Can You Use EBT at McDonald’s? (Yes, There’s a Catch)

Can You Use EBT at McDonald’s

In this day and age, it seems like just about anything can be bought with a swipe of a card. You can buy groceries and clothes and even pay your rent with a debit or credit card. But what about using your EBT card to buy food? Can you use EBT at McDonald’s? The answer is yes! In this blog post, we will discuss the different payment methods that McDonald’s accepts and how you can use your EBT card to buy food from the fast-food giant!

Does McDonald’s Take EBT?

Generally speaking, NO, McDonald’s does not take EBT either in-store or at the drive-thru. However, there is a catch: McDonald’s locations in California and Arizona accept EBT as a part of the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). Additionally, those who get the TANF benefits can withdraw cash to buy fast food at McDonald’s.

Sounds a bit confusing? Let’s break it down.

What Is Restaurant Meals Program (RMP)?

The Restaurant Meals Program allows some SNAP recipients to get food assistance from the government to buy prepared meals from some restaurants using their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. The restaurants that are a part of this must offer meals at lower prices. In some cases, people who get benefits can buy hot food that is already prepared in the deli section of some stores. The RMP is a program that is run by the state, but not every state has this option.

How Do Restaurant Meals Programs Work?

The Restaurant Meals Program states that many people who qualify for EBT don’t have a way to take food home or cook it. This means they might not be able to get the nutrition they need if they can only buy unprepared foods.

Who Is Eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program?

To qualify for the RMP, applicants must meet certain criteria, including the following:

  • Be at least 60 years of age
  • Have a disability and get disability payments/retirement benefits from the government
  • Be a homeless
  • Be the spouse of a SNAP beneficiary who qualifies for the RMP

What Are the States That Participate in RMP?

Currently, 6 states participate in the Restaurant Meals Program:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Rhode Island
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Maryland

However, as we mentioned earlier, you can take advantage of your EBT benefits only at McDonald’s locations in California and Arizona.

What Is EBT?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, and it is a way to use government food assistance benefits with a card. With EBT, you can buy groceries at participating stores and other approved food items. EBT works like a debit card, where you can only spend what money you have in your account. Your EBT card can only be used to buy approved foods, like fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, and other eligible food items. You cannot use your EBT card to buy non-food items like cigarettes or alcohol.

Who Is Eligible for EBT?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides people with a way to buy healthy food when they don’t have enough money. To be eligible for EBT, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the U.S. citizen or legal non-citizen
  • Have a low income and/or be facing financial hardship

Every year, the government will check to see if you still qualify for the program. You must tell the government right away if anything changes that could make you not qualify for the program.

What Is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)?

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that provides financial assistance to families with low incomes. It also helps them reach personal goals, like securing employment or taking classes. In some cases, people who get TANF benefits can withdraw cash to buy fast food at McDonald’s. The amount of cash you can get depends on the state and other factors.

Who Is Eligible for TANF?

To be eligible for TANF, you must meet certain criteria. These are the most common requirements:

  • Have a child 18 years of age or younger
  • Be pregnant
  • Be under 18 and the head of your household

What Payment Methods Does McDonald’s Take?

Although McDonald’s does not take EBT in most states, they do accept the following payment methods: cash, debit cards, credit cards, Apple Pay, and contactless payment options like Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

What Other Restaurants Accept SNAP EBT Cards?

While McDonald’s is one of the few restaurants that accept SNAP EBT cards, other restaurants also do. These include:

  • Dairy Queen
  • Burger King
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Subway
  • KFC
  • Pizza Hut
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Jack in the Box
  • Popeye’s
  • Taco Bell
  • Denny’s
  • Wendy’s
  • Quiznos
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Blimpie


So, can you use EBT at McDonald’s? The answer is yes, but only in California and Arizona as part of the Restaurant Meals Program. With an EBT card, you can buy hot, ready-to-eat meals at McDonald’s in those two states. If you’re not located in California or Arizona, you may still be able to use your EBT card at McDonald’s if you get the TANF benefits – just remember to withdraw cash to buy food.

Hope this blog post helped clear up any confusion about using your EBT card at McDonald’s and gave you more insight into how the Restaurant Meals Program works!

If you have any further questions, please contact your local SNAP office. They will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information about the Restaurant Meals Program, EBT, and other payment methods accepted at McDonald’s. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about using your EBT card at McDonald’s! We hope this information was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out for help.

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