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."
@jmartinez916 EBT Works At Costco Food Court!! #ebt #costcofood #costco #costcohack #costcohacks #costcopizza #costcopizzahack #costcofoodcourt #californiaebt #ebtcard #costcosundae #costcochurro #costcohotdog #hacks #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #california #cali #califas #sacramento #sacra #916 ♬ original sound - Bozay_916
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."
Does Costco Take EBT?
According to Costco's website they accept EBT at all locations.
"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."
Can You Use EBT at Costco's Food Court?
The official answer is no.
While Costco does accept EBT at all locations, they follow state regulations around what can be purchased with the benefits.
According to the SNAP website, "foods that are hot at the point of sale" are not eligible, 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.
It's worth mentioning that we've compiled a helpful list of what you can and can't buy with SNAP benefits.
What is EBT and How Does it Work?
EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, which is a system that allows recipients of government benefits to access their funds using a card similar to a debit or credit card. The card is linked to the receipt's account and can be used at participating retailers to purchase food and other items.
- EBT is used to deliver benefits from various programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF).
- EBT cards can be used to buy eligible food items at authorized grocery stores, farmers' markets, and other locations that accept EBT. Some states also allow EBT cards to be used at restaurants that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, which serves elderly, disabled, and homeless SNAP recipients.
- EBT cards can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs or point-of-sale terminals. Cash benefits can be used for any purpose, but some states may have restrictions on where and how they can be spent.
For more information about EBT and how to apply for benefits, you can visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website or your state's EBT website. You can also contact your local SNAP office or call the SNAP toll-free line at 1-800-221-5689.
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 Costco for comment and will update this article if and when we hear back.