The Kroger Co. has begun accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for its online grocery pickup service.
Kroger said late Thursday that SNAP beneficiaries now can shop online for groceries at Kroger.com or via the Kroger mobile app and collect their order curbside at a nearby Kroger store. Pickup service is available at more than 2,000 Kroger Co. stores nationwide.
By the end of April, Kroger expects to be able to support EBT card payments at all stores. That capability is already live in Ohio, the company said.
Kroger noted that pickup offers a “low-contact, convenient service” to customers concerned about shopping in stores due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Cincinnati-based retailer said it has waived the minimum purchase requirement and fee (typically $4.95) for all pickup orders to encourage use of the service.
“Kroger is rolling out a payment capability across our nearly 2,800 grocery stores to allow more customers to access fresh, affordable food and essentials through our pickup service,” Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting all families as we work together with our associates and communities and government agencies and health organizations to flatten the curve during this unprecedented pandemic.”
To use Kroger Pickup, SNAP recipients select their preferred store location on Kroger.com or the Kroger app, shop for their groceries, choose a pickup date and time, and pick SNAP/EBT as the payment method. A store associate then picks and packs the order. Once notified that their groceries are ready, customers go to the store, look for the pickup signs in the parking lot, and pull into the designated spot and call the number on the sign. An associate then brings out the order and loads it into the customer’s car.
Those using an EBT card for payment present it at the time of pickup. Currently, EBT card customers can complete their transaction via a mobile point-of-sale system and pay for ineligible EBT purchases or any remaining balance with their debit or credit card, Kroger said.
“Kroger is excited to now have this SNAP/EBT payment option available for pickup customers as we rapidly activate the feature in all our markets,” commented Yael Cosset, chief technology and digital officer. “Through our e-commerce services, we remain committed to providing our customers with ways to save more time and maintain physical distancing.”
With pickup service experiencing higher order volume during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger said it has hired more e-commerce workers, added more order pickup slots and stepped up customer communication. The company, too, last month began testing a pickup-only store in the Cincinnati area.
Kroger added that it offers other quick and safe means of payment. The company said it’s rolling out an improved Scan, Bag, Go mobile app nationwide, which lets customers scan and bag their groceries as they shop and then complete the transaction using their smartphone, bypassing the traditional checkout lanes. Also available in several markets is Kroger Pay, a tool in the Kroger app that enables contactless payment at checkout. And starting April 24, Kroger will temporarily waive the check-cashing fee for government-issued checks for customers and associates, in support of the federal CARES Act coronavirus pandemic relief legislation.
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