Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Online Purchasing Pilot

Last Published: 04/18/2019

FNS Launches the Online Purchasing Pilot

April 18, 2019 marks the date that SNAP participants can pay for their groceries online for the first time in history. Amazon and Walmart will participate in the initial pilot launch on April 18, 2019 with ShopRite joining early the following week. ShopRite and Amazon are providing service to the New York City area and Walmart is providing online service in upstate New York locations.

Which retailers will be accepting SNAP payments online?

Amazon and Walmart are currently able to accept SNAP EBT payments through their websites.

How will I know if these retailers can deliver to my home?

The best way to determine if grocery delivery is available for your location is to visit the retailer websites. To ensure system functionality, most retailers will be launching slowly. Here are some suggestions on where to look for the initial roll-out:

If you’re located in the New York City area, try Amazon.
If you’re located in upstate New York, try Walmart Grocery.

The delivery zip codes available are those where retailers are able to provide their full line of groceries, which includes the ability to deliver perishable items to that area.

How will I know when the pilot is available in additional States or with additional retailers?

Please check back to this webpage, as any updates will be posted here. As the pilot progresses, more retailers and States will be launching the ability to pay with SNAP EBT online.

Can SNAP be used to pay for delivery?

Only eligible food may be purchased with SNAP benefits; delivery fees and other associated charges may not be paid for with SNAP benefits.

Is using my EBT card online secure?

The use of your EBT card online will still require your unique personal-identification-number (PIN). There is currently one company that has a PCI compliant method of encrypted-PIN entry that is necessary for online shopping. All participating pilot retailers are working with this same company to offer secure PIN entry.

How can I add SNAP EBT to my retailer web site?  

The current pilot retailers went through a Request for Volunteers (RFV) selection process in late 2016 and were selected in 2017.  At this time, we are working exclusively with these pilot retailers and volunteer States.  
The pilot phase is intended to ensure that online transactions are being processed safely and securely. Eventually, USDA anticipates that all eligible and interested retailers who can meet the requirements to process online SNAP transactions will be able to participate. The timeline is dependent on the progress of the pilot and any regulations which may need to be issued.

As a retailer, how can I learn more about the requirements for SNAP online purchasing?  

All retailers, including internet retailers, must abide by the FNS retailer stocking requirements in order to be authorized. More information regarding retailer technical requirements for SNAP online purchasing have been outlined in the RFV. The operational system requirements can be found in Section 2.4 of the RFV document.

Background

The 2014 Farm Bill mandated a pilot be conducted to test the feasibility and implications of allowing retail food stores to accept SNAP benefits through online transactions. For households to make online purchases, the online shopping and payment pilot is required to be secure, private, easy to use, and provide similar support to that found for SNAP transactions in a retail store. Benefits cannot be used to pay for fees of any type, such as delivery, service, or convenience fees. The pilot will involve at least five online retailers in at least three States. The goal is to ensure that the foundational infrastructure necessary for running SNAP transactions online operates in a safe and secure manner.

On September 15, 2016, FNS released a request for retailer volunteers (RFV) to solicit applications for a two-year SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot (Pilot). To be eligible to apply, applicants had to meet the requirements outlined in the RFV. Applications were due by November 7, 2016.

FNS Announces Selection of Retailers

On January 5th 2017, FNS announced the selection of seven retailers for the initial launch of the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot. Since that time, FNS has offered participation in phase one of the pilot to additional retailers.

  • Amazon
  • Dash’s Market
  • FreshDirect
  • Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Safeway
  • ShopRite
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
  • Wright’s Markets, Inc

Based on selections made by each retailer during the application process, and subsequent agreement by the State Agency, the following States are anticipated to be part of the pilot:

  • Alabama
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Washington

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