Does Big Lots Take EBT? Understanding Their Payment Policies

Big Lots is a retail giant that offers a variety of merchandise ranging from furniture to groceries at discounted prices. Understanding payment options is essential for shoppers, particularly those who rely on government assistance programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Big Lots caters to a diverse customer base by accepting various payment methods, including Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT).

EBT cards are a common payment method for individuals receiving SNAP benefits to purchase eligible food items. While many major retailers accept EBT, SNAP beneficiaries often inquire whether Big Lots is among these participating stores. Most Big Lots locations do indeed allow customers to use their EBT cards for eligible purchases, making it convenient for SNAP participants to access a range of grocery and food items within Big Lots’ extensive inventory. However, shoppers should note that acceptance of EBT can vary by location.

Overview of Big Lots’ EBT Policy

Big Lots accepts the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) as a form of payment for eligible items. EBT is part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as food stamps. Big Lots’ policy allows EBT cardholders to purchase food items suitable for home consumption.


  • Only select Big Lots stores participate in the SNAP program.
  • The acceptance of EBT cards may vary by location.

Purchasable Items:
SNAP benefits typically cover:

  • Dairy products
  • Meats and poultry
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Bread and cereals
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

Non-Eligible Items:
SNAP benefits do not allow the purchase of:

  • Household supplies
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Prepared foods fit for immediate consumption
  • Medications and supplements

Customers wishing to utilize their benefits at Big Lots should first verify that their local store participates in the program. This can be done by using the SNAP Retail Locator or inquiring at the store directly. It is critical for shoppers to differentiate between SNAP-eligible and non-eligible items during their purchases. The EBT payment must be processed at a participating store’s cash register.

Eligible Items for EBT Purchase at Big Lots

Big Lots accepts EBT for a range of grocery items, providing customers with a variety of food options. These items adhere strictly to SNAP program guidelines.

Food and Beverage Eligibility

Items one can purchase at Big Lots with EBT include, but are not limited to:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh produce is eligible for purchase.
  • Meat, Fish, and Poultry: A variety of protein options are available.
  • Dairy Products: This includes milk, cheese, and related products.
  • Breads and Cereals: Staple food items like bread, rice, and cereal qualify.
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Juices and soft drinks can be bought with EBT.

Non-Food Item Restrictions

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) restricts EBT from being used for non-food items. At Big Lots, these restrictions include:

  • Alcohol and Tobacco: Products like beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco are not permissible.
  • Non-Food Household Items: Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household goods cannot be purchased with EBT.
  • Prepared Foods: Items meant to be eaten in the store or hot foods ready for immediate consumption are excluded.
  • Vitamins and Medicines: Over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements are not EBT-eligible.

How to Use EBT at Big Lots

Big Lots allows customers with SNAP benefits to make purchases using their EBT cards, providing a convenient shopping experience for SNAP recipients.

EBT Payment Process

At Big Lots, shoppers with EBT cards may select eligible food items and proceed to the checkout lanes. Here’s how the payment process works:

  1. At the Register: Present the EBT card to the cashier when ready to pay.
  2. Payment Method: Indicate that the payment will be made with an EBT card.
  3. Eligible Items: Only items eligible under SNAP will be approved for payment via EBT.

Pin Authentication and Receipt

For security and transaction verification, Big Lots requires the following steps:

  • PIN Entry: Customers must enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN) on the store’s payment keypad to authorize the transaction.
  • Transaction Receipt: After the transaction is completed, customers receive a receipt detailing their purchase and the remaining EBT balance.

Location Variance in EBT Acceptance

EBT acceptance at Big Lots may differ by location. It’s important for customers to understand that not all stores participate and that state policies can influence EBT usability.

State-Specific EBT Policies

Different states may enact unique regulations that affect how EBT is utilized by retailers, including Big Lots. While EBT, as part of the SNAP program, is federally funded, its implementation can be subject to state-specific guidelines. Customers should verify with their local state policies to determine if there are any unique requirements or restrictions for using EBT at Big Lots locations in their region.

Store Participation Variance

Big Lots stores do not uniformly accept EBT. Participation may vary across different locations:

  • Selected Stores: Only certain Big Lots stores accept EBT.

Customers can find out which locations accept EBT by using the Big Lots store locator and applying the SNAP/EBT filter option. This tool is essential for pinpointing which stores are EBT-friendly, thereby ensuring that customers can plan their shopping accordingly.

EBT Online Shopping at Big Lots

Customers interested in utilizing EBT for online purchases at Big Lots will find specific guidelines and a straightforward shopping process to follow.

Online EBT Policy

Currently, Big Lots does not offer the option to use EBT cards for online transactions. The use of EBT at Big Lots is confined to in-store purchases. They require customers to present their EBT cards at a physical location to complete a purchase.

Online Shopping Process

For customers looking to shop online at Big Lots, it is important to know that while the store accepts various forms of payment, EBT is not among them for online purchases. Shoppers must choose alternative payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, or gift cards when checking out on the Big Lots website.

Customer Service

Big Lots ensures customer service is available both for in-store and online inquiries, prominently addressing concerns related to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT).

In-Store Assistance

In-store customer service representatives provide firsthand assistance with payment methods, including EBT questions. They are able to clarify whether the specific Big Lots location accepts SNAP/EBT benefits for eligible items. In the event that an EBT transaction is declined, they can offer guidance and direct customers to the appropriate resources.

Online Support

Online support extends to FAQ sections on Big Lots’ website, providing answers to common payment questions such as EBT eligibility. Customers can inquire about their online orders and payment methods, including the use of EBT, via the customer service hotline or email support. For more complex issues, such as charges from declined transactions, direct contact with the support team is encouraged.

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