Does Starbucks Take EBT?

Does Starbucks Take EBT

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards are used by millions of people in the United States each month to cover food and nutrition needs. Many grocery and other retail businesses accept EBT cards. The bigger question is whether the same applies when you visit Starbucks.

The fact is that Starbucks only accepts EBT at a few of its stores. In addition, the EBT payment option is only accessible at licensed outlets and not at company-operated stores.  Furthermore, the EBT cards can’t purchase hot, cooked meals because that would make the organization ineligible for SNAP benefits.

Only a few Starbucks outlets within SNAP-accredited grocery shops, such as Target and Safeway, accept EBT. Only a few SNAP-eligible products, such as Tall Frappuccino drinks and fresh bakery goods, may be available for purchase with your EBT card at select licensed Starbucks stores. Alternatively, look for local gas stations that take EBT to obtain cheaper coffee.

Starbucks shops run by the firm are not SNAP-approved merchants and do not take SNAP food stamps as payment.  Whenever you wish to buy at Starbucks, it’s a good idea to have a backup payment card or even cash at hand. It might save you a lot of humiliation when it comes to paying the expenses at the cashier.

Starbucks takes cash as an effective form of payment.  As one of the most popular payment methods, Starbucks clients still find it straightforward and easily manageable. For example, you have nothing to make you worry about if, by any chance, it happens that you’ve forgotten to carry your payment cards. The only solution that will save you is when you have some cash in your wallet or, luckily, as mobile money, you can withdraw.

What Are Some Of The Items That EBT Can Buy?

The products that may be purchased using EBT cards are limited. EBT card is only used to pay for food consumed by the entire family. Furthermore, an EBT card cannot be used to purchase hot foods or beverages to be eaten far outside the house.  That means that the use of EBT cards to buy hot cooked foods is often not permitted.

EBT cards can’t be used to purchase non-food products such as cleaning supplies, cosmetics, supplements, alcohol, cigarettes, and prescriptions. The USDA has created a comprehensive list of eligible things for purchase using the EBT cards. The major items include:

  • Bread and cereals
  • Dairy products
  • Fish, meat, and poultry
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants used to grow household food
  • Snacks

Non-food products and hot meals and beverages are not approved with EBT cards. The following items are not eligible:

  • Foods and drinks that are hot at the point of sale
  • Hot drinks and food
  • Live animals apart from the shellfish, fish withdrawn from the water, and animals slaughtered before pick-up from the stores.
  • Medicine and supplements e.g. vitamins
  • Non-food items like pet food, hygiene products, cleaning items, paper products, household supplies, and cosmetic
  • Wine, tobacco, beer, liquor, or cigarettes

What the EBT Card Can Buy At Starbucks

Even at Starbucks shops where EBT cards are accepted, there are limitations on what may be purchased with an EBT card. Because of that, you will note that the EBT cards can’t be used to buy hot foods or drinks at Starbucks, just like they can’t be used at grocery shops.

When you decide to go to Starbuck with your EBT card, you will only buy iced coffee or other cold drinks, but not the hot coffee or any other favorite meal served hot.

EBT-eligible goods at Starbucks-licensed establishments include sandwiches and pastries, snacks, soft drinks, and energy drinks. Generally, any item fitted with a nutritional label is eligible for EBT card payment except for hot meals and beverages.

About Starbucks

Starbucks is the world’s biggest coffee-house restaurant, with its headquarters in Seattle, Washington. In the United States alone, the Starbucks Company has over 15,300 outlets. There are approximately 8,900 company-operated outlets and nearly 6,390 licensed businesses.

Starbucks shops provide hot and cold beverages such as whole-bean coffee and Frappuccino drinks and snacks, including fresh bakery goods, chips, and bagels.

How to Use the EBT Card

EBT Cards are the key players in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), typically administered by The Food and Nutrition Service under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The goal of SNAP is to offer food assistance to low-income households. It’s a federally funded program that is handled by the states.  SNAP was once known as the food stamps. Those who qualify for SNAP benefits are given an EBT card and a Personal Identification Number to run their cards when making food purchases.

The EBT card is typically linked to a specific bank account into which the monthly benefit is deposited. The cardholder has the responsibility to set up an online account that helps keep track of the monthly spending and the account balance at any given time. EBT cards work in a similar way to debit cards.

The amount paid after shopping is shown on the printed receipt that you will receive after the checkout. The receipt also indicates the amount of money left in the account.

Suppose an EBT card owner cannot buy for themselves due to disability, illness, or any other reason. In that case, they have the option to nominate another person to act as a representative.


Officially, the Starbucks Company doesn’t accept EBT cards at company-owned stores. However, the EBT cards may be accepted in Starbucks-licensed locations and kiosks within the grocery and retail stores like Target and Walmart. The same regulation is subject to certain restrictions. For example, you can only buy food and drinks but not non-food items.

Because not all Starbucks in the grocery stores accept EBT cards, it’s recommended that you contact the nearby store ahead of time to know the exact fate of your EBT card transaction. Currently, Starbucks has teamed up with various firms, and luckily, the cash payment option is acceptable.

In-store credit cards such as Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express, are accepted in Starbucks. Customers may now save a credit or debit card with time in the Starbucks app and use it to pay for online purchases when ordering items ahead of time.

Vince Dooley

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