Does Sam’s Club Take Food Stamps [Get The Facts]

Bulk retailers like Sam’s Club offer products at hugely discounted prices and in bulk to attract customers. If you are already buying at Sam’s Club, you might be wondering if, besides food, electronics, vehicles, and vacation packages, Sam’s Club also offers payment via food stamps.

Sam’s Club is a SNAP participant and accepts EBT cards. You can pay with your EBT card at Sam’s Club, but not for all items and only under certain conditions.

For you to understand this, we’ll explain in this article what articles you can buy with your food stamps and the specific rules for using your EBT card at Sam’s Club. We’ll tell you what you can definitely not buy and why you can buy hot food only at some Sam’s Club venues.

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Products You Can Buy At Sam’s Club With Your Food Stamps

Sam’s Club is SNAP-authorized, so the retailer is subject to the USDA’s food stamps rules. ETB cardholders can only buy SNAP-qualified items at Sam’s Club warehouse clubs. 

SNAP is focused on food items, so the items you can buy at Sam’s Club with your EBT card are primarily food items a family would normally need. It doesn’t include hot food or food you can eat in a store or a restaurant. 

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Here’s a list of the food items you can purchase at Sam’s Club with food stamps:

  • Meat, fish, seafood, and poultry
  • Dairy Products
  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Bread and Cereal
  • Plants and seeds that you can grow at home for food
  • Nonalcoholic Beverages
  • Snacks

Rules For Using Your EBT Card At Sam’s Club

When you plan to shop at Sam’s Club with food stamps keep in mind that:

  1. You must be a Sam’s Club member. You can’t just arrive at a venue and expect to pay with your EBT card. Sam’s Club operates on a membership-only model, so you must be a Sam’s Club member to shop there and benefit from the low prices on offer. A Sam’s Club membership costs $45 per year.
  2. You can only use your EBT card to shop at a physical store. You can’t use your EBT card to shop in an online Sam’s Club store. You can shop at any warehouse location but not online.
  3. You also can’t use your EBT card for curbside or in-store pickups. 

What Can You Definitely Not Buy at Sam’s Club?

Generally, you can only use your EBT card for essential food items. You can’t buy any groceries that are considered luxury items. In addition to this requirement, you also can’t buy the following items with your food stamps:

  • Alcohol – hard liquor, beer, wine, ciders, etc.
  • Tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff
  • Vitamins/medicines
  • Hot, prepared food
  • Pet food
  • Toiletries
  • Lottery tickets

Why Can You Pay For Hot Food In Some Sam’s Club Venues?

In some states, SNAP includes RMP, a special State-run program that allows elderly, homeless, and disabled SNAP recipients to use their EBT cards to buy food at SNAP-authorized fast food places and restaurants. 

You can only buy hot or prepared meals at Sam’s Club food courts if you qualify for the RMP program, and if the Sam’s Club you’re visiting is in a state that participates in the RMP program.

Presently only some counties in California and Arizona participate in this program. So, as a resident of California or Arizona, you might be able to buy a hot meal with your food stamps next time you are at Sam’s Club.

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Can You Use Sam’s Club’s Scan And Go To Pay For Your EBT Purchases?

Sam’s Club Scan and Go app is a godsend for shoppers who can now skip long waiting lines at the tills. The app lets you scan the items you choose as you go through the store, so they are paid for when you have finished your shopping. All that needs to happen is for a store worker to check that all your items have been scanned.

Unfortunately, EBT cardholders can’t make use of this advantage – they can’t use Sam’s Club Scan and Go app to pay for their purchases. If you want to pay with your EBT card, you have to go through a cashier.   

How To Use Your EBT Card At Sam’s Club

It is straightforward to pay with an EBT card at Sam’s Club. An EBT card works just like any other debit card. EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, which is an arrangement by the government to support low-income families buying essential food items.

If you qualify for SNAP food stamps, you will get a SNAP account in your name. Your EBT card is linked to this account which contains the benefits you receive from the government. The card works with a secret four-digit PIN that you must remember and use every time you pay with your EBT card. 

When you are done with your shopping, swipe your card at the point-of-sale register and enter your PIN when prompted for it. That’s it. The card will automatically register all the items that are EBT-approved. If you bought any items that are not EBT-approved, you can pay for them with your debit or credit card. 

Steps To Take Before You Go Shopping At Sam’s Club

Check your SNAP balance

Never go shopping at Sam’s Club with your EBT card if you didn’t check your SNAP balance first. Sam’s Club has so many products at such reasonable prices that it’s easy to spend more than you planned. You might just end up at the checkout with too little funds on your EBT card. To avoid this, always check your SNAP balance first just in case you get side-tracked and put an extra item or two in your trolley.

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The easiest way to check your SNAP balance is to call the toll-free number on the back of your EBT card.

Prepare other ways to pay for your purchases

Don’t go to Sam’s Club with only one way to pay. You are bound to buy items that are necessary but not EBT-approved, and then you will need another form of payment. You can take cash with you, prepaid cards, debit or credit cards, and of course Walmart and Sam’s Club gift cards and eGift cards as well as Walmart and Sam’s Club credit cards.

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