Costco is very popular with many shoppers, primarily because of its affordable bulk products. Many people use an EBT card to pay for their food products at all their locations.
Costco takes food stamps to buy fresh produce and other groceries in-store. However, many restrictions are placed on the use of food stamps too.
Here is a highlight of what you need to know about your food stamps, Costco stores, and using an EBT card.
Food Stamp Benefits
EBT cards are a form of government assistance that has been around since the early 2000s. They’ve had many different names, and they were a part of the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
The federal government provides food benefits through these.
1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP Benefits
SNAP is just the upgraded version of food stamps. Instead of physically carrying them around, people can now have their food stamps accepted using an EBT card.
2. Temporary Assistance For Needy Families/TANF Benefits
TANF is another use of EBT cards. The federal government allows flexible use of an EBT card for needy families so they can purchase essential household items in addition to food.
Plus, with TANF, you could withdraw money from an ATM, like you usually would, with visa cards or debit cards. Now you can use this cash to make additional purchases similar to Costco cash cards.
Is Costco an Approved WIC Retailer?
WIC is available in all 50 States, 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, America Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Each State is responsible for authorizing stores to accept WIC checks. At a minimum, the State will consider the prices of foods, the business integrity of the store’s owner including if the owner has been disqualified from the SNAP, and the variety and quantity of foods available in the store.
Nearly 46,000 stores are currently authorized to accept WIC checks.It depends on your specific city and state as to whether Costco is a WIC approved retailer.
Shopping at Costco with EBT
If you haven’t shopped at Costco yet, you probably don’t own its membership card. If you’re among the non-members, you won’t be able to enter the Costco warehouses.
You’ll have to purchase a Costco membership first. Making purchases in person is only possible for Costco members.
You can shop at Costco, but only if you’re with a member or you have someone else’s membership card.
Where does Costco accept food stamps and EBT payments?
Costco currently accepts EBT payments at all locations, meaning you can shop from Costco shops in different cities with minimal issues.
However, few states does not have Costco stores. These states include:
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
What items can you buy with your food stamps at Costco?
The best thing about using your food stamps to make purchases at Costco is they allow you to purchase a variety of nutritious EBT eligible items.
It is important to note that Costco does not set restrictions on what you can and cannot buy with your food stamps.
The government has restrictions, and it only agrees to pay for specific grocery items and provides you with a particular amount of money to spend every month.
Some of the products you can buy at Costco with your food stamps are:
- Meat, fish, chicken
- Dairy products
- Bread and cereals
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Fruits and vegetables
- Plants to use in your garden
What items you can’t purchase with your EBT at Costco?
There are restrictions on what you cannot buy with your food stamps at Costco. Some of the prohibited products include:
- Beer, wine, and hard liquor.
- Cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
- Health Products such as Vitamins, medicines, and supplements.
- Costco gas stations
- Live animals, e.g., fish that are removed from water and animals that are slaughtered just before pick-up from the store
- Hot Foods such as the prepared foods the Costco Food Court provides at the point of sale.
- Pet Foods including fish food, hamster food, etc.
- Everyday household items like cleaning supplies and paper products.
- Personal care items including diapers, shampoos, etc.
Using EBT Card for Unapproved Food Items
If you’ve somehow managed to make an unapproved food purchase, there are still consequences. The government won’t let you off the hook.
Here’s all that could happen if you find yourself in this situation.
- A 3-month ban for the first unapproved purchase
- A 1-year ban for the second unapproved purchase
- A 2-year ban for the third unapproved purchase
How Do I Buy Items From Both Lists?
If your 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.
How do you use EBT at Costco?
Follow these steps to use your EBT card to pay at Costco!
1. When you want to pay for your purchases, your cashier usually rings up your food items.
2. You must then swipe or insert your card at the point-of-sale (POS) and enter your PIN.
3. You need to inform your cashier of the specific account, either SNAP or Cash, from which to charge your order.
4. You can re-enter your PIN on the POS keypad to confirm if the charges are correct.
5. Often, a supervisor or manager will require you to provide photo identification to verify that the EBT you want to pay with is under your name.
6. The purchase total will then be deducted from your SNAP or Cash account as per your directions.
It is always essential to keep your receipt during your shopping, and it will help prevent mischarges and show you the latest balance on your EBT card.
Can you use your food stamps for online purchases at Costco?
With your EBT card, you only have the option to use it for in-store purchase only. However, you won’t be able to use your EBT card for online shopping.
Is the Return Policy Different for EBT Purchases?
No, By Law store will have to honor same return policy that exists on regular purchases to 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.
1. Does Costco accept EBT cards?
Yes, it does! Costco currently accepts EBT cards at all its stores.
2. Can you use EBT Online at Costco?
Currently, all Costco warehouse stores accept EBT. However, you cannot use your EBT card to pay for groceries on the Costco.com website.
The Costco.com website accepts online payments using Discover, Visa, MasterCard, the "Costco Anywhere Visa" by Citi, and Costco Shop Cards for people's online grocery orders.
3. Can I Use Food Stamp at the Costco Food Court?
No, you cannot! The food court at Costco usually serves hot food that is not included in SNAP's benefits. All prepared foods come under this category. Your EBT won’t cover any purchases of pizzas, burgers, sushi, or hotdogs
4. Can I Buy Gas 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.
Be sure you understand the cash withdrawal limits on your EBT account before doing this as it might not be worth the savings.
5. Can I Use My EBT Card for Grocery Delivery?
No, you can't use your EBT card to make your grocery delivery order at Costco.
Costco currently accepts EBT as payments using your food stamps. However, Costco restricts you to only using your EBT card for in-stores purchases only and not for online shopping on Costco.com website.
By following the process of charging your EBT card at check-out, you can enjoy a wide variety of nutritious groceries and other items at very good prices. Happy Shopping.