USDA Seeks to Expand SNAP Online Shopping

In May 2022, just over 3 million SNAP households shopped online.

July 12, 2022

EBT SNAP Accepted Here Sign

WASHINGTON—The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is offering a $5 million SNAP EBT Modernization Technical Assistance Center grant to an organization that can help expand the number of retailers that offer SNAP online shopping. The grant recipient will support retailers with the technology and systems needed for SNAP online shopping so SNAP participants can have more choices when it comes to where to use their benefits to buy groceries online.

“Online grocery shopping is a vital resource that improves access and convenience for all, including low-income families,” said Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. “We are excited about this grant’s potential to provide new and existing retailers with tools to redeem SNAP benefits in ways that improve customer service for SNAP participants, especially those that face barriers in traveling to a physical store.”

Technical Support

According to the USDA, many retailers, especially smaller ones, face technical challenges or a lack of resources to deploy e-commerce sites or update existing sites, which would allow them to provide online services that meet SNAP requirements.

The USDA hopes the technical support provided through this grant will help these smaller, independent stores offer online purchasing for SNAP participants. The USDA also hopes to see an expansion of stores offering online shopping to better serve rural communities, give SNAP participants more choices and meet cultural food preferences.

In May 2022, just over three million SNAP households shopped online, an increase from March 2020, when about 35,000 SNAP households shopped online. The USDA is currently developing a pilot program to allow SNAP consumers to use their phones to purchase groceries at the checkout counter and will soon seek states to participate in this pilot.

Online SNAP Shopping Options

Wegmans customers are able to pay with EBT and SNAP payments via Instacart. Instacart powers EBT SNAP payments for more than 60 retailers across 39 states and Washington, D.C., spanning more than 7,000 stores nationwide. More than half of all federally approved retailers accept EBT SNAP online through the Instacart platform.

Target will begin accepting SNAP payment for online orders through Shipt. Walmart and Amazon have offered online payments with SNAP since 2019.

Wesco, a Western Michigan-based c-store chain, began accepting SNAP payments this month for on-demand home delivery and curbside pickup at its 55 locations. 7-Eleven Hawaii also launched home delivery and curbside pickup for SNAP customers at its 65 locations across Oahu, the Big Island of Hawai’i, Kauai and Maui. Both companies have partnered with Vroom Delivery for the service.

The online SNAP program is independent of in-store SNAP programs. Retailers must apply separately in partnership with an e-commerce platform certified by FNS.