EBT Cards

An Electronic Benefit Transfer card, also known as a WIC EBT card allows recipients of WIC benefits, cash assistance or SNAP food assistance to make purchases. The card works similarly to a debit card. You will have a WIC card balance to purchase goods and will need to enter your PIN to complete the transaction. If you are unsure of your balance, you can check the amount you have remaining in your card in a variety of ways. For instance, your EBT card number itself can be used to check your balance. All you need to do is call customer service and provide the agent assisting you with your card number.

Additionally, it is vital to understand what you can and cannot purchase with your card. If you purchase prohibited items, such as alcohol, you will face consequences. Also, when you are at the register and ready to pay, you need to know how to use your card. You have a variety of options on how you can complete your transaction. The sections below will provide you with the information you need to understand what a WIC EBT card is and how it works.

What is an EBT card?

“What is an EBT card?” is a question you may be asking yourself because it is your first time receiving government assistance through the WIC program or another program. A WIC card is what allows you to use the food or cash assistance you collect from the government. You do not need to drive to an EBT office to obtain cash assistance. You will receive benefits electronically, which will go into your card.

Additionally, the card is similar to a debit card. When you are attempting to purchase an item, you will need to enter a four-digit PIN. As with a debit card, having a PIN makes it difficult for another person to gain access to your benefits.

How do I check my EBT card balance?

Knowing what your EBT card balance is before you begin shopping is beneficial. You will be able to create a budget and list of what to buy. It will also help you avoid the inconvenience of spending time at the grocery store picking groceries only to get to the cash register and find that you cannot pay for all the food you need.

You can check the balance of your card by calling the WIC card phone number. You can locate the phone number on the back of your card. Simply call the number and follow the directions to check your card balance. Furthermore, you can check your balance online.

To learn about the different ways and procedures for checking your WIC EBT card balance, download our comprehensive guide.

Where can I use my EBT Card?

“Where can I use my EBT card?” is a question you may have if you have not made a purchase with your card before. If you are in a store and are unsure if that location accepts WIC cards, look for signs in front of the store or somewhere in the store stating that EBT, TANF or SNAP payments are accepted there. Also, the store may have a Quest logo near checkout or the store’s logo.

Where can I not use my EBT Card?

Not all stores are EBT-approved vendors. There is a certain process stores must follow in order to accept payment through your new EBT card. Also, there are a variety of locations the program does not let you make purchases from, such as casinos, liquor stores and adult entertainment venues.

If you attempt to make a purchase at any of these prohibited locations, your transaction may go through. There is no guarantee that the location will decline the transaction. However, if the payment does go through, you will need to pay back your local agency the amount of money you spent and may face the possibility of losing your benefits.

What purchases can I make with an EBT card?

You cannot purchase all the items in a store that accepts EBT cards. The program has specific guidelines on what you can and cannot purchase. For example, you can purchase fruits, vegetables and bread at an approved grocery store with the government assistance you collect. However, you cannot purchase lottery tickets, alcohol or tobacco products.

Additionally, if you collect financial assistance from the government you have the ability to purchase other products. For instance, you can buy housing supplies, furniture or pay housing bills. However, you cannot purchase firearms, piercings or tattoos.

For more on the products you can and cannot buy with your EBT card, download our informative guide.

How do you use an EBT card?

“How do I use my EBT card?’ may be a question you have if you have not made a transaction with your card before. To use your new EBT card to buy an item, you need to swipe your card like a debit or credit card at a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. You will need to enter the four-digit PIN you chose and ensure that the amount you are going to pay is accurate.

Furthermore, you can use your new EBT card to pay for a portion of the total amount that is due. For instance, if the total of your transaction is $50, you can pay $30 using your EBT card and $20 using a different form of payment, such as cash.

Also, you have the ability to withdraw the cash assistance you collect on your EBT card, as long as you do not attempt to withdraw food assistance. You can request to get cash back at a store that offers this, but only if you receive benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or another cash assistance program that allows this. You just need to let the cashier know the amount you want or input the cash back you want on the terminal. Also, you can use a WIC-approved ATM machine to withdraw money. However, you cannot withdraw more than the total amount you have in remaining on your EBT card balance.