Does Sam’s Club Accept Food Stamps (EBT)?


Date Published: November 11, 2021
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When you fall on hard times, social welfare programs like the Special Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, can help cover your basic needs until you get back on your feet.

About 44 million low-income individuals currently use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to purchase SNAP-approved items at more than 200, 000 locations nationwide, from supermarkets, and superstores, to convenience stores, mom and pop grocery stores, gas stations and farmers markets.

Membership-only retail warehouses like Walmart’s not-so-little brother, Sam’s Club, offer great deals on bulk purchases and high-key individual purchases.

Operating more than 500 locations, Sam’s Club sells everything from furniture, consumer electronics, kitchen equipment, clothing, autoparts, garden supplies, jewelry, sporting goods and groceries.

By buying in bulk, members, particularly those from large households, can save money and stretch their budget much further.

Members also enjoy perks like receiving up to $500 in cash rewards annually among many others.

So if you’re a SNAP recipient, you might be wondering: Does Sam’s Club accept food stamps?

Read on to find out!

Does Sam’s Club Accept Food Stamps?

Yes, Sam’s Club does Accept EBT payments for SNAP-eligible food items at all 599 club locations.

But as a membership-based retail warehouse, Sam’s Club only allows members to shop with their EBT cards and gain access to the club’s deals and discounts.

Sam’s Club began accepting food stamps as a valid form of payment in the fall of 2008 to cater to the growing number of SNAP-eligible families that had been affected by the global economic downturn.

Since then, SNAP beneficiaries have grown to a significant chunk of shoppers at Sam’s Club.

Besides EBT, Sam’s Club accepts many different payment methods, including all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Venmo, and of course, cash.

Keep on reading to learn more about using your EBT card at Sam’s Club!

How Do You Use Your Food Stamps at Sam’s Club?

SNAP is the federal government’s largest nutritional assistance program.

Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP allows recipients to use an EBT card to purchase groceries at approved retailers.

If you qualify for SNAP benefits, the government loads a specific amount to your EBT card at the beginning of each month.

The amount depends on your income level and size of your household, but usually comes down to $4 per person per day or a little over a dollar per meal.

You can basically use your EBT card to purchase SNAP items like you would a normal debit or credit card, but before your grocery runs, it is important to check your EBT balance to make sure that it is enough to cover your purchases.

For assistance in checking your EBT balance, contact your state’s EBT customer support.

It is also good practice to make a shopping list so you won’t accidentally check-out non-SNAP items using your EBT card and incur a penalty.

At the store, gather all your SNAP-eligible grocery items, then head on to the cashier and present your membership card.

Note that Sam’s Club doesn’t allow SNAP beneficiaries to use the scan-and-go counter regardless of membership so you will have to use the regular check-out counter.

The cashier may or may not ask for an identification card, but it’s always better to be prepared.

After ringing in your items, the cashier will swipe your EBT card.

At this point, all you have to do is enter your 4-digit pin number to complete the transaction.

Does Sam’s Club Accept Food Stamps for Online Payments?

Like many brick-and-mortar retailers, Sam’s Club has expanded their offerings online to meet growing demand for fast, convenient shopping.

Unfortunately, you can’t use your EBT card to pay for any purchases you make at the Sam’s Club online store, so you have to be physically present in the store to redeem your SNAP benefits.

If you’re looking to purchase your SNAP-eligible groceries online from the safety of your home, you can check which retailers in your state participate in the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program.

Retailers like Walmart, Amazon, FreshDirect and Krogers allow SNAP beneficiaries to use their EBT card to pay for online purchases, but keep in mind that although these stores accept EBT payments, you still need to pay delivery fees out-of-pocket.

What Can You Buy With Your Food Stamps at Sam’s Club?

Although Sam’s Club carries a tempting array of products, the USDA has imposed strict rules on what can be purchased with food stamps.

Basically, SNAP-eligible items are any food or food products that you prepare and eat at home. This includes:

  • Breads and cereal
  • Canned, frozen or fresh produce
  • Canned, frozen meat products
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants that can grow food for the household
  • Softdrinks, cookies, candies, bakery cakes and ice cream
  • Energy drinks that are labeled with nutrition facts

In Alaska, SNAP beneficiaries who live in remote areas and depend on subsistence living are eligible to purchase hunting and fishing equipment at Sam’s Club, including:

  • Fishing nets and lines
  • Fishing hooks and rods
  • Harpoons
  • Knives
  • Bows

What Products Are Not Eligible for EBT Purchase at Sam’s Club?

Here’s what you can’t purchase with your SNAP benefits:

  • Beer, wine, liquor
  • Tobacco
  • Cigarettes
  • Household supplies
  • Diapers
  • Baby food and formula
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Energy drinks with a “supplements facts” label
  • Sam’s Club membership fees
  • Hot/prepared meals

Low-income families, and homeless, elderly, and disabled persons who don’t have the ability to store or prepare foods are eligible to purchase discounted prepared hot meals at SNAP-authorized restaurants through the expanded Restaurant Meals Program (RMP).

Currently, only the select counties in states of California, Rhode Island and Arizona offer RMP benefits to eligible residents.

However, Sam’s Club food courts are not RMP-approved in any of these states.

Sam’s Club Membership

Sam’s Club has two membership levels.

The regular club membership costs $45 per year, while the Plus membership can set you back $100 per year.

Both memberships offer instant savings, low prices, gas discounts and free auto services, but only Plus members can enjoy cash rewards, free shipping for online orders, as well as discounted prescription meds.

What Other Government Subsidies Does Sam’s Club Accept?

Sam’s Club only accepts food stamps.

If you qualify for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food assistance, you unfortunately can’t redeem your benefits at Sam’s Club.

Instead, you may opt to shop at Walmart to redeem your WIC benefits and purchase items like:

  • Baby food and infant formula
  • Cheese and eggs
  • Rice and cereal
  • Beans and tortilla
  • Canned tuna and salmon

Conclusion

SNAP has helped millions of low-income individuals and families put food on their table.

Since 2008, Sam’s Club has welcomed SNAP beneficiaries to shop in-store at all 599 of their locations nationwide.

To maximize your SNAP benefits at Sam’s Club and enjoy the many club discounts and rewards, you will have to maintain an active membership with the club by paying an annual fee of $45 to $100.