United States government put in place a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to ensure its citizens no matter the income level gets access to good nutrition. The program aims at eradicating hunger and increasing food security, especially for children. The beneficiaries of the program are given Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards that they use to shop at retail stores authorized to receive the cards. The US government runs the program in all the states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. Let’s learn ‘Does Sam’s Club take EBT?’.
Sam’s Club accepts EBT cards as a method of payment in Sam’s Club locations. Any purchase made on Sam’s Club.com or Pickup orders cannot be paid using the EBT cards hence the customer has to use other methods of payment. For one to pay using the EBT card, they have to be a member of Sam’s club.
Overview of EBT cards
1. How to apply for EBT?
- Be a citizen living in the state of the application as each state has different processes and application forms that they use
- One must visit their local SNAP office, state agency’s website or call the state
- The state conducts eligibility interviews in person or on phone and the applicant is required to provide the necessary proof
- The state processes the application and sends a notification to the applicant to notify them if they are eligible or not within 30 days
- If eligible, the applicant receives the benefits depending on the date of the EBT application
- Some applicants once they provide additional requirements for eligibility can start receiving their benefits within 7 days of application.
- The eligible applicants receive a notification indicating the period they will receive the benefits and before the period ends they receive another notification asking them to apply if they would like to continue receiving the benefits.
2. Eligibility for an EBT card
- Citizens are eligible
- Documented non-citizens are eligible and must fulfill the following conditions
- Lived in the US for at least 5 years.
- Receiving disability-related assistance
- Children under 18
- Fulfill other SNAP requirements
- Must live in the state of EBT application
- Must provide proof of income
- Must be willing to undergo eligibility interview
- Full-time students enrolled in college eligible for SNAP
3. What to buy using EBT Cards at Sam’s Club?
- Any food for the household like (Fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, Dairy products, bread, cereals, etc)
4. What not to buy using EBT Cards at Sam’s Club?
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
- Vitamins, medicines, and supplements. any item with Supplement Facts label is not eligible for SNAP purchase.
- Live animals
- Hot foods at the point of sale
- Any non-food items like
– Pet foods
– Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
– Hygiene items, cosmetics
How to use EBT at Sam’s club?
For an EBT beneficiary to use their EBT card at Sam’s club, one has to be a member of Sam’s club. If you are not yet a member, you have to register for membership by either visiting any Sam’s Club location and applying or creating an online account at Sam’s Club website.
The customer then visits any Sam’s Club store near them to purchase the eligible products and once done with shopping goes to the cashier and swipes their EBT card, enters the pin on the card reader machine, and finishes the transaction.
Advantages to Sam’s Club for accepting EBT card
- Increase sales
Accepting EBT cards enables Sam’s Club to sell more of the eligible products paid using the cards and other ineligible products that customer pays using other forms of payments.
- Increase customers
It increases their members increasing their number of customers at their stores as more people using EBT are referred to the store. Resulting in to increase in income hence increasing profitability.
- Reduces the cash handling
Accepting EBT enables Sam’s Club to reduce the amount of cash they handle at their stores hence reducing the risk of losing money.
Disadvantages to Sam’s Club for accepting EBT card
- Restricted purchase
EBT restricts customers to purchase only food for the household at Sam’s Club hence a customer in need of other ineligible products but does not have money to purchase them cannot purchase.
- Cannot pay for online purchases
Customers who are not able to come to the store to make purchases and can do so online are restricted when using an EBT card for payment. This makes Sam’s Club online sales not increase since the customer can only use their EBT card during in-store purchases.
- Cannot pay for deliveries
EBT cards restrict customers in need of delivery services to pay for the service if they do not have any other means of payment making the store not earn the delivery fee hence the customer has to come to pick up their products from the store.
It is approved by the US Government to take EBT assures the club members of the good customer service and quality products that the club offers. Sam’s Club taking EBT ensures their club members who have qualified for the SNAP of their continued support and availability of products they require from Sam’s Club in their times of need.
This also enables Sam’s Club to increase its numbers of members as qualified individuals for the SNAP or Sam’s Club members can refer their friends and family who have qualified for SNAP to can join the club and make the purchase this increases the sales and income of the club.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I buy at Sam’s Club using an EBT card?
EBT is used to purchase only food items
- How do I get in touch with EBT customer service?
Each state in the U.S has a customer service contact for EBT beneficiaries in their state to use. Kindly visit, https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/media/file/EBTCustomerServiceInfo.pdf for the complete list of contacts.
- How can I get information about the EBT program and apply for EBT in my state?
Since each state in the U.S offers different EBT benefits to the beneficiaries and has a different EBT application form, one should visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory to be able to get the information and apply for EBT.