Does Costco Take EBT? 7 Fool-Proof Ways To Shop Affordably

Costco is often a go-to place for grocery shopping for many. However, those who wish to purchase healthy food sources are left wondering whether Costco takes EBT. You are in for a treat, as the information I have gathered on this topic will not disappoint you!

Quick Summary

All Costco locations accept EBT, letting EBT cardholders use their benefits to buy eligible food items like dairy goods, fresh produce, meat, and poultry. Note that you cannot utilize your EBT or SNAP benefits to pay for transactions at the Costco food court. Moreover, although there is a workaround, EBT is only possible at Costco with a subscription. Using certain tricks and tips, you can spend a smaller sum at Costco with the help of EBT benefits.

Can I Use EBT At Costco For a Discount?

The Costco retail locations readily accept payments through EBT cards.

All Costco locations support EBT, so you can take advantage of its benefits and get special prices on a range of food products at nearby warehouses.

This offers the perfect opportunity to get incredible savings on these items. It would help if you kept in mind that you are limited to using your EBT card in Costco warehouse stores to buy bulk items.

Does Costco Accept EBT At All Locations?

Each store in the country happily accepts EBT benefits.

You can use your card anytime, allowing you to get what you’re looking for and relish in an array of delectable treats.

Can I Use EBT For Purchases At

The Costco website does not accept using your EBT card for online food payments.

This restriction limits the usage of EBT to stores in-person only. You can still go over the weekly specials online before heading in person. However, doing so can be tricky since online stores usually offer greater variety and appealing deals.

Nevertheless, Costco supports several payment options as you shop online. For example, you can use Costco Shop Cards, the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi, MasterCard, Discover, and Visa.

On the other hand, if you prefer using your EBT card when buying groceries online, you can check out alternative stores. These include Albertsons, Amazon, Kroger, and ShopRite.

You can use these platforms to use your SNAP benefits for delivery and pickup orders. Remember that these additional delivery and service fees can be linked with your delivery or pickup order and may not be refunded under your SNAP benefits.

Does Costco Food Court Take EBT?

Unfortunately, EBT or SNAP benefits are ineligible in the Costco food court. You have to carry out additional steps if you want to pay for what you are eating. 

Start using your EBT card to pay for a food court voucher soon after waiting in the usual line. You can then utilize the voucher for payment for what you eat in the food court. You must know that only some Costco locations allow EBT payments in its food court, so you must verify with the nearby store first.

Still, there may be an option based on the SNAP rules in your state. You can use your EBT card to pay for the prepared items in the Costco food court by withdrawing money from your EBT cash account and then using that funds to pay for your purchase.

The plus side is that you may use this service even if you are not a Costco member. This means you don’t have to pay for membership to enjoy eating in the food court.

Does Costco Business Center Accept EBT?

Yes! You’re good to go if you’re shopping for EBT-eligible goods at the Costco Business Centre.

Snack foods, non-alcoholic beverages, and poultry are among the many EBT-eligible items offered at the Business Centre.

You can make purchases with assurance in any Costco Business Centre if you hold an EBT card or SNAP/Food Stamps. Similar store policies operate at all Costco locations, although those locations mainly assist entrepreneurs and provide shipping for small enterprises.

Compared to gold members, Business members embrace the further advantage of an additional hour of early entry for particular customers (Monday through Friday). The terms and conditions are always the same regardless of which store you visit.

Can Only Costco Members Use The EBT Card?

Yes. However, an exciting workaround can be used even if you are not a Costco member and want to use EBT benefits for shopping there. 

If you know a friend who is a Costco member, you may ask them to buy a Costco cash card for a mutually beneficial amount. Then you can later pay them back.

You can use any ATM to withdraw money from your EBT card’s “Cash Account” to repay your buddy. By tapping into the ease of using your EBT card, the approach facilitates a simple transaction between you and your pal.

Benefits of Using EBT Cards At Costco

Costco’s usage of EBT cards complies with its pledge of offering equal opportunity to all customers.

Costco is making it easier for low-income households to get their hands on the same quality products as others by using EBT cards.

EBT cardholders may purchase food along with other eligible items, like paper and cleaning products, for a lesser cost, saving them from the strain of paying the total price.

EBT cardholders may also use the same discounted prices as every other customer. This is due to Costco’s commitment to reasonable pricing. The approach demonstrates Costco’s unwavering devotion to those in need while continuing to offer the best services and products to a broad range of customers.

Steps To Use EBT At Costco

Just like your regular credit or debit card, using an EBT card at Costco is straightforward.

  1. When you are checking out, show your EBT card to the cashier.
  2.  The cashier will enter your purchase’s total price into the computer database.
  3.  The cashier will need you to type in your personal identification number (PIN).
  4.  After you input your PIN, the cashier will handle the order and give you a receipt as proof that your purchase was successful.

It’s essential to keep your receipt since it shows the authenticity of every transaction.

In addition, Costco will provide you with an invoice that includes the balance of your account. You can make sure that every payment is kept accurate and updated.

EBT Eligibility Criteria

EBT benefits are accessible to those who fulfill specified financial and employment criteria.

To be eligible, households must come in under the USDA’s stated income limit every year. The total number of family members is the foundation for deciding this limitation, providing equitable consideration.

Also, anyone seeking EBT support must prove they have little qualifying income or are in an unfavorable financial situation. In addition, applicants must be Americans or legal citizens of the state where they have filed their benefit request. Collectively, these standards establish a framework to evaluate eligibility to assist people most in need.

What Can I Buy With EBT At Costco

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  •  Canned goods
  •  Bakery items
  •  Frozen foods
  •  Dairy products
  •  Seafood
  •  Meat and poultry
  •  Non-alcoholic drinks beverages

In short, you can buy a wide variety of nutritious foods. For just a few kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits, Costco happily accepts EBT cards, assuring that those on limited incomes continue to afford nutritional meal choices.

Items You Can Not Buy With EBT Card at Costco

Given the fact that these products are considered unneeded for addressing basic needs, the federal government established a policy that prohibits the utilization of SNAP payments for specific items that include:

  • Tobacco products
  •  Alcohol
  •  Fast food meals from the food court
  •  Non-food items like household goods
  •  Alcoholic drinks beverages
  •  Pet foods
  •  Hot foods
  •  Home décor things like rugs, furniture, and wall hangings.
  •  Electronics like televisions and computers
  •  Other accessories, such as jewellery and cosmetics
  •  Entertainment items include movie tickets, concert tickets, sporting event passes, and video game consoles.
  •  Toys and stationeries

What Will Happen If I Use EBT For Unapproved Food Items?

The government considers the penalties for making an unauthorized food purchase quite seriously.

The following are the potential penalties.

  • The initial unapproved transaction warrants a three-month penalty.
  •  A second illegal purchase leads to a one-year ban.
  •  The third unlawful purchase ends in a two-year suspension.

These monetary penalties indicate how important it is to comply with recognized regulations for the SNAP program to make purchases that are compatible with the initiative’s stated objectives. To maintain the legitimacy of the SNAP program, the US government maintains a firm spot on unauthorized purchases.

Tips! How To Save Money When Shopping At Costco

Utilize the price-matching policy of the retailer: You may obtain the products at lesser prices because of Costco’s policy of mirroring lower pricing from competitors. Use this policy to reap the rewards from the most fantastic offers from various retailers.

Peek at the Costco subscription plans: They provide discounts on various products, like food, apparel, household items, electronics, and even more, and begin at $60 annually. You may go shopping with a friend or relative who is a member if you currently need more cash for one. Utilize their Costco card for entry, then use your EBT card for payment.

Buying in bulk: You might save money by purchasing products in more quantity, which often leads to lower prices per piece.

Go Shopping on Dates with Fewer Crowds: To minimize travel time and get the most out of any offers or special discounts that might be happening, plan to go shopping on dates with fewer shoppers.

Compare Prices On the Internet: Invest some time researching this before you go shopping. You may uncover the best offers and remain within your spending limits with the help of this analysis.

Dates of expiration: Watch out for the expiration date to prevent wasting money and food. Consuming food that has gone rotten can be hazardous and costly.

Check out the Weekly Discounts and Deals: Costco features weekly promotions and sales that provide exceptional value for your money. Use such sales to find reasonable purchases and boost your savings.

Hacks To Make The Most Out of Your Snap Benefits 

Buy in volume: Higher quantity purchasing tends to end in substantial savings. It’s essential to keep certain things’ short lifespans into consideration, however. Even if purchasing in bulk might seem like a fantastic deal, think if you will be splitting it with a big family or many friends to prevent waste.

Freeze extra food for future use: Freezing items you won’t use immediately is an intelligent choice when purchasing food in bulk. You may improve the shelf life of leftovers by freezing them or by preparing meals and then freezing those.

Compare cost per unit to get more excellent deals: Avoid letting bulk packaging or sales persuade you to overspend. Always look at the unit price to compare the price for each unit or weight for different products.

Set your spending limits: Budgeting is vital for enhancing SNAP benefits. You can avoid overspending while making the most of all the cash you have by establishing limits on spending and keeping track of your expenses.

Negotiating for prices: It might not be feasible to negotiate at retailers like Costco, but trying at smaller businesses or marketplaces might be worthwhile. Price haggling on products like fresh food or other items might save you cash. Remember to behave reasonably and with regard during the process.

Your privileges as a SNAP beneficiary: Being informed of your rights will make buying smoother. Ensure you are familiar with the appropriate ways to help if there are problems like retailers refusing EBT cards or giving unjust treatment. For help and guidance, contact the USDA or your local SNAP office.

Check for coupons and deals before you buy something: Before visiting the store, consider sales, discounts, and coupons. You can take advantage of more savings and extend your budget by taking a simple action.

Schedule your meals beforehand: Using your SNAP benefits to their fullest is achievable as long as you plan your meals. You can avoid buying impulsively while being confident that you’re making purchases that fit your financial limitations and dietary needs by developing a shopping list based on the products currently on sale and those with coupons.

Buy just what you need: Although it might seem tempting to purchase more than what you need whenever there are deals on non-perishable food items, fight the urge to buy more. Assess what you want carefully to save money and goods from expiring or getting used.

Utilize cashback applications for saving more money: Explore cashback apps that take SNAP support. You can boost your savings while getting some money back using these apps, which provide cashback on certain purchases.

Switching to in-season produce Shopping for fruits and vegetables when they are still in season is a great way to save money. Seasonal produce is affordable since there will be more of it around. You can find the best savings while relishing fresh and healthy ingredients by comparing costs and picking seasonal picks.

Seek help if required: Consider the options at your service if you need help with meal scheduling, budgeting, or other financial concerns. Regional SNAP offices and civic associations can offer valuable support and assistance tailored to your specific needs.

Perks of growing your food: Though it may not produce fruits initially, it can be immensely fulfilling and economical. Grow your garden with a range of plants or herbs if you have enough room and time. You’re going to feel more content and value the ecological benefits too.

Key Takeaways

  • Although Costco takes EBT at all its locations, checking your nearest store to discover more regarding its local EBT acceptance criteria is always recommended.
  •  EBT customers can enjoy quality goods and discounts by using their cards to pay for eligible food items at Costco. However, there might be restrictions on some things, like hot food, packaged foods, and not products.
  •  It’s also vital to be mindful of regulations such as food court acceptance and online purchasing limitations. Meeting the eligibility requirements, avoiding purchasing prohibited products, and increasing savings via savings strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When did Costco start accepting EBT payments?

On 28 October 2009, every Costco location began accepting EBT cards. EBT cards are neither accepted at the Costco food court nor at the Costco gasoline station. They are only permitted when purchasing food items such as meats in-store.

Will others know I am on Welfare when I purchase something at Costco with an EBT card?

Both yes and no. The cashiers will be informed that you use an EBT card to make payments. They must pick the SNAP options at the till. But they won’t have any idea for what reason you are getting from them. However, keep your spirits high, as getting help is not embarrassing.

Please avoid using the self-service checkout feature as it might not take your debit or credit card, leading to an even larger fuss. If you need help too, reach out for help.

Does Costco gas station take EBT?

Sadly, you cannot use your EBT cards to buy gas. You can withdraw a certain amount and use it to pay for gas. But the Costco gas station nearest to you will not take EBT directly.

What is the difference between SNAP and EBT?

Look at SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as a better version of food stamps.

You will receive food assistance as an EBT Card (Electronic Benefits Transfer). You can use these at Costco, like using a debit card instead of carrying actual “stamps.”

Can you use EBT at Costco self-checkout?

Yes. Your EBT card functions the same as any debit or credit card, which means you may use it in the Costco self-check lane.

It’s important to remember that you will get a notification on the checkout screen notifying you that this product isn’t allowed if you try buying something that cannot be purchased.

Does Costco accept returns of items bought through EBT?

All EBT purchases come within the same generous Costco return policy. The terms of this policy include groceries and foodstuffs.

So, you may return ANY item to Costco for full reimbursement or replacement at ANY time if you’re not happy using it.

Can I use EBT for delivery from

No. Recently, Costco established its newly developed at-home grocery delivery program. However, because you must use the Costco site to make your purchase, you cannot use your EBT card to do so.

Can you buy Costco cake with EBT?

If the price of the non-edible decoration does not exceed 50% of the value of the cake, you can buy a Costco cake with EBT. As food products, Costco cakes are acceptable for purchasing with EBT. However, EBT may not be used to buy packaged foods, like food from the food court at Costco.

Does Costco accept CalFresh?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), CalFresh in California, get accepted at Costco. Each California Costco warehouse supports using the CalFresh EBT card when making eligible food purchases.