Does Starbucks Accept EBT?

2 years ago
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Many low-income Starbucks customers may be asking themselves: Does Starbucks accept EBT? If you’re a coffee-lover, you’ve probably heard of Starbucks. It’s the company that has become synonymous with coffee and is one of the most successful businesses in the world.  

EBT cards, also known as Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, are part of a US public assistance program. They assist low-income individuals in paying for essential items, such as food and toiletries. Starbucks, unfortunately, does not accept any form of government assistance for payment. This includes WIC, SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and any other program that issues debit-type cards that can use in place of cash.

Read on to discover more about Starbucks.

What is Starbucks?

Starbucks is a chain of coffee shops based in Seattle, Washington, and began operations in 1971. It became one of the world’s most popular coffee brands due to its high-quality coffee and friendly customer service. 

Starbucks has a wide variety of coffee drinks available, many of which are unique to the brand. These drinks can be ordered either hot or iced, and many varieties are available in both regular and decaf variants. In addition to coffee, Starbucks also sells tea, sandwiches, pastries, and desserts. 

Most stores also sell pre-packaged food items such as breakfast sandwiches. Many locations offer Wi-Fi service to customers. 

In 2015, there were over 20,000 stores located in 65 countries. The first store was opened by Jerry Baldwin in 1971 at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Today, Starbucks operates more than 27,000 stores worldwide and is worth $72 billion.

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Does Starbucks Accept EBT Cards?

So, you’re on welfare and thinking about buying a cup of coffee at your local Starbucks. 

When it comes to food stamps, Starbucks isn’t listed on the USDA website as a retailer that accepts EBT. It means Starbucks doesn’t accept EBT Cards at the moment. 

However, some Starbucks locations are located inside grocery stores or other retailers that accept EBT. If this is the case at your local Starbucks, you can still use your EBT card to make purchases.

As of 2017, Starbucks outlets in those three states accept EBT as payment for hot food. California, Arizona, and Michigan are among the states that allow EBT users to buy hot food with their benefits. 

You can’t use your EBT card to pay for your morning coffee at Starbucks, but you can use it to buy seeds and plants at participating locations.

Starbucks accepts only Starbucks Cards, credit cards, and debit cards. It does not accept cash or checks. 

Although this makes it difficult to pay with EBT at Starbucks, some states offer programs that allow you to use your EBT card for certain non-food items.

You can use a Starbucks gift card to buy food and drinks at participating Starbucks locations. You can reload your gift card balance with an accepted payment method using the Starbucks app. 

How to Use EBT at Starbucks?

If you want to know how to use your EBT card at Starbucks, you need to know about these programs in each state. First, while you can use your EBT card at many retailers, you won’t find many items that can be purchased on SNAP/EBT benefits alone.

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Most products offered in a store like Starbucks will require additional cash or credit/debit purchases to make up the difference between eligible and ineligible items. That said, here’s how to use your EBT card at Starbucks:

  • Find out if SNAP funds can be used at Starbucks first by checking online or calling your local SNAP office
  • Ask an employee whether or not they accept EBT payments
  • Visit a participating store
  • Tell them which form of payment you’d like to pay with (i.e., cash or EBT)
  • Pay for your order
  • Wait for your receipt to print
  • Look at your receipt and check that it reflects that you paid with an EBT card
  • Check-in with your local SNAP office about how long it will take for funds to be added back onto your card, if applicable


You can use your food stamps at more than just grocery stores. Many merchants, including some convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, are authorized to accept Electronic Benefits Transfer cards as payment. However, many of these businesses charge an additional fee on top of your purchase to get cashback. 

In any case, check with your local food stamp office before purchasing. Be careful not to buy anything you don’t need and use what you do to buy wisely.

Using your government-issued benefits has never been easier or safer than today’s technology. Interested in finding out if other fast-food restaurants accept EBT? Check out these articles.

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