Does Shipt Accept Food Stamps, SNAP, or EBT?

This information is current as of July 27, 2022.

The number of grocery stores that accept EBT payments is steadily growing, even though many are shifting towards delivery and pick-up services. Shipt is one of those services, not a grocery store chain in and of itself. Since Shipt is not an actual grocery store, what are their payment options? Does Shipt Accept EBT?

Does Shipt Accept Food Stamps, SNAP, or EBT?

Unfortunately, Shipt does not accept Food Stamps, SNAP, or EBT payments. However, this is to be expected as Shipt is not a grocery store but a delivery service, in the same vein as Doordash or Postmates. It’s a subscription-only service where you pay Shipt for picking up and delivering your groceries.

Shipt, as a growing delivery service, doesn’t have much to offer. You will not see well-integrated pages with the Shipt site overlaid onto a grocery retailer. So, the products that you have to choose from are limited. You simply pick what you want, and Shipt sends a delivery driver to pick it up and deliver it to you.

Why Doesn’t Shipt Accept SNAP or EBT?

The government seems to be well behind the times when it comes to dealing with online payments rather than payments made in stores. Since they haven’t devised a way to integrate online payments safely and efficiently with in-store payments, some delivery services simply won’t take EBT.

They would end up losing money. Fortunately, online shopping is starting to make headway in the EBT department, and companies like Shipt will eventually come around.

Apparently, EBT cards lack the typical CVV number required for online payments, or at least to provide a safe and streamlined online purchasing process. If you were paying the grocery store directly, that would be one thing.

But Shipt is not a grocery store, and some things you purchase are not necessarily eligible for EBT payments. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has not developed the software to separate eligible and ineligible products within an online system. Online services such as Shipt are entirely separate from grocery retailers.

What Payment Methods Does Shipt Accept?

Outside of EBT, Shipt accepts all the payment types you expect from an online retailer and delivery service. They take all the major US credit cards and debit cards. You can also purchase and spend Shipt gift cards.

If you are dead set on purchasing some eligible EBT items and having them delivered to your front door, you would have to jump through some hoops to get there. EBT cash benefits are helpful. You can use the withdrawn cash to purchase a Shipt gift card.

You’re on your own, and if you want to spend your EBT card to have your groceries delivered, you will have to sign up for another delivery service.

How Much Does Shipt Cost?

Shipt has a tiered membership plan of which there are three to choose from—the standard membership plan, the plus plan, and the premium plan. They are priced at $25, $30, and $50, respectively, so they aren’t exactly a cheap membership service, even if you go with the plan at the bottom of the barrel.

Unless you have the premium plan, you will also have to pay delivery costs. There is also the option to pay for your membership annually, saving you a little bit of money on whichever tier plan you choose.

If the total of your order exceeds $35, you won’t have to pay a delivery fee. Still, the rule remains for everything under $35 unless you are a premium member. The fee is entirely up to what you ordered, so it’s not a single, all-encompassing charge.

If you shop for groceries of any kind, it’s important to note that Shipt also marks up the prices of the groceries they offer. This may be why Shipt is the least popular delivery service.

They are heavy on the expensive side, and it doesn’t make much sense to go with them if you have other options in your area. According to Shipt, a fee of $5 is added to every $35 worth of items you order.

When you add that you’re expected to tip the delivery drivers, which most people would want to do regardless, you’re getting into a category of extreme prices. These prices make going to Walmart much more palatable, especially since Walmart accepts EBT payments for online and in-store grocery shopping.

What Delivery Services Accept EBT?

Most of the delivery services that accept EBT are either the grocery stores or a delivery service that facilitates payment through the grocery store. Amazon is an entity all its own, and it kind of stands apart in terms of EBT accepting examples here.

When the USDA instituted its Online Purchasing Program, it opened a new avenue for online purchases using EVT cards. However, that typically only extends to directly paying the grocery store you are shopping at.

Instacart is an exception since it is not an actual grocery store. The difference between Instacart and Shipt is that Instacart accepts payment through the grocery store you are using at the time, so the EBT transactions still work.

As we stated above, Amazon is not a grocery store. Still, it does have a division that is essentially an online grocery store, where you choose food items. They are delivered to you from one of Amazon’s closest distribution centers.

Why Doesn’t the Online Purchasing Pilot Include Shipt?

The Online Purchasing Pilot is an online purchasing option for EBT transactions with grocery stores that are a part of the program. It’s more complex than that, however. States must participate in the Online Purchasing Program, and there is no compulsion. 

Fortunately, most states do, to one degree or another. But it doesn’t end there either. A grocery chain must apply with the state to become a part of the state’s list of online grocery retailers. Then it is all tabulated and added to the Online Purchasing Pilot database. 

Certain grocery stores may not be accepted by the state, and some do not apply, especially if they see it as disadvantageous. Once they apply, the state must approve the application, which also takes time, as the gears of government do not turn quickly. 

Shipt would immediately be ineligible if they were to apply with the respective states in which Shipt operates. They would be ineligible because they are not a grocery chain. Look at the Store Eligibility Requirements via the Online Pilot Purchasing Program. You will see why Shipt fails to qualify. 

Shipt must meet one of two categories—either have a staple food inventory or have staple food sales, which can be applied to Shipt. You can undoubtedly buy those things and bring them to you through Shipt, but that’s not the same as buying them from Shipt.

Are There Any Online Retailers That Directly Accept EBT Payments?

There is only a single online retailer that accepts EBT payments. The critical difference is this online retailer is not a grocery store. If you guessed Amazon, you would be correct. AmazonFresh is an arm of Amazon and is essentially a grocery store all on its own.

Though it’s only a tiny part of a gigantic retail engine, it’s apparently enough to qualify for EBT purchases. With AmazonFresh, you can order online, pay with your EBT card, and deliver your food directly to your doorstep.

AmazonFresh is a very recent innovation from Amazon, only beginning in 2020 and becoming a significant success, seemingly overnight. While their stock is not as broad and varied as some of the other major grocery retailers, it’s still extensive, and you will find most of the things you want.

All Things Considered

Shipt does not currently accept EBT as a form of payment. How long that will be the case is anyone’s guess. They don’t meet the criteria for jumping on board the Online Purchasing Pilot.

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