The Mobile Payment Pilot Evaluation will assess the effects of the pilots, using information obtained from FNS, selected state SNAP agencies, retailers and SNAP participants. The evaluation has four objectives:
- Assessing the implementation of the pilots,
- Examining the adoption and use of mobile technologies,
- Understanding implications for program integrity, and
- Assessing replicability and costs.
In each of the five sites, the evaluation will conduct three rounds of semi-structured interviews with state SNAP agencies, EBT processors, retailers, and other partners. Interviews will occur during the pilot planning period and once the pilots are implemented, and will collect information about the pilot design and implementation.
The Agricultural Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorized the use of mobile payments from devices like cell phones, tablets, and smart watches, as an alternate option to a physical electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to conduct a SNAP transaction. This authorization was subject to the result of five mobile payment pilot projects. Mobile payments may improve the customer experience; save participant and retailer time; reduce potential stigma of using EBT; reduce costs; and prevent benefit fraud, loss, or theft.