Government food assistance today comes typically from the SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or the WIC Women, Infants, and Children programs. Nowadays the benefits will be transferred electronically onto an EBT card, or electronic benefits transfer card. This makes it simple to buy groceries by obtaining an EBT card, waiting for the food assistance money to appear on the card once a month, and then paying for the groceries in store by swiping your card. But does Whole Foods take EBT? Read on to learn what items you can use your EBT card for in Whole Foods grocery stores.
Whole Foods Accepts EBT Cards For Eligible Items
Whole Foods stores throughout the U.S. will accept your EBT card as SNAP is a program run throughout the country. This means that you are able to pay for most groceries in the stores that are not prepared, hot foods. You can purchase baked goods from their bakery using the EBT card as well. It is important to realize that not every food item at Whole Foods is eligible for paying with your EBT card.
Some Departments Are Not Valid for EBT Payments
You can not purchase any items with your EBT card from any of these departments in Whole Foods:
- Floral department
- Beer department
- Wine department
- Pets department
- Whole Body department
Some Items Are Specifically Not Allowed
In particular you will find that some items may not be bought using government assistance-provided benefits. These include the following goods at Whole Foods:
- Pet food
- Lottery Tickets
- Hot foods or foods that are served in Whole Foods
You may have specific questions concerning certain items. Read our article on the things that you can purchase with EBT to obtain a complete list.
Using EBT Cards in Whole Foods Stores
EBT cards are easy to use as they operate exactly like a debit or credit card. At the checkout aisle you simply swipe the card and put in your personal identification number on the keypad. You can then take your bags of groceries and leave.
In case your benefits on the card are not enough to pay for all of your groceries, you are able to utilize an additional method of payment to finish the transaction. Obtaining your EBT balance is as easy as calling the customer service line at 1-888-356-3281 or stopping by any ATM machine and inputting your PIN.
At the time of publication, Whole Foods will not allow you to pay for grocery deliveries or online orders using EBT benefits. This may change as the USDA is running a pilot program to test out online EBT orders. Some chains are already starting to take EBT for online purchases now.
High-end grocery stores do allow EBT cards to be used. Whole Foods is one of these that will take them so long as you only purchase items that are permitted by the SNAP guidelines. The process of checking out with groceries using EBT is identical to paying with any debit or credit card in Whole Foods' stores. It is worth remembering that the prices at Whole Foods will use your benefits faster than shopping at a less expensive grocery store chain.