Amazon entered into the perishable food delivery business when the company bought out Whole Foods.
With millions of families with young children on the government assistance program WIC, you might be wondering, does Amazon accept WIC? Here is what you need to know.
Does Amazon Accept WIC?
Amazon does not accept the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program as a form of payment for any grocery items. WIC, which is run according to individual state guidelines, cannot be used online in general and is only eligible in stores. However, Amazon does offer a special discount on Prime to WIC users.
To learn more about why Amazon doesn’t accept WIC, how WIC can still net you a deal with Amazon, and even if Amazon might accept WIC in the future, keep reading for more facts!
Why Doesn’t Amazon Accept WIC?
While there isn’t any conclusive evidence for why Amazon doesn’t accept WIC for its grocery program, there are a number of possible reasons.
First of all, as mentioned above, WIC guidelines vary from state to state, and in the past, the technology used to administer WIC differed.
Those differences, up until very recently, made the usage of WIC a non-uniform experience across different states. Thus, the burden of meeting all the different state requirements would fall on Amazon to fulfill.
Can You Use Your WIC Card on Amazon?
While you cannot use your WIC card to purchase food items on Amazon, you can use it to get a discount on Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime normally costs $12.99 per month, but with your WIC information, you can get Prime for only $5.99 per month. To sign up, visit this page. Click on the “Get Started” button and you will see the heading “Choose how you want to qualify to save 50% off Prime.”
Click the “Other” button and you can choose from a list of programs, including WIC. You’ll choose your state and then upload a photo of your benefits card or eligibility letter.
Amazon has made it very easy to sign up, so there is no reason not to take advantage of the discount, even if you can’t yet use WIC to buy food at the site.
Does Amazon Accept SNAP?
Amazon does accept SNAP EBT benefits, except in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana and Montana, for use both at Amazon Fresh and on Amazon.com.
Many families that receive WIC benefits also qualify for SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as Food Stamps.
The same rules apply for SNAP on Amazon as they would in a brick-and-mortar grocery store – only food items for human consumption are permitted.
What Forms of Payment Does Amazon Accept?
While you can’t use WIC to purchase food items on Amazon, you have many other payment options, including the following:
- SNAP EBT
- Most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover)
- Diner’s Club
- Visa/MasterCard/AmEx prepaid cards
- Amazon Store and Secured Cards
- Amazon gift cards
Does Whole Foods Accept WIC?
Amazon-owned Whole Foods stores do accept WIC, so you can bring your benefits card and pick up your WIC-approved items.
Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017 for over $13 billion, making it the keystone of its online, same-day delivery grocery service.
So, while you’re technically using your WIC benefits at an Amazon-owned company, it’s still not permitted as part of the company’s online storefront.
However, even if you cannot purchase Whole Foods items on Amazon Fresh using WIC at this time, you can still visit brick-and-mortar locations to receive your benefits.
Whole Foods carries a vast array of WIC-approved food items, including the following:
- Soy products
- Fresh fruits/veggies
- Canned fish
- Infant foods (formula, cereal, meats, fruits/vegetables)
- Peanut butter
The above-mentioned items are general examples, as guidelines in each state may differ.
It’s also worth noting that while Whole Foods does carry many of these types of products listed above, WIC tends to permit only the most generic form of the food.
So for example, WIC-approved chicken eggs cannot be of a specialty variety, like organic or free-range. These kinds of specialties are what Whole Foods bases its business model on.
Therefore, it might require some close-shopping to find eligible items.
Will Amazon Accept WIC in the Future?
While you cannot use WIC on Amazon currently, in the future it will likely become possible, as the federal government mandated that WIC state agencies implement WIC cards by the end of 2020, phasing out checks and vouchers.
The emphasis, the federal government’s Department of Agriculture says, is on making the benefits as easy to acquire as possible for recipients. Online ordering using WIC benefits is in the works, as well.
In November 2020, the USDA reported that the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition had been given a three-year grant to research and develop a model for online ordering.
SNAP benefits have long been card-based and eligible for online ordering, so it’s only a matter of time until WIC is, as well.
Amazon does not currently accept WIC, although recipients of this program are able to receive Prime accounts at 50 percent off the regular price.
SNAP beneficiaries, who often overlap with WIC eligibility, can purchase food off Amazon, while WIC recipients can still shop at Amazon-owned Whole Foods brick-and-mortar locations.