Electronic Benefits Transfer, EBT for short, is an electronic system that allows recipients of food assistance programs to pay for their food purchases at various retailers using their benefits. It is a major improvement over the old-style color-coded paper food stamps because it eliminates stigma and makes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants look like consumers shopping with their own money. It also provides improved service to customers and retailers by making checkout transactions faster and more efficient than paper coupons. This is especially helpful for disadvantaged families who often wait in the checkout line. Your SNAP benefits are automatically transferred to your EBT card each month. You can use these funds to purchase eligible food items at Walmart, grocery stores, and other retailers that accept SNAP benefits.
How to Use Electronic Benefits Transfer Card for SNAP?
- You can use your EBT card at many ATMs. For example, most banks and financial institutions in Connecticut state do not charge a fee for using an EBT card at an ATM. However, you should check with your local bank or credit union.
- Tell the cashier you want to use your EBT card to use SNAP benefits and that you would like to pay with your SNAP card. You should then enter your secret PIN into the machine. The machine will then verify your PIN and send an authorization or denial back to the retailer.
- Some stores may let you swipe your EBT card through a point-of-sale (POS) terminal to pay for your purchases. This is a fast and easy way to make your grocery purchases.
- Remember to keep your EBT card and receipts safe. Do not store them in a wallet, purse, or other location where someone can easily access them. Call your caseworker for a replacement if your EBT card or secret PIN gets lost.
- When you shop for groceries with your EBT card, keep the receipt and know how much you have left in your account. If you have a limited balance, the cashier can help you find a solution to your situation.
What is the difference between EBT and EFT?
- EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is a payment system government agencies use to issue benefits to eligible recipients. These benefits can include food stamps, cash assistance, and other forms of public assistance. EBT works by providing eligible recipients with a card that can be used to purchase eligible goods and services at authorized retailers. EBT transactions are processed through a specialized network and are designed to be secure and efficient.
- EFT, or Electronic Funds Transfer, is a payment system used to transfer funds between financial institutions electronically. EFT can be used for a variety of purposes, including paying bills, transferring funds between accounts, and making purchases online. Individuals or businesses can initiate EFT transactions, and they are processed through a network of financial institutions that facilitate the transfer of funds.
Who Else Can Use Electronic Benefits Transfer?
- In addition to SNAP, other federal and state welfare programs also issue EBT cards. For example, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) uses an EBT card to provide low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and children up to age five with nutritious foods.
- Another federal program, the Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), issues EBT cards to recipients of cash benefits who receive payments by direct deposit into their bank account. When their direct deposit is made, these recipients will receive an Advise Notice by mail.
- The Food and Nutrition Service administers many other programs that utilize EBT, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If you are a SNAP recipient, your card can be used at participating retailers to pay for your purchases with SNAP benefits.
If you are a recipient of any other program that utilizes EBT, you can visit the EBT website to see your benefit balance(s). You can also find additional information about your EBT account and how to protect it from fraud and misuse.
You can also use your card to get cash at Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). The first two transactions each month are free, but any additional withdrawals are 85 cents per transaction.
For example, if you get $1,500 in SNAP benefits each month, you can use your EBT card to purchase up to $2,000 worth of food. If you don’t use up your benefits in one month, any remaining funds will roll over to the next month.