By: Hannah Walker, Vice President, Political Affairs, FMI 

20171129-FMI-Home Shoot-0701r-LowResThe online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  purchasing pilot has garnered great interest over the past year. The pilot which first launched in New York last spring has expanded to parts of Washington, Oregon and Alabama, and more states are expected to join the pilot in the coming month. In the meantime, some FMI members are watching the pilot closely and awaiting their turn to enter the ecommerce market. While others are experimenting with different ways to serve their SNAP customers, FNS has permitted retailers to enable “click, collect and pay” for SNAP and WIC customers. However, there are a few rules you still must follow. 

Guardrails for SNAP and WIC retailers

For licensed SNAP retailers, FNS encourages you to think through the “rules of the road” you already abide by. Here are a few:  

  • If you allow others using government benefits to click, collect and pay at store, you can do so with SNAP. You must treat the SNAP customer the same as others.  
  • You need to ensure that your point-of-sale systems continue to exclude non-SNAP eligible products from being purchased with benefits.  
  • SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay service charges, delivery charges or taxes.  
    The payment must happen in person with the customer entering a PIN to complete the transaction.  
  • If you are interested in installing either or both solutions, FMI suggests you reach out and coordinate with both your State WIC agency and FNS to ensure you're in compliance and have any needed waivers.  

FNS supplied FMI with guidance for retailers who would like to utilize click, collect and pay for WIC, you can access it here

With families worried about coronavirus (COVID-19), and possible disruptions to their ability to get to the grocery store, there is a renewed interest in finding ways to service all customers, including those who utilize government benefits. Offering services such as click, collect and pay is just one-way FMI members can help ensure continued access.   

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