Amazon to accept food stamps for online grocery purchases

Amazon to accept food stamps for online grocery purchases
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Amazon and six other companies are partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to start accepting food stamps for grocery purchases online.

The two-year pilot program, slated to begin this summer, is an effort to make healthier foods more readily accessible in urban and rural communities to people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Through the pilot program, the USDA said it will be able to test both the ability to order online and pay with SNAP benefits. Program participants now get an electronic debit card instead of paper coupons, making online transactions feasible.

But the USDA said participants are not going to be able to use the money provided to pay for service or delivery charges when ordering groceries online.

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Other companies participating in the pilot program include FreshDirect in New York; Safeway in Maryland, Oregon and Washington; ShopRite in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; Hy-Vee Inc. in Iowa; and Hart's Local Grocers and Dash's Market in New York.

“We are committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers the lowest prices possible,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

“Amazon’s selection and competitive pricing can improve the grocery shopping experience for SNAP participants while helping them extend their benefits further.”

Amazon currently offers free two-day shipping with an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $99 a year. In April, the company started offering membership for $10.99 a month.