Fiserv Inc., a global payments provider, now accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) payments at grocers, allowing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase groceries online for the first time, the Wisconsin-based company announced on Tuesday (May 5).
While the demand for online grocery with curbside pickup or delivery service has surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 million Americans who rely on SNAP have been faced with supermarket shopping as their only way to purchase groceries.
SNAP, an income-eligible program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is expanding a pilot online payment program it launched one year ago in New York to include new states and grocers to answer the growing demand for digital commerce.
In addition to New York, the program is now available for SNAP recipients in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Washington. Eight additional states, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Vermont and the District of Columbia, are slated to be added in June.
“We’re pleased to see the expansion of the online SNAP pilot as grocers continue to innovate to increase food access and address food insecurity,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association. “As strong public-private partners, and true entrepreneurs of the industry, grocers are responding to marketplace changes by developing their own successful ecommerce strategies for the communities they serve, including those who depend on the SNAP program.”
ShopRite, a Wakefern Food Corp. brand, is accepting online EBT payment at select locations. In addition, 33 New York ShopRite stores now offer online EBT payments for delivery or store pickup.
“Accelerating the acceptance of online EBT payments is one of several initiatives Fiserv is prioritizing to help our clients better serve their customers through digital channels,” said Nandan Sheth, head of global digital commerce at Fiserv. “The ability for grocers to enable safe and secure ecommerce, for all of their customer segments, remains critically important to their success.”
The announcement comes as Apptopia found that downloads for Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Shipt saw surges of 218 percent, 160 percent and 124 percent respectively, from February through mid-March, according to ZDNet.com.
Instacart reported grocery orders were 10 times higher than usual, and even 20 times higher in places like California and New York, the online news service reported. Average daily traffic to Walmart’s online grocery site reached 1.1 million between March 1 and March 20, a 55 percent increase on average daily visitor numbers during the previous two months.