Amazon Accepts SNAP EBT as Payment Method
InciSNAP EBT Now Accepted By Amazon
Since mid-2020, Amazon has accepted the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) payments. This pilot program aims to make food more accessible and more affordable for those most in need.
What is SNAP EBT?
Uniquely, SNAP EBT is a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that helps low-income families put food on the table. Decades ago, people called it “food stamps” because they were literal stamps. Today, over 44 million Americans use the SNAP EBT program each month. Surprisingly, about 1.3 million of them are veterans. It is difficult to determine the number of military families that use the benefit. But, because Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is counted as income to determine eligibility, the number is much lower than it likely should be.
Where can I use SNAP online?
“Of the online food providers included in the program, Amazon is by and large the biggest.” They offer a number of options through Amazon Pantry, Amazon Prime Now, and Amazon Fresh. Some other online retailers include Safeway, Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, ShopRite, and Dash’s Market. Unfortunately, not all locations in all states are participating.
Is Amazon’s Program a Good Thing?
For some reason, this is the first time that SNAP benefits have been allowed for use online. Some fear an increase in benefit fraud. And yet, others feel that it could impact local businesses who have a steady stream of customers.
Alternatively, this move is a relief for EBT beneficiaries using SNAP benefits in person. The pandemic caused an exponential increase in food delivery services, especially during lockdowns. Many customers used stimulus money to pay for food. With this change, Amazon opened up virtual food shopping for those who need it. There are additional benefits when registering:
- Free access to Amazon Fresh: available in most metropolitan regions. Amazon Fresh delivers perishable, shelf-stable, and household products in everyday package sizes.
- Free delivery: Customers receive free shipping on orders of $25 or more on Amazon Grocery and $35 or more ($50 in New York City) on Amazon Fresh. Also, both SNAP-eligible and non-SNAP eligible items will count towards order minimums.
- Exclusive deals: EBT customers receive exclusive discounts on produce, grocery staples, and other essential items with constantly-updating offers from popular brands.
- 50% off Prime membership: Amazon Prime is just $5.99/month (typically $12.99/month) for qualifying EBT and government assistance recipients. Prime membership is not required to take advantage of the benefits above.
As of now, Amazon’s website states that currently accepts SNAP EBT cards from all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Montana. To register, simply visit www.amazon.com/snap and follow the on-screen instructions.
Feedback from Beneficiaries
“It was pretty slick and easy, which surprised me. I’m pretty sure that most folks who’ve ever used SNAP benefits are familiar with the frustration of waiting in line at the grocery store when the system malfunctions or [the] cashier starts arguing about what is or isn’t allowed. It’s not just time consuming, but humiliating too.”
“The foods approved for SNAP EBT are all sold and shipped by Amazon. Meaning, no third-party sellers or “fulfilled by Amazon” allowed. Once you add your card to your Amazon account, as you place items in your cart, it will tell you if it’s an approved item or not.”
“When we were ready to place the order, I simply selected [the] SNAP EBT card for payment, and the Amazon app took me to a special page where I could input [the] PIN.”
“As with all SNAP purchases, this one was tax-free, and the order was large enough to have no shipping fee (which can’t be paid with a SNAP card). We placed the order on Saturday night and about 95% of it is expected to arrive by Thursday.”
More Amazon SNAP Info
Finally, Amazon predicts that this pilot program will run for about two years. Moreover, the program’s potential could bring more big-name companies (like Walmart) to the list of participants. For more information about Amazon’s program, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on their website.