Starbucks is a fine place to get some coffee and a snack. The company initially accepted only cash but now takes credit cards and other payment options.
If you’re an EBT user and a coffee lover, you may wonder: Does Starbucks take EBT?
The answer is: Yes, Starbucks accepts EBT, but that’s not all.
I’ll discuss how you can use your EBT cards at Starbucks. I’ll also explain what you can and can’t buy.
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What Is SNAP?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the most extensive federal nutrition assistance program in the US and includes the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system.
SNAP helps low-income families augment their diets with nutritious food.
When purchasing EBT-eligible items, participants in the food stamp program can use their EBT cards as payment at participating retailers.
You can make contactless payments using your debit card instead of the old-fashioned paper stamps when you shop at certain grocery stores.
Does Starbucks Take EBT?
Company-owned Starbucks locations don’t accept food stamp cards like EBT cards. Starbucks isn’t an approved SNAP store since the federal government considers it an unnecessary premium brand.
Products at Starbucks aren’t essential food purchases.
Nonetheless, some Starbucks-licensed stores in grocery stores and retail chains accept EBT.
The United States of America is home to 6,300 officially recognized Starbucks outlets.
You can often find Starbucks-licensed stores at grocery stores that accept food stamp cards, including Target, Safeway, Kroger, and Fred Meyer.
Hotel lobbies with a license to sell to guests can also accept EBT.
Remember, there are limits to what you can buy at Starbucks-licensed stores with EBT cards.
You can purchase soft drinks and energy drinks, but you can’t buy hot food.
Does Starbucks Accept EBT Online?
Online purchases with EBT are currently unavailable at Starbucks.
Starbucks’ online store follows the same EBT policy as the company’s physical locations.
An eligible SNAP shop must meet the following criteria.
- An existing online presence
- A website that can be updated and maintained to incorporate qualifying material
Here are some online shops that accept SNAP.
- Dash’s Market
- Fresh Direct
- Hy-Vee, Inc.
- Walmart Stores, Inc.
- Wright’s Markets
These online stores will accept your EBT card, but delivery costs will still be your responsibility.
Does Starbucks Accept EBT for Cold Drinks and Hot Food?
Participating Starbucks locations (Starbucks-licensed stores) nationwide will accept EBT cards. However, you can’t use your EBT cards to buy hot food or drinks.
You can use your EBT card to purchase frappuccinos, other cold beverages, and prepared baked goods like muffins and bread.
Here are other Starbucks goods you can buy with your EBT card.
- Cold drinks
- Energy drinks
- Soft drinks
- Bottled water
- Cold snacks
- Instant coffee
- Ground coffee
- Coffee beans
- Cold-baked goods
- Cold sandwiches
Why Can’t You Buy Hot Foods At Starbucks With EBT?
Corporate Starbucks outlets don’t accept SNAP.
You can’t use it to buy hot, prepared food because Starbucks doesn’t participate in the US restaurant meals program (RMP).
You can only spend your SNAP benefits on cold beverages and snacks at Starbucks-licensed stores.
The restaurant meals program is only accessible in six states.
- Rhode Island
If you are a resident of one of these states and meet the requirements for the EBT program, you can use your card at any grocery store that accepts EBT to buy freshly prepared meals.
What Can You Buy With the EBT Card?
The SNAP program is for home-cooked food.
Here’s what you can buy with your EBT card.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, fish, and poultry
- Dairy goods
- Grain products, such as bread and cereals
- Some other foods, such as snacks
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Domestically valuable seeds and plants
What Can’t You Buy With an EBT Card?
There are specific food items you can’t buy with EBT cards.
You can’t purchase beer, wine, spirits, or other alcoholic beverages with EBT. You can’t buy tobacco products with your SNAP benefits, either.
You can’t use EBT to buy vitamins, minerals, and other health supplements. Reading the label is a great way to tell the difference between food and supplements.
Products with supplement Facts on the label are ineligible for purchase using SNAP funds. These products include vitamins, protein supplements, and pharmaceuticals.
Using EBT to buy a living animal is prohibited. Fish caught within the past few days can be an exception.
You can’t use your EBT to purchase hot foods and drinks.
Inedible products are unavailable for purchase. You can’t purchase home cleaning, personal hygiene, household supplies, and other similar items because they’re not food products.
How Can a Store Accept EBT?
Grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and other retail stores must meet the USDA’s Criterion A (staple food stock) or Criterion B (staple food sales) to participate in the EBT program.
According to the USDA, staple foods are the essential food items that make up a considerable amount of an individual’s diet and are typically made at home and consumed as a central component of a meal.
Staple food items don’t include condiments, cooked meals, or other accessory foods.
Fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and grains or cereals comprise the four major diet groups.
Under Criterion A, a store must consistently have at least three different types of each of the four different types of staple foods to qualify and accept EBT cards.
Each type of staple food should have at least three products in stock.
Additionally, a minimum of three stocking units of at least one perishable staple type in at least two staple food categories must be available for a store to qualify and accept EBT cards.
There are now a total of 36 different types of staple food available.
Retailers must follow Criterion B if they still need to meet Criterion A.
According to USDA regulations, more than half of a store’s total gross retail sales have to come from one of the four primary food groups.
When talking about a store’s total gross retail sales, we’re referring to everything the store sells, including food and non-food items and professional services.
Does Starbucks Take EBT in Target?
Starbucks at Target accepts EBT. If you have an EBT card, you can buy food at Target Starbucks if the meal has a nutrition label.
You can use your SNAP in supermarkets with Starbucks cafes like Target.
Starbucks cafes in Target and licensed Starbucks locations within grocery stores take EBT.
However, you need to do more than walk into Target and use your SNAP funds to buy a fancy coffee drink.
Target follows SNAP guidelines. Foods from Starbucks are available at the supermarket just like any other brand.
Even though people can use their EBT cards at a Target Starbucks, they can only buy SNAP-eligible goods and other items with nutritional labels.
You can use your EBT card to buy a bottle of Starbucks iced coffee from the grocery store.
Always check ahead of time to ensure the Starbucks kiosk at your local Target accepts EBT. If they don’t, you can either look for a different place to shop or prepare another payment method.
Note: You can use your Target gift card to pay if you’re at Starbucks in Target. Check your Target gift card balance before going in to ensure you have enough to pay for your order.
How Can You Use EBT at Starbucks Coffee?
Here’s how to use your SNAP benefits at Starbucks coffee.
Visit a Licensed Starbucks Location.
Go to Target, Safeway, Kroger, or other grocery stores that accept EBT.
Remember, only Starbucks-licensed stores accept EBT cards.
Save your time and money traveling to a stand-alone Starbucks because they don’t accept them.
Ask the Customer Service Desk.
Find out if the Starbucks kiosk accepts EBT and what food items you can purchase with SNAP benefits at the customer service desk.
Swipe Your EBT Card To Pay.
Select the food items you wish to purchase from the list of SNAP-eligible foods.
To pay with SNAP, swipe your card at the register after making your purchase.
Enter Your PIN.
After swiping your EBT card, a password or PIN entry screen will appear. Enter your PIN.
The EBT Card Application Process for Starbucks
Determining if you’re income is insufficient for your family is crucial in the verification process for obtaining an EBT card.
Here’s how to get an EBT card.
Check if Your Family Qualifies as Food Stamp Recipients.
All members of your household must be US citizens or permanent residents and earn less than the federal poverty line.
If you have a family of five, your monthly net income must be less than $2587 before the federal government considers you eligible for food stamps.
Apply for Federal Food Stamp Assistance in Your State.
Applying for federal food stamps can only be done at the state level.
While it is a nationwide initiative, the application process and the organizations providing food assistance vary from state to state.
You can apply for food stamps by calling your state’s food and nutrition agency or filling out an online application on their websites.
Wait for Approval.
You’ll start receiving food stamps once the federal government accepts your application.
You’ll receive a plastic card similar to a credit card. The government will load money on this card monthly so you can buy eligible food items at grocery stores and supermarkets.
Income and family size determine the amount you receive, but a family of five could receive about $992 monthly.
The Benefits of Using an EBT Card
The government will issue EBT cards to people eligible for the SNAP program.
It eliminates the need to make monthly payments or pay interest on balance transfers.
Access to food assistance through an EBT card reduces stress for low-income families by reducing the likelihood of their children going hungry.
There’s a stigma attached to receiving welfare, even though the system helps those in need.
Less anxious parents can focus more on raising their children.
Providing people with EBT is another method to alleviate the burden of poverty.
The Bottom Line
I hope my guide made it easier for you to understand how to use your EBT card at Starbucks-licensed stores.
Remember, corporate-owned Starbucks locations don’t accept EBT cards.
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