UK supermarkets launch digital volunteer shopping cards

A banner advertising Asda's volunteer shopping card service
CASHLESS: Volunteer shoppers can use prepaid digital gift cards to get groceries for those in self-isolation

UK supermarket chains Asda and M&S Food are making it possible for customers who are self-isolating to prepay online for purchases that volunteer shoppers can then make in-store on their behalf.

The supermarket chains are leveraging their existing digital gift card services to facilitate the new option.

M&S Food’s We’re All in this Together cards are available for purchase online “and work using a barcode which is sent to the email address provided during online checkout,” the retailer says.

“The volunteer shopper then simply scans the barcode on their phone at the self-checkout or reads their e-gift card number to the colleague at the till, and the value is deducted from the customer’s e-gift card balance.”

Customers can use Asda’s Volunteer Shopping Card “to provide a volunteer who is doing your shopping for you with funds for them to spend at Asda,” the retailer says. “This avoids the need to hand them cash or give them your card details.”

“The Volunteer Shopping Card can be bought easily online. It can then be emailed to the volunteer or printed out and left in a safe place for the volunteer to pick up. The volunteer then shops using the card, makes the payment using the barcode in store, and leaves the shopping in a safe place.”

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