New guidance to help convenience retailers to support customers who are grocery shopping on behalf of others during the COVID-19 outbreak has been published by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

It has been developed to advise convenience retailers about best practice on offering and processing “card not present” payments during the COVID-19 outbreak for volunteers purchasing groceries on behalf of vulnerable customers or people who are self-isolating.

Card not present (CNP) payments are an alternative for customers who are unable to come into store, the details are typically provided over the phone by the customer and entered by the retailer into the card terminal.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have seen how convenience retailers have quickly adapted to ensure that they can continue to serve their communities through a range of measures including offering grocery delivery services, introducing social distancing measures and dedicated shopping times for vulnerable customers and NHS workers.

“Our new guidance will enable local shops to continue to support their local communities, including those who are shopping on behalf of vulnerable friends, family and neighbours.”

The guidance on card not present payments links to the ACS guide to offering home delivery services. This has also been updated to include new assured advice from ACS’s partners Surrey & Bucks Trading Standards, which covers how to display pricing, and issues around premium pricing and delivery charges.

The CNP guidance and the updated home delivery guide are available to download from the ACS website.