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Does Shell Take EBT?

Written by: Dulcie Akers
Last updated: February 22, 2024

Shell gas stations welcome EBT for the purchase of SNAP-eligible food items, providing a convenient option for SNAP beneficiaries to buy necessary groceries.[1]


While you can use EBT at Shell, restrictions exist; you cannot use it for gas, non-food items, alcohol, tobacco, or hot, ready-to-eat meals.


EBT cards can be used to purchase a variety of food items intended for home preparation and consumption, including snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and dairy products.[2]


The process of using your EBT at Shell and other gas stations mirrors that of a regular debit transaction but requires selecting EBT Food and entering a PIN.

Navigating the world of EBT benefits often leads to questions about where these benefits can be used, especially when you're on the go and need to make essential purchases. One common inquiry that pops up is, "Does Shell take EBT?" It's a valid question for those who rely on SNAP benefits and find themselves at one of the many Shell gas stations across the country. Whether you're looking to grab some quick snacks, need to stock up on some groceries, or are simply curious about the extent of your EBT card's versatility, this article is here to shed light on the possibilities of using EBT at gas stations

Join us as we explore the ins and outs of EBT eligibility at Shell, providing you with the information you need for a smooth and stress-free shopping experience.

Does Shell Take EBT?

Yes, Shell gas stations do accept EBT for eligible purchases, but with some limitations. While EBT cards are primarily used for buying food items, the types of products that can be purchased with EBT at Shell or any other gas station are restricted to those that meet SNAP eligibility criteria. This means EBT cardholders can use their benefits to buy snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and other food items that are intended for home preparation and consumption, but they cannot use EBT to pay for gas, car items, alcohol, tobacco, or hot, ready-to-eat meals. The availability of eligible items can vary significantly from one Shell location to another, as some stations may have a larger selection of SNAP-approved products than others.[1]

Understanding EBT Eligible Purchases

Fast Facts

EBT cannot be used for non-food items, hot foods at the point of sale, or anything meant for immediate consumption.

Understanding what qualifies as an EBT eligible purchase is crucial for SNAP recipients aiming to make the most of their benefits, especially in locations like Shell gas stations where the primary focus isn't grocery retail. EBT cards, under the SNAP program, are designed to help individuals and families buy food that can be prepared at home. This includes a variety of staples like bread, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and seeds or plants that produce food for the household to eat.[2]

Eligible Items at Gas Stations

At gas stations, including Shell, eligible items typically encompass pre-packaged snacks, such as chips and nuts, bottled juices and non-alcoholic beverages, dairy products like milk and cheese, and some cases, fruits and vegetables if available. These items must be consumed off the premises and are intended to supplement grocery shopping rather than replace it entirely.

Ineligible Items with EBT

It's equally important to note what cannot be purchased with EBT. Ineligible items include non-food products like cleaning supplies, personal care items, pet foods, and also alcohol and tobacco products. Additionally, any food item that is hot at the point of sale or meant for immediate consumption on the premises cannot be bought with EBT funds. This includes hot coffee, prepared meals, or made-to-order sandwiches commonly found at gas stations.

How to Use Your EBT at Gas Stations

Using your EBT card at gas stations, including Shell, is similar to using a debit card but with specific considerations for the types of purchases allowed under SNAP guidelines. Here’s how you can navigate this process smoothly:

  • Identify Eligible Items: Before heading to the checkout, ensure that the items you wish to purchase with your EBT card are SNAP-eligible. Look for signs or labels that might indicate an item is EBT eligible, or refer to the general guidelines of allowable food items like snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and grocery staples.

  • Inform the Cashier: It's helpful to let the cashier know that you will be paying with an EBT card, especially if you are purchasing a mix of eligible and ineligible items. This heads-up can make the checkout process smoother as the cashier can separate your purchases accordingly.

  • Swipe Your EBT Card: Just like any other card transaction, you'll swipe your EBT card through the card reader. In some locations, you may be asked to insert your card if the machine is equipped with a chip reader.

  • Select the Correct Option: The card reader will prompt you to choose between EBT Food or EBT Cash (if your card has both options). Make sure to select EBT Food for SNAP purchases.

  • Enter Your PIN: You will be asked to enter your 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to authorize the transaction. Ensure to shield your PIN entry for security reasons.

  • Complete the Transaction: Once your PIN is entered, and the transaction is approved, your purchase amount will be deducted from your SNAP benefits. If you have non-EBT eligible items, you'll need to complete a separate transaction using another form of payment for those items.

  • Review Your Receipt: Your receipt should itemize your purchases and show the remaining balance of your SNAP benefits. It's a good practice to keep track of your balance to plan your future purchases effectively.

Finding EBT-Friendly Locations

Fast Facts

Not all Shell stations may have a wide selection of SNAP-approved items, so it's beneficial to identify those that do!

Finding EBT-friendly locations, including Shell gas stations, can enhance the convenience and accessibility of using SNAP benefits for those on the go. To ensure a smooth shopping experience with your EBT card, consider these key points:

  • Identify EBT-Eligible Items: Focus on pre-packaged snacks, dairy products, and non-alcoholic beverages that meet SNAP criteria.

  • Inform the Cashier: Mention you're using an EBT card, especially if you're purchasing both eligible and ineligible items.

  • Swipe and Select: Use your EBT card at the checkout, choosing the EBT Food option, and enter your PIN securely.

  • Review Your Receipt: Keep an eye on your balance by reviewing the receipt after your purchase.

EBT at Shell: A Guide to Your Benefits

In conclusion, for those wondering "Does Shell take EBT?" the answer is a reassuring yes, with certain limitations centered around SNAP-eligible items. Shell gas stations offer a convenient option for EBT cardholders to purchase a range of food items that align with SNAP guidelines, although fuel and non-food items remain outside the scope of EBT purchases. By understanding what items are eligible, informing the cashier of your payment method, and reviewing your receipt to manage your balance, you can effectively utilize your EBT benefits at Shell locations. This flexibility ensures that even on the move, SNAP recipients can access essential groceries, making Shell a valuable resource for those looking to maximize their EBT card benefits.

Discover the options for using EBT with Uber Eats and expand your meal choices today. Learn more about how you can leverage your benefits for food delivery services now!

Dulcie Akers
Dulcie Akers is the editor-in-chief of Gov Relations. She graduated top of her class with a bachelor’s degree in English from Thomas Edison State University. Before working for the company, Dulce worked for seven years at a Fortune 500 company. She currently manages the whole team with Imelda, ensuring every piece of content is relevant to retail, business, and services.

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