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Does Instacart Take EBT?

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Updated on March 8, 2024 by
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Instacart has experienced huge growth in online grocery shopping in 2020, and as a result, delivery services like Instacart have become the latest trend in the industry. EBT cardholders had long been excluded from Instacart, but it was only a matter of time before Instacart started accepting EBT payments, given the size of the SNAP population.

Instacart accepts SNAP benefits from eligible customers in select states. These stores include ALDI, Food Lion, Publix, Giant Food, Hannaford, Martland’s, Super 1 (formerly Best Buy) and Food Bazaar. Instacart continues expanding its EBT SNAP payment options by adding more grocery stores to its list.

In this article, we will walk you through how to use your EBT card on Instacart and the eligible and non-eligible items that you can purchase.

Instacart has been approved by the U.S. government to accept EBT SNAP as a payment method for eligible purchases. Customers who are enrolled in EBT SNAP in all 50 states (except Alaska, Louisiana and Montana) can use their benefits on Instacart to pay for eligible purchases.

Instacart is working hard to get approval from the U.S. government to accept EBT SNAP payments online in more states.

Does Instacart Take EBT?

What is SNAP?

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), formerly called the Food Stamp Program, is a federally funded program that fights hunger in the United States. SNAP provides food for low-income families, older adults, and those with disabilities or others living on a fixed income.

The federal government pays for the cost of SNAP benefits but splits the administrative costs with the states that operate the program. SNAP is in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

What is EBT?

EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) is an electronic payment system set up by SNAP. The program is accepted at authorized retailers. Those on the SNAP program receive a plastic card that’s much like a debit or credit card. Like these cards, the EBT card has a magnetic strip on the back.

Each month, the federal government sends out EBT funds to those who qualify for the SNAP program. The funds can be used to purchase eligible items at many retailers. When the card is used, the transaction amount is then subtracted from the EBT card account amount.

What Can You Buy with EBT?

You can buy a wide variety of items, including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, fish
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snack foods
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds & plants (that will be used to grow food for the household)

It’s not possible to buy the following with EBT benefits:

  • Beer, wine, liquor
  • Tobacco products
  • Vitamins, medications, and supplements
  • Live animals (except for shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals prior to pick-up from the store)
  • Foods that are not at the point of sale
  • Non-food items such as
  •                 Pet foods
  •                 Cleaning supplies
  •                 Paper products
  •                 Hygiene items
  •                 Cosmetics

How to Pay with EBT in Instacart?

Before you can use your EBT card, you must add it to your Instacart account. Once you’ve added the EBT card, go back to your Instacart account and select the store you want to shop at. When you click on it, you will be redirected to the store’s homepage where you can start shopping.

You have two options to get groceries with Instacart – it can be delivered to your home or curbside pickup. When you start shopping, choose one of the options that appeal to you, and then start adding products to your shopping cart.

When you are finished shopping, you need to pay for your order. At the checkout page, decide how much of the benefits you receive from your social security account should go toward your grocery bill. You may need to pay the remaining balance with another method of payment, such as a credit or debit card.

USDA has strict guidelines about what you can buy with your SNAP/EBT benefits. According to the USDA, these are the items that you can buy on Instacart and at participating stores.

EBT cards work for eligible purchases of food items – such as vegetables and fruits, meat and fish, breads and cereals, alcoholic beverages, and seeds and plants that produce food that you can eat.

Shopping for other prepared food items and other alcoholic drinks is not allowed. It is not allowed to buy vitamins, supplements, and medicines. Other non-eligible items include live animals, hot foods, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and other householf items.

Instacart hopes to expand its coverage of EBT/SNAP benefits by adding more grocery stores to the list. EBT shopping on Instacart is pretty straightforward, but you will need to add a second payment option to cover any charges that may be associated with placing the order, such as tipping or delivery fees.

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