Does Starbucks Take Food Stamps [Get The Facts]

If you are like the rest of America, you probably can’t start your day without coffee. And if there’s a Starbucks around the corner, you might be wondering if you can use your EBT card to pay for your morning coffee there. 

We are here to tell you that there is no simple answer to this question. The answer is yes and no. What do I mean? Let me explain.

In this article, you will find out if Starbucks is a SNAP participant and if you can buy a coffee at Starbucks with your EBT card. You will learn about licensed Starbucks stores and the official Starbucks policy.

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What Is The Food Stamp Program?

The food stamp program, officially known as SNAP, is a program that helps Americans who need financial assistance to buy healthy food. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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How Can You Use Your Food Stamps?

You can get your food stamps benefits by paying with your EBT card. Your EBT card will work in any store that is a SNAP participant. You can often see a notice in the shop window to indicate that you can use your EBT card there. When you use your card in such a store to buy food, your SNAP EBT account will be debited to pay the store for what you bought.

So, The Question Is, Is Starbucks a SNAP Participant?

If Starbucks is a SNAP participant, you should be able to pay with your EBT card for your Starbucks coffee or food. Starbucks corporation is not a SNAP participant, so you can’t pay for your food and coffee with your EBT card

This is because the products that Starbucks sell are not considered necessities. Their beverages, food and pastries are considered to be treats, something to be enjoyed between meals, not a meal in itself. In fact, Starbucks is seen as a luxury brand, so nutrition assistance doesn’t apply.

Why Have I Seen Customers Pay With Their EBT Cards In Starbucks?

I understand your question, and you are right. However, think back: was that an independent Starbucks store, or was it located in a grocery store or some other retail store?

You see, that’s where the confusion comes in. Starbucks has two kinds of stores: Independent or corporate stores, and licensed stores. The independent stores are operated by Starbucks and the licensed stores are operated by Starbucks licensees. Some of the licensed Starbucks accept food stamps as payment.

Licensed Starbucks Explained

Starbucks licensees have business agreements with Starbucks to run a kiosk or small store inside places like hotels or grocery stores. You will have seen one of these inside a Target or Safeway near you.

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These business owners enter into an agreement with Starbucks to use its corporate name, logo, operation practices and marketing materials, and in return, they pay part of what they earn to Starbucks. At some of these stores, you can pay with your EBT card.

Can You Use Your Food Stamps At a Licensed Starbucks? 

If a licensed Starbucks is located in a store that is registered to accept EBT, then the licensed Starbucks inside the store can also accept EBT. So, you can use your EBT card to pay for food and drinks at the Starbucks located inside a retail store, grocery store or hotel that accepts EBT cards.

Can You Pay With Food Stamps At All Licensed Starbucks?

No, you can’t. Not all these stores accept EBT cards. If you intend visiting such a store near you, check first to be sure if you can use your food stamps to pay for your latte. If you are in a new place and did not check beforehand, make sure you have some cash on hand or another card to pay with in case the store doesn’t accept EBT cards. 

Official Starbucks Policy

According to Starbucks company policy, Starbucks does not accept food stamp cards as payment for any of its products. However, at some of the licensed stores, especially stores that sell food products, food stamps may be accepted.

Where Can You Definitely Use Your EBT Card?

Target is a SNAP-approved store and any Target Starbucks inside a Target store will accept your EBT card.

Other licensed Starbucks inside grocery stores that accept food stamps as payment are Safeway, Fred Meyer, and Publix.

Can You Buy Anything With Your EBT Card at a Licensed Starbucks?

No you can’t. Food stamps are only for essential items, so you can only use your EBT card for SNAP-approved items that have a nutritional label on them, so look out for those. You will also not be able to buy hot, prepared food with your EBT card.

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You can buy coffee, though – to drink and beans or ground coffee to take home.

The best is to simply inquire from the customer service provider what items you can buy. 

Your Take Away

1. Corporate Starbucks does not accept food stamps as payment.

2. Some licensed Starbucks stores inside other stores do accept food stamps as payment.

3. You can only buy essential items with your food stamps.

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