Best Merchant Accounts for Electronic Benefits Transfer

Best Merchant Accounts for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows government benefits to be distributed to individuals in a more efficient and convenient manner. Rather than receiving physical checks or vouchers, eligible individuals are given an EBT card, which functions like a debit card. Our team has compiled a list of the best merchant accounts for electronic benefits transfer (EBT). Keep reading to know more.

The card is linked to a recipient’s account and contains a certain amount of funds that have been provided by the government. The recipient can then use the card to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers or withdraw cash from an ATM.

One of the key benefits of the EBT system is that it provides recipients with greater flexibility and control over their benefits. For example, with an EBT card, recipients can make purchases at a wider range of retailers and can also withdraw cash if needed. Additionally, the EBT system is more secure than traditional paper-based methods, as lost or stolen cards are easily replaced, and unauthorized transactions can be quickly detected and stopped.

Another advantage of the EBT system is that it can help reduce waste and fraud, as it eliminates the need for physical checks and vouchers, which can be lost or stolen. Additionally, the use of electronic transactions can help speed up the processing time for benefits distribution and reduce the administrative burden on government agencies.

How Does EBT Work?

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) works by linking a recipient’s government benefits account to a debit card. The recipient is issued an EBT card and a personal identification number (PIN) to access their benefits. Here’s how it works:

Distribution of Benefits: The government agency responsible for providing the benefits deposits the funds into the recipient’s EBT account.

Using the EBT Card: The recipient can use the EBT card to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers or withdraw cash from an ATM. The recipient swipes the card at the point of sale to make a purchase and enters their PIN. The transaction is then approved or declined based on the availability of funds in the recipient’s EBT account.

Tracking Transactions: All transactions made using the EBT card are recorded in the recipient’s account and are tracked easily. This helps in preventing fraud.

Replacing Lost or Stolen Cards: In the event that the EBT card is lost or stolen, the recipient can contact the government agency to request a replacement card. The agency can then issue a new card and transfer the remaining balance from the recipient’s old account to the new one.

 Best Merchant Accounts for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

  • Host Merchant Services
  • Payment Cloud
  • Dharma
  • Square
  • National Processing

Host Merchant Services

Host Merchant Services Review
Image source Host Merchant Services

Host Merchant Services provides an effortless solution for businesses looking to implement EBT processing. The process is as simple as providing the FNS number, and the provider will take care of the rest by integrating EBT processing into your account.

Incorporating EBT handling into your account with Host Merchant Services comes with no extra monthly fee. If your monthly sales (including EBT and non-EBT) exceed $20,000, you’ll be eligible to receive a complimentary EMV-compliant terminal. The company also eliminates application fees, account setup fees, and long-term contracts. Host bills monthly, and there is no early termination cost if you wish to cancel the service.

For non-EBT transactions, Host Merchant Services provides fully disclosed interchange-plus rates, which are visible on their website.

Payment Cloud

Payment Cloud Merchant Services
Image source Payment Cloud

PaymentCloud is among our top suggestions for high-risk processing, while it also provides low-risk businesses with cost-effective pricing and reasonable contract terms. While expenses for high-risk enterprises will necessarily be higher, they are still acceptable. PaymentCloud is among the few high-risk processors that offer a loaner “free” credit card terminal as well as no application or setup costs for account acceptance. Furthermore, when you join up, the organization delivers excellent customer support, distinguishing itself from other payment providers.

It’s worth noting that PaymentCloud only mentions EBT processing in a blog post on its website. It is best to clarify the information with a salesperson before signing up.


Dharma merchant services
Image source: Dharma

Dharma Merchant Services is a rare example of a B-Corp, (a public benefit corporation) in the payments sector. As a consequence, and proven by delighted merchants, the company’s advertising and sales procedures are one of the most transparent and trustworthy in the market.

Dharma provides a flexible billing plan with no long-term commitment and merely a month-to-month arrangement. All of the processing rate packages are interchange-plus, which saves money on non-EBT transactions. Although Dharma is not the cheapest choice, it becomes one of the most cost-effective alternatives if you process over $10,000 each month. The corporation admits that its pricing system is not appropriate for small enterprises.

Square is a more cheap option for firms who transact less than $10,000 each month, according to Dharma. It should be noted that the firm doesn’t accept high-risk merchants.

TotilPay (Square)

Image source: TotilPay

TotilPay, by leveraging their Square account, offers a cost-effective and simple alternative for companies to handle EBT payments. TotilPay can be connected to the FIS Worldpay merchant provider. However, it might not be as cost-effective for smaller firms as Square. TotilPay requires the use of two card readers: your Square reader, your TotilPay Go mobile card scanner, or the more advanced TotilPay Register POS system. They offer these products through a month-to-month subscription that also includes functionality to help your consumers find SNAP and WIC-qualified goods.

TotilPay may be more expensive than other EBT processing solutions, but combining it with a Square account may be less expensive for small companies than opening a complete-service merchant account. Additionally, accredited farmers’ markets and businesses that pay their subscription costs annually rather than monthly are eligible for discounts.

National Processing

national processing
image source: National Processing

National Processing is an excellent option for retailers looking for a dependable and fairly cost payment service. On its website, the firm gives straightforward price information, allowing you to accurately anticipate your projected processing expenses. While a terminal may be acquired for free, it is best to buy one entirely. The free option comes with a 3-year contract and an early termination charge that applies solely if you transfer to another provider. The corporate blog discusses EBT payments but does not disclose price information. We recommend that you confirm transaction fee specifics with your sales representative.

Things to Consider When Selecting the Right Merchant Account for EBT

When selecting a merchant services provider for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), it is vital to consider some factors to ensure that you are making the best choice for your business.

Compliance is a crucial factor, as you want to make sure that your merchant services provider is fully compliant with all relevant regulations and guidelines set by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. This will help to avoid any legal issues and ensure the security of the EBT transactions.

Another factor to consider is processing fees. It is essential to compare the fees and charges from different providers to make sure you are getting the best value for your money. Make sure to consider not only the processing fees but also any additional charges such as monthly fees, chargeback fees, and terminal rental fees.

Technology is also an important factor in choosing a merchant services provider for EBT. Look for a provider that uses secure and reliable technology for EBT processing, such as EMV chip card technology and point-to-point encryption. This will help to protect sensitive information and prevent fraud.

Customer support is another crucial factor to consider. Look for a merchant services provider that offers a high level of customer support and assistance, such as 24/7 technical support and training for employees. It will help to ensure that any issues or questions can be quickly and effectively addressed.

Finally, if you already have a point-of-sale system in place, it is important to look for a merchant services provider that offers seamless integration with your existing system. It will help to minimize disruption to your business and ensure that the transition to EBT processing is as smooth as possible.


In conclusion, the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system provides a more efficient and secure way for government benefits to be distributed to eligible individuals. By using an EBT card linked to a recipient’s account, individuals can access their benefits in a flexible manner and use them at a broader range of retailers or withdraw cash from ATMs. The system can also help reduce waste and fraud and speed up the processing time for benefits distribution.

When it comes to selecting the best merchant account for EBT processing, there are several options available. Host Merchant Services provides a simple solution with no extra monthly fee and flexible billing. Payment Cloud is a top suggestion for high-risk processing and offers cost-effective pricing and reasonable contract terms. Dharma Merchant Services is a B-Corp with transparent and trustworthy sales procedures and a flexible billing plan. Square is a cost-effective option for companies with lower monthly transactions, while TotilPay provides a simple alternative for EBT payments through a Square account.

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