Does Whole Foods Take EBT? Yes, But There Are Exceptions

Updated February 27, 2024 by Kyle James

Whole Foods is a health-conscious grocery store that offers a wide selection of yummy, but rather pricey food options. With Whole Foods’ rise in popularity in recent years, I was interested if they accepted EBT. Not only does Whole Foods offer a wide range of quality foods in their in-store locations, but they have their own app, website, and even sell their own Whole Foods brands and items on Amazon. If you’re looking for where you can and cannot use your EBT card when it comes to all things Whole Foods grocery items, read on to find where and when Whole Foods accepts EBT.

Does Whole Foods Take EBT? Yes, But There Are Exceptions

Does Whole Foods Take EBT or WIC?

Yes and no.

All Whole Foods locations accept EBT (electronic benefits transfer) at all their in-person store locations.

However, most, but not all physical Whole Foods locations accept WIC (special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children).

Be sure to call your local Whole Foods store to verify if they accept WIC.

Does the Whole Foods Website Accept EBT?

Unfortunately, no.

The EBT terms for the Whole Foods online store differ from the policy of their physical store locations.

Whole Foods does not accept EBT for purchases made online via the Whole Foods Market website.

See Also: Whole Foods Return Policy: Here’s Exactly How It Works

Can I Use EBT On Whole Foods Purchases Through Amazon?

Yes and no.

You can make some online Whole Foods purchases via Amazon. But… it’s complicated.

Amazon itself allows for the use of your SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) EBT card.

Yet, if you add Whole Foods items to your cart through Amazon’s site, Amazon will not let you use your EBT card for those specific Whole Foods items.

That being said, with a bit of digging and trial-and-error, there are still ways to use your EBT card on Amazon to get your hands on some Whole Foods Items.

If you go to Amazon’s grocery section (Amazon Fresh), and search Whole Foods, you’ll notice Whole Foods’s 365 by Whole Foods Market brand appears.

You CAN buy the 365 by Whole Foods Market brand items on Amazon using your EBT card through this method.

What EBT-Eligible Whole Foods Items Can I Buy In-Store?

Now that you know you cannot use your EBT card to buy Whole Foods items online (unless it’s their 365 brand), what items can you actually buy in-stores?

At all Whole Foods locations, you can buy grocery items with your EBT card.

This includes items like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy Products
  • Bread
  • Snacks
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Frozen, canned, or fresh foods
  • Meats
  •  … and really all grocery food items imaginable.

That being said, this does not mean you can buy everything on your shopping list at Whole Foods.

What Items Are Ineligible To Buy Using EBT?

There are some non-grocery-related items that you cannot buy at Whole Foods with your EBT card.

Although some items are obvious like alcohol and nicotine products, others are less obvious.

For example, a couple head-scratchers that you CANNOT purchase include ready-made “hot foods/meals” and vitamins.

Items that are in-eligible at Whole Foods with EBT include:

  • Ready-made HOT foods/meals
  • Vitamins
  • Pet Supplies
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Tobacco Products
  • Non-Baby Food Related Items (i.e. diapers)
  • Cleaning Supplies

If you wish to buy these products in-store at Whole Foods, be sure to have an alternative payment method with you other than your EBT card.

To be clear on the “hot foods” dealio, you CAN buy premade meals that are cold or frozen, which you then heat and serve at home.

You just CAN’T buy foods that are hot at the time of purchase.

Can I Buy a Sandwich with EBT?


I personally asked a Whole Foods employee this question and was told, “Yes, as long as it’s cold.”

So anything that’s on the “fresh pack” wall, including all sandwiches, are eligible.

Many of the items in the “hot bar” section are also sold cold on the fresh pack wall.

So just buy them cold and heat them up at home.

I was also told that if items from the fresh pack wall ring up ineligible, just inform the cashier and they’ll do a manual override.

What About Sushi at Whole Foods?


Sushi is absolutely an eligible purchase as it’s always sold cold.

How Exactly Do I Use My EBT Card At Whole Foods?

An EBT card can be used just as you would a debit card or credit card at checkout.

Be sure to follow the checkout payment system’s swipe and PIN instructions on-screen with your own unique 4-digit PIN number.

If you don’t have enough funds on your EBT card to pay for your entire order, you can split your total into multiple payment methods.

Then you can use a debit, credit, or gift card to pay for the outstanding funds.

Or, you can also ask the cashier to kindly return some items of your choice.

You can always check your EBT card balance by calling a customer service helpline at 1-888-328-6399 or checking online at

Can I Use EBT in Conjunction With Curbside Pickup?


You can use your EBT card with Whole Foods curbside pickup service but it has some kinks that need to be worked out.

Thanks to commenter Mary, some items that are eligible for EBT are not ringing up as such and she’s being charged for them.

In her case, it was butter and Kefir, but I’m sure there are others.

The problem is that Whole Foods corporate doesn’t seem interested in fixing the issue and is passing the buck back to individual stores.

Has anyone else experienced this issue?

Ask the Reader: Have you ever used your EBT card at Whole Food or do you stick to more budget friendly grocery stores?

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.


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Mary Miller

Kyle, after spending very frustrating 24 hours with a FAILED EBT problem with Whole foods (won’t accept “butter” or “Kefir”) for doing a pick up service, spending 2 hours arguing with their 877 food pick up service phone number, where the supervisor couldn’t either fix the problem or cancel the order (telling me the store has to do this), BUT if I GO into the store and walk the butter and Kefir (both items by a specialized dairy for people with celiac’s and other gastric disturbances not “gassy”) IT WOULD BE ACCEPTED FOR EBT.

This is ABLEISM at it’s finest. Both my husband and I have cerebral palsy, gathering up food in various isles since all their products are not in one location (nuts in 5 places throughout the store), the need for a pick up service when you are not feeling well, should be a no brainer. I am not asking them for something they can’t fix if they wanted to, instead it became a 5 hour dilemma that the store is more than ‘understandable’ but cannot fix the EBT errors or cancel an order, this is up to their 877 customer service number to handle, but WILL NOT, passing back to the store.

The representative at Whole foods wanted to let me know that they get between 2-5 calls a day because of EBT errors and irate callers, because there is seemly NO WAY TO FIX this problem. It may come down to individual stores to pull away from Amazon to fix these serious errors, or I am certain stores will not only lose business but a possible disability lawsuit could certainly happen. If I could walk in and make it back to the dairy department, opening their glass doors and getting the items out, walking it to checkout, I can get my EBT order covered. This is ridiculous. Where does the buck stop here?

Justin Andrew Brown

Uhm in your very special case it’s definitely an issue that should be addressed as it’s a very simple one to fix.

It’s already in the in-store database as an acceptable purchase, so more than likely there’s a separate independent database for the method you’re using through them.

Ideally it should be the same database and that would eliminate all the problems and stress , however they seem to have done their online in a way as to force people to come inside and use their EBT.

That aside, by no means would it lose them any amount of significant business,ever.
That’s just the facts, which would be precisely why it won’t be fixed for a while until someone forces their hand… Which unfortunately is also unlikely.

Dee Jay

WF, via Amazon, dictates which food items that are EBT eligible, in general, including if purchased from their physical store, are not designated as “SNAP eligible” online. while other food items, besides their store brand, are designated as “SNAP eligible”. As long as a food item meets the EBT guidelines. WF should accept EBT payment via Amazon, for all those items, not some, especially in light of their whopping $10 delivery charge.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dee Jay

I normally shop at cheaper supermarkets, but today was my first time testing my EBT card at Whole Foods. I bought a DIY salad (from the salad bar) and a hot soup. I was surprised to see that my card only covered the salad, so I Googled when I left the store and found this page. Now it makes sense.

I read the commenter’s frustrating experience below with the kefir and butter. That definitely does sound like ableism, as she stated. If WFM is receiving 3-5 irate calls per day about EBT issues, they need to fix it. Yes, it’s possible they would be legally liable.


Why wasn’t I able to buy vegetable plants and seeds with my EVT card at WFM ?

Kk H

Because any attempt made to grow your own Non- fertilized Healthy garden won’t kill you as early as the Govt ( you know the one that issued your card) would like. Just Sayin