Best Start Foods is paid to help you buy healthy foods for you and your baby. These foods are:
- plain cow's milk
- first infant formula
- fresh, frozen or tinned fruit or vegetables
- fresh or dried pulses like lentils, beans, peas and barley
- fresh eggs
These foods are also listed on the back of your Best Start Foods card.
You can use our online form to apply for Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods.
Where you can use your Best Start Foods card
You can use your Best Start Foods card in large supermarkets and smaller local shops.
As long as the shop sells the healthy foods listed on your card, and displays the Mastercard logo, you can use your Best Start Foods card there.
You can also use your Best Start Foods card to buy healthy food online.
You cannot use your Best Start Foods card in places that do not sell the foods listed on your card.
How to pay in shops
You can use your Best Start Foods card to buy healthy foods on their own or with other shopping.
If you're buying only healthy foods, you can pay for them using your Best Start Foods card, like you would with a normal, contactless bank card. This means you can pay by tapping your card on the card device at checkout. You can also use your card as a chip and PIN card if you prefer. Just put it in the card device and enter your PIN.
If you're buying healthy food with other food or drink, you can split the payment between your Best Start Foods card and your normal bank card or cash. Just tell the cashier you want to do this. You'll also need to tell them how much you want to spend on your Best Start Foods card and how much you want to spend on your normal bank card or in cash.
With self-checkout machines, you cannot split your payment between your Best Start Foods card and another bank card. You can only part pay using your Best Start Foods card if you're paying the rest in cash.
Do not worry if you make a mistake when using your Best Start Foods card to buy healthy food with other shopping. It will not affect your benefit payments.
If your Best Start Foods card does not work in a shop that sells healthy food, ring us to let us know. We'll look to see if you're able to use your Best Start Foods card in this shop in the future.
Turning off contactless
If you don't want your Best Start Foods card to be used by tapping it on the card device at checkout, you can log into your online allpay account and choose to turn off the contactless feature.
This will mean that you can only use the card by entering it in the card device and entering your PIN.
How to use your card online
You can use your card to pay online, as long as you gave us your mobile number when you applied.
If you're using your Best Start Foods card to pay online, we need to send you a 'One Time Passcode'. This passcode will be sent to your mobile phone. You'll need to enter this One Time Passcode to complete an online payment.
If you did not give your mobile number when you applied, you can give it to allpay by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.
We've changed our phone service
You can still call us between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, but you'll not be able to speak to someone straight away. Instead, you can leave a message and we'll call you back.
If we do not reach you the first time we call back, we'll try again another 2 times before we stop.
If you haven't heard from us after 2 working days, please call again and leave another message.
What to do when paying online
When you checkout online, enter your Best Start Foods card details like you would any normal bank card.
After you submit these details, you'll be sent a text by allpay that includes a One Time Passcode. Before you can complete your payment, you'll be asked to enter this One Time Passcode.
If you're just using your Best Start Foods card to buy healthy food online, you can use it to buy everything in your basket.
At the moment, shopping websites will not allow you to split payments between your Best Start Foods card and your normal bank card. If you're shopping online, you should use your Best Start Foods card to only buy the foods listed on your card. This means you might need to check out twice, once with your Best Start Foods card and a second time with your normal bank card for the rest of your shopping. As with a normal check out, if you make a mistake or get mixed up, it will not affect any of your benefit payments.
Checking your Best Start Foods balance
You can check your balance online, over the phone or at a cash machine.
Checking your balance online
To check your balance online you need to have an online allpay account.
When you apply for Best Start Foods, you're asked to give us your email address so that we can set up your online account. If you've not applied yet, make sure you enter your email address when you do.
If you've applied and given your email address, there should be an email in your inbox with details about how to access your online account.
If you didn't give an email address, you can give us your email address by calling 0800 182 2222 and we'll tell allpay to set up your online account.
Check by phone
Call allpay on 0808 196 1687. You'll need your 6 digit phone access code to hand.
Using a cash machine
You can use your 4 digit PIN number and your Best Start Foods card to check your balance at cash machines. It's the same as checking your balance using a normal bank card.
You cannot use your card to withdraw money at a cash machine. You also cannot use it with Apple Pay or Google Wallet, or spend more than the money you have on the card.
Lost or stolen Best Start Foods cards
You should contact allpay using their free helpline, 0808 196 1687, if your card is lost or stolen.
They'll be able to cancel your card and send you a new one.
Requesting your card PIN
If you've forgotten the PIN number for your card, you can log into your online allpay account where you can ask to have it sent to you.
Your PIN number will then be sent to your mobile phone as a text message.
If you need to get a refund on something you've bought, you can get the refund in the same way as you would with any bank card. Just go back to the shop with your receipt and ask for a refund.
If you do not spend the money you're paid
You can save your Best Start Foods money up if you prefer to spend your 4 weekly payments every few months or every 6 months. If you do not use your card for a long time though, such as a year, we may reclaim the money on the card.