New Legislation Seeks to Permanently Ban Processing Fees on Electronic Benefit Transactions

NACS supports legislation that would protect SNAP retailers.

June 21, 2023

By Margaret Hardin

Legislation was introduced last week that would permanently ban any electronic benefits transfer (EBT) processing fees in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Ensuring Fee-Free Benefit Transactions Act (H.R. 4103) was introduced by Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and cosponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA). The legislation would ensure that SNAP retailers are only responsible for their own costs as the federal government moves to modernize the EBT system with chip cards, mobile payments and other payment upgrades.

“In communities like Cleveland, many SNAP recipients rely on local, independent and small grocery retailers to purchase fresh, affordable foods for their families,” said Congresswoman Shontel Brown. “In OH-11, where nearly 1 in 4 households receive SNAP benefits, we need to ensure that these retailers continue to participate in this vital program. The EBT Act will permanently close a loophole that subjects retailers to processing fees on SNAP transactions. These extra costs to businesses could force many small, minority or family-owned independent retailers to stop accepting SNAP or raise their prices, both of which would be extremely harmful to my constituents in Northeast Ohio and people across the country.”

The 2018 Farm Bill, which authorizes SNAP, included a five-year temporary ban on any new EBT processing fees. That ban was set to lift this year, which potentially would have increased costs for SNAP retailers and customers or lead to a payment processing system that would discourage retailers from participating in SNAP entirely.

“At Dave’s Markets we are committed to making every one of our customers’ shopping experience the best it can be by providing exceptional freshness, services, product assortment and value. We operate stores in many diverse areas that are often deemed as food deserts, and we strive to tailor each store to meeting the needs of the various communities. We take on large expenses in order to meet the needs of our shoppers, whether they are a SNAP participant or otherwise. Placing additional costs by way of processing fees in the SNAP program onto the retailer would harm our ability to best serve our local communities,” said Aaron Saltzman, Dave’s Supermarkets, Inc.

NACS supports the legislation and urges Congress to make the prohibition on EBT processing fees permanent in the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill.

Margaret Hardin is NACS manager of government relations. She can be reached at