The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide citizens eligible for financial support under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Oklahoma with the opportunity to receive benefits and make payments via NFC or QR code for relevant purchases on a mobile device.
The ministry plans to launch the service in partnership with agencies in five states as an alternative to the existing SNAP physical payment card. This solution will allow SNAP recipients to pay for essential products such as bread, fruits, and vegetables at authorized stores using a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.
The ministry’s message, published on the occasion of the implementation of this initiative, says that SNAP serves millions of low-income families every month. Mobile payments, which are considered the safest and most convenient way to buy groceries, are one of the ways to make it easier for busy families to prepare healthy food.
The new technology could also potentially help protect families from having their SNAP benefits stolen due to card scumming and other types of fraud.
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture of the United States Stacy Dean said that making payments by NFC or QR code is a step forward for the future of SNAP and many other ways through which the ministry’s programs use modern and innovative ideas to improve food safety.
The Deputy Minister also noted that digital wallets are fundamentally changing the practice of paying for purchases of goods. She stated that the ministry wants to make sure that SNAP uses the latest technology to improve access to benefits, reduce the risk of fraud and provide a better overall service to families.
In August 2022, the US Department of Agriculture announced its intention to test mobile payments using NFC and QR codes for contactless government benefits under the SNAP program.
As we have reported earlier, Mashreq and i2c Partner to Aid Fintech Payments in UAE.