SNAP/Merchant Services
Alternative Currency: Wooden Tokens and Paper Scrip


When a market utilizes a card reader for debit and SNAP transactions, typically it will invest in a market-specific scrip or token for shoppers to use at the market with their money. This allows all vendors to benefit from one card reader, and ensures that funds withdrawn using the card reader are used at market. Farmers typically trade in their tokens to the market manager for cash, check or credit. The scrip must not be able to be easily counterfeited. For paper scrip, non-photocopy-able paper is required. Sequenced serial numbers on all scrip is strongly advised.

The Market Manager or a Board Member is responsible to train farmers in scrip redemption rules and procedures. (The market sponsor is responsible for any violations a farmer commits while operating under the market’s FNS license.) Make sure to adhere to any reporting and timeline requirements identified by the State EBT Office. Scrip rules as defined by the USDA can be found here.

Wooden Tokens
Wooden tokens are simply wooden coins that are imprinted with the market's logo and a set denomination, usually $1, $5, or $10. These tokens can ONLY be used at the market. They are the best demonstration of a local economy exchange. In addition, they also can be used as gifts. Two suppliers are: and Kardwell International.

In order to differentiate between SNAP tokens and Debit/Credit tokens, markets commonly use different colors for the token labels. SNAP tokens may only be used for fresh food items, not hot prepared food, so vendor education and sufficient token differentiation is necessary to ensure shoppers and vendors are aware of the differences.  

tokensAn example token setup:

$1 SNAP Token (RED)
Only for SNAP Customers; eligible food items only, no change can be given by the vendor with these tokens 

$1 and $5 Debit Tokens (BLUE)
Debit/Credit tokens can be used by anyone; vendors are able to give change with these tokens

Wooden Token Storage Container, click here for an image


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