Food stamps are provided to families that need assistance in buying food. The food stamps program called SNAP is funded by the federal government, which sets strict rules that must be followed when using EBT debit cards or food stamp certificates.
Food stamps cannot be directly redeemed online, and most online food retailers do not accept EBT debit cards through online payment systems. In some cases this is because of government usage restrictions, and in other cases this is the retailer’s own policy. But there are ways to use online ordering to purchase food that will later be paid for with food stamps.
- Call the retailer you plan on purchasing food from in advance. Many grocery stores offer delivery and in-store pick up, but keep in mind that you might not be able to use food stamp program funds to pay for any additional fees associated with delivery or order preparation services.Explain to the retailer that you want to order groceries through their online service for delivery or pick up and that you want to pay using your EBT card or stamps. Some retailers might allow this if you come in person to pay or produce the stamps at the time of delivery.
- Go online and begin ordering your groceries if the retailer has agreed to the request. If using your EBT card (food stamp benefits on a debit card), you will likely need to appear in person to pick up your order. This might vary depending on the willingness of the retailer to accept this type of transaction.
- Call or visit the retailer once the order is complete to confirm the order. Visit if you are required to bring identification and the payment, or if the retailer is allowing a delivery, have I.D. and the food stamps ready for the delivery service.
- Pay the amount due with your food stamp benefits. You might have to pay with cash or another form of payment for additional service fees such as delivery charges or in-store packaging charges, so be sure to have some cash available.Anything that you ordered that is excluded from the food stamp program–such as tobacco, prepared meals and non-food items–will need to be paid for with another form of money.