Will Square ever be able to accept Electronic Benefit Card (EBT) payments?

Will Square ever be able to accept Electronic Benefit Card (EBT) payments?

Will Square ever be able to accept Electronic Benefit Card (EBT) (food stamps) payments?

1 Verified Answer
Verified Answer

Re: Will Square ever be able to accept Electronic Benefit Card (EBT) payments?

For those who might be interested, here is our set-up for EBT.


We use a third party company for running EBT, which has a card reader and a pinpad. The companies vary by state, we use FIS. 

We hold an Arizona restaurant/hot meals EBT license and can accept just about everything on EBT except energy drinks and retail items like coffee mugs or keychains.


We use the code "E" in the notes section to be able to track which sales are EBT. We still record everything in Square so that we have data for all sales in one place.


Here are the steps we provide for our cashiers.

  1. Remove non-eligible retail items from ticket for a separate transaction. Tell the customer “I will ring these up separately for you.”
  2. Remove tax from ticket.
  3. Take payment on EBT machine for total of eligible items and offer customer receipt.
  4. Choose “CHARGE” on Square.
  6. Type “E” in “Notes.”
  7. Choose “TENDER.”
105 Replies

THey will never fix this problem. Square dumped a couple million into TotilPay and will not lose their money - so regards to customer service and what we want, does not matter. Better off getting a different system - Absolutely nonsense we have to have 2 different systems with Square Register. 

What's out there besides Clover? We're too small for them, unfortunately.

What are others using for EBT processing thru Square? Can I trust those saying they "partnered" with Square?

No idea. I'd like to know also

Lol. Yeah three years is a long time

Square Community Moderator

Check out my best answer on this thread. @TopplezCorp

I have to say, TotilPay is a TotilJOKE!


I've been trying to use it for the past three months or so. It was a pain to get it all set up with my existing Square stand, because the TotilPay Go app is for mobile devices, and doesn't automatically rotate to the landscape view of the Square stand. So, the owner graciously offered to upgrade us to the TotilPay Register app instead, which is in landscape mode. They sent me a really cheap, lightweight plastic reader to scan the cards. Here's how the process works for me:


1. I scan all the grocery items in the Square app and get the total due. I have to remember this total, or more likely, write it down.

2. Navigate to the TotilPay Register app and login each time to process the EBT card.

3. Using the cheap reader, scan the card.

4. Turn the register around and allow the customers to touch my screen and enter their PIN. (Ew!)

5. Now, enter the total due. Yes, that's right. After like 3 minutes, you're expected to suddenly remember the total that's due. If you forget, no worries, you can always go back to the Square app. But wait, if you do that, you're going to have to re-scan the card in TotilPay because that's how it works. So, you better remember that total!

6. Here's when you'd normally print a receipt. But, surprise surprise! TotilPay doesn't talk to your USB printer. They only work with a bluetooth printer. And the bluetooth printer of the exact same model costs like $200 more than the USB version, so you're going to just turn around the register again and show the customer their remaining balance. If you have a tech-savvy customer, you can use the provided options to email or text the EBT receipt to them.

7. Go back to Square. (Hopefully the transaction hasn't timed out by now, because if it has, you're going to need to re-scan everything, so just wait to bag all the groceries until the end...) And now you will finish your transaction by selecting more payment options, and then manually typing in EBT as the payment method, each and every time.


My experience with TotilPay was okay for about a month until, suddenly, their card reader randomly stopped working here and there, unbeknownst to me. I tried to complete several transactions, getting a mysterious (5) Invalid Reader Config error each time. I had to turn away customers because their cards wouldn't work, and we weren't sure why.


Finally, their support team looked into the problem and told me that there was a problem with my brand new card reader. I'd need to send it back to them for repairs. In the meantime, I'd need to manually enter each card number. So... I asked. Is this card reader even necessary if you can just enter the number? Why am I spending money on this thing when there is no difference in the transaction fee? No good answer. I waited for my reader to return, and immediately got the same transaction errors. Apparently there's something not jiving with my software? The tech is unsure. Now, I'm stuck entering card numbers again and again. And sometimes, I still get a random error for (5) General Denial. No idea why, but it really sucks to tell an elderly woman that she can't have her eggs and milk because... Well you're not sure why. Is it a problem with the server? Is it her PIN? Is it that the planets aren't aligned properly? Either way, you're a small business and you can't afford to give away items even if you feel bad that it's your processing company that's dropping the ball here.


SO. Long story short, TotilPay seems like a total scam. It's a cheap way to try to process EBT, but I've had nothing but problems in the past few months. I'm literally praying every single night that Square finally integrates EBT processing into their systems. The TotilPay workaround is just that - a temporary option until your business gets big enough to fork over the investment for the professional EBT processing equipment and you're ready to pay the really high monthly fees.


Please, please, please. I have one simple request: Integrate EBT processing for in-store, physical, payments. (Oh, and please allow us to print out orders directly from the order screen on register tape...)



@support are there plans to accept EBT/SNAP benefits in the future?  Or maybe an update on this since this question is almost 2 years old?

Square Community Moderator

@farmconnection Thanks for reaching out! We do not have any updates on this nor is it on our roadmap at this time. As a workaround, learn more about TotilPay, which integrates with Square to allow EBT-authorized merchants to use their existing Square merchant account and card reader, and seamlessly accept credit, debit, SNAP, WIC, and loyalty cards.

This is some bulls$+&, they have had years to do something about this, and still have not. I have been waiting for 3 months for a resolution to my system not allowing me to process more than one invoice at a time, and still, nothing. I will be switching as soon as I have the money for a better system.