Frequently Asked Questions

Category 1

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping more than 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is EBT?

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is the system used to transfer government benefits, including SNAP and TANF. The Forage API can be embedded into your site and used to accept EBT cards. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is FNS Certification?

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees SNAP. Thus, they are the gatekeepers to any entity attempting to transact SNAP benefits, both in brick and mortar stores and online. In order to accept SNAP benefits as a form of payment, you as the merchant must become FNS certified and be given an FNS number. If you are not currently a SNAP authorized merchant, follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

How do I get FNS Certified?

The steps required to being granted FNS certification for online EBT are as follows:Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the FNS and get it accepted.Forage will gather the necessary information from you, send the document to the FNS, and push you through the process.Submit a Business Requirements Document (BRD) to the FNS and get it accepted.Forage supplies a template, a guide, and direct assistance to help complete this document.Integrate Forage into your site and schedule an FNS certification test .Forage engineers are available to assist with integration of our service. When the time comes, Forage will work with you to schedule your FNS certification test.The FNS certification test is completed by FNS testers transacting SNAP successfully through your site, following a set of test scenarios developed by FNS.Forage will ensure that your site is handling transactions correctly and complete the FNS scenarios in an internal test prior to your FNS certification testing, so you can be certain you will pass.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

category 2

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

category 3

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program helping more than 42 million Americans afford to put food on the table. It is the largest program working to fight hunger in America. Follow this link for more information.

What is EBT?

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is the system used to transfer government benefits, including SNAP and TANF. The Forage API can be embedded into your site and used to accept EBT cards. Follow this link for more information.

What is TANF (EBT Cash)?

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), also called EBT Cash, is a direct cash
assistance program administered by the states but funded by the federal government. Unlike
SNAP funds which can only be spent on grocery items, EBT cash funds can be spent on a wider
range of products (with some limitations like alcoholic beverages). TANF is distributed through
the same EBT system as SNAP and Forage can help you accept it using the same API as for
SNAP funds. A key difference between SNAP and EBT Cash is that eligibility rules are set on a
state-by-state basis and some states do not even support EBT Cash benefits, whereas SNAP
rules are the same nationwide. Follow this link for more information.

What is FNS Certification?

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees SNAP. Thus, they are the gatekeepers to any entity attempting to transact SNAP benefits, both in brick and mortar stores and online. In order to accept SNAP benefits as a form of payment, you as the merchant must become FNS certified and be given an FNS number. If you are not currently a SNAP authorized merchant, follow this link for more information.

How do I get FNS Certified?

The steps required to being granted FNS certification for online EBT are as follows:Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the FNS and get it accepted.Forage will gather the necessary information from you, send the document to the FNS, and push you through the process.Submit a Business Requirements Document (BRD) to the FNS and get it accepted.Forage supplies a template, a guide, and direct assistance to help complete this document.Integrate Forage into your site and schedule an FNS certification test .Forage engineers are available to assist with integration of our service. When the time comes, Forage will work with you to schedule your FNS certification test.The FNS certification test is completed by FNS testers transacting SNAP successfully through your site, following a set of test scenarios developed by FNS.Forage will ensure that your site is handling transactions correctly and complete the FNS scenarios in an internal test prior to your FNS certification testing, so you can be certain you will pass.

What is Forage Certification

In addition to FNS certification, your website will need to be certified by Forage before we allow you to go live with our API. As a certified Third-party Payment Processor (TPP), we are bound by the restrictions set by FNS as well and are liable for transactions that occur on your site through our service.

How do I get Forage Certified?

The steps required to being granted Forage certification are as follows:
1. Getting your BRD accepted by the FNS.
2. Ensuring that your site properly handles SNAP customers as described in the BRD.
3. Proper handling of payments through Forage.
4. Proper handling of refunds through Forage.
5. Proper handling of reconciliations through Forage.

What information needs to be in a receipt for a SNAP transaction?

Information that a merchant must display after an online purchase or refund (bolded items are not provided by Forage server):

  • Merchant name
  • Merchant contact information (physical address optional if not currently provided for other customers)
  • Date of transaction
  • Time of transaction if included for other customers
  • Transaction Type
  • Truncated Account Number
  • Transaction Amount
  • Remaining Snap Balance
  • Remaining Cash Balance
  • For purchases receipts only:
  • Delivery/pickup/shipping address
  • Actual or estimated delivery/pickup time if appropriate
  • Itemized fees for delivery/pickup/shipping, ordering, convenience, handling or other fees or charges
  • Itemized fees for bags or other delivery/pickup/shipping containers

SNAP customers must be issued an electronic notification including all of the above information within 24 hours of transaction completion or the merchant must securely retain the customer's order history online so that they can easily retrieve the above info.

How do SNAP refunds work?

Customers cannot receive cash refunds or store credit for items purchased with SNAP. They must have their SNAP EBT account refunded. This protects against a customer potentially buying an item with SNAP and then returning the item for cash and defrauding the US Government. It is also important to note that merchants must provide the receipt information described above for all refunds.

How are sales taxes applied to EBT transactions?

The FNS stipulates that no sales tax be applied to SNAP purchases. Therefore, if a customer pays for the full price of their cart with SNAP, no sales taxes can be charged on the items bought. However, if a customer would like to checkout with a split-tender transaction, sales tax is applied to the portion of the transaction bought with credit/debit. For example, assume a customer is checking out with $100 worth of products and plans on paying for $25 with SNAP and $75 with credit. The sales tax applied in this scenario would be $75 x tax rate. If the example were changed to be $25 with credit and $75 with SNAP, the sales tax applied would be $25 x tax rate.

If a customer checks out with a manufacturer coupon or other discount coupons, sales tax can be charged on the portion of the total paid for with the coupon.

What fees can EBT be used to pay for?

As a general rule of thumb, if a fee is listed on a receipt and is not a federal or state imposed fee, SNAP cannot be used to pay for it.
 
Fees that cannot be paid for with SNAP:

  • Delivery fees
  • Service fees
  • Pick-Up fees
  • Bag fees
  • Bottle deposit fees imposed by federal or state governments that are broken out on the receipt
  • Any non-federal or non-state imposed tax

Fees that can be paid for with SNAP:

  • Bottle deposit fees imposed by federal or state governments that are included in shelf price and not broken out on the receipt

Fees that can’t be applied to SNAP purchases:

  • Sweetened beverage surcharges can’t be applied to an item purchased with SNAP
What items are not Cash EBT eligible?

At least 25 states have imposed restrictions on what Cash EBT can be used for. Restrictions apply to alcohol, tobacco, guns, lottery tickets, gambling, and adult venues. The most likely case that will impact a grocer is offering alcohol through their site. If an online purchase is occurring in one of the states listed on the NCSL website as restricting alcohol from Cash EBT, that purchase is invalid. Merchants must ensure that this case is handled when integrating with Forage.