Aldi is a German-owned inexpensive grocery chain with over 2,200 outlets spread across 39 states in the United States. It is renowned as a budget-friendly supermarket that provides a large selection of premium fresh and seasonal products at prices far lower than those of a typical grocery store.
Aldi operates 91 stores throughout California. These supermarkets primarily feature a variety of nutritious staple foods and meats at special discounts. It makes them ideal shopping destinations for CalFresh recipients who shop for groceries on a tight budget.
This guide will teach you all you need to know about using EBT cards at Aldi in California.
Does Aldi Take EBT Cards in California?
Yes, Aldi accepts CalFresh EBT cards as payment at all its locations in the United States, including its supermarkets in California. You can use your food benefits for all in-store and online purchases. As an authorized CalFresh retailer, Aldi follows all state rules on what you can buy with an EBT card. It implies that only CalFresh-eligible items, such as fresh produce, discounted meat, baked goods, and non-alcoholic beverages, are available for purchase using an EBT card at its stores. Subsequently, you can not buy non-CalFresh eligible items like liquor and tobacco with an EBT card at Aldi.
Aldi is an excellent shopping destination for CalFresh recipients, which primarily includes the elderly, disabled, homeless, and young children, as it offers maximum affordability. It bargains with suppliers for the best deals and helps customers benefit from lower prices.
In addition, Aldi has a no-frills policy and uses cost-cutting measures like lowering overhead expenses, promoting the use of reusable bags, encouraging self-bagging, and imposing a refundable 25-cent cart fee to promote cart returns among customers.
Unfortunately, if you receive cash benefits through a financial aid program such as CalWORKS, you will not be able to use your EBT card to pay for your groceries at most Aldi supermarkets. Instead, you can withdraw your cash benefits to pay for your order from a local Quest® ATM or Point-of-Sale machine. The Quest® Mark is displayed on ATMs, POS machines, and checkout lanes to indicate that you can use your EBT card there.
What Can You Buy with Your CalFresh EBT in Aldi?
Aldi abides by all USDA-imposed limitations on what you can purchase with your CalFresh benefits.
Not every item in an Aldi grocery store qualifies for CalFresh. To specify, you can redeem your CalFresh food benefits to purchase only qualified items at Aldi while using a secondary payment method for the rest. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand which items are covered by your CalFresh benefits.
You can buy the following items with your CalFresh EBT at a nearby Aldi supermarket:
- Bread, cereals, and granola bars
- Milk and dairy products such as butter, cheese, and yogurt
- Fruits (fresh, frozen, and canned)
- Vegetables (fresh, frozen, and canned)
- Fresh and frozen seafood
- Eggs and poultry
- Discounted meat and pork
- Frozen ready meals such as pizza, pasta, chow mein, and BBQ chicken
- Baked desserts such as donuts, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and brownies
- Candy and chocolates
- Ice cream and other frozen desserts
- Nuts, dried fruit, and fruit snacks
- Packed snacks such as chips, crackers, and popcorn
- Tea and coffee
- Juice and cider
- Drinking water, soft drinks, and energy (sports) drinks
- Oils and vinegar
- Herbs and spices
- Seeds and plants that yield edible food
You can contact your county office for a complete list of food items eligible for CalFresh.
What Can You Not Buy With Your CalFresh EBT in Aldi?
Generally, the limitations imposed by the USDA restrict CalFresh recipients from using their EBT food benefits to pay for hot and prepared food. Further, you can only use your food benefits for groceries and nutritious food you can cook yourself. These restrictions aim to deter CalFresh recipients from utilizing their food benefits to splurge on unnecessary indulgences.
There are many delicious and nutritious foods you can purchase with your food benefits; however, there are a few you cannot. Knowing which products are not eligible for CalFresh can help you prepare a backup payment method in case of need.
You can not buy the following items with your CalFresh EBT at a nearby Aldi supermarket:
- Hot and ready-to-eat foods
- Beer, wine, liquor, and other alcoholic drinks
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products
- Items with a Supplement Facts label, such as medicines, vitamins, and dietary supplements
- Baby food
- Living animals other than shellfish and fish removed from water (any animal slaughtered before its pick-up from the store is not eligible)
- Pet food
- Cosmetics and hygiene products
- Cleaning supplies and additional household items
- Paper goods and other non-food items
Remember that these limitations only apply to EBT food benefits. They do not apply to EBT cash payments. Therefore, you can use EBT cash or other accepted payment methods to purchase non-CalFresh eligible items at Aldi.
Does Aldi Take EBT for Curbside Pick-up Orders in California?
Yes, Aldi accepts CalFresh food benefits as payment for online curbside pick-up orders, so you can use your EBT card to order online grocery pick-up at a nearby Aldi supermarket. Currently, curbside grocery pick-up is available at over 700 Aldi locations across the United States, including California. You can visit the Curbside Grocery Pick-up Locations page to find out if your local supermarket provides this service.
Aldi offers an online curbside pick-up service to its customers via Instacart. Aldi Curbside Grocery Pick-up is an excellent service that enables customers to order groceries online and pick them up outside a neighboring store at a set time. You can place an order on the Aldi website or Instacart and select one of their many available pick-up times.
Aldi often provides curbside pick-up until 11 pm, but check with your local store to confirm those hours. Your groceries will usually be ready for pick-up between one to four hours of ordering, depending on when you place your order. One of the key benefits of ordering curbside pick-up from Aldi is that it does not charge an additional delivery fee on your order.
Does Aldi Take EBT for Delivery Orders in California?
Yes, Aldi accepts EBT for Instacart online delivery orders throughout the United States, including California. Well over 2,200 Aldi locations provide same-day delivery options to customers in more than 10,000 ZIP codes via Instacart. You can enter your ZIP code at shop.aldi.us, to find out if your local Aldi supermarket offers online grocery delivery.
After placing your delivery order, a Personal Shopper from Instacart will do the shopping for you at a nearby Aldi supermarket and bring your order to your delivery address. Instacart can provide delivery within an hour, and the delivery hours continue as long as Aldi stores stay open. It also holds for public holidays, during which Aldi stores may be closed or open for fewer hours.
Aldi is not a 24×7 supermarket. It typically opens between 8-9 am and closes by 9 pm or sooner. Most Aldi locations are only open during peak business hours, which in the United States are usually 9 am to 8 pm from Mondays to Saturdays, whereas 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays. During the check-out process, customers can select a delivery time. They can choose a delivery time as soon as an hour or up to seven days from the day they order.
Yet, you can not use your CalFresh EBT card to cover extra charges such as shopping fees, shipping fees, or tips. Thus, you will have to pay cash or use a secondary payment method at delivery. The delivery cost varies depending on the size of the order and the selected delivery timeframe. Instacart prices sometimes exceed Aldi store pricing to compensate for the cost of personal shopping.
How To Order Curbside Pick-up or Delivery with EBT from Aldi?
As mentioned before, you can use your CalFresh EBT benefits for curbside pick-up and delivery orders from a nearby Aldi supermarket. Aldi has partnered with Instacart to provide its customers the convenience of shopping online and same-day grocery delivery.
- Go to shop.aldi.us or sign in to your Instacart account on its website (or mobile app). New Instacart users must create an account before they can shop.
- Select the pick-up tab on the Instacart homepage to find pick-up locations near you. Likewise, enter your ZIP code on the Instacart homepage to see if Aldi delivers in your area. Otherwise, find a list of all nearby Aldi stores offering pick-up/delivery with the Aldi Store Locator.
- Next, add all the items you want to buy to your shopping cart. You can add CalFresh-eligible and non-CalFresh-eligible items to the cart in a single order.
- After adding all the needed items to the cart, click on the Cart to select your preferred pick-up or delivery time slot. Once done, click the green Checkout button.
- Select EBT SNAP as a payment option at checkout. Enter your EBT card information and an additional payment option like debit or credit card. If necessary, you can also change the order amount paid using EBT. Alternatively, you can go to your Account Settings to add your EBT SNAP card as a payment method.
- The Place Order page will show a payment breakdown of what will be charged to your EBT card and what will be charged to your credit or debit card. Confirm your payment methods, then click the Place Order button.
- After placing your order, you will be instructed to enter your EBT card 4-digit PIN to complete your purchase. Also, pay for the non-CalFresh eligible items and additional charges with a second payment method.
- A Personal Shopper from Instacart will handle the shopping trip and act accordingly:
- For delivery orders, the personal shopper will bring your order to your chosen home or office delivery address and timeframes.
- For curbside pick-up orders, when your groceries are available for pick-up, the app will notify you. If an item is out of stock or needs to be changed, your personal shopper will send you a message. When you receive the confirmation that your order is ready, go to your nearest ALDI store and park in one of the specified Curbside Pick-up spaces. In the app, confirm your arrival, and an ALDI employee will carry your groceries to your car.
For further details, go to the Instacart Help Center.
What Other Payment Methods Does Aldi Accept?
Apart from CalFresh EBT card payments, Aldi also takes cash and debit cards for in-store and online orders in all its locations.
Aldi did not allow credit cards as a form of payment for a long time. It began accepting them in 2016 because credit cards are a popular payment method in the United States. Moreover, credit cards are highly convenient and provide fraud protection. Aldi now accepts credit cards from all major companies, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express (Amex), and Discover. It also accepts Link cards and contactless payment methods such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.
On the other hand, Aldi does not accept checks or WIC payment methods in its stores. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are a Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides nutritional benefits to pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, and children under the age of five. WIC benefits are given in many ways, including checks, EBT cards, or personal deliveries of WIC food packages to participants.
Nevertheless, Aldi does not sell WIC-eligible national brand products; instead, it sells products from its proprietary premium brand, Little Journey. As a result, it is not a WIC-approved retailer. If you wish to buy baby formula at Aldi, you may need to use a different payment option.
What Is The Aldi Return Policy for EBT Payments?
Aldi adheres to the CalFresh guidelines. Hence, it does not have a separate EBT return policy for items purchased through EBT. According to the guidelines, no CalFresh recipient should be subjected to bias neither for nor against them. In simple terms, EBT-using customers must be subject to the same return policy as any other customer in all authorized CalFresh retail stores. Thus, all CalFresh recipients are entitled to the same return policy at Aldi as other customers.
At Aldi, EBT customers receive the Twice as Nice Guarantee. Under this guarantee, if you are not 100% satisfied with the quality of your purchase, you can get a replacement as well as a refund for it. You must return the product packaging and all leftover products to your local Aldi store to receive the Twice as Nice Guarantee. Also, a receipt is needed to get a refund in the original payment method. Without a receipt, customers will be given an Aldi Merchandise Credit gift card equivalent to the item’s current retail value. The Twice As Nice Guarantee does not cover alcohol, national brands, non-food Aldi Finds items, and items with non-quality-related issues.
The Bottom Line
Aldi accepts CalFresh EBT cards as payment at all its locations in California. You can use your food benefits for all in-store and online purchases. Although, only CalFresh-eligible items, such as fresh produce, discounted meat, baked goods, and non-alcoholic beverages, are available for purchase using an EBT card at its stores. You can use a secondary payment method to buy non-CalFresh eligible items at Aldi.
Aldi provides curbside pick-up and delivery to its customers via Instacart. EBT cardholders can use their CalFresh benefits through Instacart to utilize these two services. Generally, your items will be ready for curbside pick-up within one to four hours of ordering. One of the primary advantages of ordering curbside pickup from Aldi is that there is no additional delivery fee on your order.
Aldi provides same-day delivery options to customers in more than 10,000 ZIP codes via Instacart. But, you can not use your CalFresh EBT card to pay for additional costs such as shopping fees, shipping fees, or tips. Thus, you will have to pay cash or use a backup payment method like debit or credit cards at the time of delivery.