The EBT Card

The EBT card allows a cardholder to use SNAP benefits at FNS-authorized retailers through POS devices. An EBT cardholder can also obtain the current SNAP benefit account balance by referring to his/her last receipt, doing a balance inquiry at a POS device or ATM, or by calling the EBT Cardholder Customer Service telephone number located on the back of the EBT card.

The EBT card is a plastic card the same size as credit, debit, or ATM cards. The EBT cardholder’s Primary Account Number (PAN) is located on the face of the card. The back of the card contains the EBT cardholder’s signature and a magnetic stripe that contains the information needed to process an EBT transaction through the POS device. The EBT cardholder uses the same card month after month.

In addition to processing transactions for in-state EBT cardholders, retailers are also required to process transactions for EBT cardholders from other states.

Personal Identification Number (PIN)

The PIN is a four-digit confidential number used in conjunction with the EBT card to ensure only an authorized person accesses the benefit account. The system considers a PIN to be an electronic signature. The retailer is not responsible for verifying identity, or the signature on the back of the EBT card for POS transactions. Thus, the retailer assumes no liability for performing an EBT transaction as long as the EBT cardholder enters a correct PIN and the EBT system authorizes the transaction. Retailers will not be asked to confiscate EBT cards for any reason. The retailer should report suspected fraud issues to FNS.

If an EBT cardholder enters an incorrect PIN consecutively (the exact number of incorrect PIN entries varies by state), his/her card is suspended. The PIN is reset after midnight of the last invalid PIN attempt. If the EBT cardholder does not remember the PIN, the EBT cardholder should call the Cardholder Customer Service telephone number located on the back of the card for instructions. If a card is lost or damaged, the EBT cardholder must report it immediately to the Cardholder Customer Service telephone number.

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