Do you know if Costco accepts EBT Online? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
The United States Department of Agriculture has launched its online, Food and Nutrition Service Pilot Program.
Most states are partnering with the program to provide online shopping services for EBT recipients across the country, with many companies joining through their respective states.
So, does Costco accept EBT Online? No. Unfortunately, Costco does not accept EBT Online, at least not yet. Currently, Costco does not accept EBT payments for food purchases through its online store. This also means that EBT recipients can’t utilize the many services—such as drive-in—Costco has to offer.
As of right now, it’s not clear if Costco will get on board with the FNC Pilot Program.
As other retail chains continue to partner with the 47 states that are currently active in the Pilot Program, Costco may soon have enough of an incentive to join as well.
Depending on how well the Pilot Program works—and signs point to the fact that it’s working well—more retail chains, such as Costco, are likely to join at some point.
As of right now, however, you’ll have to show up in person to purchase applicable EBT products from Costco.
How Can You Use An EBT Card At Costco?
There are five states that do not have a Costco. Those states are Maine, Arkansas, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Yes, Wyoming is real and not a government cover-up, even though it doesn’t have a Costco.
Those five states are officially a part of the FNS Pilot Program, but you won’t be able to take advantage of EBT online or in-person shopping at Costco in any of them.
Other states have a limited number of Costco’s within their respective borders, so it really depends on where you are.
Every retail chain is limited by the laws of the state in which they are located and some states have different regulations on what you can and cannot purchase with EBT.
As far as in-person shopping is concerned, you can spend your EBT card at Costco, according to the state law in which you reside.
If you want to use an EBT card for online shopping at Costco, you’ll either have to wait to see if/when they become a part of the Pilot Program, or you’ll have to do a workaround.
If you have cash benefits, you can always get those direct deposited to your bank account or PayPal account.
With PayPal, you’ll only be able to pay online if you have their PayPal debit card, which is set up through Wells Fargo.
With the cash benefits deposited in your bank account, you can use that to purchase food or items from Costco through Costco.com.
Another option is to draw out your cash benefits portion at a local ATM and use the cash to purchase a Costco Shop Card, which you can then use to shop on Costco’s online store.
The problem with all of this is that the hoops you have to jump through end up defeating the purpose.
You want to shop at Costco online for delivery purposes, which means you don’t want to go out. However, in order to take advantage of any workarounds, you’ll have to go out.
Read also: Does Target Accept EBT Online?
What Are Your Other Options?
Most grocery delivery services, such as Grub Hub and DoorDash, do not accept EBT payments, however, Instacart does.
The problem is, even though Costco is partnered with Instacart, Costco will not allow grocery pickups from Instacart if it was paid for through EBT.
However, there are some online retailers who will.
If you want to try Instacart for your online grocery shopping needs, those are the retail chains that you will have to choose from.
If you’re interested in which states and what stores accept EBT payments for online grocery shopping, you can see them here.
The Dept of Agriculture launched the FNS Pilot Program in 2019. The pandemic has unfortunately slowed things down for a bit, however, it’s expected to continue to grow, with more and more retailers coming on board in the next few years.
The retail stores listed above don’t have to be accessed through Instacart either—unless that’s just your purchasing preference—but you can also pay online directly with EBT as most of them offer delivery and pick-up services.
Like any other delivery or drive-through, pick-up service, you’ll have to set up an online account with the aforementioned retailers and enter your EBT card information under your profile.
You will also have to enter a separate debit card.
Unfortunately, a separate debit card is needed because some things can’t be purchased through EBT and also because there are fees for taking advantage of these services.
Those fees aren’t covered under EBT and have to be paid for with another method.
You also cannot purchase hot food—as in temperature, not spice—or ready-to-eat foods, such as fast foods, with EBT through these online retail stores.
You have to purchase EBT qualified food that hasn’t been cooked.
Read also: Does Giant Accept EBT Online?
Unfortunately, Costco has yet to jump on the FNS Pilot Program bandwagon.
You can still shop in Costco with an EBT card but, until they change their policy, you can’t purchase anything online with an EBT card.
It doesn’t end there. You also can’t use an EBT card to pay a third-person delivery service to purchase and deliver food items from Costco.
It would seem that if a retail chain isn’t a part of the Pilot Program, all avenues for normal online shopping are blocked for EBT recipients.
Eventually, you may see Costco come around as the program continues to grow, especially if it is successful.
So far, all signs point to yes.
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