BJ’s Wholesale Club customers who pay for their groceries with a SNAP EBT card can now do so anywhere and anyway they shop.
Marlborough, Mass.-based BJ’s said Friday it has begun accepting electronic benefit transfer (EBT) payments for online grocery orders by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries at all club locations. That includes items ordered for same-day pickup (both in-store and curbside) and delivery as well as shipment from BJs.com. All clubs also accept SNAP EBT cards for in-store purchases.
“Over the course of the last few months, we’ve been actively working to expand our online SNAP EBT payment options for our members across all the states we currently do business in,” Monica Schwartz, executive vice president and chief digital officer at BJ’s, said in a statement. “We’re excited to announce that SNAP EBT payments are accepted online chainwide, allowing us to offer even more flexibility and convenience to all of our members.”
Members can also split payments at checkout and both an EBT card and a debit or credit card as needed for online purchases.
“EBT payment options afford our members the time and money saving benefits that we know they love and expect from BJ’s,” Schwartz added. “When using our app or shopping online, BJ’s is here to help make shopping easier and more convenient for our members’ busy lifestyles.”
Overall, BJ’s operates 230 warehouse clubs as well as 160 BJ’s Gas fuel stations in 17 states.
Under the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, launched by the USDA’s Food Nutrition Service (FNS) in April 2019, 49 states (except Alaska) and the District of Columbia now allow SNAP beneficiaries to shop and pay for groceries online. Amazon, Walmart and Aldi are the only grocery retailers enabling SNAP online grocery shopping on a national scale. A number of chains, as well as Amazon, also accept SNAP EBT payments for online grocery orders, including through Instacart.
The program has seen rapid expansion, as about 130 retailers — representing thousands of stores — have been added in the past two years. The USDA said it’s also developing a pilot to allow SNAP consumers to use their smartphones to buy groceries at the checkout counter and will soon seek states to participate in the program. The goal is enable SNAP participants to input their EBT card into a mobile device and make SNAP purchases at the point-of-sale without the presence of the card.
The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot stems from the 2014 Farm Bill, which authorized the USDA to test online purchasing for recipients before rolling it out nationally. FNS, which administers SNAP, issued a call for retailer volunteers for the pilot in September 2016 and then in January 2017 offered participation in the initiative’s first phase to Amazon, Walmart, ShopRite, Safeway, Hy-Vee, FreshDirect, Dash’s Market and Wright’s Markets. Dozens of independent grocers now take part in the program.