Your SNAP EBT card can be used more widely than you probably think. If you have a SNAP EBT card, it’s time to think outside the box about how you do groceries and possibly get great savings right in time for Prime Day. And the best part about it, you do not need a Prime membership.
What Is SNAP EBT?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) uses the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system to distribute government benefits via a debit card to eligible low-income families in the U.S. This SNAP EBT card replaces what was previously known as food stamps and is used to help families who would otherwise have difficulty paying for groceries, to acquire eligible grocery items.
According to the USDA, SNAP EBT card holders can use their cards to purchase only the following types of food:
- Fruits and vegetables (canned, fresh, and frozen)
- Meat, poultry, and fish (canned, fresh, and frozen)
- Dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt (fresh and shelf-stable food)
Bread and cereals
- Other food items like sugar, oil, flour, cake mixes, and other baking ingredients
- Cooked goods and desserts
- Snack foods (nuts, crackers, pretzels, chips, cooks, etc.)
- Non-alcoholic beverages like sodas and juices
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat
SNAP EBT cards cannot be used to purchase items like:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Cleaning supplies or other household items
- Hygiene products (look for free ones here)
- Food for pets
- Medicines, vitamins, and supplements
Many brick-and-mortar grocery stores and supermarkets accept the SNAP EBT card, and some allow individuals to make purchases online. And now, SNAP EBT cards are also accepted in the largest online marketplace.
Who Is Eligible for SNAP EBT?
Not everyone is eligible for SNAP EBT benefits, but to see if you qualify, you must apply through your state or county social services department. If approved, the benefits will be disbursed monthly. How much you receive is based on your income level.
How To Use Your SNAP EBT Card on Amazon
As of 2022, Amazon became part of a pilot run by the USDA to accept SNAP EBT online. That means customers with a valid SNAP EBT card can now use their card on Amazon. This is applicable in all U.S. states, with the exception of Alaska.
SNAP EBT cardholders can use their benefit to purchase the same eligible foods they would buy at a brick-and-mortar grocery store on Amazon. The same rules apply. The SNAP EBT card cannot be used to purchase non-eligible items.
In order to use your SNAP EBT card on Amazon, you must do the following:
- Log into your Amazon account or create one.
- Add your SNAP EBT card information to the account.
- Save the information.
- Start shopping for eligible grocery items on Amazon.
- When you’re ready to check out your items, enter your SNAP EBT card pin.
- After you enter your Pin, you’ll see the amount of your order that is not eligible for SNAP EBT. Use a different credit or debit card to pay for non-eligible items.
What About Prime Membership?
Prime membership is not a requirement for using your SNAP EBT benefits on Amazon. If you have a valid SNAP EBT card, you have access to Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market and regular Amazon without Prime membership.
Amazon Fresh is typically only available to members with a Prime membership. However, Amazon is now making it available to non-Prime members with valid SNAP EBT cards in eligible regions.
- Amazon Fresh: Delivery orders over $150 and pickup orders over $35 are FREE for SNAP EBT cardholders and individuals with Prime memberships. Orders below those amounts will require the customer to pay a service fee from $3.95 to $9.95.
- Amazon Groceries: Non-Prime members can get free delivery on orders $25 or more. Smaller orders will require a shipping fee.
- Whole Foods Market on Amazon: Grocery pickup is free on orders $35 or more. All delivery orders include a $9.95 service fee.
SNAP EBT cards cannot be used to pay for delivery fees, service fees, or tips. According to USDA guidelines, any item not considered eligible for SNAP EBT benefits will need to be paid using a different debit or credit card.
The Bottom Line
If you are a valid SNAP EBT cardholder, Amazon is now allowing you access to some of the rewards of Prime membership without having to pay for that benefit.