The Stop & Shop grocery chain announced today that its customers on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card when placing orders online for pickup and delivery. The new program extends to all SNAP participants across Stop & Shop’s five state reach – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey as well as delivery customers in New Hampshire.
Customers shopping online will be able to filter searches for SNAP eligible products, and apply their benefits at checkout. However, EBT cards can only be used for SNAP-eligible grocery items, and not for things such as fees, taxes or driver tips.
Adding an EBT payment option is absolutely a good thing to do. Providing greater access to grocery delivery can help alleviate food deserts in certain areas. Instacart has launched EBT payment options with ALDI, Publix, The Save Mart Companies and Price Chopper/Market 32. And last year, Amazon expanded the availability of EBT payments for groceries as well.
The outstanding issue for all of these services, however, is the payment of fees. Stop & Shop, for instance, charges $2.95 for pickup and $9.95 delivery fee for orders less than $100 (orders greater than $100 carry a $6.95 delivery fee). To really help bridge inequality and bring more equity to food availability, it would be nice if big retailers and well-funded delivery services did more to offset the costs of delivery and pickup for customers.