Does Costco REALLY Take Food Stamps [Just The Facts]

Is there anything more embarrassing than having your card declined after the cashier rings up your shopping cart full of groceries?

For families who use SNAP benefits (food stamps), there can be a niggling worry that the store won’t accept your EBT card.

Costco is a firm favorite for shoppers. With a wide variety of products and reasonable prices, you can easily pick up your whole week’s shopping at Costco. 

So, does Costco accept food stamps? If so, what can you buy? More importantly, what can’t you buy?

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Table of Contents

Does Costco Accept Food Stamps?

Yes, Costco does accept food stamps and EBT cards. However, you likely won’t be able to use your EBT card at, or any Costco gas stations or car washes.

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So, while you can shop in-store, you can’t buy from Costco online with your EBT card. You also won’t be able to use your EBT card in the food course, since food stamps aren’t designed to cover hot food or food prepared to be eaten immediately (like restaurants).

What Can I Buy At Costco With EBT? 

Costco follows the state guidelines for what you can and can’t buy with food stamps and EBT cards. 

Here’s what you can buy at Costco with an EBT card:

  • Fruit and vegetables 
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Bread
  • Cereals and grains 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Snack foods (like candy, ice cream, and chips)

Essentially, food stamps are designed to provide food for you and your household. While this includes less nutritious food like chips and ice cream, it’s up to you to decide what to buy to best feed yourself and your family. 

What Can’t I Buy At Costco With EBT?

Unfortunately, EBT will only cover food. Non-food groceries, even essential household supplies, aren’t covered by your food stamps. 

Here’s what you can’t buy at Costco with an EBT card:

  • Household supplies and paper goods 
  • Cleaning supplies 
  • Pet food 
  • Hygiene and grooming products (like soaps, razors, shampoo, toothpaste, etc)
  • Hot food, or food designed to be consumed in-store
  • Alcohol 
  • Tobacco products
  • Lottery tickets/gambling 
  • Other non-food products

It’s important to make sure you’re not buying unapproved products. Your EBT card could be declined, or you’ll have to pay for the items later.

Frequently Asked Questions

Using your EBT card at Costco should be just as straightforward as using it in any other major store. Let’s briefly discuss a few commonly asked questions about using food stamps in Costco.

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Can I use my EBT card at Costco’s self-checkout?

If you prefer to use the self-checkout option at stores, you can still use your EBT card in Costco. 

Can I shop in Costco with only my EBT card? 

You can browse in Costco without a membership card, but you won’t be able to buy anything. You’ll need to use your membership card alongside your EBT card. 

Costco is a great shop to pick up everything you need in one go. It can be a little tricker than some other shops when it comes to using EBT, but the price reductions can be worth it. 

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