The National Grocers Association (NGA) has launched a “SNAP Online Purchasing Toolkit” that outlines the steps retailers may take to accept SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) payments online.
The purpose of the toolkit is to guide independent supermarket retailers in adding SNAP online purchasing as a payment they can support.
Streamlining the process to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) for online grocery purchases will ensure that independent supermarkets are doing all they can to furnish essential goods to the members of their communities most in need, said the NGA.
As the adoption of online grocery shopping accelerated during the pandemic, many independent grocers found themselves unable to accept SNAP payments for online purchases due to technical, financial, and bureaucratic hurdles that smaller retailers were less likely to clear than their larger competitors.
“Due to these obstacles, chain retailers often have an edge against smaller businesses,” said Molly Pfaffenroth, NGA senior director of government relations. “While independent grocers have aggressively pursued the expansion of their e-commerce platforms to meet demand, SNAP online shoppers continue to be underserved. And for many Americans, the independent community supermarket is the only lifeline in their struggle against food insecurity.”
The toolkit provides detailed information on the SNAP online purchasing requirements retailers must meet to participate in the program.
There are tips and instructions for getting set up, including a breakdown of various scenarios retailers may find themselves in before approaching the setup process; best practices; and a template letter of intent for retailers to email to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS), along with background information on the program.
NGA created the toolkit using information gathered during interviews with retailers, e-commerce providers, and third-party processors after the association expanded the pilot program in 2020.
Kellogg Co. supported the toolkit, which also includes information about the company’s “Better Days” program, designed to combat worldwide hunger.
The toolkit is available free to NGA members and can be found at www.nationalgrocers.org/resource-center