Does Costco Take EBT? (Full Guide + FAQs)

Costco has been rising in popularity thanks to its low pricing for everyday items. However, many families use an EBT to pay for their groceries.

So the question is, does Costco take EBT in its stores? I did some digging, and here is everything that I found out!

Does Costco Take EBT In 2021?

Costco does accept EBT benefit cards at all their locations as of 2021. Costco members who are eligible for EBT/SNAP can purchase fresh produce, foods, meats, and other groceries in-store only. However, EBT can not be used for purchasing Costco Gas, pet food, medication, household supplies, alcohol, or tobacco.

Although this is a simple yes, there are many policies and stipulations you will need to know when it comes to Costco and using an EBT. Read on for everything you need to know for Costco and EBT.

What is Costco’s Policy on EBT?

Here is Costco’s policy directly pulled from their website: “All our warehouse locations accept EBT cards. Costco adheres to all state laws regarding what can be purchased with EBT cards. For a complete list of products that qualify for purchase with the EBT card, please contact your state agency.”

State laws can sometimes exclude some items that may have been all right in another. So, brush up on your state’s stipulations of what you can and can’t buy with the EBT card or food stamps.

Where Does Costco Accept EBT?

Where Does Costco Accept EBT?

Because Costco accepts EBT at all locations, you can find yourself going to a Costco in one city and the next without any problems. Now, there are a few states that do not have a Costco. These states include:

  • Maine
  • Arkansas
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

If you find yourself in those states, you will not be able to find a Costco. There are also limited Costcos in a few states, so you may only find them in major cities. States with less than 3 Costcos are:

  • Oklahoma
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont

Some of these states with limited Costcos may only have one or two stores. This can make it hard for those that don’t live close to shop there. Many states have five or more, and Costco is always expanding, so always check out their website for updates.

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Your EBT at Costco

Using your EBT card at Costco is a fairly simple and straightforward process, now that you know what it involves.

Up next, we’ll share a few other helpful hints to keep in your back pocket when using your EBT at Costco: 

What Products Can You Buy with an EBT At Costco?

Costco isn’t the one that limits what you can buy with your EBT. The government sets this limitation. The government will only pay for certain grocery products and a certain amount of those products each month.

The main products you can buy are fresh produce, foods, and other groceries. Some of these items do vary, depending on where you live. You can get a full list from your state’s website.

This is because each state sets its own rules, along with the federal rules, on what its citizens can spend. Plus, taxes and food costs differ from state to state.

What Products are Restricted with an EBT At Costco? 

Although there are some stipulations to what you can buy, the main rules for what you can’t buy are easier to specify. This includes the following products:

  • Costco gas stations
  • Alcohol
  • Pet foods
  • Paper products
  • Medicine
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Household Supplies
  • Tobacco products

Do Costco Cashiers Know I’m on Welfare if I Use My EBT Card?

When you use your EBT card, a cashier will know you’re receiving government assistance. The card itself clearly says EBT on the front of it, in large letters.

When you run the card, the cashier will also have to select the account you’re using, SNAP or cash. 

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t avoid the cashier and go through self-checkout. Costco, in many states, doesn’t allow an EBT card to be used at self-checkout.

Can I Use My EBT Card at Costco’s Food Court?

Can I Use My EBT Card at Costco’s Food Court?

Until recently, the answer here was no because the food court served prepared foods. An EBT card cannot technically be used to buy the things served at Costco’s food court. So, the pizza, hot dogs, and sandwiches were ineligible. 

But, currently, many states are allowing prepared items to be purchased from grocery stores with EBT cards due to the increased number of people requiring government assistance.

However, most Costco food courts aren’t open or serving food as they once were. There are still options for take and bake pizzas and other grab-and-go items on the way out.

Can I Use My EBT Card to Shop at Costco Online?

Unfortunately, you cannot use an EBT card for online purchases. Any purchases made with an EBT card have to be done in-store.

But again, the climate for government assistance is changing almost daily with the increasing number of people needing help, so this might change in the near future. Fingers crossed!

Beware of Big Bulk Purchases with Your EBT Card

Costco is, of course, known for their warehouse deals, meaning they have low prices on bulk items. But some of these aren’t as good of a bargain as they seem.

For instance, that giant pack of deli meat might seem like it’s priced just right, but it’s likely way more than you’ll be able to consume before it goes bad.

Milk is another classic Costco bulk buy that’s enticing, especially if you have children. But buying so much at once runs the risk that part of it will spoil and go to waste.

Also, unless you have a large family, fresh produce is another bulk item to avoid, unless you know for sure it’s a fan favorite in your house, and it will get eaten. 

For items like these that are time-sensitive, you’re probably better off going to your regular, local grocery store instead of Costco. 

What Is An EBT?

EBT is an acronym for “Electronic Benefits Transfer,” which represents a form of payment. This type of payment is only available after you have qualified to get an EBT. You qualify when you don’t have enough income to feed your family, and the government provides you with a stipend.

Another name that many call an EBT is “food stamps,” which is part of the SNAPs program to assist families. There are specific products you can purchase, but it’s quite a long list. It is simpler to understand what you can’t buy rather than what you can.

How Do You Use An EBT?

Nowadays, EBT or food stamps have become quite simple to use. After being approved to receive these state benefits, you will receive a card that works much like a debit card or visa card.

This card will be attached to something similar to a bank account where there will be a certain amount deposited every month for you to use on groceries.

You will receive login information so you can look at how much you have and will also need to assign a PIN so that you are the only one who can use the card. It is important not to release this information to anyone except those within your family.

You can withdraw some cash from this account if you have the option to add the cash back at the register, but it doesn’t always work. There are other means of using the EBT, but this is the primary way to use it.

To learn more, you can also see my guides on using coupons at CostcoCostco senior discounts, and Costco veterans/military service member discounts.

Final Thoughts

If you have an EBT card or benefits, you will be able to use it at any Costco. Just make sure to check the stipulations online for the state you are in to see what you can buy. And if you are still wondering, it doesn’t hurt to ask your local Costco. Managers are more than happy to answer all of your questions!

Sources
marques thomas query sprout

About the author

Marques Thomas graduated with an MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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