EBT plans: How to apply government benefits at Target?

EBT plans: How to apply government benefits at Target?
09:31, 23 April 2022

Electronic Benefits Transfer system is widely distributed in the US, and this social program already functions in many retail chains, the list of which is regularly updated. With EBT accounts, people can buy groceries. All brands are included in the roster, which is convenient: it’s possible to plan purchases with the ease.

Target hypermarket chain is a major representative of the retail business, so the company can’t ignore such privileges for customers. And many people are wondering if they can apply their cards in any store of this trade brand.

Target: How to make great purchases today?

Purchases with the EBT system can be made at Target, but only through offline shopping. Customers are provided with an extensive selection of products:

  • vegetable crops;
  • fruits;
  • steaks, seafood (including canned fish);
  • durum wheat products;
  • juices;
  • milk products.

Does Target accept EBT benefits based on SNAP/WIC systems?

Unlike other retail chains, not only ordinary low-income families can go shopping at Target, but also mothers in need to provide food for their children. Approximately 2000 stores of the company across the US support both preferential categories and have products from both lists available.

It’s also necessary to understand that the goods that are not included in any of the categories buyers pay for themselves.

To make shopping easier, each product is marked with a specialized «WIC» icon. Another advantage is the possibility of a refund (you only need to present a receipt.) The warranty policy is valid for approximately 3 months from the purchase.

This process doesn’t comply with legislative acts, since EBTs are still not intended for cashing out or other financial transactions, since they are a social support tool. Therefore, in the best case, the staff offer to exchange the goods, and in the worst case — they issue a loan.

Social benefits at Target: Instructions for apply

To pay at Target by a card, you need to follow several simple requirements.

  1. At the checkout, the goods on the cash desk should be arranged in two groups: those intended for EBT and ordinary products from the store. This is done for the convenience of calculations to avoid confusion.
  2. SNAP/WIC purchases are paid first. The cashier brings a barcode reader to each item and request a benefit card. It’s applied as other similar bank payment tools: plastic is brought to the terminal, directed forward with a tape with magnetic ink character recognition code, and a password is entered.
  3. There is a way to save time: go to the self-service checkout. The goods can be laid out at random, since all the benefits are calculated automatically.
  4. After paying for purchases, experts advise checking again the correctness of prices, the quantity of goods and the list of products included in one of the two programs. This action helps to avoid mistakes and is applicable regardless of whether the buyer independently rings up the goods or the store staff does it.

Places to pay for EBT purchases: What is the role of federal programs?

Besides a specialized list of products available for purchase at Target and stores of other retail chains, benefits can’t be applied everywhere and not always: it depends on the federal plan that covers the expenses.

The SNAP action of the system is more common, so using EBT benefits on this basis, troubles at most Target stores shouldn’t occur.

Does Target accept EBT on WIC? Yes, undoubtedly, and this is a great plus. WIC plans are not so common yet, and they have even stringent control. They can be applied not only in hypermarkets, but also in small farm stores. This is because of a wider selection of products that are not always available in supermarkets of other brands.

To be sure of the purchase, contact a local outlet or go to the official website and find out more about accepted payment options. In this section, buyers can learn about payment platforms and regions of issue for cards, which can be applied to purchases in the future.

Of course, there are cases when an undertaking ends in failure. However, with the help of sites to search for stores with EBT, you can always find other options instead of Target.

E-shopping: Is it possible?

Does Target accept EBT when shopping in the official online store? Unfortunately, no, and it doesn’t depend on the federal plan. The rule also applies to the delivery of products, including pickup.

SNAP or WIC: What to choose?

At Target stores, customers can purchase products from the lists established by the organizers of the discount cards. The amount of coverage varies from state to state, but the list of products is the same for all regions. There are food checks for each purchase. It’s necessary not only to select goods from the list, but also to purchase them according to the quantity stated in the receipt (standards per person are calculated under the diet developed by doctors).

SNAP and WIC plans are slightly different. The latter focuses not only on poor families, but especially on women and children. Besides food products, such a plan includes:

  • supplemental food (this is one specific manufacturer whose products are purchased at the lowest price);
  • lectures on health and breastfeeding;
  • treatment programs against bad habits, prenatal plans, vaccination;
  • therapeutic nutrition;
  • medications to control mothers’ anemia.

The standard set of products includes:

  • natural juices (100%);
  • ready-made breakfasts;
  • dairy products (cheese, milk);
  • eggs;
  • cereals, brown rice;
  • canned fish / meat products;
  • soy-based food;
  • legumes;
  • butter (based on peanuts);
  • organic green grocery (depends on the state).

EBT products that customers can’t buy via their cards

Whatever form of benefits is chosen, there is a list of goods that are not covered by any insurance:

  • cleaning products/household chemicals;
  • toilet paper and diapers;
  • medications and supplements that are dispensed without a doctor's prescription;
  • alcoholic beverages and tobacco products;
  • energy drinks (non-alcoholic versions with high caffeine content sometimes are allowed);
  • sweet things, but birthday cakes shouldn’t contain over 50% decorations.

How do cashiers determine EBT cards holders?

When cashiers read the barcode from the product packaging, the item belonging to the preferential group is determined automatically. After receiving the card, the system also reads it as a beneficial one. The most obvious thing is that the products contain special markings to make them easier to distinguish from other products.

Some may be confused that such information becomes known to others, but Target's policy adheres to an inclusive approach: managers and cashiers treat all visitors with respect, and this doesn’t affect the quality of service. Privileged categories of customers should also observe the courtesy rules and communicate politely with the staff.

EBT: small-format Target stores

Shopping in small retail outlets like CVS, Apple (all of them are inside the Target hypermarket) via benefits transfer is almost impossible. Although, some SNAP plans cover the costs of a coffee break at Starbucks.

How EBT works

This type of payment was previously based on ration cards. Currently, the principle of distribution of goods is the same, only plastic cards have appeared. They practically don’t differ from standard bank patterns. A certain amount of money is credited to the account every month, which is calculated individually for each family.

By visiting the official website of the SNAP/WIC program, people can learn more about the procedure for obtaining such benefits, privileged categories and a detailed list of products to purchase.


EBT programs can help in difficult life circumstances. WIC and SNAP plans differ: the first is designed for various preferential categories, and the second is for mothers with young children. The latter considers therapeutic nutrition and some medications. The list of products to buy in both programs is almost equal.

The disadvantage of such benefits is the inability to apply them for online shopping and for delivery/ pickup of goods. Otherwise, it’s quite a convenient service, since the system works in most hypermarkets.

However, for easier shopping, find out the remainder of current balance in advance, and where exactly preferential cards are accepted. You can get this information on the official websites of stores by contacting the staff of a local outlet or by searching the Internet for lists of supermarkets that cooperate with the EBT system (WIC or SNAP).

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