Can You Pay Using SNAP or EBT at Shell Gas Stations?
This information is current as of June 29, 2022.
As one of the most popular gas stations across the United States, you may occasionally need to purchase items at a Shell gas station. If you use an EBT card (or previously Food Stamps), it’s beneficial to know whether Shell accepts that form of payment.
You can use EBT, SNAP benefits, or Food Stamps to pay for relevant items at Shell gas stations. The items you can pay for using an EBT card include bread, meat, and produce. However, you cannot use your SNAP benefits to purchase fuel unless you can withdraw cash from the card.
It’s helpful to know that Shell allows you to pay using EBT. First, however, you must know what to purchase and how to pay using your EBT card. So let’s take a closer look into using EBT at Shell and other familiar gas stations.
Brief Introduction to EBT, SNAP, or Food Stamps
Wondering why Shell accepts or doesn’t accept EBT for specific products? First, we must understand Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Food Stamps.
SNAP is essentially the successor of the Food Stamps Program (in terms of its name). 1939 saw the beginning of the Food Stamps Program, and if you were part of it, you had the option of using paper food stamps to pay for food. Later in 2008, the Food Stamps Program became the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Between 1988 and 2004, the U.S. saw the development of EBT, meaning that SNAP participants could pay for food the same way using a credit or debit card.
EBT is an electronic system active in all 50 states. It enables SNAP beneficiaries to purchase eligible food items through SNAP benefits. If you buy something from a vendor that accepts EBT cards, they’re given a payment equivalent to your purchase’s cost.
Does Shell Take EBT for All Food Items?
Even with food items, there are still plenty of restrictions on what you can purchase. Shell and other retailers that accept EBT can only accept EBT card payments on things that you can buy according to the standards set by SNAP. Items you can purchase include:
- Produce such as lettuce, apples, cherries, and carrots
- Dairy products such as milk, butter, and cheese
- Bread and cereals such as rice, corn tortillas, plain bagels, and pasta
- Meat and fish such as pork, chicken, and turkey
- Seeds and other types of plants that can produce food
- Non-alcoholic drinks like soft drinks, energy drinks, and water
- Standard desserts and snacks
- Cooking oils such as olive oil and vegetable oil
What Can You Not Buy at Shell With EBT?
There are typically two types of food or drink that you cannot purchase at Shell using your EBT card. You cannot buy alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine. Regarding food, you cannot buy any hot items at the point of sale. Hot food, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, includes things such as:
- Fried chicken
- Coffee and other hot drinks
Though it is a gas station, Shell does not accept EBT payment for fuel because fuel is not one of the eligible items you can purchase through SNAP benefits. Other things that you cannot purchase include items such as:
- Tobacco or tobacco products
- Personal hygiene items including soap, sanitary products, and hand wash
- Pet food
- Live animals apart from fish and other such items
- Household supplies such as cleaning wipes
Using Your EBT Card at the Shell Checkout
Before shopping or attempting to purchase any items at Shell, check how much you have on your card. Each month, SNAP will credit a certain amount of money to your EBT card, so decide how much you want to spend depending on the budget.
You can check your latest bill, call the customer service team, or use your online account to see your balance. On your account, you can also check your transaction history.
For those new to using an EBT card, no need to worry – it works almost the same as a regular credit card. As with other cards, your EBT card has a pin you need to keep a secret. Only share your pin with household members unless others use your card for their expenses.
If someone uses your card with your secret pin, SNAP will not reimburse the purchase. However, if someone enters four wrong pin numbers on any day, the card cannot be used until the next day.
When purchasing ineligible items, separating your purchases into two groups is best. One batch should have all eligible food items you can buy using your EBT card. The other group should have other things you cannot purchase with EBT.
How to Check If a Store Accepts EBT Cards?
To check if your local retailer accepts EBT payments, you can search by address using the SNAP retail locator. It can also conveniently show you all the different stores with the qualifications to handle SNAP benefits within a certain radius.
Places That Do Not Accept EBT Cards
We know that there are grocery stores that can accept EBT cards and grocery stores that do notaccept EBT cards. However, there are certain types of stores that do not accept EBT cards at all, regardless of brand, location, or other traits. Examples of such stores include:
- Places that offer adult entertainment
- Stores that sell specifically alcohol
- Casinos and other gambling places such as racetracks
Using SNAP Cash Benefits at Shell
According to SNAP, you can withdraw money from your EBT card to purchase specific items if you have cash benefits. To withdraw money, you must visit an ATM that accepts ETB cards. These ATMs usually have a Quest logo on the machine.
If you cannot locate a machine with a Quest logo or if you’re new to the area, then you can call the ETB customer service to ask if there are any ATMs near you that accept the card. Then, as you would a regular debit card, you can insert the EBT card into the machine and follow the instructions to access your account.
Once you have the cash, make sure to check the receipt so that it reflects your actual balance. If there are any discrepancies, call customer service to rectify the issue. You can now use your cash to pay for items at Shell and other stores.
Popular Gas Stations That Accept EBT Payments
Besides Shell, well-known gas stations have the qualifications to accept EBT payments. In this section, let’s look at some of the most popular gas stations in the country that are SNAP-authorized.
- Murphy USA
- Gulf Oil
There are several other chain gas stations that we know accept payments made using EBT cards. If you doubt whether the one closest to you accepts EBT, check online or with customer service. You can also ask the vendor directly if they can accept the card.
You can use your EBT card at any Shell gas station. Despite the restrictions on what you can purchase, being able to buy food with such a large company is incredibly convenient. If you need to make a few purchases and come across other gas stations on the list above, then feel free to use your EBT card.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Stores Charge Sales Tax on EBT Cards?
Items that are eligible according to SNAP can have sales tax. However, the beneficiaries of SNAP do not have to pay any state or local sales tax on what they purchase using their EBT cards.
Why Do Some Retailers Not Accept EBT?
Some retailers do not accept EBT because they do not meet the qualifications that the United States Department of Agriculture requires of SNAP-authorized stores. However, some retailers do not wish to undergo the approval process for accepting EBT payments.
Can I Use My EBT Card in Another State?
Since SNAP is active in all 50 states, you can freely use your EBT card in another state. You can use your card as you would usually in your home state. However, remember that some retailers and vendors do not accept EBT payments.
How Do I Know If I Have Cash Benefits on My EBT Card?
The best method of finding out whether you have cash benefits on your EBT card is to try withdrawing cash. First, head to an ATM nearby and follow the standard procedures to withdraw cash. If you can withdraw, you have cash benefits on your card.
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
Did you know that if you qualify for SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)? Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs to help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.