food court

Jando S./Yelp

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.

Wish you could buy a cheap, hot meal with your EBT benefits? If you've got a Costco nearby, you may be able to, according to some viral TikTok videos.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits from the Agriculture Department can generally only be used on unprepared food that you cook at home. They're accepted at most grocery store chains, including Costco, but not at restaurants. Costco's food court seems to straddle the line between restaurant and grocery store, and in some cases, appears to accept EBT cards at the food court kiosks. 

@mercy.f559 It worked guys! Go head to Costco and get their hot food with Ebt! #costco #costcopizza #costcohack #costcohacks #pizza #pepperonipizza @costco ♬ original sound - Mercy 💜

"We're at Costco, and I was told something about you're able to get pizza here with EBT, so let's try it," said TikToker @mercy.f559 in one video where we see them ordering pizzas and swiping a card at a food court kiosk. "It worked! I got two pizzas at Costco for $9.95 [each] and I got them with EBT," they continued while showing two whole costco pepperoni pizzas on a kitchen counter. "So ya'll head out to Costco and get your pizza with the EBT."

In another video posted by TikToker @jmartinez916, we see them placing an order at a Costco food court kiosk. "We're at Costco, about to get a hot dog, pizza, churro, soda, sundae," they say in the video before showing a card they say is a "California EBT card." They swipe it, choose "Food" on the "select EBT account type" prompt, enter a PIN, and show that the transaction went through. "Oh it does work. All right."

According to the Costco website, all warehouse locations accept EBT cards and adhere to each state's laws regarding what is or isn't eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. According to the SNAP website, "foods that are hot at the point of sale" are not eligible, however, which would include Costco's pizza. So it would seem that either these TikTokers live in states where local law allows for the purchase of hot food, or — more likely — they just happened to get lucky and took advantage of a mistake.

If you decide to try using SNAP benefits to pay for a Costco pizza, keep in mind that there's a good chance it may not work, despite what TikTokers have posted. While Costco's whole $10 pies are one of the best pizza deals out there, you may have to spring for some Little Caesars or Domino's instead.

Cheapism has reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this article if and when we hear back.

Cheapism in the News