EBT has been around since June 2004, and many grocery stores have incorporated it. State laws determine what one can and cannot buy with these cards.
As a Costco shopper, you may wonder if the store takes EBT cards and how it works. Read on to find out more;
Does Costco Take EBT?
Costco began accepting EBT cards on 28th October 2009 in all its locations.
However, EBT cards are only accepted when purchasing groceries and meats in-store, and they are not permitted at the Costco food court or Costco gas station. You cannot use it when purchasing pet food, alcohol, household supplies, or shopping online.
EBT is Electronic Benefits Transfer and is how people on government aid receive their benefits. EBT cards work the same way as debit cards or credit cards, except they are only available to people who receive government benefits.
P-EBT is Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer. When there are major disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government works with state governments to provide food assistance to needy people, and P-EBT is one of those programs.
Costco operates in the below states as of 2022:
- Puerto Rico
- North Dakota
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
One of the key limitations of using EBT cards is that they can only be used in physical stores, not online. Therefore, you have to go to your local store to use your card.
Benefits of Using EBT At Costco
SNAP benefits help low-income families, people with disabilities, and seniors pay for various food items at stores that accept SNAP.
EBT cards, or Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, are used to access SNAP benefits. Below are the benefits of using EBT at Costco.
- Seamless Shopping Experience
Shopping with an EBT card has never been easier. You can now go through the checkout line and swipe your cards like a credit or debit card.
- No Membership Fees
Using an EBT card is free, and there is no cost associated with using your card at any store, which will save on costs.
- Low Prices
Food items at Costco are sold at low prices; hence, you will be able to buy more food with your EBT card than at most grocery stores.
- More variety
Costco offers many unique produce options like fresh dates, figs, and exotic fruits like dragon fruit and passion fruit.
How To Apply for an EBT Card
EBT cards are only available for people approved for the SNAP program, and the eligibility factors vary from state to state. The main requirements include your Social Security Number (SSN), income, and expenses. You do not need to be a Costco member to be eligible for SNAP benefits.
Generally, any household with a gross monthly income below the poverty line qualifies for SNAP benefits.
Workers on strike, undocumented immigrants, and students attending university more than half the time are not eligible for SNAP benefits.
Suppose all members of your household receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF), Supplemental Security Income(SSI), or other types of general assistance. In that case, you may be deemed eligible since you are already approved for other means-tested programs.
You must apply for SNAP in your current state as the application processes vary. Once you do so, it is up to your state to determine whether you claim to qualify for SNAP benefits. The process generally lasts 30 days.
There are two methods to apply for an EBT card:
- Apply online through your state’s SNAP office website. You can find a link to your state’s application website at Benefits.gov.
- Apply in person at your state’s SNAP office. You can find the nearest office using Benefits.gov’s local office locator tool.
If your application is successful, you will receive your SNAP benefits on your Electronic Benefits Transfer(EBT) card. The benefits will be loaded monthly to your account.
How To Use Your EBT Card At Costco
Using an EBT card is as easy as paying with any other card.
You can also use your EBT card at third-party grocery stores and supermarkets, such as:
Below is how to use your EBT cards at Costco;
- Grab the approved items from the shelves and head to a checkout counter.
- Bring your items up to the clerk and hand them your EBT card.
- The clerk will swipe your card, take your payment and return the receipt along with any change due.
Costco also takes EBT at self-checkout:
- Swipe the card.
- Enter your PIN.
- Payment is successful!
Unfortunately, Costco purchases made with an EBT card have to be done in stores. You cannot order from Costco through third-party companies such as Instacart and Amazon and pay with an EBT card. However, this may change in the future.
Where Does Costco Accept EBT?
Costco accepts EBT at all of its locations.
However, some states do not have a Costco: Maine, Wyoming, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Arkansas. Here, the residents can shop online but will have to use cash or credit/debit cards.
What Can You Buy At Costco With EBT?
Below is a list of things to buy with an EBT card at Costco:
- Dairy Products
- Non-Alcoholic Drinks
- Poultry, Meat, Fish
- Vegetables and Fruits
- Bread and Cereals
- Canned foods
What Items Are Not Eligible with EBT At Costco?
There are a few items that you cannot buy with an EBT card at Costco. They include:
- Tobacco Products
- Postage Stamps
- Pet foods
- Cleaning Supplies
- Optical products such as eyeglasses or contacts
You also cannot use your EBT card at the following Costco departments:
- The Gas Station
- Travel Service
- The Pharmacy
- The Food Court
- Home Delivery
- Internet Services
Other Payment Methods Accepted At Costco?
Here are a few other payment methods that Costco accepts:
- All Visa Cards.
- The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi.
- Most PIN-based Debit/ATM Cards.
- Personal checks from current Costco Members.
- Business checks from current Costco Business Members.
- Traveler’s checks.
- Costco Shop Cards
You can use your Costco membership to get discounts at other stores! Just show your Costco membership card at these retailers for your special deal.
- Bed Bath & Beyond: $10 off $30 coupon in-store or online
- BJ’s Wholesale Club: Membership deals vary by state
- Sam’s Club: Membership deals vary by state, but currently, you can get a $20 gift card with a new Sam’sSam’s Club membership
WIC benefits cannot be used at Costco. This is because the store is not a WIC-approved retailer. WIC recipients have to shop at stores that have been approved to accept WIC benefits. Costco is not on the list of authorized retailers, so they won’t be able to take your card there.
Can You Pay Your Costco Membership with EBT?
Yes! You can purchase a Costco Cash Card with an EBT card to pay for your Costco membership. You will need to bring your EBT card to the customer service desk and ask them for a cash equivalent of your balance on the card.
Does Costco Accept Pandemic EBT?
Costco does accept pandemic EBT, also known as P-EBT. To use your P-EBT card at Costco, you’ll need to make sure that it’s been activated. Once activated, you can use the card to buy eligible items.
Can You Pay with EBT Online at Costco?
While Costco accepts most standard forms of payments, it doesn’t accept EBT cards online.
Can You Buy Costco Pizza with EBT?
No, you cannot use EBT at Costco Food Court. Food stamps are intended for groceries that can be stored and prepared in a home kitchen. The policy states that EBT cards are only valid for “foods for human consumption intended for the main part of meals.” This means hot food items prepared to be eaten on-site—such as pizzas and sandwiches—cannot be purchased with an EBT card.
Costco is the ultimate place to find the best food and household products, and they offer a great selection of organic healthy foods. If you have an EBT card, you can buy groceries at Costco with no hassle. You can also apply for Costco membership cards with your EBT, allowing you to enjoy discounts and rewards at Costco stores.