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Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)

What is EBT? | How it works | Advantages of EBT | Frequently Asked Questions

What is Electronic Benefit Transfer?
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that replaced paper food stamp coupons with a magnetic striped card (similar to a credit or bank card). North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recipients use EBT cards to access FNS benefits. EBT cards can be used at any USDA authorized retailer. Most major grocery stores are USDA authorized retailers.

How does EBT work?
Food and Nutrition Services recipients apply for their benefits in the usual way, by filling out a form at their local FNS office. Once eligibility and level of benefits have been determined, an account is established in the participant's name, and benefits are deposited electronically in the account each month. A plastic card, similar to a bank card, is issued and a personal identification number (PIN) is assigned or chosen by the recipient to give access to the account. Recipients may change the PIN number at any time. Training is available to recipients who have any problems accessing the system.

When paying for groceries, the FNS customer's card is run through an electronic reader or a point of sale terminal (POS), and the recipient enters the secret PIN number to access the account. As long as there are benefits in the account, the recipient's account is debited for the amount of the purchase. The store receipt shows the amount of benefits remaining in the recipient's account.

What are the advantages of using EBT cards?

  • Benefits are placed in accounts automatically. Recipients do not have to pick up coupons or wait for them to come in the mail. This allows recipients to access benefits faster and more efficiently.
  • EBT reduces the incidence of fraud, theft, and abuse. If the card is lost or stolen, it can not be used by someone who does not know the PIN. It can be easily cancelled and replaced.
  • EBT reduces the cost of printing, storing, and shipping paper coupons.
  • EBT allows better state and federal tracking of use of FNS benefits.
  • Retailers no longer have to process paper coupons. Payments are processed electronically.
  • Recipients no longer receive cash back from purchases. At the time of purchase, benefits are debited from their account. The account balance is printed on the receipt.
  • Recipients no longer have to keep up with multiple coupon booklets. The same card is used each month. The card is only re-issued if card has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Recipients can check their benefit balance 24 hours a day by calling a toll-free number that is located on the back of the card.

Frequently Asked Questions?

What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?
If your card is lost or stolen report it immediately by calling this toll free number
1-888-622-7328

How do I change my PIN Number?
To change your PIN Number, call the toll-free number on the back of the EBT card. Follow the automated instructions to change the Personal Identification Number (PIN). Assistance is also available from a Customer Service Representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Who do I call to check my balance?

FNS balances can be checked by calling 1-888-622-7328. Make sure you have your card available. You will need your card number. This function is available 24 hours a day.

You may also check your balance and transactions online by going to www.ebtedge.com . Click on More Information, enter your EBT card number and click on login.

EBT Issuance Information

EBT CUSTOMER SERVICE # 1-888-622-7328

REMEMBER:

• ALWAYS call EBT Customer Service to select yourself a new Personal Identification Number (PIN) or change your PIN using the automated system.

• ALWAYS call EBT Customer Service with questions about your balance, your PIN, and your EBT card.

• You can speak or press your answers such as yes, no, or card number into the telephone. Say each number separately. For example: 30 is “three zero”; 57 is “five seven”.

IF you forget your PIN:

• You MUST get a NEW PIN.

• You MUST call 1-888-622-7328 to get a new PIN.

If you try to use the wrong PIN 4 times in a row:

• You MUST call 1-888-622-7328 to select a new PIN.

• Or wait until the next day (after 12:01 a.m.) to try again.

YOUR EBT BENEFITS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE SAME DAY EACH MONTH ACCORDING TO THE LAST DIGIT OF YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, EVEN IF THAT DAY IS ON A WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY.

If your SSN ends in: Benefits available after 6:00 a.m. on the:
1 3rd day of every month
2 5th day of every month
3 7th day of every month
4 9th day of every month
5 11th day of every month
6 13th day of every month
7 15th day of every month
8 17th day of every month
9 19th day of every month
0 21st day of every month

Benefits are available on the 3rd day of every month if you do not have a SSN.

REMEMBER TO CHECK YOUR BALANCE BEFORE YOU SHOP!

 

 

We strive to keep this information as accurate as possible. If information on this page needs to be updated, please Email us.

 

Page Modified 10/15/2012

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