Does Walgreens take EBT for in-store or online purchases? It’s a common question among EBT cardholders who live in areas with no traditional farmer’s markets, grocery stores, or supermarkets nearby.
Since Walgreens is almost everywhere, SNAP recipients end up wondering, “Can I use my EBT card at Walgreens?” Finding a Walgreens store nearby that accepts EBT can help you save time and gas by combining a trip for prescription medication with grocery shopping.
What is Walgreens?
Walgreens is the second-largest drugstore behind CVS. Their stores specialize in prescription filling, health and wellness products, health information, and photo services. Since its opening, its pharmacy store chains have focused on helping Americans lead healthier and happier lives by being their first choice of pharmacy, well-being, and beauty.
As part of their mission, the store also doubles as a grocery store selling a selection of general merchandise and food products such as fresh and frozen packaged groceries. With over 9,722 Walgreens stores throughout the US, you are likely to find a Walgreens location in your area.
But why would you want to go grocery shopping at a drugstore like Walgreens, where there’s only a limited choice of food items?
There’s a limited choice of grocery items that you can purchase in a drugstore compared to a retailer and grocery store. Though, occasions arise when you find it worth grabbing a few food items at Walgreens, such as:
- Photos: Purchasing a photo gift for your loved one at Walgreens.
- No-choice: No major grocery store in your neighborhood
- Prescriptions: Get a prescription filled and pick a few groceries at the same time.
Does Walgreens take EBT?
Short Answer: Walgreens accepts EBT as a payment method at some of its stores. Not all Walgreens locations take EBT cards, and you need to contact your local drugstore to determine whether they take them.
Again, Walgreens doesn’t participate in the USDA’s EBT pilot program. The program is meant to add EBT as an online payment method in all the states so that SNAP recipients can purchase groceries online. Even in Walgreens locations that accept EBT for in-store purchases, you can’t order grocery or prescription delivery or pickups at Walgreens.com with an EBT card.
That said, you can only use your EBT card at Walgreens to purchase SNAP-eligible food items like discount meat, bread, cereals, soft beverages, snacks, among others
Does Walgreens Take Food Stamps?
Walgreens takes EBT for in-store purchases at select locations. According to Walgreens, SNAP food stamps are accepted at select Walgreen stores, and contact your store for program details.
It’s mainly because Walgreens deals with health products like medicine, vitamins, and supplements. Most of its products aren’t SNAP-eligible. You’ll only be able to use your SNAP EBT card at Walgreens stores if the store is an approved SNAP retailer and sells eligible food items allowable under SNAP rules.
Even in retail stores that accept EBT, you’ll be limited on what you can buy. Unless the store sells daily produce, you’ll only find food items like bread, cereal, and dairy products in most Walgreens stores.
Also, Walgreens doesn’t participate in the federal EBT pilot program. The program allows the state to add EBT as an online payment method to allow SNAP recipients to make purchases online. Since EBT isn’t accepted as an online payment method at Walgreens, you won’t be able to place home delivery or store pickup orders on Walgreens.com.
Read our article on What Grocery Stores Accept EBT? Online Grocery Delivery/Pickup to discover places to shop for groceries from the comfort of your home with an EBT card.
What Payment Methods Does Walgreens Accept?
If you run out of SNAP funds or want to pay for drugs, vitamins, supplements, and other SNAP prohibited items, you’ll need to carry an alternative payment card or cash.
Walgreens accepts the following payment methods including:
- Debit card or credit cards bearing Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network, or American Express logo
- PayPal and PayPal Credit
- Gift cards. You must activate your American Express Gift Card before using it
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
How To Find a Walgreens That Accepts EBT Near Me?
About 78% of the US population lives within 5 miles of a Walgreens. Before you can redeem your SNAP benefits at Walgreens, you’ll first need to find a SNAP-approved Walgreens drugstore that accepts EBT nearby.
The ways to know if your nearby Walgreens accepts EBT includes:
- Use the Walgreens Store Finder: It’s a feature on the website that enables you to locate the nearest Walgreens stores by state, city, or zip code. Enter your location, and you’ll see all the stores in your area.
- Contact the store: Walgreens doesn’t display whether or not a store accepts an EBT card on the website. Your nearby stores will be displayed along with the contact information and hours of operation. Use the store information to contact the store you want to visit and ask whether it takes food stamps.
- Ask your local SNAP agency for a list: Your local SNAP agency should be able to give you a list of all SNAP-approved retailers in your area.
- Visit the store: If you don’t get free unlimited internet or low-cost internet and can’t search online, visit the nearest Walgreens location and ask the cashier whether or not the store accepts EBT.
What You Can or Can’t Buy With EBT Card At Walgreens
SNAP restrictions apply when purchasing eligible grocery items with your EBT card at select Walgreens locations. Thus, you are limited on what you can buy with your SNAP EBT funds at Walgreens.
Generally, you can only spend your SNAP benefits on staple food items prepared at home as part of a balanced meal.
Here’s a list of eligible food items you can purchase with your SNAP food stamps at Walgreens:
- Frozen, canned, and fresh foods
- Snacks and non-alcoholic soft drinks
- Frozen canned and fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Poultry, pork products, and discount meat
- Cooking oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil
- Food producing seeds and plants
- Filtered water
You can also buy frozen and freshly-caught seafood like fish, oysters, shrimp, or lobster at seafood markets that accept EBT/ Food stamps.
That said, SNAP benefits are only meant to provide basic food to low-income families. SNAP rules won’t allow you to use your EBT card to purchase non-essentials considered too luxurious. You cannot use your EBT card to buy hot, prepared foods at restaurants or junk foods at the point of sale.
You can’t use your EBT card to purchase medicine, vitamins, supplements, photo gift cards for your loved one, or pay for any copy services at Walgreens drugstores. SNAP doesn’t consider these things as basic staple food necessary for survival.
Here’s a list of other EBT/SNAP ineligible items that you can’t buy with an EBT card at Walgreens:
- Liquor and tobacco products
- Hot, prepared food at the point of sale
- Vitamins, medicine, and supplements
- Pet Supplies
- Household supplies, soaps, paper products, or drain cleaner for hair
- Cheap diapers
- Scantron sheets for college
Some states have exceptions about using SNAP benefits to purchase hot prepared food. The states extend SNAP through the Restaurant Meals Program(RMP) for the elderly, homeless, and people with disabilities. Before you go looking for fast-food restaurants that take EBT near me, check with your local SNAP agency to see whether your state participates in RMP and you qualify for the program.
Can Someone Use my EBT Card for Me?
Yes, you can designate someone you trust in your household to use your SNAP EBT card on your behalf. The person doesn’t have to be a SNAP recipient, but just an authorized representative to make purchases for you. For example, it’s a case where the recipient is too old or lives with a disability and cannot shop with their EBT card independently.
To pay with the card, just bring it to the checkout counter and swipe it. The card reader will prompt you to enter the 4-digit secret PIN. Simply enter the PIN provided by the EBT cardholder to authorize the purchase.
Does Walgreens Accept WIC?
Just like EBT, only some Walgreens locations accept WIC benefits. You’ll need to contact your specific location and ask whether or not they accept WIC cards or checks. Generally, about 50% of Walgreens locations in the US take EBT and WIC benefits.
Stores must first be authorized WIC retailers in their states of operation before accepting WIC or SNAP.
What is WIC?
WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children. It’s a special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program geared towards providing nutritional benefits to pregnant and breastfeeding infants, women, and children under the age of five. Different states distribute WIC benefits through checks, EBT cards, or directly delivering WIC packages to the beneficiaries’ homes.
The easiest way to know whether a Walgreens near you accepts WIC is to call the store directly or ask your local WIC agency for a list of approved retailers and brands in your area.
Purchasing WIC-approved items is relatively straightforward.
Just bring your card to the checkout counter and swipe it at the payment counter. Then enter your PIN to complete the payment. If using a WIC check, make sure that it’s in-date when giving it to the cashier.
You cannot use your EBT card to get cash back at Walgreens under any circumstances. You can only purchase WIC-eligible food items at Walgreens.
For instance, you can’t redeem your WIC funds on medicine, vitamins, and supplements. If you need to grab one or two WIC-prohibited items, you must bring an alternative payment method like cash or debit/credit card.
Items you can purchase with WIC benefits at Walgreens:
- Infant formulas
- Infant cereals
- Milk, juice, and cheese
- Breakfast cereals
- Peanut butter
- Canned fish and beans
- Baby food containing vegetables, fruits, and meat
Just like bakeries that accept EBT, you can also redeem your WIC benefits on bakery goods, including customs cakes, donuts, and cookies.
Other Places That Take EBT Food Stamps
Walgreens is mainly a drugstore that doubles as a convenience store for its customers. It can be a great place to grab a few grocery items when picking up a prescription. But since Walgreens isn’t a supermarket or grocery store stocking a large variety of grocery products, you’ll be limited on the food items you can buy there.
You’ll only find a few SNAP-eligible items like dairy products, bread, cereal, and frozen, canned foods in their stores. Also, it may not be a great place when looking for the cheapest foods to buy on a budget with your SNAP funds.
Are there other places that take food stamps?
Yes! Bakeries, meal delivery kits, gas stations, fast-food restaurants, farmer’s markets, and warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club are alternative places where you can spend your SNAP benefits cheaply.
Our top articles below explore each of these places that accept EBT cards:
- Grocery Stores That Accept EBT
- Meal delivery kits that accept EBT online
- Whole Foods Market takes EBT cards
- Bakeries that take EBT for donuts and custom cakes
- Fast Food places that take food stamps in 6 states
- Gas stations that accept EBT SNAP nearby
Can You Return Food Bought with EBT at Walgreens?
Yes, you can return food items purchased with an EBT card to a Walgreens store within 30 days for a refund or exchange. According to SNAP, customers must be treated equally as any other customer and subject to the same store return policy as everyone else.
Your items will receive a refund on the original method of payment with an original receipt. You’ll receive a store credit for the lowest advertised price without a receipt.
You’ll be required to bring a valid photo ID for all returns, including US State ID, US driver’s license, or US military ID.
Does Walgreens Accept EBT Summary
Walgreens accepts EBT cards in some of its stores, but not all Walgreens locations accept EBT. Stores must be approved SNAP-retailers, and you can only use your EBT or WIC funds to purchase SNAP-eligible items. Use the Walgreens Store Finder to locate stores in your area, and then contact the store upfront to determine whether or not that specific location accepts EBT or WIC benefits.
However, you won’t find a large variety of grocery items at Walgreens stores. Finding a store nearby that takes EBT is a boon when you want to grab a few grocery items on your way for a prescription.
You can visit ATMs near me that dispense $5 or $10 bills to check your EBT balance before you go. Also, carry an additional payment card or cash to pay for your prescription or any other SNAP-prohibited items that cannot be included in your purchase.
Are you interested in learning more ways to save money? Read our article on How to Save $10,000 in a Year – 13 Ways To Save Money FAST!