Does Whole Foods Accept EBT/Food Stamps/SNAP + WIC? Solved

Short Answer: All Whole Foods locations in the U.S. accept EBT, and many also accept WIC. For more information about using EBT and WIC at Whole Foods, see below.

Does Whole Foods Accept EBT/SNAP?

Whole Foods accepts EBT cards for in-store purchases. EBT cards receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); because SNAP is a federal, nationwide program, all Whole Foods locations can accept EBT.

Eligible Items

You can use EBT to pay for most food items at Whole Foods, including bakery items (as previously reported). However, you cannot use EBT to buy prepared foods/hot foods or products from any of the following categories:

  • Alcohol
  • Flowers
  • Pet food
  • Toiletries
  • Vitamins

See our related research for more information on what you can and can’t buy with EBT.

How to Use EBT at Whole Foods

EBT works like a credit or debit card. At the checkout counter, you’ll swipe your EBT card and enter your pin on the card reader to pay for your purchases. You cannot use EBT for online, store pick-up, or delivery orders at Whole Foods. For other delivery options, see our list of places that offer EBT food delivery.

If you don’t have enough money on your EBT card to pay for your entire purchase, you can pay with your EBT card first and then pay for the remaining amount with a different form of payment. Before visiting the store, you may want to check your EBT balance; you can do so at an ATM or by calling your state’s EBT customer service line.

Does Whole Foods Accept WIC?

WIC is similar to SNAP, but benefits women, infants, and children specifically. States must authorize individual store locations to accept WIC benefits. Many Whole Foods stores do accept WIC, but before visiting, it’s best to check with your local benefits agency or contact your local store. The process to use WIC at Whole Foods will also vary by state; some states issue checks or vouchers for WIC benefits, while others use reloadable cards.

Foods covered by WIC include the following:

  • Baby food
  • Canned fish
  • Cereals
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Infant formula
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain foods

More Information

For more stores that take WIC, see the list of over 85 WIC retailers and our research on WIC-only stores. We also have the details of the EBT/WIC acceptance policy at a similar store, Sprouts Farmers Market.

16 comments

  • You can use EBT for salad bars in supermarkets because they are cold foods. You cannot use it for hot foods on a salad bar. Also, when your EBT balance does not cover the bill, you can have the cashier ring up the exact amount of what remains on the card and pay that with the card and pay the remainder with cash, credit or debit.

    • Kathleen Wilson says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Kim,
      Thanks for sharing this information with our readers — it’s always helpful to have people chime in to help people understand how this works in practice!

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Barbara,

      Right now, SNAP can’t be used to make an online purchase for grocery delivery. But, that might be changing in the near future. Keep an eye on the USDA’s online purchasing pilot program. Whole Foods is not on the list of grocery stores that are taking part in the pilot program, but those that are might give you some other options. Also, be aware that only the following states are part of the pilot program: Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. The pilot program is set to begin in early 2018, so at that time online purchasing should become available at some stores in some states.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Robbie,

      That depends on whether the purchase is rung up as a prepared food. I contacted a couple Whole Foods and they said that yes, a salad bar purchase is considered a prepared food and your EBT card therefore could not be used.

  • When you don’t have enough on the EBT card, you have to tell the cashier the exact amount you want to use on the card. When it gets denied, the amount that’s on the card usually prints out for the cashier. You can also call the number on the card so you know how much to tell the cashier. I’ve never been to a business that sells groceries not accept split payment. It’s easy to forget this if you don’t use the whole amount on your card.

  • I went into my Whole Foods store (where I’m a frequent customer) and had a remainder of $5.89 balance on my food card. I was buying grapefruit juice (which was $9.99) knowing that I will be paying the difference. Well, the card didn’t go through at all. We tried a few times and it didn’t even print out the receipt stating none sufficant funds and what not.
    I went to a different market to buy a kerns pear juice for a dollar to see if my card still worked and it went through, giving me a remainder balance of $4.89. I’ve never had this happen before. Do you think it had something to do with technicality issue at the Whole Foods store?

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Orlik,

      Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know what went wrong in this case. Wish we could have been more help!

    • Sherry t. says:

      The cashier can only run the card for the balance left on the card. It depends on the cash register most times. In the furtuse just let them know the remaining balance and tell them to run the card for that specific amount. Some stores can run the card and it will automatically accept the remaining balance while you pay the difference. Other systems will recognize it as you not having enough funds or insufficient funds and fail to do any transaction. Hope this helps!

    • This happened lot me too! I don’t think it lets you pay the difference unfortunately.

    • Something similar happened to me at Shoprite. For some reason some registers won’t automatically just take whatever’s on the card and allow you to pay the difference with another payment. If the full amount of the purchase isn’t available on the card it rejects it. The cashier has to enter the exact amount you want deducted from the EBT card.

  • Mariela posso says:

    I just applied for snap and wondering if my local Whole Foods market in Yonkers accepts will allow me to use this program.

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Mariela,

      As a rule, Whole Foods Markets do accept SNAP. The specific Whole Foods Market located in Yonkers is reported to accept SNAP/EBT as a form of payment. If you’d like to be absolutely certain, it doesn’t hurt to call ahead and verify. The phone number for the Whole Foods location on Ridge Hill Boulevard is (914) 378-8090. I hope this helps!