Payments processing platform Forage has received $22m in Series A investment to ramp up acceptance of SNAP EBT online grocery transactions in the US.

This is expected to benefit 42 million SNAP EBT (earlier called food stamps) beneficiaries in the US.

The fundraising was led by fintech company Nyca. PayPal Ventures, EO Ventures as well as angel investors including Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta also took part in the round.

Forage plans to use the fresh infusion mainly to develop products and speed up hiring efforts to support its growth.

Forage co-founder and CEO Ofek Lavian said: “This capital will help accelerate Forage’s mission to democratise access to government benefits.

“We’re proud of the technology we’ve built and are excited to expand the acceptance of SNAP EBT payments online for low-income Americans.”

Currently, one in eight people in the US obtain government aid to purchase groceries, stated Forage.

Although over 250,000 physical stores accept SNAP aids through EBT in-store, the acceptance rate of online EBT transactions is very low.

Several reasons including dearth of transportation, staying in food desert areas where there are hardly any grocery stores, fear of shopping out in person due to Covid-19 are some of the difficulties faced by SNAP beneficiaries.

Despite a rising trend in online grocery shopping in the US during the pandemic, SNAP recipients have lagged behind due to low online acceptance.

Forage stated that it has employed a team to specifically look after EBT and payments. The team includes ex-Instacart and Freshop staff.

Last month, Forage rolled out its app on Shopify to support acceptance of online EBT payments.