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You can use your EBT card in most of the major grocery stores and supermarkets in the USA. Some pharmacies, gas stations, farmers markets, and local food cooperatives also accept EBT cards as a payment method.
However, you can’t just buy anything you want. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has a list of approved EBT items. You can’t buy anything outside that list with your EBT card, such as medicines, alcohol and tobacco-based products.
If you’re looking for stores that accept EBT cards online and in-store, you’ll find a list of the 10 grocery stores that accept EBT in the USA this article.
What are EBT cards?
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards look like your regular bank debit or credit cards. The major difference is that you need them to access money that the federal government of the USA gives you through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP aids low-income families that can’t afford nutritious foods for survival.
The federal government will pay the full costs of living for families to the SNAP. The SNAP will then split the benefits and allocate them to anyone who registers and is eligible to access the benefits. You can use your card to buy approved grocery items.
What can you buy with EBT cards?
You can buy the following grocery items with your EBT card:
- Fresh produce: fruits and vegetables that have not been processed. For example, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, peppers, berries, carrots, asparagus, and more.
- Meat and fish: Meat like pork, beef, lamb, and chicken. Fish like tuna and mackerels.
- Breads and cereals: wheat bread, white bread, baguettes, tortilla, and banana bread.
- Dairy products: milk, yogurts, butter, cheeses, and ice cream.
- Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages: popcorn, pretzels, potato chips, iced tea, ginger beer, smoothies, lemonade, and more.
- Seeds and plants: you can buy seeds that grow food or buy plants with food-producing roots or plant bulbs, and bushes. For example, potatoes and squashes.
What can you not buy with EBT cards?
Below are the ineligible food items you can’t pay for with your EBT card at Walgreens:
- Alcohol & tobacco products: That includes beer, wine, and cigarettes. We explain why alcohol has strict regulations in the USA.
- Live animals: unless the animal is to be killed and cleaned or prepared for you before payment. For example, fish or other seafood removed from water and cooked right there at the store.
- Hot foods: any food that still has steam coming out of it or has just been removed from the fire or oven.
- Pet foods, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and cosmetics.
- Photo gift cards and other photography-related services.
- Service fees: delivery fees and other charges associated with your purchase or order.
3 things you should know before shopping with your EBT card
1. You can’t buy everything with your EBT card
As we mentioned above, most retail giants like Amazon and Walmart accept EBT. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits the use of EBT cards to pay for deliveries and other service fees. So even though a store says it accepts EBT for curbside and home delivery options, you can’t pay for them.
What they mean is that you can pay for SNAP-eligible grocery items on the website’s checkout page. Afterwards, you’ll need to add another card or payment method. This new card will cover the additional costs to your order. If you also have ineligible food items in your virtual cart, your alternative payment method will cover their costs as well.
If you need medical assistance and your insurance doesn’t cover it, we outline alternatives to EBT for buying low-cost medicine here. Also, if you have pets at home that need food, we share EBT alternatives for feeding your pets as well.
2. You can make returns with your EBT card
According to the USDA, all SNAP card holders should be treated equally with regular customers, especially when it comes to making returns.
You may return or refund an item bought with a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, so long as store policy allows it.
If you bought something and you’re not satisfied with the quality, you can return it for a full or partial refund. The store will refund the money into your EBT card, as it’s against the law to get cashback with your EBT card.
However, if the grocery store doesn’t have a return policy, then you’re stuck with the product. But don’t give up hope yet. We advise that you contact the store and discuss the best option for you moving forward.
3. You can’t withdraw cash with your EBT card at ATMs
The USDA prohibits anyone from withdrawing cash from ATM machines with their EBT cards. A few examples of other things you can’t do with your EBT cards include:
- Selling or trading your EBT cards for ineligible items. For example, alcohol and tobacco.
- Getting cashback (a service where you credit the grocery from your card and they give you physical cash in return).
Doing any of the above is illegal and you can get into trouble with the law. You could either pay a fine or face jailtime, depending on the state you’re in and the class of your offense. The penalty for food stamp frauds includes paying fines of up to $250,000 and facing imprisonment for up to 20 years.
10 major grocery stores that accept EBT
Note: This list only contains our selection of trusted grocery stores and supermarkets to shop from. It is not an exhaustive list of all the retailers in the USA. If you are seeking alternatives, check out these smaller and independent retail chains. That said, we are not affiliated with any other company except Amazon and will not receive commissions through your purchases from other retailers.
Amazon accepts SNAP EBT cards in all states of the USA, except in Alaska. But the store is currently working hard to expand its coverage in the country. You don’t need an Amazon Prime membership to use your EBT card, although you do need to have a personal account on the Amazon website. Amazon Business accounts won’t work with EBT payment.
You can also use your EBT card to buy Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market products on Amazon.com since Amazon owns both stores. Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh also accepts EBT payment in the brick-and-mortar stores.
While you don’t need an Amazon account to shop at Whole Foods Market with your EBT card, you’ll need one if you’re going to use Amazon Fresh’s “Just Walk Out” checkout technology. Creating an Amazon account allows you to scan items and add them to your virtual cart for payment without needing to offload a physical cart at the checkout.
Amazon also accepts EBT cards for refunds, so long as you come with the receipt for the items. The same policy also applies to Whole Foods Market stores.
Walmart accepts SNAP EBT cards in over 40 states in the USA. You can use your card online or in the brick-and-mortar stores. For online orders, you’ll need to have a Walmart account as there’s no option that allows you to order as a guest. If you’re a US resident in Alaska, you can use your EBT card when you arrive at the store for curbside pickup.
Walmart also accepts returns for purchases you make with your EBT card. You’ll need to go along with the card and receipt as proof of payment. If you’ve lost your Walmart receipt, there is a way to look it up online.
All Safeway stores in the USA accept SNAP EBT cards. You can make both in-store and online pickup purchases. Safeway also has its own Starbucks kiosks within their buildings. So you can use your EBT card to buy Starbucks coffee and snacks there.
But you should know that the regular Starbucks cafes don’t accept EBT payment. Safeway only has the permission to sell Starbucks items because it has the license to do so.
Safeway also accepts returns at the customer service desk for purchases made with EBT cards. You’ll need to bring your receipt and your card as evidence of payment, and the product in the packaging or condition you bought it in.
Kroger accepts SNAP EBT cards in-store and online, but only for curbside pickup orders. Pickup at Kroger is free for orders worth $35 or above. If your order is below that, you’d need to pay a $4.95 service fee with another payment method like your bank card.
If you’re not sure which products are SNAP EBT eligible on the Kroger online store, just search for the product and click on it. On the product information page, you should see a “SNAP EBT eligible” text on the “Pickup” button.
Kroger accepts returns, and you can take back an item within 30 days of purchase. The store may give you a full refund or exchange defective products with another one in a better condition.
ShopRite accepts EBT cards online and in-store. As expected, you’ll need an account to shop online. However, the retail corporative is only available in six states in the USA. The states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. If you reside outside these locations, you might want to consider other stores on this list. Shoprite accepts refunds for EBT card purchases.
H-E-B accepts SNAP EBT cards in-store and online. The store will charge you 10% extra for weighted items. These are items that are priced according to weight. For example, meat and fresh produce.
The purpose of the charge is to cover the costs if the item you receive weighs more than what you ordered. If it weighs less, you can report this to the store and they’ll refund your EBT card. H-E-B also accepts returns for EBT transactions, as long as you make the return within 90 days of purchase.
Aldi accepts SNAP EBT cards online and in-store. Aldi also makes delivery via Instacart, so you can pay for your groceries with the official Instacart app or website. The store charges a service and fee for every curbside pickup order. It costs $3.99 if your order is below $35, and $1.99 if your order is worth $35 or above. There’s also an extra charge for bags since Aldi shopping bags aren’t free.
Aldi also accepts returns for EBT card purchases, and will replace items or refund your card. You’ll have a better chance of getting a full refund if you come with your receipt.
Publix accepts SNAP EBT cards for all delivery and pickup orders. The store’s delivery system is powered by Instacart. So you’d need to place your orders using Instacart. After that, Instacart drivers will deliver your order to your apartment.
Publix will accept returns for EBT card purchases. If you lost the receipt, the employees can look through their computers system for it since you paid with an electronic card. If that doesn’t work, the store will give you a Publix gift card instead.
9. Sprouts Farmers Market
Sprouts Farmers Market accepts EBT payment, but only in the physical stores. So you can’t even split grocery and service fee payments on the website. Fortunately, the store has a return policy, and you can always take back items for a refund.
Walgreens is popularly known as a pharmacy and photography service store, although it sells groceries as well. You can’t use your EBT card to shop on the store’s website, but they’ll accept your card in the physical stores. The store’s return policy states that you can bring back an item within 30 days of purchase. You’ll need to bring a receipt as proof of purchase.
We’ve highlighted the best grocery stores that accept EBT in the . If you’re seeking more options, the SNAP has an online locator that can help you find retailers near you that accept EBT. If you’re also a fan of contactless payment methods, many grocery stores use PayPal to reduce checkout lines and improve customer experiences.
Irene is a Freelance content writer who helps professionals and startups build an audience with original content online. She has written over +100 articles, and is backed up by 3 years experience. She loves gaming and listening to music, while she’s not tapping furiously on her laptop.