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Can You Use Ebt At Costco Self-Checkout?

Costco warehouses are a popular shopping choice for many EBT recipients looking to get bulk groceries at a great value. But can you use your food stamp benefits at the Costco self-checkout registers?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, Costco accepts EBT cards at self-checkout. You can pay for eligible grocery items using your food stamp benefits at Costco self-checkout, just like at a normal cash register.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about using EBT at Costco self-checkout.

You’ll learn how it works, what you can and can’t purchase, tips for saving money, and other important details for a smooth EBT checkout experience.

How EBT Works at Costco Self-Checkout

Using EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) at Costco self-checkout is a convenient way for eligible individuals and families to purchase their groceries.

While the process may seem a bit different from traditional checkout, it is straightforward and easy to follow.

Insert Card First

When using EBT at Costco’s self-checkout, the first step is to insert your EBT card into the card reader. The card reader is usually located on the right-hand side of the self-checkout screen. Make sure to insert the card with the magnetic strip facing down and toward the reader.

Once the card is inserted, the self-checkout screen will prompt you to proceed with your purchase.

Scan EBT-Eligible Items

After inserting your EBT card, you can start scanning your EBT-eligible items. These items include essential groceries such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, and bread.

It’s important to note that non-food items, alcohol, tobacco, and hot prepared foods are generally not eligible for purchase using EBT funds.

If you are unsure whether an item is eligible, you can refer to the USDA’s list of eligible food items for guidance.

Pay with EBT Card

Once you have scanned all your eligible items, it’s time to pay with your EBT card. On the self-checkout screen, you will see the total amount due for your purchase. To pay with your EBT card, select the payment option for EBT.

The screen will prompt you to enter your PIN, which is the same four-digit number you use when making withdrawals or checking your balance at an ATM.

Upon entering the correct PIN, the transaction will be processed, and the amount will be deducted from your EBT balance.

Can You Use Ebt At Costco Self-Checkout

Show Employee Receipt

After completing the payment, it’s a good practice to show your receipt to a Costco employee. This step helps ensure that your transaction is properly recorded, and it also provides an opportunity to verify the accuracy of your purchase.

If any discrepancies or issues arise, the employee will be there to assist you and address any concerns.

Using EBT at Costco self-checkout is a convenient option for individuals and families who rely on this assistance program. It allows for a seamless shopping experience while also maintaining the privacy and dignity of those using EBT.

So, next time you visit Costco, feel confident to use your EBT card at their self-checkout and enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience!

EBT-Eligible Purchases at Costco

Using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card at Costco can be a convenient way to purchase groceries for those who qualify for the program.

While Costco does accept EBT, it’s important to note that not all items in the store are eligible for purchase using this form of payment.

Here are some of the EBT-eligible purchases you can make at Costco:


Costco offers a wide range of groceries that are eligible for purchase with EBT. From pantry staples like canned goods, pasta, and rice to snacks, beverages, and baking supplies, you can find a variety of options to meet your family’s needs.

Whether you’re stocking up on essentials or looking to try something new, Costco has a great selection of EBT-eligible grocery items.


Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, and Costco offers a great selection of EBT-eligible produce. From apples, oranges, and bananas to leafy greens, tomatoes, and peppers, you can find a wide variety of fresh and nutritious options.

Buying produce in bulk at Costco can be a great way to save money while still enjoying high-quality fruits and vegetables.

Meat and Seafood

If you’re looking to stock up on meat and seafood, Costco has you covered. They offer a range of EBT-eligible options, including beef, chicken, pork, and seafood.

Whether you’re planning a barbecue or looking to try a new recipe, you can find a great selection of high-quality meats and seafood at Costco.

Dairy and Eggs

Costco also offers a variety of EBT-eligible dairy and egg products. From milk, cheese, and yogurt to butter, eggs, and cream, you can find all the essentials to keep your fridge stocked.

Buying dairy and eggs in bulk at Costco can be a cost-effective option for those who use EBT.

Plants and Seeds

In addition to food items, Costco also offers EBT-eligible plants and seeds. If you enjoy gardening or want to start your own vegetable patch, Costco is a great place to find a wide variety of plants, flowers, and seeds.

Whether you have a green thumb or are just starting out, Costco has everything you need to create a beautiful garden.

It’s important to keep in mind that while Costco accepts EBT for eligible purchases, they do not accept EBT for membership fees or for online purchases.

Additionally, EBT rules and regulations may vary by state, so it’s always a good idea to check with your local Costco or government website for specific guidelines.

For more information on EBT-eligible purchases at Costco, you can visit the Costco EBT page on their official website.

Items You Can’t Get with EBT at Costco

Hot Foods and Prepared Meals

Unfortunately, if you’re using EBT at Costco, you won’t be able to purchase hot foods or prepared meals unless the state that you are in participates in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). This prohibition on hot foods includes items like rotisserie chicken, pizza, and other ready-to-eat options.

The reasoning behind this restriction is that EBT is intended to help low-income individuals and families purchase groceries for home consumption rather than funding meals that are already prepared.

Pet Food

While Costco offers a wide selection of pet food, it’s important to note that EBT cannot be used to purchase items specifically intended for pets. This includes both dry and wet food options for dogs, cats, and other animals.

However, EBT can be used to purchase items like canned tuna or chicken that can be used as pet food, as long as they are intended for human consumption as well.

Household Supplies

Costco is known for its great deals on household supplies, but unfortunately, those items cannot be purchased with EBT. This includes products like cleaning supplies, paper goods, and personal care items.

If you’re using EBT, it’s important to keep in mind that it can only be used for food items that are intended for home consumption.

Alcohol and Tobacco

EBT cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages or tobacco products at Costco. This is consistent with the restrictions placed on EBT usage in other stores as well.

The goal of the EBT program is to provide assistance with purchasing essential food items, and therefore, it does not cover luxury or non-essential items such as alcohol and tobacco.

Gift Cards

Using EBT to purchase gift cards at Costco is also not allowed. This restriction is in place to prevent the misuse of EBT funds. The program is designed to help those in need with their food expenses, and purchasing gift cards would not align with that purpose.

It’s important to remember that EBT is intended to be used for essential food items only.

Saving Money with EBT at Costco

Using EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) can be a great way to save money on groceries and other essential items.

Many people wonder if they can use their EBT card at self-checkout stations in stores like Costco. The good news is that, yes, you can use your EBT card at Costco’s self-checkout.

Buy Kirkland Signature Brands

One of the best ways to save money with your EBT card at Costco is by purchasing Kirkland Signature brands.

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s own private label brand, and it offers a wide range of high-quality products at lower prices compared to other national brands.

From food items to household goods, Kirkland Signature offers great value for your money. By choosing Kirkland Signature products, you can stretch your EBT dollars even further and get more for your money.

Shop Bulk Sizes

Another way to make the most of your EBT benefits at Costco is by taking advantage of the bulk sizes available. Costco is known for offering large quantities of items at wholesale prices. By purchasing items in bulk, you can save money in the long run.

Not only do you get more for your money, but buying in bulk also reduces the number of trips you need to make to the store, saving you time and transportation costs. Just make sure to plan your purchases carefully and consider your storage space before buying in bulk.

Buying food items

Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals

Costco regularly offers coupons and deals on various products, and EBT cardholders can take advantage of these savings. Keep an eye out for Costco’s monthly coupon book, which features discounts on a wide range of items.

Additionally, Costco often has special promotions and deals available to members, including exclusive discounts on select products. By combining these offers with your EBT benefits, you can maximize your savings and get the most value out of your shopping trip.

Tips for Checking Out with EBT at Costco

Bring Reusable Bags

When using your EBT card at Costco, it’s important to remember to bring your own reusable bags. Costco is known for its environmentally friendly policies, and they don’t provide free plastic or paper bags at the checkout.

By bringing your own bags, you not only help the environment, but you also save money in the long run.

Know Your Balance

Before heading to Costco, make sure you know your EBT card balance. This will help you plan your shopping trip and avoid any surprises at the checkout.

You can check your balance online or by calling the customer service number on the back of your EBT card. Knowing your balance will allow you to stay within your budget and make the most of your EBT benefits.

Separate EBT from Non-EBT Items

When you’re ready to check out at Costco, it’s important to separate your EBT-eligible items from your non-EBT-eligible items. This will make the checkout process smoother and faster.

It’s also a good idea to let the cashier know that you’ll be using your EBT card so they can assist you appropriately.

By separating your items, you can ensure that your EBT benefits are applied correctly and avoid any confusion.

Keep Your PIN Handy

When using your EBT card at the self-checkout at Costco, it’s important to keep your PIN handy. Your EBT card works just like a debit card, and you’ll need to enter your PIN to complete the transaction.

By keeping your PIN easily accessible, you can speed up the checkout process and avoid any unnecessary delays. Just be sure to keep your PIN secure and not share it with anyone.


Costco’s self-checkout registers make it quick and easy for EBT recipients to shop for bulk groceries and household essentials. Just remember to stick to SNAP-eligible foods and separate out any non-food items or hot-prepared meals you’ll need to pay for separately.

With some planning and organization, you can easily use your food stamp benefits at Costco self-checkout and maximize the value of your EBT dollars.

The bottom line: Yes, you can pay for groceries with EBT at Costco self-checkout. Just follow the guidelines and shop smart to get the most out of your benefits.

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