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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a United States federal program that provides nutrition benefits to low-income individuals and families that are used at stores to purchase food. SNAP benefits are processed through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) debit card system. Instacart shoppers can fulfill orders that are fully or partially paid with SNAP EBT cards.

When Connect orders are identified as payable by an EBT card, the Instacart Shopper app uses a modified replacement logic. If an EBT-eligible item is unavailable, the app suggests other EBT-eligible items as replacements. Your Instacart Connect representative can help you design processes to support SNAP and EBT.

Requirements#

To support SNAP benefits and EBT payments through your retailer site, ensure your site is certified, update your catalog items, and update your storefront.

Certifications#

Catalog updates#

In your inventory file, add the column use_snap_eligible. For the items that are eligible for SNAP, set this field to true. Default is false.

Storefront updates#

  • Offer the SNAP EBT payment option and integrate with the API for a USDA-approved payment provider.
  • Communicate the changes that are in place for orders paid by EBT, including restrictions and the replacement policy.
  • Update the create order request to set the paid_with_ebt flag to true when the SNAP EBT option is selected.

An example process#

In the following example, the shopper selects pickup or delivery and the shopper confirms changes with the customer. Retailers develop the processes that work for their environment.

  1. Customer fills their cart, starts the checkout process, and selects delivery or pickup.
  2. Retailer site prompts for customer details and a payment method.
  3. Customer chooses to pay fully or partially with their EBT cart.
    • If the EBT card is the only payment method, the order must contain only EBT-eligible items and the order total must be within the amount available on their EBT card.
    • If the customer identifies a secondary payment card, the order can contain other items. The total of the EBT-eligible items must be within the amount available on the customer's EBT card.
  4. Retailer site creates the order with the paid_with_ebt flag set to true.
  5. Instacart batches the order as usual.
  6. Shopper begins shopping.
  7. As required, the shopper replaces unavailable EBT-eligible items with other EBT-eligible items or refunds items. If SMS messages are enabled, the shopper confirms changes with the customer.
  8. Customer receives their order through the method they selected.
  9. Retailer site processes payments through the EBT payment provider and any other selected payment provider.

Related topics#