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Electronic Benefits Transfer

Q. What is EBT?

A. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is how you will receive and use Food Stamp and TANF (formerly AFDC) benefits. You use a plastic card called the Missouri EBT card and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to spend these benefits.

Q. How will I get an EBT card and PIN?

A. The EBT card comes in the mail. You also will receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in a separate mailing. You need both the card and PIN to use your Food Stamp benefits and your cash benefits (TANF).

Q. Who can use the EBT card and PIN?

A. The Food Stamp head of household and TANF payee will receive a card and PIN. Also, whoever you designated as your authorized representative or protective payee (if you have one) will receive a card.

NOTE: Whoever you choose as your authorized representative or protective payee has FULL ACCESS to your benefits, just as you do. If you no longer want an authorized representative or want to choose someone else, contact your caseworker at the local Division of Family Services Office.

Q. What do I need to do with my card?

A. You need to do the following:

  1. Sign your Missouri EBT card .
  2. You cannot use your card until your benefits are available. If you have any questions about when your benefits will be available, contact your case worker.
  3. Keep your card safe.
  4. Memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and NEVER write it on the card.
  5. NEVER give your card or PIN to anyone else.
  6. Report a lost or stolen Missouri EBT card by calling the number on the back of the card.

Q. When can I use my EBT card?

A. TANF recipients can use their card to pay for purchases or to get cash at ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines), grocery stores and convenience stores. Food Stamp recipients can use their card to purchase food at grocery and convenience stores. If you have questions, contact your county office.

Q. Where can I use my EBT card?

A. You can use your Missouri EBT card anywhere you see a QUEST sign. You must look at the bottom left hand corner of the QUEST sign to see what benefits can be used at that certain place.

  1. If there is nothing or a dollar sign in the bottom left corner, you can only use CASH (TANF) benefits.
  2. If there is a picture of a grocery bag with the word "Food Stamps" on it, you can only use FOOD STAMP benefits.
  3. If there is a picture of both a dollar sign and the grocery bag, you may use BOTH FOOD STAMP and CASH (TANF) benefits.

You can also use your EBT card at an ATM if there is a QUEST sign on it. They are located at banks, some grocery stores, and other places where you buy things.

Q. How do I use my EBT card at an ATM?

A. Follow these steps when using an ATM to get cash:

  1. Put your card into the machine. Sometimes you will only need to slide your card through an opening in the machine. A picture next to the slot will show you which way to slide the card.
  2. Enter your PIN (secret numbers).
  3. Press the button that says "WITHDRAWAL."
  4. Press "CHECKING."
  5. Enter the dollar amount you want. The machine will give you a choice of amounts or ask you to tell it exactly how much you want in whole dollar amounts that end in zero plus a decimal point plus two zeros. Whole dollar means you can't ask for cents or get one dollar bills. For example: You can ask for $20.00, but you can't ask for $21.50.
  6. Remember, you can only get as much cash as you have left in benefits in your cash account. If you ask for more than you have in your cash account, the screen will tell you, and the machine will not give you cash.
  7. Select "CORRECT" if the amount you entered is right. Choose "CANCEL" if the amount is wrong.
  8. At some ATMs you will be charged a small fee for getting cash. Watch the screen on the machine that says you will have to pay a fee. You will not be charged a fee if you stop what you are doing and press "NO" or "CANCEL." You will get your card back and you will not receive any cash. If you continue, you will be charged a fee, which will be taken from the amount of cash you have left.
  9. Take your cash from the machine. Put it in a safe place.
  10. The machine will ask you whether you want another transaction (whether you want to withdraw more cash). Press "YES" or "NO."
  11. Wait for your card and receipt.
  12. DO NOT count your cash at the ATM. Go to a safe place and then count your money. If you did not get the right amount of money, call the Customer Service Help Line phone number on the back of your card.
  13. Keep your receipt. It tells you how much money is left in your account.

Q. What is a POS?

A. POS stands for Point-of-Sale. It is a machine at the cash register in some stores. You can buy food with your food stamp benefits and food or non-food items with your cash benefits. You sometimes can get cash, too.

Q. How do I use my EBT card at a POS?

A. Follow these steps when using a POS:

  1. Before you shop, check your last receipt (or call the Customer Service Help Line) to find out how much of your benefits you have left.
  2. At the check-out lane, press the "EBT" button on the POS machine.
  3. Press the "Food Stamps" button when using Food Stamp benefits or the "Cash" button when using cash benefits.
  4. Slide your card through the opening on the machine.
    Note: If you have problems, the cashier will help, but NEVER give the cashier your PIN.
  5. Enter your PIN.
  6. Press "ENTER."
  7. Enter the amount of your purchase.
  8. If the amount is right, press "ENTER."
  9. Wait for your receipt. Check it to make sure the amount on the receipt is the same amount you spent. Tell the cashier right away if the amount is wrong.

Q. What will happen if the POS machine is not working?

A. If the machine is not working, the cashier will fill out a paper form called a "voucher." This paper will have your EBT card number and the amount you spent. You will sign the paper. Keep your receipt.

Q. Can I get cash at a POS?

A. Yes, at some POS machines, you can get cash. Follow these steps:

  1. Before you shop, check your last receipt or call the Customer Service Help Line to find out how much money you have left.
  2. At some POS machines, you will have to pay a small fee to get cash if you do not buy anything. Watch for any warning signs. You can go somewhere else if you do not want to pay the fee.
  3. At the POS machine, press "EBT."
  4. Press the button for "CASH."
  5. Slide your card through the opening on the machine. If you have problems, the cashier can help, but DO NOT give the cashier your PIN.
  6. Enter your PIN.
  7. Press "ENTER."
  8. Enter the amount of cash you want. Unless the store has a limit, you can get any amount you want at a POS machine--even dollar bills and cents--up to the amount of cash benefits you have left.
  9. If the amount you entered is right, press "ENTER."
    Wait for your cash and your receipt.

Q. What extra fees will I pay to use my EBT card?

A. There are NO extra fees for:

  1. food stamp purchases,
  2. checking the amount of benefits you have left,
  3. purchases with cash (TANF) benefits (food or non-food), or
  4. cash back when you bought something with your cash benefits.

Extra fees ARE charged for:

  1. Point-of-sale cash withdrawals: You will be charged $0.85 for each withdrawal.
  2. ATM withdrawals: Your first ATM withdrawal is free. You will then be charged $0.85 for each additional withdrawal.

Extra fees are SOMETIMES charged for:

  1. cash withdrawals at ATMs.
  2. cash withdrawals at some stores.

Note: A warning signal must tell you about the fee before you decide to get cash.

Q. What is direct deposit?

A. Direct deposit is where your cash (TANF) benefits will automatically be put in your bank account each month. If you have a bank account, call the Customer Service Help Line. Direct deposit is the best way to avoid paying fees for cash withdrawals.

Q. What are my rights and responsibilities?

A. Your rights and responsibilities are:

  1. After you receive your card, if anyone uses your card and PIN without your permission, benefits will not be replaced. The exception to this is if Food Stamp benefits are used after you have reported your card lost or stolen. The state will replace those benefits.
  2. It is your responsibility to promptly report to your caseworker if you change your address or if your card is lost or stolen.
  3. For Food Stamps there is no minimum amount per transaction required, nor is there a maximum on the number of transactions you may make.
  4. It is your responsibility to memorize your PIN, never give your card or PIN to anyone else, and never write your PIN on the card. This is a safety measure to prevent anyone from using your card if it is lost or stolen.
    NOTE: Since the phone number for the Customer Service Help Line (1-800-997-7777) is on the back of the card, keep the phone number somewhere safe in your house. This way, if your card is lost or stolen, you will still be able to call the Help Line.
  5. You can change your PIN by calling the number on the back of the card to choose a new PIN.
  6. You should receive a receipt each time you use the card. Your receipt will show your account balance, or you can call the Help Line to check your balance.
  7. You may also receive a 2 month transaction history by calling the number on your card and asking that it be mailed to you.

Q. Is training available?

A. If you need help using your card, PIN, or making your card work, training is available. Contact your caseworker with questions you may have or to receive training.


Quest is a registered Service mark of the National Automated Clearing House Association in coordination with the National EBT Council. All rights reserved.

Benefit Security Card is a registered Service mark of the Department of Treasury. All rights reserved.

The information in this fact sheet was provided by the Department of Social Services, Division of Family Services.

You may photocopy this publication without special permission for non-profit use..

 

 

 Last update: Thursday, November 15, 2007