Instacart and Shipt plan new payment methods for low-income shoppers

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NEW YORK, NY, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Grocery delivery services Instacart and Target Corp’s (TGT.N) Shipt said on Wednesday they would expand their payment methods for low-income shoppers in line with efforts by the White House to accelerate healthy eating and reduce diet-related illnesses.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced plans to end hunger in the country and increase healthy eating initiatives by 2030. As part of this initiative, the Biden administration wants to update regulations allowing online shopping with programs such as food stamps, temporary assistance to the needy. Families (TANF) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Instacart, which has allowed food stamps or electronic transfer card purchases of Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT) benefits for the past two years for some grocers, said in a statement that it plans to include TANF in 2023, and is also pushing to offer food stamp payments to all partner grocers.

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More than 21.4 million American households use food stamps and nearly 3 million families order their groceries online, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Food stamps limit shoppers to soft drinks, cold foods, seeds, and plants.

Expanding payment options for low-income shoppers could help delivery platforms drive low-income grocery shoppers away from Walmart.com (WMT.N) and Amazon.com, which also offer options payment by food stamps. Read more

More than 783,000 households receive cash benefits from TANF, which helps families buy toiletries and other essentials.

Instacart’s TANF add-on will cover non-food items and service and delivery charges, which are not covered by SNAP EBT benefits. The company previously waived its $3.99 delivery fee for food stamp purchases.

Shipt shoppers will also be able to pay for their orders with SNAP EBT in 2023. The delivery company currently powers grocer Meijer’s website and allows food stamp payments through this platform. Target.com customers can shop for groceries online with SNAP EBT and their deliveries are powered by Shipt.

Shipt currently does not offer any WIC or TANF payment options. Instacart does not currently offer WIC payments.

Online retail giant Amazon is offering discounted Prime subscriptions of $6.99 per month to subscribers participating in government assistance programs. However, subscriptions cannot be paid directly with services. Amazon Prime membership usually costs $14.99 per month.

SNAP EBT Amazon shoppers also receive additional discounts of up to 15% on select meats, produce and toiletries purchased from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods.

Walmart and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the companies had any announcements related to White House health initiatives.

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Reporting by Arriana McLymore; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Elaine R. Knight