Fred Meyer, QFC enable EBT payment for SNAP online purchases

The service is now available to customers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
Fred Meyer storefront-Bellevue WA_Shutterstock
SNAP customers can pay via EBT on Fred Meyer's and QFC's mobile apps or websites. / Photo: Shutterstock

The Kroger Co.’s Fred Meyer multi-department store and QFC supermarket chains have begun accepting electronic benefits transfer (EBT) payment for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online orders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Though Fred Meyer and QFC have accepted SNAP benefits for years, their shoppers now can buy groceries through the retailers’ mobile apps or at and, Kroger’s Fred Meyer/QFC Division said Wednesday.

To use the EBT online service, customers create an account through the chains’ apps or websites and add an EBT account number as a new card under “My Account” and “Wallet.” After adding SNAP-eligible items to their virtual cart, and designating a pickup or delivery time, they select EBT as the payment method in checkout and enter the PIN to confirm the order. A secondary payment form is required cover SNAP-ineligible and nonfood items, such as taxes, tips and fees.

“Thousands of Fred Meyer and QFC shoppers place digital orders every week,” Tiffany Sanders, corporate affairs manager for Fred Meyer and QFC, said in a statement. “Now, we are opening our digital grocery shopping experience to more people, with fresh, affordable food conveniently available through pickup or delivery. Fred Meyer and QFC believe in being ‘Fresh for Everyone,’ and this is another important way we are connecting our neighbors to the foods that will help them live healthier, thriving lives.”

SNAP shoppers also are able to check out healthier options via the OptUP nutrition rating system, accessible through Fred Meyer’s and QFC’s apps and websites, the retailers noted. As customers fill their carts, they will see a nutrition score for their items and can explore better-for-you alternatives, as well as shop items for specialized diets, such as low-sodium and no added sugar, or that contain probiotics.

Overall, Fred Meyer operates 132 stores—ranging from range in size from 65,000 to 200,000 square feet—in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, while QFC’s store network encompasses 59 locations in western Washington and Portland, Oregon.

QFC storefront-Seattle_Shutterstock

QFC operates 59 supermarkets in Washington and Oregon, and Fred Meyer has 132 multi-department stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. / Photo: Shutterstock

Online grocery access for SNAP

Under the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Nutrition Service (FNS) in April 2019, 49 states (except Alaska) and the District of Columbia now allow SNAP beneficiaries to shop and pay for groceries online. Amazon, Walmart and Aldi are the only grocery retailers enabling SNAP online grocery shopping on a national scale. A number of chains, as well as Amazon, also accept SNAP EBT payments for online grocery orders, including through Instacart.

The USDA also is developing a pilot to allow SNAP consumers to use their smartphones to buy groceries at the checkout counter and is seeking states to participate in the program. The goal is enable SNAP participants to input their EBT card into a mobile device and make SNAP purchases at the point-of-sale without the presence of the card.

According to analyst Shawn Paustain at consumer data specialist Numerator, 49% of SNAP participants have used their benefits for online grocery purchases, compared with 67% of U.S. consumers who shopped for groceries online in 2022.

“For many SNAP recipients, they have shared that online shopping has granted them convenience of getting items delivered to them without having to make a trip to the store. But there still are some obstacles that retailers need to help SNAP recipients navigate,” Paustain told Winsight Grocery Business in an email. “SNAP recipients have felt that online pricing tended to be higher than what is offered in-store on top of additional delivery fees. One other theme was that produce quality was a major blocker to having high satisfaction, because while having one bruised fruit among a bunch might be fine for someone not on welfare, it isn’t the case for someone who depends on every item they purchase to be usable.”



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