Does McDonald’s Take EBT? (How It Works, Locations + More)

People who are on EBT might be looking for some fast-food choices and wondering whether or not McDonald’s accepts EBT as a form of payment.

Below, you’ll find out the answer to that question and other questions you might have about McDonald’s and EBT!

Does McDonald’s Take EBT?

Unfortunately, McDonald’s does not take EBT as a form of payment either in-store or in drive-thru. However, if you get the TANF benefits, you could withdraw the cash to use at McDonald’s. Additionally, some states, such as California and Arizona, provide Restaurant Meals Program for the homeless, disabled, and elderly.

Even though McDonald’s doesn’t accept EBT, there are some ways around this, and we’ll talk about those options below.

Does EBT Work at McDonald’s?

In most states, you cannot use your EBT card to purchase food from McDonald’s, although there are a couple of exemptions to this, including through the Restaurant Meals Program.

Furthermore, the Restaurant Meals Program is available only to those that are homeless, disabled, or elderly and need assistance obtaining food.

Currently, only Arizona and California have the full Restaurant Meals Program, although Florida and Rhode Island have a slimmed-down version. No other states have decided to join this program.

Can You Use TANF Benefits to Purchase McDonald’s?

TNAF, which is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, can be an option if you want to use that form of EBT to purchase food at McDonald’s.

Additionally, with TNAF, you’re given money by the state each month that goes onto the EBT card.

On top of this, you can withdraw money at an ATM which you can use to pay rent, pay bills, and even purchase fast food from restaurants like McDonald’s.

What Forms of Payment Does McDonald’s Take?

McDonald’s does have a variety of other payment options available to customers. This includes cash, Arch gift cards, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards.

Not to mention, McDonald’s also allows for mobile payment, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

What Can SNAP EBT Benefits Be Used to Purchase?

What Can SNAP EBT Benefits Be Used to Purchase?

While you cannot swipe your SNAP EBT benefit card at McDonald’s, it’s still highly useful to purchase authorized food items from a variety of stores such as:

  • Meat
  • Cereal
  • Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Fruit
  • Poultry
  • Grains
  • Plants that produce food and various seeds

What Can’t You Purchase With a SNAP-Only EBT Card?

SNAP is very specific on which products you can and cannot buy, with the list of items you cannot purchase including:

  • Non-food products
  • Alcohol
  • Medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Tobacco
  • Immediately consumable food items (such as fast food)
  • Household items

Where Can You Use Your EBT Card?

McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants are not allowed through SNAP EBT, but there is a multitude of grocery stores that you can purchase food from with these food stamp benefits, including:

  • ALDI
  • Albertsons
  • BJ’s Wholesale
  • Costco
  • Sam’s Club
  • Kroger
  • Food 4 Less
  • Publix
  • Ralphs
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Save-A-Lot
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Thriftway
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Winn-Dixie
  • Whole Foods
  • Jubilee Foods

In addition to those listed above, several other retail and grocery stores allow you to use your EBT card, whether you are using SNAP benefits or TANF benefits.

Can You Use EBT at Any Fast-Food Restaurants?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your EBT card at any fast-food restaurant if you get SNAP benefits only unless your state participates in the Restaurant Meals Program.

Being qualified for the Restaurant Meals Program does give you the option to use SNAP benefits at a restaurant, and most fast-food restaurants in those specific states do accept EBT.

It’s always a good idea to check the rules for EBT in the state you live in since each state sets its guidelines for who qualifies for which EBT assistance program is available.

Who Qualifies for EBT?

The rules on who qualifies for EBT vary a little by state, but generally speaking, anyone that is living within 100% to 130% poverty level and is a legal immigrant, asylum seeker, American citizen, or refugee can sign up.

Your monthly income and household size are used to determine whether or not you qualify for EBT and, if so, which type of benefits you should get from the state.

Typically, your eligibility is examined every year to ensure you still qualify for the program, and you must notify them immediately when changes happen that could interfere with eligibility.

In any case, it’s best to look up the qualifications and requirements for your state since they can change, and some states offer even more programs to help those in need than traditional EBT food stamps.

If you want to know more, you might also be interested in reading up on whether or not McDonald’s takes Apple Pay, if Aldi takes EBT, and if Sam’s Club takes EBT.


Generally speaking, EBT is not accepted at McDonald’s nor is EBT accepted at any fast-food restaurant if you’re only receiving SNAP EBT benefits.

If you are getting cash benefits through TANF, then you can simply go to the ATM and get money off your card if you want fast-food meals.

Apart from that, states that do participate in the Restaurant Meals Program allow those qualified to go to a fast-food restaurant such as McDonald’s or Burger King and order fast-food meals.

The hope is that more states will welcome the Restaurant Meals Program so that those most in need have more immediate and quick food options, especially those with disabilities and the elderly.

Photo of author

Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a 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

Leave a Comment