Buying your own EBT Equipment

An image of people waiting in line at the information booth at a farmers' market.
Lines at the info booth can build up at big markets. It’s imperative to have a well-functioning machine to make this system work.

If you’re looking to purchase EBT equipment for your SNAP program, without the help of a grant to subsidize the cost, then you should fall into one, or ideally all, of these categories:

  • Our market has offered SNAP for years;
  • Our vendors are dedicated to keeping this program sustained;
  • We have enough shoppers using SNAP/EBT that we can justify paying the equipment costs;
  • We have a local partner that will help us with the costs and administrative responsibilities of running the program.

MFFM has compiled information from a number of equipment and service providers to list out the options and compare them across important categories.

 

Click here for the chart comparing all the EBT equipment providers.

(11/2/2018 Update: Maine DHHS will reimburse markets for certain EBT equipment fees)

Comparing EBT equipment options

EBT devices are high-tech equipment that come with a significant up-front cost. There are also ongoing fees (monthly and annually) for markets.

Things to consider when purchasing EBT equipment on the open market are:

  • Equipment cost: What can you afford? Should we rent this year, rather than buy a machine outright?
  • Equipment model: Is this model known as user-friendly? What is its battery life? What do other people have to say about it?
  • Cellular/ wireless Connection: What cell service does the machine use? Does your market’s physical location work with that cell service? Is the machine wi-fi capable, and can your market use that?
  • Special offers to markets: Many service providers recognize the good work farmers’ markets undertake to make their markets accessible to all. We list out their offers in our EBT comparison chart.
  • Fees: What are the monthly, start-up, annual and one-time fees associated with each machine?
  • Seasonality/contract length: Many markets don’t need to have their machine running year-round. Many companies recognize that and offer to put a freeze on your account during the off-months.

 

Contact MFFM:

We encourage any market that needs to purchase EBT equipment to connect with MFFM’s SNAP Program Coordinator, Jimmy DeBiasi, first.

Email snap@mffm.org or call 487 7114. We can help you find the best fit for your market.

About Jimmy DeBiasi