Retail giant Target will let shoppers pay for online orders of food using SNAP benefits starting later this year, joining competitors Amazon and Walmart.
Target customers will receive their food orders through the company’s delivery service arm Shipt, and the option to pay with food stamps will likely begin in late April, the company told Reuters. EBT cards will allow customers to pay at the checkout with their electronic benefits transfer card (or EBT) in much the same manner as a credit or debit card.
“That’s why the digital SNAP payment option we’re rolling out this year is so important to food and beverage,” Target’s chief food and beverage officer, Rick Gomez, said earlier this month during an earnings call. It will make the entire shopping experience in-store as well as online more accessible for all customers, regardless of their payment method. “
Target officials said earlier this month that revenue from food and beverage sales is growing quickly as more shoppers order groceries online. Food and beverage purchases generated $20.3 billion in revenue for Target in 2021, up from $15 billion in 2019. The percentage of customers placing food orders online rose to more than 13.% in 2021, up from just over 2% in 2019.
Some Target locations already accept EBT payments in-store. Walmart began offering SNAP payments for online orders in June 2019. Amazon followed the example of Walmart one year later.
Customers who use a credit or debit card pay a $7 delivery fee for Shipt. Customer who use SNAP will pay the $7 shipping fee. Target did not respond to our request for comment on Thursday.
The Biden administration increased food stamp benefits by 25% last October for the 42 million Americans who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, marking the largest single increase in the program’s history. Each person on average saw their benefits rise by $36, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A family of four now qualifies for food stamps worth $835 per month, according to the USDA.
The food stamp program, which had been the target of cuts and restrictions by the Trump administration, is considered among the most effective anti-poverty programs. It’s particularly important for children, given the ample research that shows a link between food and performance in school.
Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering business, consumer and financial stories that range from economic inequality and housing issues to bankruptcies and the business of sports.
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