If you like to shop or buy groceries online, you probably want to know the answer to the following question: can you use EBT on Instacart? The answer is yes! Instacart allows EBT purchases in more than 4,000 stores across 38 states and Washington DC as of early 2021.
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In any case, today’s post will look at exactly what you can and can’t do with an EBT card on Instacart.
What is Instacart?
Founded in 2012, Instacart is a website and mobile application that allows you to shop online at local grocery stores and have a delivery person do the physical shopping for you. It functions in the same way as many other food delivery apps like UberEats, GrubHub, or DoorDash, except that Instacart is specifically designed for grocery shopping. While you can now order premade meals from restaurants with Instacart, it was originally designed for remote shopping at supermarkets.
Can you use EBT on Instacart with SNAP?
While SNAP is generally far more restrictive than TANF, you can shop on Instacart with food stamps. This means that you can use your EBT card to order food items from your local grocery store — as long as the grocery store accepts SNAP payments. Many major grocery store chains do accept SNAP payments, including:
- Aldi (37 States + DC)
- Food Lion (9 States)
- FoodMaxx (2 States)
- Hannaford (5 States)
- Market 32 (6 States)
- Piggly Wiggly (1 State)
- Price Chopper (6 States)
- Publix (7 States)
There are also some smaller local chains where you can use EBT on Instacart:
- Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy (Arkansas & Texas)
- CashSaver (Oklahoma & Texas)
- Country Market (Illinois)
- Fresh by Brookshire’s (Arkansas & Texas)
- Food World (Oklahoma & Texas)
- Giant Food (Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and DC)
- Homeland (Oklahoma & Texas)
- Lucky Supermarkets (California & Nevada)
- Market Bistro (New York)
- Niemann Foods (Illinois)
- Save Mart (California & Nevada)
- Spring Market (Arkansas & Texas)
- Strack & Van Til (Indiana)
- Super 1 Foods (Arkansas & Texas)
- United Supermarkets (Oklahoma & Texas)
- Woodman’s Market (Wisconsin)
You can even get free delivery when you shop with SNAP benefits!
A representative from Instacart recently reached out to let us know that EBT SNAP shoppers will get free delivery (or pickup) on their first three EBT orders! You must spend at least $35 on the order. As of right now, this offer is only valid until September 16, 2021.
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Please note that you will still need to pay for taxes, fees and tips.
Can you use EBT on Instacart with TANF?
Unfortunately, Instacart does not allow you to use TANF, often known as EBT Cash, to make online food purchases. Instead, you will have to provide some form of bank or card payment — including an EBT card loaded with SNAP funds — to order food through Instacart.
How to use an EBT card on Instacart
To use SNAP funds with Instacart, you will need to ensure that you meet both of the following criteria:
- You have a current and valid EBT card saved to your Instacart account, AND
- You have a current and valid debit or credit card saved to the same account
The latter requirement is to cover taxes, fees, delivery tips, or any other charges or purchases not covered under SNAP. This means that every purchase you make through Instacart will likely require some funds from your EBT card (to cover SNAP-approved food items) and some funds from a debit or credit card (to cover everything else).
You should also keep in mind that Instacart has to constantly update its list of EBT-friendly stores around the country. Even if your local grocery store does accept EBT payments, Instacart may not have added the location to its ever-growing list yet. As a result, you may need to check back on the website or application from time to time to see if the list has been updated to include more grocery stores in your area.
Are there limitations on what you can purchase with EBT on Instacart?
Even if you have an EBT card loaded with SNAP funds, a separate debit or credit card associated with your Instacart account, and a local grocery store that accepts EBT payments, you will still be limited in what you can buy. If you’re unfamiliar with SNAP, it generally limits you to household food items, such as:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Dairy products
- Bread and cereals
- Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants that can produce food
However, SNAP funds cannot be used to make any of the following purchases at a grocery store:
- Vitamins, medicines, or supplements
- Live animals
- Ready-made food
- Non-food items
As you can see, SNAP puts some pretty stringent limits on what you can buy. These restrictions apply whether you make a purchase in person, through Instacart, or through another shopping application. Since you have to attach a separate debit or credit card to your Instacart account to use SNAP funds, you’ll also need to be careful with what you buy. If you add many items that are not SNAP-approved, the cost of those items will be deducted from your debit or credit account. So, be careful when making your Instacart shopping list!
The Bottom Line
Instacart makes it really easy to get the groceries and food items you need — without ever stepping foot outside your home. This is especially useful if you have a disability or otherwise have difficulty getting around. In short, Instacart is a great way to order ingredients and food items directly from your phone or computer and have them arrive at your door in short order.
So, can you use EBT on Instacart? Fortunately, you can use your EBT card on Instacart! However, there are a few important caveats. You will have to make sure that your local grocery store or supermarket accepts EBT payments. Moreover, you will have to use SNAP funds (not EBT cash) and you will need to add a valid debit or credit card to your Instacart account to pay for fees and other costs not covered by SNAP.