Does Costco Take EBT or Snap? (Everything You Need to Know)

Updated December 7, 2022 by Kyle
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Whether you’re new to EBT, or a longtime Costco member, you’re probably wondering if Costco will take your EBT card. Also, does EBT at Costco work just like it does at the grocery store? I’ll breakdown all of your questions, and also talk about the EBT product exclusions at Costco so you can shop smart and not have any surprises when you get to the checkout aisle.

Does Costco Take EBT or Snap? (Everything You Need to Know)

Does Costco Take EBT Cards and SNAP?

Yes.

All Costco warehouses are obligated to accept both and they make it pretty easy to do so.

What Exactly is the Difference Between SNAP and EBT?

Think of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as an upgraded version of food stamps.

But now, instead of carrying around the physical “stamps”, you’ll get your food benefits in the form of an EBT Card (Electronic Benefit Transfer), which you essentially use like a debit card at Costco.

This is very brief explanation of EBT, if you need more information CLICK HERE.

See Also: Does Sam’s Club Take EBT? We Break It ALL Down

Can I Use My EBT Benefits Online at Costco.com?

No.

Unfortunately, EBT Cards are NOT an accepted payment method on the Costco website.

Do I Have to be a Costco Member to Use my EBT Card?

Yes, but here’s a clever workaround…

If you have a friend who’s a Costco member, ask them to buy you a Costco cash card for a agreed upon amount, then repay them.

A seamless way to repay them is by withdrawing cash from your EBT card’s “Cash Account” at any ATM.

See Also: Not a Member? 8 Cool Things You Can Still Do at Costco

Can I Shop With a Member, But Use My EBT Card?

Yes.

You can definitely shop with a family member or friend, use their Costco card for entry, but pay with your EBT card.

The cashier will scan the Costco membership card, then you simply pay with your EBT card, grab your receipt, and head out the door.

Costco does NOT ask cashiers to match the name on the membership to the name on the card being used to pay.

What CAN I Buy at Costco with EBT?

According to the USDA, here are the main things you CAN buy with your EBT card at Costco.

– Meat, Fish, Chicken

– Fruits and Vegetables

– Dairy Products

– Breads and Cereals

– Non-Alcoholic Drinks

– Snack Foods

– Seeds and Plants for your Garden

See Also: Here’s Exactly How Costco Grocery Delivery Works

What CAN’T I Buy at Costco with EBT?

And of course there are some regulations that don’t allow you to buy the following items with your EBT card at Costco.

– Alcohol – Beer, wine, and hard liquor.

– Tobacco Products – Cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

– Health Products – Vitamins, medicines, and supplements.

– Live animals –  Except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store

– Hot Foods – This includes prepared foods from the Costco Food Court that are hot at the point of sale.

– Pet Foods – Includes fish food and hamster food.

– Household Items – Includes cleaning supplies and paper products.

– Hygiene Items – This includes diapers, feminine hygiene products, and cosmetics.

– Electronics

– Jewelry

How Do I Buy Items From Both Lists?

If your Costco purchase includes approved and non-approved EBT items it’s totally doable but you need to be organized.

I suggest separating items in your cart and making 2 separate purchases.

UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter, I’m told there is NO need to separate your purchases.

Specifically, they said, “You can use your EBT card first, and then pay the balance in whatever method you want. A cashier might tell you what the balance is after EBT, but they might say nothing at all if you see it and start paying the balance first.”

Thanks for the great tip.

See Also: Does Costco Accept MasterCard? Here’s the Real Dealio

Is It Worth Joining Costco in Terms of Savings?

Depends.

A Costco membership currently costs $60 and if you know the best items to buy, in terms of savings, a membership is totally worth it.

But if you walk into Costco without a plan, it becomes very easy to overspend.

Costco is the king of tricking your brain into thinking you’re getting a good deal so be sure to compare prices with your local grocery store.

See Also: 7 Ways to Essentially Get a Costco Membership for Free

Is Costco an Approved WIC Retailer?

Short answer…it depends.

From doing a little bit of research, it appears to depend on your specific city and state as to whether Costco is a WIC approved retailer.

I found a great resource HERE that let’s you do a town search so you can see all the WIC approved stores in your area.

Can I Use EBT Funds at the Food Court?

No.

As mentioned earlier, the food court at Costco serves mainly hot food and that is a no-no when using your EBT card.

But I’m not sure about the soft-serve ice cream, does anyone know if that is allowed?

Can I Buy Gas at Costco with my EBT Card?

No.

But you can make an ATM withdrawal with your EBT card and take cash out of your “Cash Account” and use that to buy gas at Costco.

Be sure you understand the cash withdrawal limits on your EBT account before doing this as it might not be worth the savings.

See Also: 7 Things You Gotta Know About Buying Costco Gas

Can I Use My EBT Card at Costco’s Self-Checkout?

Yes.

Essentially your EBT card works like any credit card or debit card, so you can definitely use it in the self-checkout aisle at Costco.

It’s worth noting that if you try to buy something that isn’t allowed (see section above), you’ll get a message on the checkout screen informing you that it’s not an approved item.

Will Everyone in Line Know I’m Using an EBT Card?

No.

It makes sense that some EBT card users would rather not announce to the entire store that they’re using government assistance to buy their groceries.

Fortunately the way Costco checkout aisles are setup you really can’t see what payment method the customer in front of you is using, so it’s my opinion you have NOTHING to worry about.

Is the Return Policy Different for EBT Purchases?

No.

The same great Costco return policy exists on all EBT purchases.

This policy even extends to food and grocery items.

So if you’re not completely satisfied with an item, you can bring it back to Costco at ANY time for a full refund or exchange.

Can I Use the Business Center with my EBT Card?

Yes.

As long as you’re buying EBT eligible items from the Costco Business Center you’re good to go.

Thanks to commenter Joanne for setting me straight on this one.

EBT eligible items that the Business Center sells includes snack foods, non-alcoholic beverages, and meats.

Can I Use My EBT Card for Costco Grocery Delivery?

No.

Costco recently unveiled their new at-home Grocery Delivery service but because you have to utilize the Costco website to place your order, you CANNOT use your EBT card to make your grocery delivery order.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever used your EBT card to make a purchase at Costco? Was it an easy process and was your privacy protected?


By Kyle James

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Margaret

Great clear & concise information !

Susan M.

Thank you Kyle, all these Costco blogs I just came across, that you created, are full of good to know information!

I have a question though. I’m hopeful that you may know the answer. Do you know if I go into Costco with my mom (who has a membership), I shop for my own food. At check out they scan her membership card, but I use My EBT Card to pay for the food… Do you know if it will work? Will they allow me to use my foodstamps card with her membership? Or do the name on both the cards HAVE TO match?

I’m super hoping it will work ๐Ÿ˜• I love Costco. But I’m not there enough to pay for the membership.
Anyways,
Hopefully you have the time to check into this for me. If not it’s ok. We’re going tomorrow, ๐Ÿคž fingers crossed it all works out ! ๐Ÿ˜‰

jocelyn

Hi susan,

DId it work out for you using your mom’s card but paying with EBT card. I have the same situation with my daughter. Please let me kno.

Laura

The names do not have to match. No cashier is going to handle your SNAP card let alone check the name. So no worries!

Last edited 9 months ago by Laura
Joanne V.

You can use the ebt card at business center as long as you are buying food and non alcoholic beverages. I just used the ebt card recently.

Dan

boy, this site is great for telling freeloaders how to spend my tax money!

The Hate you give

Damn, God forbid you ever come on hard times. It’s people like you, that there is a stigma around normal struggling families asking for help. There use to be something called empathy and compassion. I wonder how many children would starve to death if there were not programs like this in the US. Look at all the third world countries, how many children/people are starving and dying?? But of course we have people like you to thank for the degradation of our society and future generations. “Evil prevails when good men do nothing”

Jamie

Your tax money is more spent on housing, feeding, and protecting child molesters than it is families in need. Maybe you should point your anger in that direction instead.

Sal Flanerty

I guarantee I have paid more taxes than you ever have in your entire life. But when you do industrial construction for a living and herniate a disk and cant work for 2 months, you might ask the gov. to give you back some of the money you have given them over the past 30 years. educate yourself moron.

M3STIZA

I have paid taxes my entire life and have a college degree but I was recently laid off of work. I don’t prefer to use assistance but as a single mother of 4 kids (with my ex-husband of 15 years) this program has been a blessing until I find another job. It is easy enough to cast judgment and speak on something you haven’t experienced but one can hope that life will teach you what words cannot.

Summer

I totally understand and support this! I have worked all my life and recently had two jobs to support my two kids as a single mom. I suffered an aneurysm and had to be in an inpatient rehabilitation facility then trying to find work after has been hard. We really never know what someone is going through or what life has served up. I know it is so embarrassing to me to be on it, but at the same time it essential to taking care of my kids at this time. It has definitely taught me to have compassion first. I wish people could extend that to more people instead of deciding the worse about everyone who may need a helping hand.

Dea

$34 a year that’s split between multiple agencies not just SNAP so please why are you crying? Over literal pennies? ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Children like you need to grow up.

Lyn

Dan, I used to be just like you !

Rene Chantilene

Hi! Thanks for all the info! I do have a question though. Can we purchase a prepared meal from the refrigerated section (not hot)? While they can be pricey, one night of one of those prepared meals would fit my budget!

jobseeker w/ new credential (not a freeloader)

In my experience, thereโ€™s no need to do SNAP eligible and ineligible items in separate transactions. You can use your EBT card first, and then pay the balance in whatever method you want. This seems more discreet than two separate transactions if you care about that. A cashier might tell you what the balance is after EBT, but they might say nothing at all if you see it and start paying the balance first.

Hope

If I have a membership to,Costco and use snap to pay my groceries, am I allowed to order grocery
Itโ€™s to be delivered?

Alice McIver

Can you type in your ent card numbers at Sam club and end at Costco if I canโ€™t swipe my card

Beverly Solock

Can I use my EBT card to get coffee

Brittany

Today costco wouldn’t allow me to use my mom’s EBT card because it had her name. They told me all cards must match the name on the membership card now.

ImaChristian

Your Moms EBT card has to be presented by your Mom with the Costco member who they’re accompinied by. It can be a friend or family but they must be a Costco member. If you are a member, and your Mom isnt, she can shop with you, but she has to be present while her card is being used unless she has arranged an alternative that allows someone to shop for her. Its easy to get that done but you will need to ask the propers how to get clearance for certain services, so that your Moms food money is being used for her food.