In an effort to mitigate fraud for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Oklahoma has been chosen to test drive a mobile payment option as an alternative payment choice to using the traditional SNAP card.
According to the USDA, SNAP helps put food on the table for millions of low-income families and children. With card skimming and other types of card-related fraud on the rise, one way to curb these fraudulent activities is to use mobile technology. Customers’ accounts are protected by using multi-level authentication.
The Agricultural Act of 2018 was enacted to authorize the use of mobile technologies in order for SNAP participants to use as payment for their benefits at the point-of-sale. This enables SNAP participants to enter their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card into their mobile phone and initiate SNAP purchases by tapping and scanning their device, all without using their EBT card.
The pilot is currently limited to five states: Illinois, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Missouri, and now Oklahoma. Once it has been determined that the mobile payment technology is successful, this pilot may be extended nationwide.
Tom Pennington, Oklahoma Human Services financial administrator said:
“Oklahoma is excited to be a pilot state in the effort to create a quicker, more efficient and secure way of providing SNAP benefits to our state’s most vulnerable citizens. This effort not only reduces the risk of fraud by protecting customer’s accounts through multi-level authentication, it also reduces the stigma associated with SNAP benefits and promotes dignity for our customers while they are trying to put food on the table for their families. We are proud to dedicate the resources and staff required for this pilot to continually modernize our programs and find ways to better serve our customers.”
Retailers and SNAP participants are not required to take part in this new mobile payment pilot program. Customers can continue using their EBT cards in order to make their payment.