit to process EBT transactions. The requirements and application process differ from state to state, so be sure to research the requirements for your state.

Common EBT eligible items

When accepting EBT, it’s essential to know which items are eligible for purchase under the program. Only certain items qualify, and the USDA regulates what items can be sold under the program. Here’s a basic list of approved EBT items:

Approved EBT ItemsNon-Approved EBT Items
Meat, poultry, and fishAlcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco products
Fruits and vegetablesHot food items
Dairy productsNon-food items such as cleaning supplies and medicine

It’s essential to check with your local EBT office to ensure that you are correctly categorizing your store’s items and not running afoul of any regulations.

Square’s EBT acceptance policy

If you are a business owner who wants to accept Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) payments from customers, then Square has got you covered. Square is a payment service provider that allows you to accept EBT payments for eligible food items. This means that if you sell goods that are covered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you can accept EBT payments through Square. Square’s EBT acceptance policy is easy to understand and follow, making it a great option for business owners who want to provide this payment option to their customers.

Requirements for accepting EBT payments with Square

  • Have a Square account
  • Be approved for Square’s EBT program
  • Have a valid FNS number
  • Adhere to SNAP requirements for eligible food items

If you meet these requirements, you can start accepting EBT payments with Square. It is important to note that EBT payments are only allowed for eligible food items, and cannot be used to purchase other goods or services.

How to accept EBT payments with Square

Accepting EBT payments with Square is a straightforward process. Once you are approved for Square’s EBT program, simply follow these steps:

  • Add eligible food items to your Square Point of Sale (POS)
  • Select EBT as the payment type when your customer is ready to pay
  • Swipe or insert the customer’s EBT card using a Square EBT reader
  • Enter the payment amount in the Square POS
  • Have the customer enter their PIN to complete the transaction

It’s that easy. Square’s EBT program is designed to make it simple for business owners to accept EBT payments and provide a convenient payment option for eligible customers.

Eligible and ineligible food items for EBT payments

In order to accept EBT payments, businesses must adhere to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) requirements for eligible food items. Eligible food items include:

Eligible Food ItemsIneligible Food Items
Fruits and vegetablesHot food products prepared for immediate consumption
Meat and poultryVitamins and supplements
SeafoodAlcoholic beverages
Dairy productsHousehold items

It is important to note that not all food items are eligible for EBT payments. If your business sells both eligible and ineligible food items, you must separate the eligible items in your Square POS and only accept EBT payments for those items.

In conclusion, Square’s EBT acceptance policy is a great option for businesses that want to accept EBT payments for eligible food items. Square makes it easy to set up and use, so you can provide a convenient payment option for your customers who participate in SNAP.

Restrictions on EBT usage

While EBT cards can be used as a form of payment at Square, there are restrictions on their usage that must be taken into consideration. These restrictions are in place to ensure that EBT benefits are being used for their intended purpose of providing nutrition assistance to low-income households.

  • EBT cards cannot be used to purchase non-food items such as tobacco, alcohol, or household supplies.
  • Hot prepared foods cannot be purchased with EBT benefits. This includes food items that are heated in-store or by the customer, such as hot pizza or fried chicken.
  • Snack foods and desserts that are not considered nutritious cannot be purchased with EBT benefits. Examples of these items include candy, soft drinks, and ice cream.

It is important to note that these restrictions apply to all businesses that accept EBT cards, not just Square. In addition, there are specific guidelines for retailers on what types of food items can be purchased with EBT benefits, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products.

Here is a table outlining some of the allowable and non-allowable food items that can be purchased with EBT benefits:

Allowable PurchasesNon-Allowable Purchases
Fruits and vegetablesCigarettes and tobacco
Breads and cerealsAlcohol
Meat, poultry, and fishHot prepared food
Dairy productsNon-food items (e.g. soap, toilet paper)

Understanding these restrictions is important for both retailers and EBT cardholders to ensure that benefits are being used correctly and efficiently. By adhering to the guidelines set forth by the USDA, Square and other businesses are able to maintain the integrity of the EBT program and ensure that those who are in need of nutritional assistance are able to receive it.

How to set up EBT acceptance on Square

Accepting EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) payments as a form of payment can greatly increase your business’ customer base while also helping those who rely on government assistance programs. Square, a popular point-of-sale system, makes it easy for businesses to accept EBT payments. Here’s how to set up EBT acceptance on Square:

Step 1: Apply for EBT Acceptance through Square

  • First, log in to your Square Dashboard and navigate to the “Account & Settings” section.
  • Select “Hardware” from the menu on the left-hand side of the page.
  • Under “Reader,” select “Add Reader” then “Magstripe Reader.”
  • Fill out the required information to apply for EBT acceptance through Square. Approval typically takes 2-3 business days.

Step 2: Set Up EBT Acceptance in Your Square Account

Once you have received approval to accept EBT payments through Square, follow these steps to start accepting payments:

  • Log in to your Square Dashboard and navigate to the “Account & Settings” section.
  • Select “Hardware” from the menu on the left-hand side of the page, then select the Magstripe Reader you added during the application process.
  • Under “Swipe Reader,” toggle the switch to enable EBT acceptance.

Step 3: Train Employees and Educate Customers

It’s important to train your employees on how to process EBT payments through Square. You should also educate your customers on the EBT payment process and any restrictions or limitations that may apply. Remember, EBT can only be used to purchase eligible food items, and not for alcohol, tobacco, or non-food items such as toiletries or paper products.

Step 4: Monitor EBT Transactions

EBT BalanceThe amount of benefits the customer has remaining on their EBT card.
EBT DiscountThe amount of the transaction that was paid for using EBT funds.
EBT ReversalsRefunds issued to customers who paid with EBT.

It’s essential to monitor your EBT transactions to ensure that they are being processed correctly and to prevent any potential fraudulent activity. Square allows you to track your EBT transactions in your transaction history and view important information such as EBT balance, EBT discount, and EBT reversals.

By following these steps, your business can easily begin accepting EBT payments through Square, opening up your customer base to those who rely on government assistance programs, while also benefitting your business.

Square’s Partnership with USDA

Square, a popular payment processing platform used by millions of small business owners, has entered into a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make it easier for farmers’ markets and other small businesses to accept EBT payments from customers using SNAP benefits. This initiative is part of the USDA’s goal to increase access to healthy and fresh food for low-income families, particularly in underserved communities.

Benefits of Square’s Partnership with USDA

  • Square’s partnership with USDA makes it easier for farmers’ markets and small business owners to participate in the SNAP program without expensive equipment or fees.
  • Square’s EBT card reader makes the entire process of accepting SNAP benefits more manageable and less daunting for businesses.
  • Square’s user-friendly platform allows small business owners who have limited technological expertise to manage their sales, inventory, and reporting quickly and efficiently.

How the Partnership Works

To benefit from the partnership, small business owners simply need to apply to become authorized SNAP retailers through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. Once approved, they can sign up for Square’s free EBT program and receive a complimentary EBT card reader. Square’s platform makes it easy for small businesses to keep track of EBT transactions, submit reports, and manage their inventory, while also helping them to be more organized and efficient with their overall operations.

The partnership has significantly simplified the process of accepting EBT and provides easy-to-use tools and technology for small business owners. In turn, this makes it easier for low-income families to access healthy fruits and vegetables and other fresh foods.

Impact and Success of the Partnership

Square’s work with the USDA has been well-received by farmers’ markets and small businesses across the country. According to the USDA, nearly 20,000 farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers were authorized SNAP retailers in 2020. This partnership helps these small businesses grow and succeed, all while providing affordable and healthy food options to low-income families.

YearNumber of SNAP BeneficiariesAmount of SNAP Benefits Redeemed ($ billions)
201742.1 million63.7
201838.1 million60.4
201936 million55.6

The partnership between Square and USDA is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together for the greater good. It helps small business owners access new markets and grow their businesses while also supporting those in need by making healthy food choices more accessible.

EBT transaction fees on Square

If you are planning to accept EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) payments for your business, it is important to understand the transaction fees involved. Square is one of the most popular payment processing companies that accepts EBT payments. Below are some key points to keep in mind when it comes to EBT transaction fees on Square:

  • Square charges a flat fee of 2.6% + 10 cents per EBT transaction.
  • This fee is in addition to any other processing fees that Square charges for credit card transactions.
  • The fee for EBT transactions is the same for all types of EBT cards, including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

If you are processing a significant number of EBT transactions, the fees can add up quickly. However, accepting EBT payments can be a great way to expand your customer base and increase sales, particularly if you operate in an area with a large population of low-income households.

It is worth noting that some businesses may qualify for lower EBT transaction fees through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. To qualify, you must meet certain eligibility requirements and apply directly through the USDA.


When it comes to accepting EBT payments on Square, understanding the transaction fees involved is crucial. The 2.6% + 10 cents flat fee for EBT transactions may seem small, but it can add up quickly for businesses that process a high volume of EBT payments. However, the benefits of expanding your customer base and increasing sales may outweigh the transaction fees for some businesses. As always, it is important to do your research and choose the payment processing option that is best for your specific business needs.

EBT Fraud Prevention on Square

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a government program that provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families. However, like any government program, there are individuals who try to take advantage of it by committing fraud. Square has taken steps to prevent EBT fraud on their platform, and here are some of the ways they do it:

  • Verification of EBT Cards – Square requires EBT users to provide information about their card and government-issued identification before they can accept EBT payments. This verification process helps to ensure that only authorized users are accepting EBT payments.
  • Transaction Monitoring – Square monitors all EBT transactions for suspicious activity, such as unusually large transactions or multiple purchases within a short time frame. If any suspicious activity is detected, Square may require additional verification before allowing the transaction to go through.
  • Training and Education – Square provides training and education to merchants who accept EBT payments to help them understand how to prevent EBT fraud. This education includes how to identify potential fraud and how to report it to the authorities.

Additionally, Square has partnerships with state agencies to help prevent EBT fraud. For example, Square works with the California Department of Social Services to make sure that only authorized merchants accept EBT payments. This partnership helps to ensure that EBT funds are used only for their intended purpose, which is to provide food assistance to those in need.

Overall, Square takes EBT fraud prevention seriously and has implemented measures to help prevent it from happening on their platform. By working with state agencies and educating merchants, Square can help ensure that EBT funds are used for their intended purpose and not for fraud.

Customer experience with EBT on Square

Square has offered EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) payments to its customers since 2017. Customers who receive government assistance through programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) can use their EBT card to pay for groceries and other essentials at participating retailers which now includes Square. The option to use EBT on Square has been a game-changer for many users.

Users of Square’s EBT service have reported a positive experience in many ways. Here are a few highlights:

  • Convenience: Many users have commented on the convenience of being able to use their EBT card for online purchases. With the rise of online shopping, being able to use EBT has made the experience of buying groceries and other essentials much more accessible. Square has made the checkout process quick and easy, with the same level of security as any other payment method.
  • Increased options: Prior to Square, not all retailers accepted EBT. However, by partnering with Square, participating businesses have been able to accept EBT, making it easier for users to purchase essential items. This has increased options for users who may have had limited choices previously.
  • Ease of use: Many users have commented on the ease of using EBT on Square. The process is straightforward, and the funds are deducted automatically from the user’s EBT account. Users can also see their balance on their account in real-time, making it easier for them to budget their funds effectively.

Square has also developed a variety of resources and tools to help users navigate the EBT process. These include step-by-step instructions on how to use EBT on Square, a customer support team that is available to answer any questions, and a list of participating retailers where EBT is accepted. Additionally, Square has provided information about how to track EBT transactions, which can be useful for users who need to keep track of their spending.

Here is a list of participating retailers that accept EBT on Square:

Whole Foods MarketVarious locations nationwide
WalmartVarious locations nationwide

In conclusion, Square has received positive feedback from users who have used their EBT service. The convenience, increased options, and ease of use have made it a more accessible option for those who rely on government assistance. Square has also provided resources and tools to help users navigate the process, making it a more positive experience overall.

Best practices for merchants accepting EBT on Square

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a government-funded program that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families in the form of food stamps. The program is run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is administered by states. Square now allows merchants to accept EBT payments, making it an easy and convenient way for EBT recipients to purchase items they need from approved merchants. However, it is important for merchants to follow best practices when accepting EBT on Square to ensure compliance with USDA regulations and avoid penalties.

  • Register with USDA: Before you start accepting EBT on Square, you need to be registered with the USDA. You can apply online through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) website.
  • Identify eligible items: Only certain items can be purchased with EBT funds, including food items and non-alcoholic drinks. Merchants should educate themselves on what items are eligible for EBT payments and ensure that their inventory does not include items that cannot be purchased with EBT funds.
  • Display EBT acceptance: Merchants should prominently display signs indicating that they accept EBT payments. This helps EBT recipients identify which merchants they can purchase items from using their benefits.

In addition to these best practices, it is important for merchants to follow proper record-keeping procedures when accepting EBT on Square. This includes keeping detailed records of sales, maintaining an EBT transaction log, and submitting reports to the USDA as required.

Here is an example of a table that outlines some of the eligible and ineligible items for EBT payments:

Eligible ItemsIneligible Items
Meat and poultryAlcohol and tobacco products
Fruits and vegetablesVitamins and supplements
Dairy productsHot prepared food (unless sold by an approved retailer)
Bread and grainsToiletries and household supplies

By following these best practices, merchants can ensure that they are providing a seamless and compliant EBT payment experience on Square for their customers while also avoiding potential penalties and fines.

Does Square take EBT?

As a user-friendly payment processing system, Square is known for its ability to make transactions easy and secure. And while EBT systems are becoming more and more popular amongst consumers, many are left wondering whether or not Square accepts EBT payments. Here are some FAQs to help shed some light on the matter:

1. Can I use my EBT card with Square?

Unfortunately, no. Square does not currently accept EBT cards as a form of payment. You will need to find another method of payment when using this system.

2. Can I use my SNAP benefits with Square?

No, you cannot. SNAP benefits are intended for in-person purchases only and cannot be used for online transactions through Square.

3. Can I use my EBT card for deliveries made through Square?

No, you cannot. Square does not accept EBT payments for any delivery services, even if the purchase was made in person.

4. What other forms of payment does Square accept?

Square accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as prepaid cards and gift cards.

5. Does Square offer any other payment options for low-income households?

Square is committed to making payments accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situations. While they do not accept EBT payments, they do offer other options such as payment plans and financing options for businesses.

6. Can I still use Square if I receive government assistance?

Absolutely. Square is available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their income or financial situation. However, you will not be able to use your EBT card to make purchases through the system.

7. Will Square ever accept EBT payments in the future?

It’s hard to say. While there is no current plan to accept EBT payments, Square is always looking for ways to improve their system and make it more accessible to everyone. It’s possible that they may consider accepting EBT payments in the future.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to read about Square’s policy on EBT payments. While they do not accept this form of payment, Square remains committed to providing a user-friendly platform that is accessible to everyone. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to their customer support team for more information. Be sure to visit back later for more informative articles on all your payment processing needs!