Like most grocery stores in the US, Walmart has been accepting EBT cards (SNAP benefits) for many decades. However, starting in 2019, they officially began accepting EBT payments for online grocery delivery and pick up orders. You can also pay with your EBT card when purchasing groceries through the Walmart app.
Walmart’s flexibility with SNAP recipient customers makes them an extremely popular place to shop among those living on limited incomes.
SNAP benefits are accepted as payment in all Walmart stores across the US. However, online shoppers in Alaska, Montana, and Louisiana unfortunately cannot pay with SNAP benefits when shopping on Walmart.com or through the Walmart app.
Items You Can Purchase With EBT
EBT cards can only be used to purchase qualifying grocery items.
Examples of items that qualify for EBT purchase include…
- Fresh produce
- Dairy products
- Meat, fish, and eggs
- Packaged foods
- Canned foods
- Shelf-stable beverages
Essentially, anything that is considered a grocery item can be purchased with your EBT card. This includes things that qualify as “junk food.”
However, there are a number of things that you cannot purchase with your EBT card.
Examples of items that do not qualify for EBT purchase include…
- Alcohol and tobacco products
- Hot foods (such as hot bar items, made-to-order sandwiches, etc.)
- Household essentials like toilet paper or paper towels
- Anything that cannot be eaten
- Health and wellness products
- Vitamins and supplements
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
How To Get An EBT Card
First, let’s get clear on what exactly an EBT card is…
EBT stands for “electronic balance transfer.” Your EBT card is used to access your SNAP benefits, commonly referred to as “food stamps.”
SNAP stands for “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” and refers to the federal program designed to provide low-income individuals and families with monthly grocery assistance.
To qualify for an EBT card, you must apply through your state’s social services department. For example, where I live in Washington State, the agency responsible for distributing SNAP benefits is the Department of Social and Health Services.
To find out if you are eligible for food stamps and to learn how to apply in your state, click here.
The standard process for applying for SNAP benefits involves submitting an application online that will ask you detailed questions about your income, expenses, and financial need. You are legally required to provide the most accurate information possible. Intentionally providing inaccurate information to receive government benefits is considered a serious form of fraud.
After you submit your application, you will be contacted directly by a state employee who will conduct an interview either over the phone or in person. This interview is designed to verify the information you provided in your application and reach a determination of your eligibility for SNAP benefits.
Once your interview is complete, you will be notified as to your acceptance or rejection from the program. If you are accepted as a SNAP benefits recipient you will receive a letter in the mail along with your EBT card. You will be issued a four-digit PIN which you will need to remember and use when you shop with your card in person.
Along with your acceptance into the program, you will be approved for a specific monthly funds amount based on your individual needs. Food stamps amounts can range anywhere from about $20 a month to as much as several hundred dollars per month. Your account will be reloaded with your monthly allowance on the same day each month. However, this day varies depending on when your application is approved.
How To Pay With EBT At Walmart
Paying with your EBT card at Walmart is as simple as paying with any other payment method. Below, we will go over the details of paying with your EBT card in store as well as online for grocery delivery and pick up orders.
To shop with your EBT card at Walmart, simply visit any Walmart retail location with your EBT card and shop as you normally would.
Remember that you will only be able to pay for qualifying grocery items. If you plan to buy anything that is not EBT eligible, you will need to provide a secondary form of payment to cover the difference.
Once you’re ready to check out, you can use any register, including self checkout. Simply proceed through the checkout process as you normally would and provide your EBT card when your payment is requested.
Similar to paying with a debit card, your EBT card features a unique PIN that you will need to enter to complete your payment.
Be aware that if your EBT balance is less than the amount of your order, the transaction will be declined. If this happens, you can ask a cashier to check the balance of your EBT card. Once you know your balance, the cashier can help you pay for that specific amount with your EBT card, and then you will have to pay for the remainder with another form of payment (or return the excess items).
Online (Grocery Delivery & Pick Up)
One of the major benefits of shopping at Walmart is that they accept EBT payments online for qualifying items. This means that you can shop through Walmart’s grocery delivery or grocery pickup service with your food stamps.
To pay with your EBT card on Walmart.com, simply add EBT eligible items to your shopping cart and enter your EBT card information at checkout.
If you would like to shop through the Walmart app with your EBT card, follow the instructions below…
Paying with your EBT card means that Walmart will waive the typical $35 order minimum for grocery pickup. This means that by shopping with your EBT card, you can receive Walmart grocery delivery for free without having to pay for a Walmart Plus Membership.
For a detailed look at how to use your SNAP benefits on Walmart.com, click here.
Other Forms Of Payment Accepted At Walmart
In addition to EBT, Walmart also accepts the following payment methods…
- Cash (in-store only)
- Personal checks (in-store only)
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Walmart gift cards
- WIC (in-store / only available online in some states)
- Healthy Benefits and OTC Network benefits cards
Can you buy hot food with EBT?
No. Hot foods are not eligible for EBT purchase as they are not considered grocery items.
What is the most food stamps one person can get?
This depends on many different factors. Maximum food stamp thresholds change frequently based on political circumstances and administrative decisions. Just in the past several years, the maximum amount you can receive through the SNAP program has been raised and lowered numerous times. Plus, as an individual receiving food stamps, the maximum amount you can qualify for depends on your income, monthly expenses such as rent and utility bills, where you live (food stamp policies vary dramatically by state), and whether you are purchasing food for other people as well. If you claim dependents, you can qualify for higher food stamp thresholds than individuals who are only shopping for themselves.
Can you buy vitamins with food stamps?
No. Unfortunately, vitamins are not considered grocery items and are therefore not covered by SNAP.
Does Walmart accept EBT for plants?
No. Food stamps can only be used to purchase grocery items, such as packaged, shelf-stable foods, fresh produce, meat, fish, dairy products, etc. Even if a plant is technically edible, it cannot be purchased with food stamps if it is being sold in a pot or planter. The only exception to this is when you purchase fresh herbs such as basil in the produce section, which sometimes come in small, biodegradable pots.