People who use EBT might be searching for fast food choices and wondering whether or not McDonald’s accepts EBT as a payment method.

Below you will find the answer to this and other questions you may have about McDonald’s and EBT!

Does McDonald’s take EBT?

Unfortunately, McDonald’s does not accept EBT as a form of payment, either in-store or drive-thru. However, if you receive TANF benefits, you can withdraw the money to use at McDonald’s. Additionally, some states, such as California and Arizona, offer a restaurant meal program for the homeless, disabled, and elderly.

Even though McDonald’s doesn’t accept EBT, there are ways around this, and we’ll talk about those options below.

Does EBT work at McDonald’s?

In most states, you cannot use your EBT card to purchase food at McDonald’s, although there are some exceptions to this, including through the restaurant meal program.

Additionally, the restaurant meal program is available only to homeless, disabled, or elderly individuals who need assistance obtaining food.

Currently, only Arizona and California have the full restaurant dining program, although Florida and Rhode Island have a scaled-down version. No other states have decided to join this program.

Can you use TANF benefits to buy McDonald’s?

TNAF, which is temporary assistance for needy families, may be an option if you want to use this form of EBT to purchase food at McDonald’s.

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Plus, with TNAF, the state gives you money each month that goes into the EBT card.

On top of that, you can withdraw money from an ATM which you can use to pay rent, pay bills, and even buy fast food from restaurants like McDonald’s.

What payment methods does McDonald’s accept?

McDonald’s offers a variety of other payment options to customers. This includes cash, Arch gift cards, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards.

Not to mention, McDonald’s also allows mobile payment, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

What SNAP EBT benefits can be used to purchase?

What SNAP EBT benefits can be used to purchase?

Although you can’t swipe your SNAP EBT benefits card at McDonald’s, it’s still very helpful to purchase permitted food items at a variety of stores such as:

  • Meat
  • Cereal
  • Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Milkman
  • Fruit
  • Poultry
  • Cereals
  • Plants that produce food and various seeds

What can’t you buy with a SNAP-only EBT card?

SNAP is very specific about what products you can and cannot purchase, listing items you cannot purchase including:

  • Non-food products
  • Alcohol
  • Medicine
  • Vitamins
  • the tobacco
  • Immediately consumable food products (such as fast food)
  • Household items

Where can you use your EBT card?

McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants are not allowed through SNAP EBT, but there are plenty of grocery stores where you can purchase food with these food stamp benefits, including:

  • ALDI
  • Albertson
  • Wholesale BJ
  • Costco
  • Sam’s club
  • Kroger
  • Food 4 Less
  • Publix
  • Ralph
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Save a lot
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Economic
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Winn Dixie
  • Whole foods
  • Jubilee Foods
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In addition to those listed above, several other retail and grocery stores allow you to use your EBT card whether you are using SNAP or TANF benefits.

Can you use EBT at any fast food restaurant?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your EBT card at a fast food restaurant if you only receive SNAP benefits, unless your state participates in the restaurant meal program.

Being qualified for the restaurant meal program gives you the opportunity to use SNAP benefits at a restaurant, and most fast food restaurants in these specific states accept EBT.

It’s always a good idea to check the rules for EBT in the state you live in, as each state sets its guidelines for who is eligible for what EBT assistance program is available.

Who is eligible for EBT?

The rules on who is eligible for EBT vary a bit from state to state, but generally speaking, anyone living at 100% to 130% poverty level and who is a legal immigrant, an asylum seeker, U.S. citizen, or refugee can register.

Your monthly income and household size are used to determine whether or not you qualify for EBT and, if so, what type of benefits you should get from the state.

Typically, your eligibility is reviewed annually to ensure that you are still eligible for the program, and you must notify them immediately when changes occur that could interfere with eligibility.

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In any case, it’s best to research your state’s qualifications and requirements because they can change, and some states offer even more programs to help those in need than traditional EBT food stamps.

If you want to know more, you might also be interested in whether or not McDonald’s takes Apple Pay, whether Aldi takes EBT, and whether Sam’s Club takes EBT.


Generally speaking, EBT is not accepted at McDonald’s and EBT is not accepted at fast food restaurants if you only receive SNAP EBT benefits.

If you receive cash benefits through TANF, you can simply go to the ATM and withdraw money from your card if you want fast food meals.

Aside from that, states that participate in the restaurant meal program allow qualified individuals to go to a fast food restaurant such as McDonald’s or Burger King and order fast food meals.

The hope is that more states will welcome the restaurant meal program so that those who need it most will have more immediate and quick dining options, especially people with disabilities and seniors.

Visit Les Gourmandises for more information.

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