The partnership between First Data and the USDA’s SNAP online purchasing pilot is an important milestone in the digital journey enabling EBT online with Amazon, Walmart, and Wakefern.
Consumers expect to shop where they want, when they want, and pay for goods how they want. Merchants like Amazon and Walmart have been empowering the majority of consumers to shop “their way” for years via robust websites and mobile apps. Yet for many shoppers, this simple concept is just now becoming a reality.
In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants will be able to pay for their groceries online for the first time ever. The initiative is driven by the 2014 Farm Bill – and powered exclusively by… you guessed it… First Data’s digital commerce technology. First Data’s Online PIN entry solution allows SNAP EBT shoppers to make online grocery purchases utilizing a digital PIN entry device to enter their PIN number at leaders in online grocery: Amazon, Walmart, and Wakefern.
Simply put, this two year pilot enables these consumers to shop where (online), when (anytime), and how (EBT online payment) they choose.
"People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online. As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in the USDA release.
Secretary Perdue’s quote is spot on. And if there is one thing he can count on, it’s that digital payments technology will continue advancing at a frantic pace. That pace of innovation can certainly benefit merchants and consumers, but will do so if, and only if, our industry can democratize it for all consumers. That’s the beauty of the USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot. While concepts such as online ordering, instant delivery, and in-app payments have been top of mind for Chief Marketing Officers at retailers up and down the Fortune 500 for years, they only reach their full potential when all consumers can pay how they want, when they want, and using their preferred method of payment.
"This pilot, which we hope builds out into a robust national program available at all grocers, is an important step forward for financial inclusion, " said Nandan Sheth, Head of Global Digital Commerce at First Data. "At First Data, the ability to democratize commerce for all consumers is core to our vision, and ultimately to our success. "
First Data’s Digital Commerce technology enables secure commerce across a wide range of platforms, through a myriad of mobile wallets and foreign payment types, and does so online, on mobile, in-store, at the pump, in-app, and through connected devices like your car. We’re building connectivity across the ecosystem, and leveraging our robust size, scale, and partnerships to simplify commerce globally.
The USDA’s announcement was a huge win for the industry; and First Data is incredibly proud to be playing our part in an effort to help all shoppers buy their groceries digitally.