Does Costco Take EBT SNAP? Accept Food Stamps Near Me?

It takes energy to achieve financial goals, like $10,000 in a year’s savings or retiring with a seven-figure nest egg. That’s why everyone, including low-income families and other disadvantaged groups, need a way to afford a balanced meal and save money buying in bulk.

The USDA runs the (SNAP) that distributes food stamps to low-income families with EBT cards. 

But no one needs to break the bank to eat, including SNAP recipients. One of the top Tips for economical living that can help you save a lot of money is to carry your cheap grocery list to a discount store and buy in bulk to slash the unit cost per item. 

That’s where wholesale stores like a or Sam’s Club is a membership club that caters to come in. For millions of Americans who use SNAP EBT cards to supplement their essential food budget, finding a Costco discount store that accepts food stamps is a big win.

About Costco

Costco wholesale is a chain of membership-only big-box retail stores with about 560 locations in the United States. It sells everyday items like groceries, household essentials, electronics, fashion at discounted prices, deep cycle batteries, new tires, and refills inkjet cartridges.

Is EBT accepted at Costco?

Short Answer:  The good news is, Costco accepts food stamps at all its wholesale stores in the US for in-store purchases. SNAP rules apply at Costco, just like any other retailer. Costco sells lots of essential products in bulk at great prices. You can only use your EBT card to purchase SNAP-eligible items like discount meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, poultry products, soft drinks, and other staple food that you can carry and prepare at home.

Costco, on the other hand, does not accept SNAP as a payment method for online purchases. As a result, you won’t be able to use your EBT card to shop online or pick up orders at Costco. You also can’t use your EBT card at Costco locations outside of the US.

Costco isn’t an approved , and you won’t be able to use your WIC benefits at its stores because all its products aren’t eligible.

To take advantage of discounted discounts with an EBT card at Costco, you must be a member. The Gold Star membership, for example, costs $60 per year, whereas the Gold Star Executive membership costs $120.

An EBT card cannot be used to purchase an annual Costco membership.

Does Costco Accept EBT Food Stamps?

Yes, Costco accepts EBT cards for in-store transactions at all of its big-box wholesale shops in the United States. Costco, on the other hand, sells exclusively SNAP-approved foods.

The only trade-off is that you must be a member to enjoy the discounted deals and other Costco perks. You can get started with the . The good thing is that the savings you realize are huge, and the annual membership fee should pay for itself. does not participate in the federal EBT pilot program, therefore you won’t be able to spend your EBT benefits there. The initiative allows SNAP recipients to shop for food online using their EBT cards. You will not be able to order grocery delivery or pick up orders in-store. In addition, the Costco food court and petrol stations do not take SNAP benefits.

If you want to order groceries online at Costco, consider paying with another payment method like cash or an unexpired debit card. Alternatively, you can order grocery pickup from Grocery stores that take EBT for groceries delivery or pickup, such as Amazon.

Also, see our guide on EBT-accepting gas stations.

What Costco Payment Methods are Accepted?

If your items aren’t SNAP-eligible, Costco accepts EBT cards and a variety of other payment methods.

Cash, all Visa Cards, travelers checks, personal and company checks from current members, Costco Shop Cards, EBT cards, PIN-based debit cards, and the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card are all accepted at Costco warehouse sites.

It also accepts in-store mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

Costco gas stations accept limited payment methods like Costco Shop Cards, most PIN-based debit and ATM cards, Reliacard, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, and all Visa cards.

MasterCard, all Visa Cards, Costco Shop Cards, PIN-based debit/ATM cards, the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card, and Discover Cards, including JCB and Diners Club, are all accepted at

The stores do not take Gift cards from American Express, money orders, or third-party checks.

Frugal Reality Tip: It’s usually a good idea to have a backup payment option on hand when you go shopping. Just in case you wish to buy SNAP-restricted things like pizza or spend more than your available amount.

See our guide on EBT-accepting pizza joints.

How To Use EBT Card at Costco?

Using your EBT card at Costco is like using your Chip-enabled debit and credit cards. The card is just a type of debit card that the government uses to distribute food stamps and other government benefits to low income families.

Once you become approved to receive SNAP food stamps, SNAP opens an account under your name where your SNAP funds are reloaded every month. To make it easier for you to spend and access your SNAP benefits, you’re given an EBT card locked with a secure 4-digit PIN to Stop a stolen credit card from being used.

Once you’re done shopping at Costco, head to the checkout register and swipe your card as you would a normal debit card. You’ll be asked to choose your preferred payment method. Select EBT and enter your 4-digit PIN to authorize the purchase. You can’t without a PIN, use your EBT debit card.

If your order contains SNAP-prohibited items, the transaction will be declined. In this case, ask the cashier to split your order into different payment methods. For example, use your SNAP card first to pay for SNAP-eligible items, then use any other accepted payment methods like cash or personal checks to cover the remaining part of the order.

Can You Use EBT at Costco Food Court?

Per the SNAP rules, you can’t use EBT at the Costco food court. SNAP restricts the use of SNAP funds on hot and prepared food at the point of sale. It’s not eligible because that’s what the Costco food court sells. Also, you won’t be able to use your SNAP card to get cashback at Costco stores. But, you can At Costco, you can get up to $60 in cash back. if you use a debit card at the register.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, SNAP allows individual states to extend SNAP with the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). The program isn’t for everyone but is used for the elderly, the homeless, and people with disabilities who can’t cook or don’t have the means to carry and prepare meals at home. So far, only about six states have an approved .

If you live in a state that participates in the Restaurant Meals Program and meet the RMP’s eligibility requirements, you can only use an EBT card at the Costco food court.

You can also use your EBT card to eat out at Costco if you receive other government benefits, like the (TANF), through your EBT card. In this case, you can withdraw benefits from any QUEST ATMs with $5, $1, $50, or $100 bills, get cash back at Costco, the shops that offer you the most money back, and pay for food at the Costco food court. Otherwise, steer clear of the food court.

Frugal Reality Takeaway: If you and your state participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) or get other government benefits such as TANF, you can only use EBT at the Costco food court.

What Can I Buy at Costco with EBT?

Costco carries various merchandise from household essentials, discount shoes, groceries, Clothing that is both affordable and fashionable, Laptops that are suitable for online college majors at discounted prices, and diapers on the cheap. But don’t think you can walk into a Costco store and splurge on luxuries with an EBT card. That would defeat the purpose of SNAP. 

Although Costco accepts EBT for in-store purchases at all of its wholesale locations across the United States, SNAP rules apply. At Costco, you can only use your EBT card to purchase SNAP-approved items. They’re everyday foods that you can bring with you and prepare at home as part of a well-balanced dinner.

Here’s a list of SNAP-eligible items you can buy with EBT at Costco:

  • Fruits and vegetables, fresh, frozen, and canned
  • Fish, shrimp, shellfish, lobster, and other seafood
  • Plants and seeds that you may grow at home to feed your family.
  • Sausages, chops, bacon, and tenderloin are examples of pork products.
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt are examples of dairy products.
  • Bread and cereal
  • Olive, coconut, and vegetable oils are examples of cooking oils.
  • Chicken meat and eggs are examples of poultry products.
  • Soft drinks and energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Pepsi, and Sprite, to name a few
  • Steak, ribs, ground beef, and other red meats
  • Desserts such as brownies, cookies, ice cream, and so on.
  • Candy
  • Crackers and chips for a snack

You can also use your EBT card to purchase shakes and protein powder or bagged ice.

What You Can’t Buy at Costco with Food Stamps

It’s also crucial to understand what you can’t buy at Costco with your EBT card. With an EBT card, you can’t buy anything that’s a little more upscale. Avoid the following items and departments when shopping at Costco:

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tobacco products
  • Vitamins and medicine
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Feminine products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Household products
  • Pet food
  • Food that is hot or ready to eat

Nobody wants to face the humiliation of having to return items. When shopping with an EBT card at Costco, stick to SNAP-eligible items.

Always check your EBT card balance before going shopping and ensuring that you have enough funds to cover your purchases. You can easily do that by calling your benefits office or visiting Quest Nearby ATMs that dispense $10. Otherwise, carry an alternative payment method if you wish to buy a SNAP-restricted.

Does Costco Know I’m Paying with EBT Card?

Costco, unfortunately, has to know when you use an EBT card to pay for groceries. It doesn’t imply everyone in the store will be aware that you’re using it.

Let’s have a look at the cashier first.

To begin, inform the cashier of the payment option you wish to use for your transaction. After that, you must indicate whether you’re paying with SNAP or cash before swiping the card. That way, they’ll be able to choose the best payment option for you.

Second, the EBT card is announced in huge letters on the face of the plastic card. If you don’t want to inform the cashier you’re using an EBT card, just show it to them and they’ll choose the appropriate option without asking. The cashier will notice that you are receiving government assistance in either case.

In terms of the payment system, SNAP-approved shops’ registers are programmed to recognize whether or not an item is EBT-eligible. When you try to game the system, whether by accident or on purpose, your transaction will be rejected. Telling the cashier you’re paying with an EBT card is awkward enough, but trying to smuggle SNAP-prohibited items through the checkout line is even worse.

The only way to use an EBT card without being spotted at Costco is to use the self-checkout station. You don’t have to inform anyone you’re paying with SNAP food stamps because your card is processed like an ATM card. Hence, if your local Costco wholesale shop has a self-checkout station, consider using it.

Sadly, in many jurisdictions, Costco prohibits the use of EBT cards at the self-checkout counter. Thus, for the most part, you’ll have to put up with the slight inconvenient of having someone, particularly the cashier, know you’re on government aid.

As a result, feel free to pay with confidence. Nobody chooses their circumstances, after all. It’s not your fault if a hurricane destroys your home and you have to rely on food stamps to get by.

Can I Use Costco EBT Self-Checkout with Food Stamps?

Sure, as long as your local Costco warehouse offers a self-checkout counter, you can utilize Costco EBT self-checkout with food stamps. If you don’t want others to know you’re on government assistance, this is a perfect alternative. Unlike at the cash register, when you tell the cashier what payment method you’re using, an EBT card works at the self-checkout counter like a typical ATM card.

But, before you get too excited, keep in mind that in many areas, Costco locations prohibit the usage of EBT cards at the checkout desk. If that’s the case at your local Costco Wholesale, it’ll be a setback you’ll have to cope with. Otherwise, go unnoticed through the checkout line. The system will not embarrass you if you only buy SNAP-only items.

What is the Costco EBT Return Policy?

The SNAP rules must be followed by all SNAP-approved retailers. The same store return rules must apply to recipients as they do to other customers. They shouldn’t be favored, but they also can’t be treated unfairly.

As a result, there is no Costco EBT return policy. Discrimination would be the result. Costco EBT customers, on the other hand, are subject to the same return policies as everyone else. You can return any product to any Costco warehouse because Costco offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Your return will be processed regardless of whether or not you have a receipt. A person with an EBT card can return anything and benefit from Costco’s generous store policy.

Does Costco Accept Calfresh? 

Calfresh is accepted at Costco. Calfresh rewards are not distinct from SNAP benefits. It’s the term given to SNAP in California. Calfresh is accepted at all Costco locations in California, as SNAP is accepted at all Costco locations in the United States.

In fact, of all Costco warehouse locations are in California, with about 131 stores. So if you live in California, go ahead and spend your Calfresh benefits on Calfresh-eligible products at any location.

Does Costco Take EBT for Delivery?

No, Costco doesn’t take EBT for delivery orders. Unfortunately, that means you can’t use EBT to purchase items online at . Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t participate in the designed to add EBT as an online payment method in every state. 

However, you can shop at using alternative payment options such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi.

Does Costco Take EBT Online?

Costco, unfortunately, does not accept EBT for online purchases. Although EBT is not accepted at, it is accepted at all Costco warehouse stores for in-store transactions. For online grocery orders, however, only takes the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi, MasterCard, Discover, and Costco Shop Cards.

See our related guide on EBT-accepting meal delivery kits.

Does Costco Business Center Take EBT?

Yes, EBT is accepted at Costco Business Centers for SNAP-eligible purchases. Whilst there are some minor distinctions between typical wholesale outlets and Costco Business Center, they both operate under the same store policies. The Business Center accepts EBT because all Costco locations accept it for in-store transactions.

The only distinction is that Costco Business Centers are designed specifically for small businesses and deliveries to small businesses. If you’re a business member, a Costco Business Center is a better option than a typical Costco Wholesale store.

Monday through Friday, Executive business members get the added benefit of entering the store one hour sooner than Gold members. Aside from that, nothing has changed.

How Can I Save Money When Shopping at Costco?

While stores like Walmart and Costco already have low costs, you can always try to save even more money. If you shop at Costco frequently, these pointers will help you get the most bang for your dollars.


Did you purchase something from Costco that was on sale the following week? You can actually request a refund from the store for the difference. If an item you bought at Costco goes on sale within 30 days, you can return it to the store and get a refund for the difference.

This implies you should keep an eye out for store sales, not only for new things to buy, but also to see if the items you already purchased are still available.

Use the Return Policies

Customers will appreciate Costco’s customer-friendly policies. If you open something and decide you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund. Just make sure you save the receipt and don’t damage the item.

If you want a refund or an exchange, you may need to return electronics and appliances within 90 days. Most retail supermarkets do not allow you to return items after 30 days, so ninety days is a long time for a return window.

Know What to Buy in Bulk

While shopping in bulk is supposed to save you money, make sure you’re only buying products that will last a long time before doing so. You might be tempted to buy flour in quantity, but it might absorb moisture from the air and spoil before you can use it all.

Similarly, buying condiments in bulk may appear to be a smart idea, but if kept on the shelf for too long, they may become bad. Because most condiments contain a lot of sugar, salt, and preservatives, their shelf life isn’t long enough to warrant buying them in bulk.

Coffee is another item that should not be purchased in bulk. Coffee loses a lot of its scent and potency when left out in the open, and you can lose most of the flavor before you finish the bag. Buying coffee in bulk is not the best option if you are a coffee aficionado.

Basic Membership

Are you not collecting as many points from your Costco membership as you expected? Many people wind up paying a lot of money for a membership and then not earning enough points from it. This means you’re losing money at the end of the day.

The good news is that downgrading your card is simple. You can request a refund at any time if the executive card is not worth the membership fees you are paying.

Does Costco Take EBT SNAP Summary

Food stamps are accepted at all of Costco’s 558 locations across the United States. It’s a terrific place to go for bulk purchases, especially if you’re looking for a good deal or if you’re a SNAP user with a large family.

At Costco, you can only use EBT to buy SNAP-approved items. You won’t be allowed to use an EBT card at the Costco food court unless you live in a state that participates in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) or receives other types of government assistance such as TANF. In addition, EBT is not accepted by Costco for online orders or at Costco gas stations.

Before you go shopping, verify your EBT card balance and bring a backup payment method. You’ll have an extra payment option if you run out of SNAP cash or wish to buy a few SNAP-restricted items.

You can also make EBT returns to Costco. EBT returns are subject to the same return policy, and you’ll enjoy a 100% satisfaction guarantee like everyone else. See our related article about Return policies and hours at Walmart.

Costco is not a 24-hour store and is closed all major holidays to allow employees to rest and spend time with their families.

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