Does Starbucks Take EBT – Here’s What You Need to Know

Over the years, many people have asked, “Does Starbucks take EBT?” It may come as a surprise to you that Starbucks, the well-known global coffeehouse brand, does not accept EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) or food stamps as payment. 

EBT cards are often issued for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other state-run assistance programs to give financial assistance for the purchase of food and non-alcoholic drinks at approved grocery stores or food sellers. 

This policy applies to all Starbucks stores in the United States, regardless of state or locality.

Understanding the limitations of EBT acceptance at Starbucks, on the other hand, is critical for visitors or those looking for businesses that accept EBT for food and beverages. 

A few crucial criteria must be considered in order to make educated decisions and provide a full grasp of alternative options:

In the section below, we’ll go over how to use food stamps at Starbucks in further depth.

Does Starbucks Take EBT?

Does Starbucks Take EBT

Starbucks does not officially accept EBT cards at any of its company-owned locations. It is typically regarded as a non-essential luxury brand, and as such, it is not an authorized SNAP vendor.

Having said that, Starbucks accepts EBT at some of its licensed locations, including grocery and retail outlets. In the United States, there are about 6,300 licensed Starbucks locations.

So, if you go to a Starbucks inside a grocery store, you might be able to use your food stamps, such as:

  • Target 
  • Safeway 
  • Fred Meyer
  • As well as other grocery stores that accept food stamps.

You can use your EBT card to buy SNAP-eligible items there.

How Do You Use EBT to Pay at Starbucks?

It is critical to contact ahead to ensure that your Starbucks accepts EBT. Again, most licensed locations accept EBT, but not all, and no company-owned Starbucks accepts it.

Check your balance before making any purchases, either online at your state’s SNAP site or by calling the number on your EBT card. This way, you’ll know exactly how much money you have and how to prioritize your needs.

Once you’ve confirmed that EBT is accepted at your Starbucks, make your qualifying purchases at the cash register and then pick EBT or SNAP as your payment method, or tell the clerk if prompted.

Then, just insert your EBT card, follow the on-screen instructions, and enter your PIN code.

What Can You Buy With Food Stamps at Starbucks?

The restrictions on what you may and cannot buy with an EBT card at a licensed Starbucks are fairly stifling.

Although your EBT card can be used at some licensed Starbucks locations across the country, it cannot be used to purchase hot beverages or freshly produced food items.

EBT can, however, be used to purchase cold beverages and prepackaged cold foods such as muffins or bread.

It can usually be used to pay for cold sandwiches, soft drinks, bottled water, energy drinks, cold snacks, and other cold-baked products.

Other Starbucks products available with EBT include instant coffee, ground or whole-bean packaged coffee, and creamer.

Which Items Can Be Purchased at Starbucks With EBT?

Which Items Can Be Purchased at Starbucks With EBT

The US Department of Agriculture, like any other retailer, has certain criteria for what can be purchased with an EBT card at Starbucks.

This is basically nutritional nourishment for your family. It does not, for example, include dining out. This is because eating out is classified as ‘consumed away from home,’ which is prohibited.

Having stated that below are the types of products you can buy with your EBT card:

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Cereal and bread
  • Dairy products
  • Snacks and cold non-alcoholic drinks
  • Plants and seeds that produce food for your household

Given this, you can use an EBT card to purchase cold sandwiches, bagels, candies, soft drinks, iced coffee, energy drinks, bottled water, other cold drinks, and snacks at Starbucks.

However, except for hot drinks and hot snacks, anything with a nutritional label at Starbucks should be suitable for purchase with EBT.

Which Items Cannot Be Purchased at Starbucks With EBT?

While the USDA has specific standards for what you may and cannot buy with an EBT card, they also have guidelines for what you cannot buy. These are some examples:

  • Non-Food Products: An EBT card cannot be used to purchase any nonfood items. Personal hygiene goods, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies are examples of nonfood items.
  • Hot drinks or meals: EBT cannot be used to purchase any hot drinks or hot foods intended for consumption at the point of sale.
  • Animals: Animals that are still living cannot be purchased using SNAP assistance. Shellfish and other fish that have recently been removed from the water are exceptions.
  • Supplements, vitamins, and medicines: EBT cards cannot be used to purchase any supplements, vitamins, or medicines. Simply look for a supplement facts label to see if an item is one of these three. This marking indicates that an item is not eligible for EBT purchasing.
  • Alcohol: EBT cards cannot be used to purchase spirits, wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages.
  • Tobacco: You can buy cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products with your SNAP benefits.

As you can see, hot foods and hot drinks, such as hot sandwiches, Caramel Macchiatos, and White Chocolate Mochas, are not permitted to be purchased at licensed Starbucks outlets.

Hot foods and hot drinks, like dining out, fall under the ‘consumed away from home’ category.

Who Decides if an Item is EBT Eligible?

Starbucks corporate locations consider their goods to be luxurious and thus not necessary for proper nourishment.

Licensed Starbucks generally adhere to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) EBT rules.

Starbucks goods must not be intended for immediate consumption and cannot be hot at the moment of sale in order to be eligible for EBT at select licensed locations.

This may seem perplexing, but the goal is to offer nutrition for the entire family at home.

A reasonable rule of thumb is that if a food or beverage item includes a nutritional label, it can likely be purchased with EBT.

The USDA does offer the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), which allows eligible participants, such as the homeless, aged, and disabled, to purchase hot food at participating restaurants.

This program, however, is now only available in seven states: Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

RMP is a state-run program, and in order to participate, a restaurant must serve meals at a reduced price.

Even in qualifying RMP states, Starbucks does not participate in the program.

What are the Advantages of Using an EBT card?

An EBT card is government-supported because it is issued to those who qualify for the SNAP program.

This means you don’t have to pay into the card or pay interest when you use it.

After qualifying candidates complete the requirements, a fixed amount of money is placed on the card.

Low-income families benefit from having an EBT card because their children are less likely to go hungry.

There is sometimes shame associated with having to rely on government assistance, but that is why it exists: to assist those in need.

Parents who are less stressed can devote more time and energy to their children who require it the most.

EBT is yet another technique to alleviate the stress of poverty.

RMP is another fantastic service since it allows folks who are physically unable to prepare for themselves to be fed.

RMP contributes to a healthier, happier population by assisting the elderly, crippled, and homeless.

These programs liberate individuals from the fear of food deprivation, allowing them to focus on their careers and other commitments.

Starbucks That Accepts EBT Near Me

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To discover a Starbucks that accepts EBT cards near you, visit Starbucks’ Store Locator to identify the nearest location that is in a Target, Albertsons, Walmart, or any other grocery chain or retail shop.

Once you’ve found a location near you in one of these grocery chains, phone and inquire whether EBT cards are accepted as payment.

If they aren’t, call the second nearest Starbucks location in one of these grocery chains and inquire again. Repeat this procedure until you discover one that does.

What Other Retail Stores Accept EBT?

While we’ve already talked about Target, what other retailers accept EBT cards? Do you have all of them? No, not exactly.

Here are a few well-known grocery establishments that accept EBT cards:

Keep in mind that this list is insignificant in contrast to the total number of grocery stores that accept EBT cards, including supermarkets such as Walmart.

EBT cards are also accepted at numerous corporate-owned farmer’s markets and convenience stores.

If you need to find EBT-accepting stores near you, you can utilize the US Department of Agriculture’s Snap Retailer Locator online app. You may use the app to search for establishments that accept it by street address, city, state, or zip code.

How Do Stores Qualify For EBT?

According to the USDA, in order for stores to participate in the EBT program, businesses must meet Criterion A (staple food stock) or Criterion B (staple food sales) staple food standards.

According to the USDA:

“Staple foods are fundamental food items that comprise a large amount of an individual’s diet and are typically made at home and consumed as a main component of a meal…

Accessory foods, hot foods, and prepared foods are not considered staple foods.”

Fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and breads or grains are the four staple dietary groups.

If a store meets Criterion A, it must continually sell at least three staple food variations in each of the four staple food categories.

They must also keep a minimum of three products per staple food kind in stock.

Furthermore, qualified establishments must stock at least three stocking units of at least one perishable staple variety across at least two staple food categories.

This boosts the overall number of fundamental food items on hand to 36.

If a store does not meet Criterion A, it must follow Criterion B, which states:

“Stores must derive more than half of their total gross retail sales from one or more of the four staple food categories…

Total gross retail sales include all retail sales in a store, including food and non-food products, as well as services like rental and professional fees.”

Final Words

While Starbucks does not accept EBT cards at any of its corporate-operated locations or online, it does take them at certain of its licensed stores and kiosks.

These licensed storefronts and kiosks are frequently seen in grocery stores and other establishments such as Target, Safeway, and Walmart.

These licensed Starbucks stores, like any other store that accepts EBT, have restrictions on what you can and cannot buy.

Nonfood products, hot drinks or hot foods, live animals, supplements, alcohol, or tobacco, for example, cannot be purchased with an EBT card. You can only buy fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, bread, cereals, snacks, and cold non-alcoholic beverages.

To avoid any inconvenience, call your local licensed Starbucks outlet ahead of time to see if they take EBT cards. If they don’t, consider going to another coffee shop that does.

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