How to Buy Groceries Online with California EBT
If you are a California SNAP EBT Cardholder, you can now use your EBT Card online to buy groceries for delivery! All California SNAP recipients can now use their EBT cards to purchase groceries online through Walmart and Amazon. In this post, we are going to provide you detailed instructions on how to buy groceries online with California EBT, including how to add your card to an Amazon account.
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) was recently approved by the United States Department of Agriculture to start a pilot program to allow food stamps to be used online.
As a result, CDSS has launched the program statewide, allowing food stamps benefits to be used online at Walmart and Amazon for delivery and pick-up.
This was done to reduce the risk of SNAP EBT cardholders from getting the Coronavirus by reducing grocery store visits.
This post will cover:
- EBT Online Purchasing Pilot Program
- How to Buy Groceries Online with California EBT Card
- California EBT Card FAQs
To learn more about the California EBT online grocery purchase program, continue reading below.
EBT Online Purchasing Pilot Program
In 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a pilot program for online EBT purchases. The program allows EBT Cardholders to purchase groceries online for delivery or pick-up.
When the USDA initially set up the pilot program, the following states were approved for the program:
- New York
- New Jersey
In addition, the following grocery retailers were approved to work with the states above to launch the program:
- Hy-Vee, Inc.
- Hart’s Local Grocers
- Dash’s Market
EBT Online Pilot Rollout
New York state was the first to actually implement the program, starting in April 2019.
This was followed by Washington in January 2020.
In March 2020, the states of Alabama, Iowa, and Oregon launched their pilot programs.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, pressure has mounted on the USDA to expand the program to allow more states to implement the SNAP EBT shopping online program.
As a result, the USDA began approving more states for the program.
California’s EBT Online Program
In April 2020, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom announced that starting April 28th, CalFresh EBT cards can be used online at Amazon and Walmart.
If you receive CalWORKs, you may also be able to use your cash benefits to make purchases online at Wal-Mart.
California expedited the implementation of EBT online purchasing in response to COVID-19.
That’s because allowing EBT online purchases will support vulnerable populations in meeting their nutrition needs during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
What’s coming in the future.
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is actively working to expand the number of stores that accept EBT online in the coming months.
This means that in the near future, more grocery stores in California will be added to the EBT online shopping for delivery and pickup program.
How to Buy Groceries Online with California EBT Card
Here’s how to buy groceries online for delivery or pickup with Walmart and Amazon.com.
How to Buy Walmart Groceries Online with California EBT Card
Currently, Walmart only offers online grocery purchases with EBT for curbside pick-up and not for delivery. Delivery options will be added soon.
If you have a CalFresh EBT Card, you will now be able to use your cards to buy groceries and select curbside pick-up.
You can only use your EBT card to buy eligible grocery items and you cannot use your food stamps dollars to pay for delivery.
Step 1 – Go to the Walmart Grocery website
The first step to purchasing groceries online at Walmart is to go to the Walmart Grocery website at www.grocery.walmart.com.
Step 2 – Find Walmart Store Near You
Next, enter your zip code to find the Walmart store location near you. This is the location you will pick-up your online grocery order from.
Step 3 – Shop for Groceries Online
Once you have selected your Walmart location, begin shopping for grocery items online by adding EBT eligible items to your shopping cart.
You will be asked to sign in to your Walmart Account or Create an Account once you place an item in your shopping cart.
Step 4 – Checkout and Choose Delivery Option
Once you sign into Walmart, you can continue shopping until you have selected all the grocery items you want.
Next, click the “Check out” button. There is a $30 minimum for Walmart online grocery shopping. You will not be able to proceed to checkout until you reach this limit.
Once you hit the check out button, you will be taken to a page where you can “Reserve a time” for pickup.
You will be provided available times when you can pick up your order. Select a pick-up time that is convenient for you, as shown in the image below.
Step 5 – Checkout with your EBT Card
Next, you will be taken to the payment page where you will select “Pay with EBT at Pickup” option, as shown below.
Step 6 – Enter your Phone Number and Place Your Order
The final step is to enter your phone number, review your order to make sure everything looks good, then click on the “Place Order” button to complete your order as shown below.
Congratulations, you have successfully placed your online grocery order with Walmart. Continue reading for pick-up instructions.
Step 7 – Pick up and Pay with EBT Card
The final step in the process is to pick up your order and pay for it with your CalFresh EBT Card. You need to bring your EBT card with you when you pick up your order at the Walmart location you selected.
Be sure to follow the pick-up instructions included in the text or email instructions.
Designated Pick-up Locations
Some Walmart locations now have designated pickup locations, as shown above.
When you arrive at the pickup location, you will park in a reserved parking space marked in orange for Grocery Pickup customers.
Once in the spot, call the designated number to alerts an associate of your arrival.
You can also check-in through the Walmart Grocery app. An associate will quickly retrieve the prepared order and load it into your car.
The Walmart Associate will know that you are an EBT customer and will swipe your EBT card to pay for those items that are EBT-eligible.
For any items that are not EBT-eligible, the Associate will then take payment with another credit/debit card.
You will be required to enter your EBT pin to complete the pickup process.
Walmart Grocery Delivery
Walmart is currently working with the USDA to enable online payment with EBT. That way, EBT cardholders can shop online for groceries, pay with their EBT card, and use Walmart grocery delivery where available.
This will help eliminate all physical contact between associates and customers who want to use their SNAP benefits.
In addition, in locations where there are no Walmart Delivery options, online payment with EBT helps eliminate physical contact between associates and customers.
That’s because, since all the customers have to do is pull-up at the designated pickup location and their groceries will be loaded into their car by an associate.
The short video below from Walmart does an excellent job of explaining how the online ordering, pickup, and delivery process works. We encourage you to watch it.
How to Buy Amazon Groceries Online with California EBT Card
Amazon has been approved for the California Online Purchasing Pilot and has launched delivery for EBT Cardholders. Cardholders in California can use their EBT to shop and purchase groceries online for delivery.
You cannot use your EBT funds to pay for Amazon grocery delivery. However, if you buy $25 or more in groceries, there is no delivery charge.
How it Works
To shop online for groceries with your California EBT card, follow the instructions below.
Step 1 – Login your Amazon account
If you do not have an Amazon account, click on the “Create your Amazon account” as shown in the screenshot below.
Once you have created your account, proceed by entering your email and password to sign-in.
Step 2 – Add your California EBT Card
Once logged in, enter your California food stamps card to your Amazon account here. Type in your complete SNAP EBT card number and click on submit.
Next, enter your delivery zip code. This will tell you whether or not your zip code is eligible for delivery on purchases using your CalFresh EBT card.
After entering your card number and zip code, click the “Add your SNAP EBT Card” button, as shown in the screenshot below.
Step 3 – Shop for Amazon Groceries Online
As an EBT cardholder, you have FREE access to Amazon Fresh when you add your SNAP EBT card.
Step 4 – Enter your PIN to Checkout
When you are done shopping and are ready to checkout, proceed as usual. At checkout select “EBT” as payment. After that, enter your 4-digit PIN for your California EBT Card to place your order.
For help, see our screenshot below.
Please note, you cannot use your food stamp benefits or EBT Card to pay for shipping or delivery fees.
If you do not have Amazon Prime and would like free delivery, be sure to meet the free shipping minimums for each program.
You will have to use another form of payment to pay for any delivery charges.
However, you can also sign up for the Amazon Prime Discount for EBT cardholders and get free shipping with your Amazon Grocery orders.
See below for details on how you can get 50% off the regular Amazon Prime monthly fee, for just $5.99 a month.
Get Amazon Prime Discount for EBT Cardholders
Did you know you can also shop online on Amazon for essential home items with your EBT card through Amazon Prime?
Plus, an Amazon Prime membership allows you to get FREE shipping with your grocery orders.
If you are not an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up with your EBT Card and get 50% OFF a membership. To learn how to sign up, continue reading below.
Discounted Amazon Prime Membership
As a California EBT Cardholder, you can get over 50% OFF Amazon Prime when you sign up with your EBT Card. With the Amazon Prime EBT discount, you can get all the great benefits of Prime at a fraction of the cost.
For just $5.99 per month you get all these EBT Amazon Prime benefits:
- One-Day FREE Shipping on millions of eligible Amazon items
- Two-Day FREE Shipping on millions of eligible Amazon items
- Access to instantly stream thousands of FREE Movies & TV Shows
- Access to Unlimited FREE Prime Music streaming
- FREE 2-Hour Delivery on Prime Now items
California EBT Card FAQs
Here is a list of our most frequently asked about the California EBT Card Grocery shopping online.
Is SNAP/EBT payment available at ALL Grocery Pickup locations?
Is SNAP/EBT payment available at all Grocery Pickup locations?
The majority of Walmart Grocery Pickup locations accept SNAP EBT payments.
However, Automated Collection Points, or the Pickup Points not located at a Walmart store, will not accept SNAP EBT payments.
What items can I buy with SNAP EBT when using Grocery Pickup?
You can buy items that are on the approved food stamps list.
Can I use WIC?
No, Walmart does not currently support WIC in Grocery Pickup.
Do I need to have a credit or debit card to shop on Amazon?
No; you do not need to have a credit or debit card to shop with your EBT card on Amazon.
However, it helps to have a credit or debit card on file for when you want to pay for items that are not on the eligible food stamps list or for when your SNAP funds run out.
What if I do not have a credit or debit card and which to purchase items with cash?
If you do not have a credit or debit card but would like to purchase non-SNAP eligible items with cash, you can use a gift card or Amazon Cash.
With Amazon Cash, you preload funds onto your Amazon account via an authorized retailer. To learn more, please visit Amazon Cash.
Can I check out using multiple forms of payment?
Can I check out using multiple forms of payment?
Yes. You can use multiple forms of payment, such as a SNAP EBT card and a credit card, when you check out.
You will need to do so if you have non-SNAP eligible items in your cart or shipping fees.
However, you can only use one SNAP EBT card per order.
California EBT Card FAQs
Will more grocery stores be added to the list from the pilot?
Yes, The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) plans to expand the network of retailers participating in the pilot program within the coming months.
To find out when more retailers accepted for online grocery shopping, check here for updates.
How do I check my California EBT Card balance?
You can check your California balance online, in-person, or by phone. To complete your California EBT Card balance check, please call 1-877-328-9677 or visit the California www.ebt.ca.gov website here.
Which restaurants take EBT in California?
California is one of the states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.
The Restaurant Meals Program is a federal program that enables qualified elderly, disabled, and homeless food stamps recipients to buy food at authorized restaurants. Any state or county can enroll in the Restaurant Meals Program.
The purpose of the program is to help expand food access to those who do not have a place to store and cook food, who may not be able to prepare food or who don’t have access to a grocery store.
Here are the restaurants in California that accept food stamps as part of the restaurant meals program.
- Burger King
- Carl’s Jr.
- Church’s Chicken
- Del Taco
- Domino’s Pizza
- El Pollo Loco
- Great Steaks
- Jack in the Box
- Jamba Juice
- Papa Murphy’s
- Pizza Hut
- Rally’s Hamburgers
- Taco Bell
Participating Counties: Alameda County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Clara County, and Santa Cruz County.
How can I report food stamps fraud in California?
If you are currently on food stamps and have committed fraud, know someone that has, or are wondering what the penalties are for fraud, here is what you need to know.
First, punishment for food stamps fraud depends on the extent of your crime, how much money you received that you were not entitled to, and whether you are a repeat offender.
If you have already been contacted by the authorities, you should probably consult a lawyer immediately.
Each of California’s 58 counties has a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) which is responsible for investigating reports of suspected abuse of public assistance programs in their county.
You may report your concerns by doing one of the following:
- You may contact the SIU in the County in which the alleged fraud occurred.
- If you prefer, you may call the California Department of Social Services Fraud Hotline at (800) 344-8477 and your information will be recorded and forwarded to the correct county.
- You may also contact the CDSS Fraud Hotline by email at: FraudHotline@dss.ca.gov
We hope this post on whether you can buy groceries online with California EBT Card was helpful to you.
If you have additional questions or need help using your California EBT Card to shop online on Amazon or Walmart, leave those in the comments section below.