An Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card may be used in any grocery store or retail location anywhere in the United States that has been authorized by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and displays the QUEST Mark®, STAR® , or SHAZAM®logos.
What is Electronic Benefit Transfer?
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received. EBT is currently being used in all states to issue Food Stamp and other benefits.
How does EBT work?
Once someone applies for Food Stamp benefits or is approved for Temporary Assistance, an account is established in the person's name and food and/or cash benefits are deposited electronically onto the EBT card each month. Food Stamp benefits will not be loaded to the card unless the application is approved.
It is important to note that it is illegal to use an EBT card to buy:
- Hot prepared foods;
- Foods prepared to be immediately eaten;
- Vitamins, medicine, supplements; or
- Non-food items such as paper products, soap, or pet food.
How do I become an authorized retailer to accept EBT cards?
To get an application to become an authorized retailer, you should contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at 877-823-4639. The USDA offers more information about becoming an authorized retailer.
State Fiscal Year 2016 Basic Facts
- Food Stamp Households: 359,186
- Temporary Assistance Households: 14,897
- Food Stamp Program Authorized Food Retailers: 5,036 (as of August 16, 2016)
- Operational state wide: May 1998
- Current contractor: FIS eFunds Corporation
- Programs covered: Food Stamp and Temporary Assistance