Instacart has recently added Eletronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) compatibility as a payment option at select stores in certain states. This means it’s now possible to use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (via your EBT card) without having to leave your own home.
It’s only possible to use an EBT card as payment on Instacart at Food Lion, Save Mart, Price Chopper, Market 32, Market Bistro, and ALDI. EBT is available on Instacart in all states other than Alaska, Louisiana, and Montana.
It’s a little complicated to use your EBT on Instacart, though. This article will clarify absolutely everything you need to know about it to ensure an easy shopping experience on Instacart.
Why Only Some Stores Accept EBT on Instacart?
First of all, only a handful of stores on Instacart actually accept EBT as a form of payment. This is because the US Department of Agriculture is running a test program due to the COVID-19 pandemic – only some stores were selected for the program, so this is why not many stores made the list.
The current list of stores that accept EBT payment on Instacart include:
- Food Lion
- Save Mart
- Price Chopper
- Market 32
- Market BIstro
It is expected that the USDA will expand this program at some point in 2023, so if your favorite store does not accept EBT, then you just have to wait about 6 months and it will likely accept EBT at that point.
What Items Are SNAP Eligible on Instacart?
All the same items that are EBT eligible in-person are eligible on Instacart. The only difference is that the groceries are delivered to you when you use Instacart.
Some of the SNAP eligible items include:
- Poultry, dairy, and meat
- Snacks and drinks that do not contain alcohol
- Frozen meals
You cannot use EBT-SNAP benefits to purchase:
- Foods served hot when sold (ie. prepared food)
Basically, SNAP is meant for essential foods. You cannot use your SNAP benefits to purchase alcohol nor can you purchase hot food with it.
Can I Pay The Delivery Fee or Tip With EBT on Instacart?
No, you cannot pay the delivery fee or tip with your EBT card. SNAP benefits can only be used to pay for food. This is why Instacart makes users provide a credit or debit card before allowing them to use EBT – they need a card that can accept the charge for the delivery fee.
Can I Use Coupons With EBT on Instacart?
You can use any promotional codes on Instacart with your EBT SNAP purchase. However, Instacart does not accept paper coupons on any orders. They simply do not have the logistics in place to accept paper coupons.
Here’s How to Use EBT on Instacart
Paying for food with your EBT card on Instacart is surprisingly easy. All you need are the following:
- An Instacart account
- An EBT card
- A credit or debit card on file with Instacart in order to cover any expenses not covered by SNAP.
From there, you enter your EBT card info into Instacart as if it were a regular credit card. The EBT payment will be used for any eligible food items and non-eligible items will be charged to your credit or debit card. It’s the same as using your EBT card in-store.
How to Find Out Which Items Are SNAP Eligible on Instacart?
Instacart has a few different in-app options that tell you whether or not an item is SNAP eligible.
It’s possible to create a filter that only shows EBT SNAP eligible items in the search result. This option is great for those that do not want to spend their own money when purchasing food as you will only see items that you can use your EBT card to pay for.
It’s also possible to show whether or not an item is EBT eligible on Instacart. To do this go to the “Account Settings” tab and turn on “Show EBT eligibility.” Instacart will then put the word “EBT” underneath any items that are EBT SNAP eligible.
Is It Worth Using EBT on Instacart?
Whether or not using EBT on Instacart is worth it depends on your personal situation. Remember, you still have to pay for the delivery fee and any tip out of your own pocket when using Instacart.
That said, it can be very useful to use Instacart for groceries if you do not have transportation to the grocery store. This can be particularly useful for the elderly or those without vehicles.
It’s also a lot easier to shop with EBT on Instacart than going to the store because you can filter items by EBT eligibility. There is no need to worry about getting to the register only to realize that a food item you purchased is not SNAP eligible.
All things considered, it’s worth it to use your EBT on Instacart if you can afford the delivery fee and do not have transportation to the grocery store. It just makes things so much easier than having to plan out a trip to the grocery store.
A handful of grocery stores on Instacart accept EBT payments. It’s important to keep in mind that the delivery fee and tip cannot be paid for with an EBT card – those payments must come out of your own pocket.
That said, using EBT on Instacart is not that bad of an idea if you can afford the delivery fee. It’s easy to shop on Instacart and you do not have to worry about accidentally purchasing non-EBT eligible items because Instacart makes it clear which items are EBT eligible.