The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) applauds Congress for passing legislation that bans processing fees on all Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) transactions and reiterates the current ban on interchange fees from these transactions.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill, by a vote of 369-47, clearing one of the final hurdles for the bill to become law. The compromise bill was finalized earlier this week and sailed through the Senate on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 87-13. The final Farm Bill was championed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN).
“Convenience stores are critical partners in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, providing essential access to food for SNAP families who may not live near a larger retailer or who shop during non-traditional hours,” said Anna Ready, NACS director of government relations. “NACS commends Congress for passing sensible legislation that will place a ban on all processing fees and emphasizes the ban on interchange fees on SNAP transactions. We are pleased that Congress heeded these concerns and recognized that these fees have a negative impact on SNAP customers.”
The Farm Bill is especially relevant to the convenience store industry because it reauthorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More than 119,000 convenience stores accept SNAP benefits and serve the communities in which they operate. During the Farm Bill process, NACS has advocated for the critical role convenience stores play in providing access to food for SNAP beneficiaries.
In the compromise bill, the main provision impacting the convenience store industry is language that bans processing fees on EBT transactions through 2023 and reiterates the ban on interchange fees. EBT allows a SNAP recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received. EBT is used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. NACS will continue to advocate for a permanent ban on processing fees.