I was so surprised to learn that you can use SNAP EBT on Amazon. In case you don’t know what SNAP EBT is, it’s the USDA program that replaced what you probably know as food stamps. Now that works a little differently.
You apply for SNAP benefits through your state, Then, you receive those benefits monthly on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card. You can use your EBT card to buy groceries at authorized food stores and retailers.
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Amazon is part of a pilot run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept SNAP EBT online. There are some other brick-and-mortar supermarkets that let you buy groceries online with a SNAP EBT card, too. I plan to cover them in another article shortly.
Anyway, as of this writing, those living in any state EXCEPT Alaska can use their state-issued card to shop on Amazon for eligible products.
I realize that with growing inflation plus price increases, it’s probably a huge relief to know that you can shop online on Amazon with that benefit. And you don’t need to pony up for a Prime membership either. However, if you are interested in a Prime Membership, your card will get you 50% off.
How to use SNAP EBT on Amazon
There are a couple of steps you’ll need to take in order to use your SNAP EBT card when shopping on Amazon. I’m going to outline those steps, then offer tips on how you can SNAP EBT eligible products for sale on Amazon.
The very first thing you’ll need to do is register your SNAP EBT card on Amazon. This is the Amazon SNAP page where you can do that.
But don’t go there just yet. I have more information to share with you about the process.
So, you’ll add your card, then shop for eligible items by adding them to your cart. Finally, when you check out, make sure you have your PIN ready. You’ll need that to pay.
Grocery shopping options
Amazon has three kinds of grocery shopping options available online where your EBT card will work. They are:
- Amazon (the regular site for pantry staples and the like)
- Amazon Fresh (fresh produce, meat, etc)
- Whole Foods Market
Remember: Amazon accepts SNAP EBT in all states except Alaska.
Speaking of Alaska, hunting and fishing equipment are covered by SNAP EBT in the state.
What are SNAP EBT eligible items
According to the USDA, card holders can use their SNAP EBT to purchase the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Dairy products
- Breads and cereals
- Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat
Unfortunately, dog food does not qualify for SNAP EBT purchases.
How to find SNAP EBT eligible items on Amazon
I’ll be honest: Amazon doesn’t make it easy to find SNAP EBT eligible items on the site. For example, when I searched using the term “SNAP EBT Eligible” in the main search box, my results page included lots of snack food.
Then I looked at the left hand column, where you can often filter results by brand, price or whatnot. I thought, for sure, there would be a box that I could check that said “SNAP EBT eligible.”
Nope, that doesn’t exist. However, as you scroll down the results page, you can see that phrase under the listing, right above the Prime Two Day notation. See the picture below for how it looked for me.
I added the red circles, to make it easier for you to see. I used a photo editing software to do that.
However, you have to take these search results with a grain of salt. Or, seeds, for that matter.
I say seeds because you can see above how a kids’ terrarium grow kit shows up as SNAP EBT eligible.
Great, I thought, maybe you can teach kids how to grow food or herbs they can eat. However, when I clicked through the terrarium’s sales page, there was no mention of SNAP EBT.
Compare that with another item that appeared on the same search results page, such as the Tropicana juice bottles. You can clearly see that it says SNAP EBT Eligible, albeit in very small typeface.
However, with regard to that terrarium, the USDA says that when it comes to what SNAP EBT benefits can buy, seeds and plants that you would grow for food do qualify.
SNAP EBT Order delivery
Obviously, if you’re shopping on the regular Amazon website, then you’ll have to have your order delivered via normal Amazon means, such as the USPS. That’s how we all shop on Amazon.
However, if you’re shopping online with Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods Market, you have other options.
For instance, with Amazon Fresh, you will have an option to pick up your order, but only if you live in a place with a physical Amazon store nearby. There is no pickup fee for orders totaling at least $35. You may have it delivered, too.
However, you will pay a delivery fee for Amazon Fresh if your order is under $150. Also, this delivery fee, which can range from $3.95 to $9.95, is something you cannot pay for using your SNAP EBT card. So, you’ll need to add another debit card, like a bank card, or a credit card to your Amazon account to cover these fees.
Amazon Fresh locations
So, where are there Amazon Fresh locations with a physical Amazon store?
You’ll find them in the following locations:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- Washington State
You’ll want to click through to this AmazonFresh locator page to figure out where exactly in the states listed above there are stores.
Note: In addition to a store in the District of Columbia, the stores in Maryland and Virginia are also in the greater Washington DC area.
Finally, the Amazon Fresh locator is a bit wonky. For example, you don’t see Georgia listed above as a place with an Amazon Fresh store.
However, because I once sent a friend outside Atlanta something from Amazon, it comes up in my account as a place where I can shop for Amazon Fresh items.
So, I plugged in the address that showed up as where I could pick up my Amazon Fresh order. And you know what came up?
An Amazon Fulfillment Center. I had no idea that the general public was even allowed to go to these centers.
Whole Foods Markets
I’m not surprised that Amazon-owned Whole Foods Markets come up as an option. And the good news for SNAP EBT shoppers who want to order groceries online through Amazon, there are way more Whole Foods Markets nationwide than Amazon Fresh locations.
My research shows that there are 500–plus Whole Foods in the U.S. Compare that with Amazon Fresh, which has fewer than 50 stores.
Here is how Amazon describes the Whole Foods benefits for those who register their SNAP EBT card on the site:
“Whole Foods Market on Amazon offers many of the same great products found in Whole Foods Market stores. Grocery pickup is free on orders $35+. All delivery orders will include a $9.95 service fee. Your SNAP EBT funds cannot be used to pay for the service fee. Available in select regions.”
Register your SNAP EBT card on Amazon
Remember: in order to use your SNAP EBT card to buy groceries online at Amazon, you must register your card first. Also, you’ll need to have your PIN ready for when you checkout.
Also, this will allow you to shop at Amazon Fresh without signing up for an Amazon Fresh membership.
Finally, you do not need an Amazon Prime membership to use these benefits. However, if you decide you want to get one–for buying books, music or watching TV shows–Amazon says that those with a registered SNAP EBT card will get that membership at 50% off.
Here are other ways to get a discount on an Amazon subscription.
Finally, here is a comprehensive list of grocery stores (including Amazon) that take SNAP EBT online.