EBT cards are huge benefits for families with limited incomes.
These cards work like debit cards at the grocery store.
They have SNAP funds to help people get fresh groceries, ensuring their family doesn’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from.
However, it’s not always possible to make it to the grocery store and swipe your EBT card yourself.
Many people think of online grocery delivery services, like Instacart, to be a luxury.
They don’t know if you can use EBT online for delivery like this.
Thankfully, Instacart is set up to take EBT cards.
It’s not as straightforward as linking your bank’s debit card or a major credit card, so read on to find out how to use EBT on Instacart orders.
Can You Use EBT on Instacart?
Certain states participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows EBT cardholders to use their benefits for online orders.
If the state that issued your EBT card doesn’t participate, you can’t use the card in a neighboring state.
Instacart also isn’t able to accept EBT cash yet.
Instacart offers a special discount for new users with valid EBT cards.
For your first three orders, you won’t pay any delivery or pickup fees.
As long as your order costs more than $35, you’ll get this discount.
Who Accepts EBT on Instacart?
After you find your state on the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot list, you can see what specific stores accept this payment.
There are many local grocery store chains on the list, such as:
- Earth Fare
- Piggly Wiggly
- Price Rite
- Food Bazaar
There are also big-name stores that accept EBT through Instacart, including:
- Food Lion
Instacart is constantly updating the list of who accepts online EBT payments.
If you don’t have a nearby store accepting EBT cards, make sure you have the latest version of the app and double-check Instacart’s website.
What Can You Purchase With EBT on Instacart?
EBT cards cover food for the people in your house.
This means you can’t buy pet food, cleaning supplies, vitamins, or hygiene items.
You also can’t use EBT for alcoholic drinks or cigarettes.
If you’re shopping for general food items, EBT will cover you.
This includes fruits, vegetables, bread, cereal, meat, dairy, and snacks.
Keep in mind that fruits, vegetables, and other items priced according to weight might change the final price of your order.
Browsing EBT Items
On Instacart, any items that qualify for EBT payment will have “EBT” over the price.
But there are ways to modify your shopping experience so you know EBT covers everything.
When you’re using the app, you can go to your account settings and click on SNAP EBT info.
There’s a slider you can highlight that will show you if each item is eligible for EBT.
Every time you click on an item, it will tell you if it’s EBT-eligible before you add it to your cart.
You can also sort results with an EBT filter.
When you’re shopping through the app, click Explore and then select “Only EBT-eligible items” on the filter results page.
Once you apply the change, everything you browse through is eligible for EBT funds.
You can keep your non-EBT costs down by ensuring your shopper won’t pick replacement items that EBT won’t cover.
If your settings default to “Find Best Match,” then the shopper will just pick whatever is closest to your desired item, regardless of its price or EBT eligibility.
You have the option to pick a specific replacement.
This tells your shopper that if one item isn’t available, look for this specific alternative.
You can double-check that the alternative is EBT-eligible before adding it to your list.
Make sure that the price of the alternative EBT item is equal to or less than the original you had on your list.
If it costs more, even if it’s EBT-eligible, Instacart charges the difference to your backup credit or debit card.
If you don’t want to risk a replacement that your EBT card won’t pay for, choose “Don’t Replace.”
Then, instead of trying to find an alternative, your shopper just won’t fulfill that item.
You’ll get a refund since your final price isn’t as high as Instacart originally projected.
Modifying Your Order
Once you finish an Instacart order, you might realize you forgot certain items.
You can go back and add groceries to your existing order, but these items won’t get charged to your EBT card (even if they’re EBT-eligible) unless you take some extra steps.
If you’re adding EBT-eligible items to your existing order, tap “More” in the right-hand corner of the app.
You’ll see the option to adjust totals.
Click that, and select “Charge more to EBT.”
You’ll have a chance to add the extra cost to your EBT card.
The process is similar for the Instacart website, too.
You’ll select “Manage order,” and then click “Charge more to EBT.”
Enter the amount, input your EBT PIN, and submit the order.
On the website, you’ll also have the option to see the price breakdown regarding what’s on your EBT and what’s on your debit or credit card.
Enter your EBT PIN and submit the new cost to charge on the card.
You can do this until the shopper delivers your order.
Just remember to take those extra steps, or else Instacart charges any additional items to your credit or debit card by default.
Does an EBT Card Cover Instacart Fees?
No, the funds on an EBT card will only cover food for people, so you won’t be able to buy pet food for your cat!
So it doesn’t apply to any Instacart fees, either.
That means you have to link a debit or credit card to your Instacart account to cover those other charges.
Does an EBT Card Cover Tips for Instacart Shoppers?
As previously mentioned, EBT cards only cover food items.
Since it can’t pay for Instacart fees or taxes, it definitely won’t cover tips for your Instacart shopper and delivery driver.
Instacart requires you to also have an additional debit or credit card for these charges.
Make sure you tip your shopper using the other card on your account.
You don’t want to forgo a tip just because you’re using limited EBT funds.
How to Add EBT Cards to Instacart Accounts
You can add an EBT card to your Instacart account through the app or on their website.
Go to the menu in the top left corner and select your account settings.
Click on payment methods and find the EBT SNAP card option.
You’ll then see prompts to enter the first and last name associated with the EBT card, as well as the card number.
Save your settings and the card is on your account.
How to Remove EBT Cards From Instacart Accounts
You can only have one EBT card linked to your account at a time.
Before you add another, you have to delete the one you’re currently using.
To delete a card, choose the menu in the top left corner of the Instacart website.
Select account settings, then payment methods.
You’ll see your EBT SNAP card on the list with an option to delete it.
You’ll have to click delete again to confirm that you want to remove the card.
If you’re using the app, the steps are slightly different to delete an EBT card.
You’ll click the top left menu and go to account settings.
When you select payment methods, you’ll see a pencil icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Click on the pencil icon and you’ll see a red minus sign pop up on your cards.
Click the red icon on the EBT card to remove it.
Then click delete to confirm the removal.
How to Use an EBT Card on Instacart
To use an EBT card on Instacart, you also have to put in your credit or debit card information.
The additional cards act as a safety net to cover Instacart fees, tops for delivery, and taxes.
It also covers items that aren’t EBT-eligible from your order.
When you’re ready to checkout, Instacart shows you a breakdown of your order.
Everything that is EBT-eligible is in one group, and anything on your additional credit or debit card is in another.
You’ll always have some items that EBT can’t pay for, like the delivery fee, taxes, and tips to your delivery driver.
After you see the total cost of your order, you’ll see another breakdown of how much Instacart will charge your EBT card and your other credit or debit card.
Do Grocery Stores Usually Take EBT?
Not all grocery stores take SNAP EBT payment, but most do.
Chains like Kroger, Costco, Fred Meyer, the Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, and Sam’s Club take EBT.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service allows you to search by location to find stores near you that accept EBT.
Smaller businesses might not have the time or patience to apply for EBT acceptance.
The application requires a lot of information upfront, and it’s not something you apply for once and get lifetime access to.
Stores have to renew every five years.
Other stores might position themselves as upscale markets.
Accepting EBT would make their customers feel like they’re getting the same experience as a regular grocery store, instead of shopping somewhere luxurious.
Since EBT is only for human food, stores that don’t sell a majority of food items don’t need to accept EBT.
However, big names like Target and Walmart take EBT since they either have a built-in grocery store or sell pantry items.
Some drug stores take EBT, though it only applies to food and drinks.
If you’re shopping at Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid, you can’t use your EBT SNAP card to pay for prescriptions, vitamins, or hygiene items.
It can buy your soft drink or snack foods, though.
Troubleshooting: EBT Not Working on Instacart
Some common issues can happen when you’re trying to checkout with an EBT card on Instacart.
If you don’t see an option to use your EBT SNAP card, make sure your Instacart app is up-to-date.
Make sure your state and the specific store take EBT payments online.
You won’t be able to check out with an EBT card on Instacart unless you also have a debit or credit card for backup.
If you’re unable to complete your order, go to your account information and check to see what payment options you have on file.
In case you do have a backup card on file and still can’t checkout, delete your cards and try again.
Enter your EBT card first, then add the backup card.
Go back to your order and see if you can complete your checkout now.
Other Delivery Apps That Accept Food Stamps
Instacart isn’t the only delivery app that accepts food stamps.
Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry also take this payment method for applicable items.
Amazon Fresh offers food like a traditional grocery store, but it delivers everything right to your door.
It used to be only for Amazon Prime members but recently changed eligibility.
Now anyone with an EBT card can use Amazon Fresh without paying for a Prime subscription.
Delivery is free for any order over $35 so you won’t have additional fees to pay.
If your order is less than that, you’ll have to pay a delivery charge with a backup credit or debit card, just like with Instacart.
While Amazon Fresh offers an array of foods like the grocery store, Amazon Pantry offers staples and snacks, including bread, cereal, canned goods, and non-alcoholic drinks.
The items have EBT-eligible labels, but if they’re sold by a third party instead of Amazon, you can’t use your EBT card.
The ability to use EBT funds through Instacart is a huge benefit to people who don’t have time or transportation to get to the grocery store.
Add your EBT card to your Instacart account and have groceries delivered today.