Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

What is Electronic Benefits Transfer?How will I get my first EBT card and PIN?

If you have never had a Missouri EBT card, one will be mailed to you when your application for food stamps or Temporary Assistance is approved. You will also receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in a separate mailing. If you have not received both within 5 days of receiving your notice of eligibility, contact the FSD Information Center at toll free at 1-855-FSD-INFO (1-855-373-4636).

If you have received your EBT card and want to shop immediately, you can call 1-800-997-7777 to select PIN.

What if I have a card, but haven’t used it for a while?

If you have a Missouri EBT card but have not used it for a year, call the FSD Information Center at toll free at 1-855-FSD-INFO (1-855-373-4636). A new card will be sent. Your PIN will be the same unless you call 1-800-997-7777 to change it.

If you have used your EBT card within the last 12 months, your current card and PIN will work.

How do I change my PIN?
You have the choice of having a new PIN mailed to you or selecting a PIN through the Customer Service number at 1-800-997-7777. You must use a touch-tone phone if you want to change your PIN over the phone.
Who can use the EBT card and PIN?

Anyone who is a member of your household may use your EBT card.

If you have named an authorized representative or a protective payee, this individual will receive a card and PIN. The individual you select as your authorized representative or your protective payee will have FULL ACCESS to your benefits, just as you do. If you no longer wish to have an authorized representative or would like to choose someone else, contact the Family Support Division office by calling the FSD Information Center at toll free at 1-855-FSD-INFO (1-855-373-4636).

Does it cost to use my card?

There are NO charges for:

  • Food stamp purchases;
  • Balance inquiries;
  • Purchases with cash benefits (food or nonfood);
  • Paying bills with cash benefits; and
  • Cash back when making purchases with cash.

You will have to pay:

  • At an ATM (Automated Teller Machine), there is no fee for first withdrawal, but there is an $.85 charge for each additional cash withdrawal.
  • At a POS (point-of-sale machine at the register), there are no charges for food purchases, but there is an $.85 charge for each cash withdrawal.

There may be additional surcharges by the retailer.

Where can I use my card?

You can use your card in any store that displays the QUEST Mark ®, or ATM that displays the QUEST Mark ®, STAR ®, or SHAZAM ® logos.

QUEST Mark  SHAZAM logo  STAR logo

QUEST is a registered service mark of NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association in coordination with the National EBS Council. All rights reserved

Use of the trademark name SHAZAM or the SHAZAM logo in any advertising, promotional material, or otherwise is granted only to financial institutions with a SHAZAM processing agreement or agencies operating on their behalf. Use of any other party is prohibited without the prior written consent of the SHAZAM network.

The STAR trademark, service mark and trade name referenced in this material are the property of STAR Networks, Inc.

Where you can't use your TA EBT Card

As of August 28, 2013, it is illegal to use your TA EBT card at:

  • Liquor store
  • Casino, gambling casino, gaming business (including bingo hall)
  • Adult-entertainment business where performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment (strip clubs, gentlemen's clubs, etc.)
  • Any place mainly for or used by adults 18 or older and/or not in the best interest of the child or household.

If your TA EBT card is used at any of these locations, you will be required to pay back the amount the purchase.

As of August 28, 2013, it is against the law for retailers at these locations to accept TA EBT cards

For questions regarding EBT card restrictions, call the FSD INFO Center 855-373-4636.

What you can't buy with your TA EBT card

As of August 28, 2013, it is illegal to use your TA EBT card to buy:

  1. Alcoholic beverages
  2. Lottery tickets, gambling, bingo
  3. Tobacco products
  4. Controlled drugs without a valid prescription
  5. Any item mainly for or used by adults 18 or older and/or not in the best interest of the child or household

As of August 28, 2013, buying any of these items with your TA EBT card is considered misuse. The Family Support Division (FSD) checks TA EBT purchases. If you misuse your TA EBT card, you will no longer be able to use a TA EBT card and FSD will select a new person to make purchases for your child/children.

For questions regarding EBT card restrictions, call the FSD INFO Center 855-373-4636.

What if the store does not have a POS, or the POS is not working?
  • If a store does not have a POS terminal or the terminal is not working, the cashier may fill out a form for the amount of food you buy with your food stamp benefits.
  • Check the amount on the form. It should be the same amount as the food you bought.
  • If the amount is right, sign your name and the date on the form.
  • The cashier will call Customer Service to make sure you have enough benefits to buy the food.
  • If you do, the amount will be subtracted from your food stamp benefits.
  • Make sure you get a copy of the form from the cashier before you leave the store.
  • Paper vouchers will also be used by food stamp merchants (like farmer’s markets) that do not have POS equipment.

Do not tell the clerk your PIN!

What happens if I enter the wrong PIN?

When using your card for a food stamp or cash benefit transaction, you have 4 tries each day to enter your correct PIN. After 4 incorrect tries, your card will be “locked.”

You will be unable to make any more tries until after midnight. If you cannot remember your PIN, wait until after midnight and try again, or select a new PIN by calling 1-800-997-7777.

Do I have to have my card to get food or cash?
You cannot make a purchase at a store or receive cash from an ATM machine if you do not have the card with you.
When do I call Customer Service?

Call Customer Service at 1-800-997-7777 when:

  • You lose your card or your card is stolen.
  • Your card is damaged and no longer works.
  • You want to request a new PIN.
  • You were charged more than once for the same transaction.
  • You were charged by a merchant but did not receive the groceries.
  • There are transactions on your account that you did not do.
When do I contact the Family Support Division?

You should contact the Family Support Division if:

  • You have questions on the amount of benefits you receive.
  • Your address has changed.
  • You want to know when your first benefits are going to be on your card.
  • You were told by an eligibility specialist that your benefits would be on your card on a specific day, but you did not get the benefits.

Electronic Benefits 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?

In EBT systems, food stamp and Temporary Assistance (TA) participants apply for their benefits in the usual way, by completing an application at their local Family Support Division office. Once eligibility and level of benefits have been determined, an account is established in the participant’s name, and food stamp and/or TA 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 separately or chosen by the cardholder to give access to the account. Cardholders are offered the opportunity to change the PIN at any time and are offered ongoing training if they have any problems accessing the system.

When paying for groceries, the food stamp customer’s card is run through an electronic reader or a point of sale (POS) terminal, and the cardholder enters the secret PIN to access the food stamp account. Then, the processor electronically verifies the PIN and the account balance, and sends an approval or denial back to the retailer. If the transaction is approved, the cardholder’s account is then debited for the amount of the purchase, and the retailer’s account is credited. No money and no food stamps change hands. Payment is made to the retailer through a settlement process at the end of the business day.

EBT cardholders receiving Temporary Assistance benefits can use their EBT card to purchase non-food items or receive cash. Non-food items and cash withdrawals will be made from Third Party Processor (TPP) POS terminals only. These transactions process and settle the same way as food stamp transactions.

What are the benefits of EBT?

EBT eliminates the cumbersome processes required by a paper system. By eliminating paper food stamp coupons and Temporary Assistance checks which may be lost, sold or stolen, EBT cuts back on fraud. EBT creates an electronic record of each food stamp transaction, making it easier to identify and document instances where food stamps are "trafficked," or exchanged for cash, drugs, or other illegal goods.

Cardholders like the convenience and security of EBT. They can draw their benefits as needed. Only the cardholder knows the PIN in the event the card is lost; and it can be easily canceled and replaced. Many cardholders have said that EBT reduces the stigma associated with food stamp coupon use.

Retailers and bankers like EBT because it offers simplicity of accounting and reduces labor costs because there are no coupons to sort, count, and bundle. All the accounting is done automatically.

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