Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, can pay in store at most major grocery chains — including "specialty" grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's — 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's Food and Nutrition Service, households receiving SNAP benefits in 47 states and the District of Columbia can use EBT to pay for grocery pickup and/or delivery from select retailers (though not for associated service fees).
The list of participating states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Alaska, Louisiana, and Montana are the only states that have not enrolled in the pilot.
On top of the many SNAP policy and procedure updates made in light of the current health crisis, families with children who normally would receive free or reduced-price school lunches became eligible for special pandemic EBT benefits during school closures. Check your local Department of Human Services to find out more about pandemic relief initiatives, payout amounts, and application periods in your area. (The nonprofit Food Research and Action Center has an interactive map where you can quickly search for state-specific benefit information.)
Below, we've rounded up the retailers currently accepting EBT payments for groceries ordered online. Several new retailers have been added in recent months — most notably discount grocer Aldi, where shoppers can use EBT for deliveries with Instacart, the popular grocery service. Instacart now takes EBT for purchases from participating Food Lion and Publix stores, too, and has said it plans to expand the service to more states and retailers in the near future as part of a commitment to address food access concerns during the COVID-19 crisis.
Steps are being taken to expand online purchasing options to WIC recipients, as well. We'll continue to update this story as more retailers participate and as active 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. EBT payments can be made online at most locations in the states approved for the SNAP online purchasing pilot, although 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." Approved delivery locations are less widespread than access to grocery pickup, however, and in a handful of states, users ordering groceries online still must swipe their EBT cards at pickup to finalize payment.
On Amazon, SNAP recipients can order SNAP-approved food items online and pay with EBT in the District of Columbia and participating states (except Hawaii). EBT cardholders can use the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service without paying for Prime membership, which is usually required, and will also have access to many Whole Foods products through Amazon Pantry, Amazon Grocery, and Amazon Fresh. Qualifying beneficiaries with an EBT or Medicaid card who wish to sign up for Amazon Prime membership are eligible for a 50% discount.
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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.
BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's is the first of the major warehouse clubs to accept EBT for online grocery orders (Costco and Sam's Club have not announced plans to follow suit). BJ's members in Florida, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire recently became eligible to use EBT cards to order on BJs.com for in-club or contactless curbside pickup. The company plans to make the the pickup option available in more states participating in the SNAP online purchasing pilot and to offer EBT grocery delivery, as well, in the coming months.
Although rapidly expanding discount grocer Aldi does not currently have stores in Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming, if you live in the District of Columbia or any of the other states covered by the USDA's pilot program, you can shop online for EBT SNAP-eligible purchases from Aldi: Instacart accepts EBT for same-day delivery and pickup options at the store. Aldi shoppers can place online orders via Instacart and enter EBT-card information at checkout for items covered under SNAP. A credit or debit card must be used for non-eligible costs, including delivery and service fees, taxes, tips, and bottle deposit fees in some states. Customers over 60 who may be new to online grocery shopping can take advantage of Instacart's special Senior Support Service, which offers help with everything from setting up an account to ordering.
Food Lion is the second retailer to partner with Instacart for EBT grocery delivery. As of February, Instacart accepts EBT payment for SNAP-eligible items from Food Lion in nine states: Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. As always, SNAP beneficiaries who don't want to pay more out of pocket to have groceries delivered can opt to pick up Instacart orders at the store. (Through March 16, Instacart is waiving all delivery and pickup fees on the first three orders for Food Lion SNAP EBT users.)
Soon after the pandemic lockdowns began last April, Kroger announced that it would add a SNAP/EBT payment option for grocery pickup at its stores. The service is offered at all locations where pickup is available and recently expanded to Kroger-owned Mariano's stores, as well.
Related: 18 Secrets for Shopping at Kroger
ShopRite accepts EBT for SNAP purchases online at select stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, although some locations may allow EBT payment only for pickup orders. Check your local ShopRite store to see which services are available.
The Fresh Grocer
The Fresh Grocer is a member of the same cooperative network of independently owned retail supermarkets as ShopRite (Wakefern Food Corp.). The seven-store chain accepts 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 number of Safeway locations in states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington, as well as a single store in the District of Columbia. 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. Albertsons shoppers using EBT online are covered for pickup orders at locations in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. EBT can also be used for pickup at select Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada.
Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the United States, with nearly 1,200 supermarkets in the Southeast. In locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, shoppers can now use EBT on Instacart to order their groceries online. As with the other markets where Instacart takes EBT for grocery delivery and curbside pickup, if you don't find EBT SNAP as a payment option when attempting to order from your local Publix, keep checking back — the coverage areas and list of participating stores continue to expand.
Popular Midwestern grocery chain Hy-Vee was also accepted into the USDA pilot program. Although it was slower to roll out the service, Hy-Vee is now taking EBT payments for grocery pickup at about 250 of its stores, including Dollar Fresh and Hy-Vee Drugstore locations. Keep an eye on its customer support pages for additional options.
Texans shopping at H-E-B can currently use SNAP EBT payments for curbside pickup at all locations that offer the service. The online ordering system accepts split payments for eligible and non-eligible items, and discounts from manufacturers' coupons are credited back to EBT accounts when orders are fulfilled.
Carlie C's IGA
Options for SNAP EBT online grocery shopping in North Carolina expanded in October when Carlie C's joined the ranks of major retailers Amazon and Walmart. The store has 25 locations in the Raleigh-Fayetteville region. Online shoppers searching the website can check a box to filter items based on SNAP EBT eligibility.
Missourians shopping with SNAP at Woods Supermarket's 14 locations can take advantage of convenient online ordering with the "Woods On The Go" grocery pickup service. Another perk: Unlike some grocers, Woods offers the same prices online and in-store.
Shoppers in Missouri can also find an EBT online payment option for the Hays Supermarket store in Caruthersville. Five locations in Arkansas — Blythesville, Paragould Plaza, Walnut Ridge, West Helena, and Wynne — also let customers use EBT to shop for groceries online with the Hays Clicks service. But only the Paragould Plaza store provides home delivery at present.
Cameron/Sliced Bread/Sweet Springs
Missourians have three more EBT online shopping options: The Cameron Market, Sliced Bread Market in Chillicothe, and Sweet Springs Market. The three grocery stores are managed by the same family-owned and -operated parent company, W.H. Koch Co., which has been serving the community since 1956. Online shoppers, in particular, are asked to be patient with potential limits on high demand items or substitutions that may be necessary due to warehouse shortages during the pandemic.
Missouri's Sliced Bread Market and Sweet Springs Market (mentioned above) are both Piggly Wiggly franchises. Yet, although there are more than 500 Piggly Wigglys across 17 states, only one other franchise location — in Deatsville, Alabama — has been approved for the USDA's pilot program. The Piggly Wiggly stores are very recent additions to the select list of grocers accepting SNAP EBT online payments, so more may soon follow.
The employee-owned Northeastern Oklahoma chain Reasor's is among the handful of independent retailers that have been accepted into the SNAP online purchasing pilot program so far and received approval to go live. Contact your neighborhood store directly to see if it is set up to start processing orders.
Superlo has nine locations: eight in Memphis, Tennessee, and one in Southaven, Mississippi (Stepherson's). All have recently been added to the list of grocery stores that accept EBT online. Like many other independent, employee-owned chains, the store is facing some supply issues these days, but shoppers who find what they need can benefit from Superlo's flexible online payment options and support a local business.
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.
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.