Albertsons Cos. has begun enabling customers buying food via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to pay with their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards for online grocery pickup orders.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said Thursday that participants in SNAP, also known as food stamps, can now place grocery orders via its supermarket websites and apps for Drive Up & Go curbside pickup at nearly 200 stores. Pickup sites include selected Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Jewel-Osco and Carrs locations.
“We are so excited to extend the ease of Drive Up & Go to more customers,” Chris Rupp, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “Customers love the convenience of contactless shopping, and now even more of our neighbors can take advantage of the benefits of digital grocery shopping.”
To use the new feature, customers sign in or create an account on their local store’s website or app. After adding groceries their virtual cart and designating a pickup time at their preferred store, shoppers select “SNAP EBT” as the payment option at checkout. Upon arriving at the store, customers will use their SNAP EBT or EBT Cash card to complete the transaction on a mobile payment device presented by an associate.
Drive Up & Go service carries no fee. Albertsons said customers can include non-SNAP-eligible items in their Drive Up & Go order but will need to pay for them separately at the pickup site.
In Washington state, Albertsons Cos.’ Safeway banner is testing SNAP online purchasing under a pilot with the USDA.
Albertsons noted that the extension of SNAP payments to Drive Up & Go orders comes amid an acceleration of its planned e-commerce expansion, driven in part by heightened demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a conference call last month on second-quarter results, executives said Albertsons has added more than 200 Drive Up & Go locations this year and aims to grow from 950 sites now to 1,400 sites by the end of its 2020 fiscal year. The grocer also plans to expedite Drive Up & Go expansion to at least 1,800 locations by the end of fiscal 2021, up from the original target of 1,600 sites.
The nation’s second-largest supermarket operator, Albertsons added that it plans to continue expanding access to digital shopping for SNAP customers. Overall, the retailer operates 2,252 food and drug stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under banners such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs.
In Washington state, Albertsons Cos.’ Safeway banner is testing SNAP online purchasing under a pilot with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Under the initiative, SNAP recipients can shop and pay for groceries online using their EBT cards from authorized retailers.
The USDA earlier this month announced an expansion of the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot to include more supermarket retailers, including large chain, regional and independent grocers. Currently, SNAP online purchasing has been authorized to only a handful of retailers in 46 states and the District of Columbia, with Walmart and Amazon as the only retailers authorized for all states in the pilot.