Mercatus is the latest technology company to launch a product geared to the ongoing online expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — a reflection of a trend that promises to keep growing in the food retail world in 2021.
The Toronto-based e-commerce services provider has launched its SNAP EBT Online tool. The new, integration-ready ordering and checkout capability allows U.S. grocers in eligible states to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and EBT Cash payments as part of the Mercatus Integrated Commerce Platform’s end-to-end shopping experience.
More than 42 million Americans receive SNAP benefits, accounting for $55 billion in food retail sales. In 2020, SNAP households purchased more groceries online than non-SNAP shoppers. Currently, 47 states are participating in the USDA pilot program that expands acceptance of SNAP EBT payment from in-store to the online channel. With Mercatus SNAP EBT Online, grocers can leverage Mercatus’ integration-ready software and team of solution experts to facilitate a streamlined technology certification application and set up process for joining the pilot program.
“Enabling more Americans to access online grocery shopping during this difficult time is crucial,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO, Mercatus. “As we help more regional grocers adopt this technology, SNAP participants will be able to buy food online from their preferred retail brand and receive safe, contact-free pickup or delivery.”
Until now, SNAP for online purchases has largely only been available from national chains like Walmart, Aldi and Amazon. According to IRi, SNAP households account for roughly 10% of the Food & Beverage spend in the U.S., making this an important market for many grocery retailers. With Mercatus SNAP EBT Online, regional grocers can now offer a level of convenience, certainty and control that is reassuring to their loyal customers.
The Mercatus SNAP EBT Online process includes:
● EBT product filters that enable shoppers to identify eligible items;
● Secure EBT payment at checkout with SNAP recipient’s verified PIN;
● The ability to make a split payment using EBT and EBT cash (where applicable), as well as a secondary form of payment such as a credit or debit card to allow purchase of non-eligible items or to cover overages.
Additionally, both the SNAP recipient and the retailer can check the EBT card balance, to help avoid exceeding the card limit on the order.
“Our retail clients also benefit from access to a dedicated team of experts assisting with SNAP integration,” said Kevin Kidd, VP of product, Mercatus. “The process of applying for approval to accept SNAP online payments can be lengthy. Our team offers support throughout the EBT online certification process — from providing the technology demo required by the USDA, to tailoring the e-commerce product database in compliance with SNAP requirements, through to launch and beyond.”