There’s a lot you can’t do at Trader Joe’s. They don’t issue coupons. While they do accept manufacturer coupons, very few of their products are brand name, so the odds that you’ll be able to use one on any given day is hit or miss. You also can’t order curbside.
But one thing you can do? Pay for your order using your EBT card!
Yes, EBT is one of the six methods of payments Trader Joe’s will accept. Here are all the details, including which products may or may not be eligible, how EBT works with their return policy, and other places you’ll want to shop with your EBT card if you’re looking for curbside service.
1. Does Trader Joe’s take EBT? Yes, indeed.
Yes, Trader Joe’s accepts EBT! It’s one of the six methods of payment you can use. The other five are:
- Credit and debit cards
- Mobile payments (like Apple Pay and Google Pay)
- Personal checks
- Trader Joe’s gift cards
2. Pay with your EBT card at Trader Joe’s just like any other card.
If you’ve used your EBT card to make a purchase anywhere else, it’s the same process at Trader Joe’s. At checkout, just swipe it instead of a credit card. You’ll enter your PIN, and your order will automatically get split into eligible items and non-eligible items.
If you’re using SNAP, your food stamp balance will cover the eligible portion of your order.
3. Most Trader Joe’s items are eligible, but definitely not their hot meals.
What you can and can’t buy on SNAP varies by state. For example, in some states, you might be able to purchase tea and energy drinks on SNAP, while in others you can’t.
As a general rule, the biggest no-no in all 50 states is hot, prepared foods.
But Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups?
They totally qualify for SNAP.
Organic, tri-color spaghetti?
That’s another big yes.
Most food items in the store will qualify. If you hit a weird state rule, that item will simply ring up as an additional total that has to be paid for with another method, like cash or debit.
If you’re using an EBT card with cash benefits loaded, you may be able to use the cash portion of your EBT allotment to make nonfood or other purchases restricted by your state’s SNAP program.
TIP: Here are the best Trader Joe’s food items to buy right now.
4. You can’t use EBT on your curbside order — because they don’t have it.
Major bummer! Trader Joe’s doesn’t do curbside pickup. I KNOW. Even in 2023.
You may be able to use your EBT card on curbside orders at other grocery stores. Earlier in the pandemic, some states and municipalities had rules that prevented stores from accepting SNAP on mobile orders.
But almost all of those restrictions have since been removed. So if you got a no earlier in the pandemic, it might be worth trying again now.
Let me tell you — small business owners or franchisees aren’t always on top of the latest laws and regulations, even when they believe they are. So if a grocer tells you they can’t accept SNAP on curbside orders, see if you can find another grocer in your area who will.
Related: Yes, you can coupon with food stamps.
5. Trader Joe’s return policy covers your SNAP purchases.
Generally speaking, yes, you can make returns on SNAP purchases at Trader Joe’s. Technically, individual store policy can prohibit the practice, but the USDA has no issue with stores processing the returns.
Trader Joe’s has a pretty generous return policy, too. You can return items whenever — with or without a receipt. You can even return opened or half-eaten food items. They want to make sure their customers are 100% satisfied with the products they choose, so if you don’t like it for any reason, returning it is no problem.
6. Lots more grocers accept EBT cards.
EBT cards are accepted at many grocery stores and chains nationwide. You can also sometimes use them at convenience stores.