Does Instacart Take Food Stamps [Learn The Facts]

Shopping with food stamps can be something of a trial. You might worry about whether you have enough balance left in your EBT account – or worse still, whether or not the store accepts food stamps. 

Most modern stores accept food stamps (now known as SNAP benefits). Instacart is the world’s largest online grocery delivery service, and with the recent pandemic, many shoppers are choosing to have their food delivered. 

So, can you use your EBT card to pay for Instacart deliveries? What can you buy? Let’s find out. 

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Table of Contents: 

Does Instacart Take Food Stamps?

You can use food stamps to pay for groceries via Instacart, but you also need to have an additional credit or debit card attached to your account. 

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This is because when you use Instacart, you don’t just pay for your food. You pay for delivery fees and other extra costs, which aren’t covered by your EBT balance. Food stamps are intended for just that – food, not a delivery fee. 

What Can You Buy With EBT?

EBT is designed to pay for a household’s food. While it does allow for some snack foods, hot food and fast food isn’t included. 

Here’s what you can buy with EBT: 

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Bread, grains, and cereals
  • Nuts, beans, seeds, etc
  • Snack foods (ice cream, chips, candy, etc)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

Since you need to have a credit or debit card attached to your account as well as your EBT card, you can use your own money to buy non-approved grocery products yourself. 

What Can’t You Buy With EBT?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of non-food, essential groceries which aren’t covered by your food stamps money. 

Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:

  • Household supplies
  • Cleaning products
  • Sanitary and hygiene products
  • Pet food
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements
  • Hot, pre-prepared food (like rotisserie chickens)
  • Electronics
  • Clothes and cosmetics
  • Restaurant food or hot food
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products

If you try and buy a non-approved item, your card will likely be declined.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many new EBT users have lots of questions about their new benefits. So, let’s take a look at two of the most commonly asked questions about food stamps

  • Can I order groceries online with EBT?

Yes, you can order groceries online with EBT/SNAP benefits. However, you may need to have a credit or debit card attached to your account, as your benefits won’t cover the delivery fees and other costs. 

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You can also use your EBT card in-store just like an ordinary payment card, and you can also use it at the self-checkout. 

Ordering groceries via food delivery apps is a relatively new benefit. While Instacart, UberEats, and some other apps do take EBT, many more apps don’t. Remember, you can’t use your benefits to order fast food. 

The Bottom Line

Shopping online is a much safer choice during our current pandemic. If you can, use your EBT card to have your groceries delivered, and stay safe.

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