Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, can pay in store using Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, but until recently, EBT wasn't a widely available payment option online. Now, through the expedited expansion of an online purchasing pilot program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, households receiving SNAP benefits in 39 states can use EBT to pay for grocery pickup and/or delivery from select retailers (though not for associated service fees).
The participating states are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
The USDA has announced that beneficiaries in Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Utah should see local programs up and running soon.
Also, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, families with children who would normally receive free or reduced-price school lunches are eligible for special pandemic EBT benefits. These P-EBT benefits are not limited to SNAP households. Payout amounts and application periods vary by state, with many still open for enrollment, so check your local Department of Human Services to find out more.
Below, we've rounded up the retailers now accepting EBT payments for groceries ordered online. Although many popular grocery delivery services like Instacart still do not accept EBT payments, government sources suggest that the list of eligible options should soon include more independently owned and operated grocery stores. We'll continue to update this story as more states and stores expand their EBT pickup and delivery payment policies.
Walmart started rolling out the option to pay for grocery pickup with EBT as early as 2017. It's now available at most locations that have grocery pickup service. A Walmart associate swipes the card when the customer arrives for pickup. As of now, grocery delivery with EBT is available only in the states approved for the SNAP online purchasing pilot, and the service has not yet been implemented in the District of Columbia. At eligible local stores, users signing in to their online accounts, or shopping via app, can save EBT card information under "Payment Methods."
On Amazon, SNAP recipients in participating states can order SNAP-approved food items online and pay with EBT. (And, unlike Walmart, Amazon has D.C. residents covered.) EBT cardholders can also use the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service without paying for Prime membership, which is usually required.
FreshDirect, an online grocery delivery service that primarily serves the New York metropolitan area, delivers for free to SNAP beneficiaries in select ZIP codes in the Bronx, with no taxes or surcharges. A minimum $30 order threshold does remain in place, however, and customers must swipe their cards at the time of delivery.
Kroger announced in April that it would add a SNAP/EBT payment option for grocery pickup. The service is now live at all locations where pickup is available (although it does not extend to Kroger-owned Mariano's stores).
ShopRite accepts EBT for grocery delivery orders at select stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, although some locations may allow EBT payment only for pickup orders. Select your local ShopRite store see which services are available.
The Fresh Grocer
The most recent addition to the list of participating retailers, The Fresh Grocer has a strong ethos of community engagement and support. The seven-store chain, a member of the same cooperative network of independently owned retail supermarkets as ShopRite (Wakefern Food Corp.), is now accepting EBT for online groceries at all its New Jersey and Pennsylvania locations.
After a long wait, shoppers paying with SNAP EBT can now order groceries for pickup at a handful of Safeway locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Albertson's locations in the Boise, Idaho, metropolitan area. Safeway's website (see "How do I pay for my order?") also suggests that Arizona EBT users with disabilities may call customer support for assistance with online grocery delivery: (877) 505-4040.
Popular Midwestern grocery chain Hy-Vee has also been accepted into the USDA pilot program. Although it's been slower to roll out the service, Hy-Vee has begun taking EBT payments for grocery pickup at more than 100 stores, including Dollar Fresh and Hy-Vee Drugstore locations. We'd recommend keeping an eye on its customer support pages for additional options.
Residents of the Buffalo, New York, area may soon be able to order groceries online from local chain Dash's Market and pay with their EBT cards. The chain was among the first cohort to join the SNAP online purchasing pilot program, with an anticipated launch in 2017, but its stores have yet to offer EBT ordering.
Family-owned Wright's Market in Opelika, Alabama, is one of the smaller grocery stores to be accepted into the USDA's program, but it's big on offering full service to SNAP beneficiaries: Groceries can be purchased online with EBT and Wright's will deliver directly to customers' doorsteps. Shoppers cannot use benefits to pay delivery fees or any associated charges, however.