Point Of Sale (POS) Device

The next step is to determine what type of EBT Point of Sale (POS) device you will use to process EBT transactions. For eligible outlets, we recommend using the device provided by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) because it is free and the state of California will pay all of the associated fees! See the sections below to determine your eligibility for the free POS device and view alternative options.

We’ve received reports that private EBT vendors are aggressively reaching out to farmers’ markets to try to gain their business. Read more about it here.


Eligible outlets:
Certified Farmers’ Markets
Direct marketing farmers (you do not have to be a Certified Producer)
CSAs and farm stands run by 501(c)3 Nonprofits
Non-eligible outlets:
Non-certified Farmers’ Markets
Mobile Farmers’ Markets

As soon as you submit your FNS application and receive your temporary FNS number, contact Matthew Stephens at CDSS, so he can get your market/outlet into their system. You need not wait until you receive the SNAP permit/authorization.

Matthew Stephens
California Department of Social Services
(916) 420-5822

Matthew will send you a short questionnaire to determine your eligibility for a wireless device. Be sure to inform the Ecology Center and Matthew of all market locations, days, and times where you intend to accept EBT, as both agencies maintain a list of all EBT accessible California farmers‘ market locations as well as those that offer incentives.

Once your FNS application is approved (authorization can take up to 45 days), FNS will send an email both to you and to CDSS. Matthew will arrange for a wireless POS to be ordered for your market/outlet.

Note: The State of California covers all fees related to the POS. You do not incur any costs when using a CDSS-issued POS. The CDSS-provided POS device can NOT accept credit and debit cards.

Alternate Technology

The POS device provided by the state will process EBT transactions only, without fees. It does not have the option to accept debit or credit cards. If you are not eligible for the CDSS device, or you would like a system to process all types of cards, you will want to research alternative options.

There are a number of other point of sale options, some of which can be used with an iPhone or iPad. These alternatives may not be cost free, meaning that you may have to pay for the equipment, and a per-transaction fee for debit, credit and CalFresh EBT transactions.

This document from the USDA has useful information about choosing an alternate provider. Their list is not extensive, but may help you get started with finding the right provider for you.

Some providers that our partners use include:
FIS Global
Total Merchant Services


Matthew Stephens
California Department of Social Services
(916) 420-5822

Farmers’ Market Coalition
888-362-8177, Ext 2 – EBT Equipment Program