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Does Starbucks Take EBT Cards?

Last updated 06/28/2024 by

Alec Grabata

Edited by

Fact checked by

Starbucks does not accept EBT cards at its standalone corporate stores. However, some Starbucks locations inside grocery stores or retail chains might accept EBT, limited to cold, packaged items such as snacks and bottled beverages. For accurate information, check with individual grocery stores or retail chains where Starbucks is located. Starbucks also supports communities through various programs, which indirectly benefit EBT users.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a system used in the United States to allow recipients of government assistance, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to pay for food using a debit card-like system. This system provides a convenient and discreet way for individuals to access their benefits and purchase eligible food items. EBT is crucial for millions of Americans, ensuring they can afford essential groceries and maintain a balanced diet.
In this article, we will explore whether Starbucks, one of the world’s most popular coffee chains, accepts EBT cards and what items can be purchased using EBT at Starbucks.

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EBT acceptance at Starbucks

As of now, Starbucks does not accept EBT cards directly in its standalone corporate-owned stores. Starbucks stores, typically found on street corners or as standalone buildings, operate under corporate policies that do not include EBT acceptance. This means that customers cannot use their EBT cards to purchase coffee, snacks, or any other items at these locations.

Exceptions and workarounds

However, there are exceptions where EBT cards might be used to purchase Starbucks products. Some Starbucks outlets located inside grocery stores or retail chains like Target and Walmart might accept EBT, but this is generally due to the policies of the grocery store or retail chain, not Starbucks itself. In these settings, customers can use EBT cards for eligible grocery items, and sometimes Starbucks products might be included if they are categorized under grocery items by the store.

What can be purchased with EBT at Starbucks?

In locations where EBT is accepted, the items that can be purchased are typically limited to cold, packaged items that are considered grocery staples. This might include:
  • Packaged snacks like nuts, trail mix, or granola bars
  • Pre-packaged sandwiches or salads
  • Bottled beverages such as water, milk, or juice
Hot, prepared food items and beverages, such as coffee or hot sandwiches, are not eligible for purchase with EBT. The SNAP program is designed to cover essential, unprepared food items meant for home consumption, not ready-to-eat meals.

Locating Starbucks that accept EBT

Finding a Starbucks location that accepts EBT requires checking with individual stores within grocery chains. Here are some tips for locating such stores:
  1. Contact the grocery store: If you frequently visit a Starbucks located within a grocery store, inquire with the grocery store’s customer service to see if EBT can be used for Starbucks purchases.
  2. Use store locators: Many grocery stores have online store locators that include details on accepted payment methods. Use these tools to find stores that accept EBT.
  3. State EBT office: Contact your state’s EBT office for information on approved retailers and locations that accept EBT.

Special programs at Starbucks

Starbucks is known for its community engagement and support initiatives. While these programs might not directly relate to EBT acceptance, they can still be beneficial for customers:
  • Starbucks rewards program: This loyalty program allows customers to earn points (stars) for purchases, which can be redeemed for free items. While EBT purchases are not eligible, this program can still help frequent customers save money.
  • Community stores: Starbucks has opened several Community Stores aimed at supporting local communities through job creation, training, and partnerships with local organizations. These stores focus on making a positive social impact, which can indirectly support EBT users by fostering community development.
  • FoodShare program: Starbucks has a program to donate unsold food to local food banks and shelters. This initiative helps fight hunger and ensures that food reaches those in need.

The bottom line

In summary, while Starbucks does not accept EBT cards at its standalone corporate stores, there are opportunities to use EBT for Starbucks products in grocery store locations that allow it. Purchases are generally limited to cold, packaged items that fall under SNAP eligibility. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is advisable to contact the specific grocery store or retail location where a Starbucks is situated. Additionally, Starbucks’ community programs can provide indirect support to those utilizing EBT benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my EBT card at any Starbucks?

No, Starbucks corporate stores do not accept EBT. However, some Starbucks locations within grocery stores or retail chains might accept EBT, depending on the store’s policies.

What items can I purchase with EBT at Starbucks?

If EBT is accepted, you can purchase eligible cold, packaged items such as snacks, bottled beverages, and pre-packaged sandwiches or salads. Hot items and prepared beverages are not eligible.

How can I find out if a specific Starbucks accepts EBT?

Contact the grocery store or retail chain where the Starbucks is located to inquire about their EBT acceptance policy. You can also check online store locators or contact your state’s EBT office.

Does Starbucks offer any discounts or programs for low-income individuals?

While Starbucks does not offer specific discounts for EBT users, they have programs like Starbucks Rewards and Community Stores that support local communities. Additionally, their FoodShare Program helps donate unsold food to local food banks.

Are there any other coffee shops that accept EBT?

Acceptance of EBT varies widely by location and store policy. It’s best to check with individual coffee shops or chains to see if they accept EBT.

Key takeaways

  • Starbucks corporate stores do not accept EBT cards.
  • EBT may be accepted at some Starbucks locations within grocery stores or retail chains, subject to the store’s policies.
  • Eligible EBT purchases are limited to cold, packaged items such as snacks and bottled beverages.
  • Check with individual stores or state EBT offices for precise information on EBT acceptance.
  • Starbucks offers community programs that can provide indirect support to low-income individuals.

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