Named among the largest retailers in the world, Costco Wholesale runs a chain of 833 membership-only warehouses globally. It is renowned for offering excellent deals on buying groceries and other essentials in bulk.
Costco has become a household name for millions of Americans since its inception in 1983 in Seattle. It has 574 store locations spread over the United States and Puerto Rico.
Costco is one of California’s most prominent retail businesses, with over 132 store locations around the state. As a result, many bargain hunters wonder the same question:
Does Costco accept EBT cards in California?
Yes, all the local Costco warehouses in California accept EBT cards as a mode of payment. Using your EBT at a nearby Costco warehouse will allow you to benefit from great discounts on bulk groceries. Costco complies with all state laws regarding what you can buy with EBT cards. Additionally, Costco also accepts P-EBT cards in California.
You can find a complete list of all Costco warehouses in California or a Costco warehouse near you by your zip code here.
Do you need a Costco membership card to use EBT?
It depends. To enter a Costco warehouse, you must have either a Costco Membership Card or a Costco Shop Card. When you have a Costco membership, utilizing an EBT card becomes both easy and efficient. You can save significantly, especially when buying in bulk. An annual Costco membership costs $60 to $120, based on the perks you want.
If you can’t afford a Costco membership, you can ask a friend or family member to buy a Costco Shop card (for a chosen amount) on your behalf. You can easily pay them back by taking money out of your EBT Cash Account at any ATM. Then, you can use the Costco Shop card to visit any Costco warehouse.
How to use an EBT card at Costco?
Using your EBT card to buy groceries at Costco is an easy process. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Before checking out, separate your groceries from your non-grocery supplies. You can put your CalFresh-eligible items in one cart and the rest of the supplies in another.
- Once the cashier has rung up your order at the checkout, you can swipe or insert your EBT card at the point-of-sale (POS) machine.
- Enter your four-digit EBT PIN.
- The cashier will charge your EBT card for all CalFresh-eligible items in your cart.
- Next, you can pay for the ineligible items using a credit/debit card or cash.
- In rare cases, a manager may request your photo identification to verify that the card is in your name.
- If you have cash on your EBT card, it will not automatically utilize the CalFresh benefits to pay for your order. Therefore, you must inform the cashier of which account (CalFresh or Cash) to charge for the transaction.
Your Costco receipt will show your new account balance. Keep the receipt at all times to confirm that the information is accurate and to prevent possible overcharging.
What can you buy with a CalFresh EBT card at Costco?
Costco adheres to all the restrictions imposed by the state government on what you can buy with your CalFresh benefits.
You can use your EBT card to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, bread, and dairy products.
You can also use EBT on bulk grocery deals at Costco. However, your EBT card may not be accepted for ready-to-eat prepared meals and household items. Some non-eligible items for CalFresh include hot foods, medicines, supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and toiletries.
You can contact your county office for a detailed list of food items eligible for the CalFresh benefits.
Can you use an EBT card to self-checkout at Costco?
Yes, you can use an EBT card at Costco self-checkout. If your local Costco warehouse has a self-checkout aisle, you can buy groceries with your EBT card without letting the cashier know. At the self-checkout counter, an EBT card works similarly to a regular credit/debit card.
It is crucial to note that if you attempt to buy something that is not eligible for CalFresh, you will receive an alert on the checkout screen informing you that the item is not approved.
Can you use an EBT card at the Costco Food Court?
No, you can not use EBT to make payments at the food courts. You cannot use an EBT card at the Costco food court because it primarily serves hot and ready-to-go meals that are not eligible for CalFresh benefits. The sole exception is if you qualify for the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) and receive other forms of government assistance, such as TANF.
Can you use an EBT card to buy gas at Costco?
No, you can not use your EBT card to buy gas at Costco, as CalFresh benefits are only valid for food items.
Alternatively, you can use your EBT card to withdraw cash from your EBT Cash Account and use it to buy gas at Costco. Before you do this, make sure you understand the withdrawal limits on your EBT account, or your efforts to save may be in vain.
Can you use an EBT card to buy groceries online at Costco?
No, you can not use an EBT card to buy groceries on the Costco website. It is only accepted in-store at all Costco warehouses. As a result, EBT is also not accepted for the Costco Delivery service because you must place your order through the Costco website. For all online orders, Costco takes MasterCard, Visa, debit/ATM, the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi, Discover, and Costco Shop Cards.
Although you cannot use EBT to make payments on the Costco website, you can use CalFresh benefits to pay for online grocery delivery and pickup at other retailer websites such as Amazon, Walmart, InstaCart, and Albertsons, Vons, and Safeway.
What is the Costco Return Policy for EBT payments?
Costco does not have a separate EBT return policy as it complies with the CalFresh guidelines. The guidelines specify that all CalFresh recipients should neither be discriminated against nor favored. And, the same return policy must apply to them as any other customer.
Thus, all EBT cardholders are entitled to the same return policy at Costco as everyone else. They get a risk-free, 100% satisfaction guarantee.
You can return any item purchased with an EBT card to any Costco warehouse. Moreover, whether or not you submit a receipt, your return will still be accepted.
The Bottom Line
All Costco warehouses in California accept EBT cards. Costco follows state laws in determining what you can and cannot buy with your EBT card. It is the ideal shopping spot for bargain shoppers and CalFresh recipients with big families to buy groceries in bulk.
However, the Costco website, food courts, and gas stations do not accept EBT payments. Costco also offers returns on EBT purchases. All EBT refunds are subject to the same return policy as a regular refund.