Does Instacart Accept EBT? (Yes, Here’s Where)
2020 has been a tremendous growth year for the online grocery shopping industry. With the surge of demand coming from consumers, grocery delivery services like Instacart started making the headlines. SNAP/EBT cardholders were left behind on the Instacart platform, but it was a matter of time before Instacart started accepting EBT payments, given the size of this population.
So, does Instacart accept EBT?
Yes, Instacart accepts EBT/SNAP payments in partnership with ALDI, Food Lion, and Publix in select states that participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program. Initially, Instacart started accepting EBT/SNAP payments in Georgia but has expanded to other states participating in this pilot program.
You can find the list of states that participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program at the USDA website. This is a great decision by Instacart to reach incremental consumers and provide EBT cardholders with access to same-day grocery delivery and pickup services.
In this article, we’ll cover how to use EBT cards on Instacart and how to pay for additional charges like tips, delivery, and service fees. We’ll also share the list of eligible food items you can purchase using your SNAP/EBT benefits.
Just keep reading to find out more!
How to Use EBT on Instacart
To use an EBT card on Instacart, first you need to add it to your account. Follow the instructions below on adding an EBT card to your Instacart account:
- Download the Instacart app on your iOS or Android device
- Open the Instacart app and signup for an account
- Enter your e-mail, password, and zip code to confirm service availability in your area
- Tap the three “horizontal lines” at the top left corner of your profile page
- Tap “Your account settings”
- Tap “Payment methods”
- Tap “ Add EBT SNAP card”
- Enter your EBT SNAP card information
After adding the EBT card, go back to your profile page and select the store you want to shop in the “Your Stores” section. You will then be directed to the store’s homepage to start shopping.
You have two options to receive groceries with Instacart – delivery or curbside pickup. Select the option you prefer and start adding items to your shopping cart.
When you’re done shopping, the next step is the checkout. At checkout, select how much of your benefits you want to allocate to your order. The remaining balance should be paid with another payment method, such as a credit or debit card.
Adding a credit or debit card as a payment method on Instacart is similar to adding an EBT card. Follow the instructions below on how to do it:
- Go to your profile page and tap the three “horizontal lines” at the top left
- Tap “Your account settings”
- Tap “Payment methods”
- Tap “ Add Credit or debit card”
- Enter your credit/debit card information
You need to add a secondary payment method like a credit or debit card to complete your Instacart purchase. Because there are some charges which are not covered with your benefits, and I’ll explain this more in detail below.
Can You Pay Instacart Delivery and Service Fees With an EBT card?
No, unfortunately, you cannot pay Instacart delivery and service fees with an EBT card. According to SNAP guidelines, you can only buy eligible food items using your benefits. You need a secondary form of payment, such as a credit or debit card, to pay for Instacart delivery and service fees.
SNAP guidelines are clear on what items can be purchased using the benefits. EBT cardholders can only buy eligible food items using an EBT card, and Instacart delivery and service fees are not covered with the benefits. So, you need to add a credit or debit card to your Instacart account to pay for those additional charges.
Can You Tip Instacart Driver With an EBT Card?
No, you cannot tip your Instacart driver with an EBT card. Similar to Instacart delivery and service fees, tips cannot be paid using the SNAP/EBT benefits. You can tip the driver using the credit or debit card on your Instacart account or give cash at the time of delivery.
How Instacart Works
Today, Instacart aims to close the food insecurity gap by launching EBT SNAP on the platform. We’re particularly proud to kick this program off in Georgia where food insecurity impacts 12.5% of the population. pic.twitter.com/vq7shqJGQe— Instacart (@Instacart) October 22, 2020
Now that you installed the Instacart app and added your EBT card and the secondary payment method, you’re ready to start shopping. In this section, I’ll explain how Instacart works in a nutshell.
First, I wanted to let you know that I wrote a separate article about how to save money on Instacart. You should check out that article, which gives you nine great tips on saving money with Instacart purchases.
Instacart app is intuitive and easy to navigate. You can shop for groceries, both using the app or the website. I prefer to use the app because I usually place my grocery orders on the go.
What I like most about the Instacart app is that it remembers your past orders and replacement instructions for each item.
You don’t need to create a shopping list from scratch or provide instructions each time you place an order. Most people tend to reorder the same items to restock their fridge or pantry, so this feature comes in handy to streamline the shopping process.
The checkout process is very straightforward. I already explained how to add your EBT card and the secondary payment method to your account. Select how much you want to pay with your EBT card at checkout, and the rest will be charged to your credit/debit card, including tips, delivery, and service fees.
When your order is received in the system, the Instacart driver will start shopping for your items. You can chat with the driver while they are shopping. If they have any questions about an item or you want to give additional instructions, you can communicate through the chat feature on the app.
When the shopping is complete, the driver will deliver the order within the timeframe you specified at checkout.
Items You Can Buy With EBT
USDA has strict guidelines on what items can be purchased using the SNAP/EBT benefits. According to the website, below are the items you can buy with an EBT card on Instacart – or at any grocery store:
The eligible food items you can buy using an EBT card include:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Poultry, meat, and fish
- Snack foods
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants that produce food to eat
The non-eligible items you cannot buy with an EBT card include:
- Any alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, liquor, etc.)
- Tobacco and cigarettes
- Vitamins, supplements, and medicines (if an item has supplement facts label on the packaging, it’s considered a supplement and not eligible to buy with an EBT card)
- Live animals (except shellfish, fish that removed from the water, and animals slaughtered before buying at the store)
- Prepared foods that are ready for consumption
- Hot foods
- Any non-food items (pet foods, cosmetics, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household items)
In this article, we learned that Instacart started accepting EBT payments by partnering with select retailers in states that participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program. It is expected that Instacart will continue to expand the coverage for EBT/SNAP payments in the upcoming months.
We also learned how to add an EBT card to Instacart and a secondary payment method to cover additional charges like tips, delivery, and service fees.
We discussed how Instacart works and reviewed the list of eligible and non-eligible food items for purchase using the SNAP/EBT benefits.
Overall, I think it’s great news that Instacart started accepting EBT payments. It allows many EBT cardholders to have increased access to grocery delivery and pickup services.
Online grocery shopping became a routine part of our lives and is expected to grow in the upcoming years. Instacart’s partnership to accept EBT payments may be limited to select retailers now, but it wouldn’t be surprising if more grocery chains partner with Instacart to accept EBT payments in the near future.
If you’re interested in finding out more about grocery shopping on Instacart, check out the related articles below: