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Electronic Benefits Transfer Card | FAQs

Electronic Benefits Transfer Card | FAQs

What is EBT?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer.  It is the way you receive your SNAP and TEA benefits.  You can also use your Arkansas EBT card in other states as long as you still have benefits remaining in your account.  EBT lets you access your benefits using a debit card.  Benefits left at the end of the month stay in your account for one full year from the date they were authorized, or last used, whichever is later.

How will I get an EBT card?

The EBT card comes in the mail for all new cases.  If you have had a card in the past, but have lost it, you will need to call the EBT Help Desk at 800-997-9999 to order a replacement card.

What is a PIN?

A PIN is a Personal Identification Number.  It is a secret code that you enter on a keypad when you use your EBT card.

How do I get my PIN?

You will need your EBT Card to get your PIN.
* You decide what your PIN is.
* Select 4 numbers you can remember, but no one can guess.
* Call the EBT Help Desk at 800-997-9999 and follow the instructions using your selected numbers.

Who can use the EBT card and PIN?

The SNAP head of household and TEA payee will receive a card.  Also, whoever you designate as an alternate will receive a card.

NOTE:  Whoever you choose as an alternate has FULL ACCESS to your benefits, just as you do.  If you no longer want an alternate or want to choose someone else, contact your caseworker at your local county office.

What should I know about my Food Stamp account?

The following apply to your SNAP account:

  • It does not cost you to use your EBT card for SNAP transactions.
  • You do not get cash back when you use it.
  • You can only buy eligible food items.
  • You may pay part in cash and part with your EBT card.
  • You can use your EBT card if your SNAP case is closed as long as you have benefits left in your account.
  • Keep your EBT card.  You will use the same card every month.  If your case closes, and then is reopened at a later date, you will be able to use the same card.

What should I know about my TEA account?

You can use an ATM two times a month for free.  Some ATMs and retailer POS terminals may surcharge your account.  A surcharge is different from a transaction fee and may or may not be charged by a bank or retailer each time you use your card to access your cash benefits.  There will be a warning about this fee.  You do no have to pay the fee if you choose not to get your cash at locations where the fee is charged.
Some ATMs and most retailer POS terminals do not surcharge.  Find a location that does not surcharge and get your cash benefits there.
After the second cash withdrawal, you will be charged a transaction fee of $0.65.  If you do not have enough in your account to pay this fee, the transaction will be denied.

EBT Help Desk Service-How, When and Why do I call?

You will need to use a touch-tone phone and have your card handy, as you will be asked for the 16-digit number on the front of the card.  You will need to follow the instructions given by the Automated Response Unit (ARU) and enter your answers using the numbers on your phone.  You will be allowed to talk to a Customer Service Representative (CSR) whenever needed.  There is also a link to the CSR if your card has been lost or stolen and you do not know the number.
Call 1-800-997-9999 toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to:

  • Report a lost, stolen or damaged card.
  • Select your PIN when you get your new card.  NOTE:  You do not have to change your PIN if you request a replacement card.
  • Change your PIN if someone knows what yours is or if you have forgotten your PIN.
  • Balance inquiry.
  • Obtain a list of your last 10 transactions.
  • Report if a store deducted the wrong amount.
  • Ask a question about using your EBT card. 

Where can I use my Arkansas EBT card?

If you have SNAP, look for the Quest sign that has a grocery bag with “SNAP” printed on it.  Not all retailers display this sign.  If you do not see it, ask if you can use your card at the store. If you have TEA benefits, look for the Quest sign with the dollar sign.  Not all ATMs display this sign.  ATMs may have the Quest sign without a dollar sign.  If you do not see the sign, ask if you can use your card.

How do I use my card at the POS machine?

You will need to do the following:

  • Tell the clerk you want to use your card or follow the instructions on the POS machine.
  • Slide the card through the machine.
  • Choose Food or Cash.
  • Enter your PIN on the POS keypad.
  • Check OK if amount shown is correct. 

What will happen if the POS machine is not working?

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 be required to sign the form.  Keep your receipt.

How do I use my card at an ATM?

You will need to do the following:

  • Insert your card in the machine and read the directions on the screen.
  • Enter your PIN on the keypad.
  • Press the withdrawal button.
  • Press the checking button.
  • Enter the amount of cash you wish to withdraw.
  • Press the enter button.
  • Look at your receipt.  Make sure the cash withdrawal amount is correct.

What if I see a problem with my account?

Receipts are your proof if there is a problem with your account.  Always save your receipts.  If you think a store deducted too much from your account, call EBT Customer Service at 800-997-9999 right away.
If, after a review of your account, too much was deducted, the difference will be put back into your account.
If, after a review of your account, the right amount was deducted, the difference will not be returned.  If you still disagree, you may request a fair hearing.
If a store reports an equipment or system problem caused too little to be deducted from your account, the following action will be taken to correct your account:

  • A letter will be sent to you informing you of the mistake and of the amount which will be deducted from your account.
  • If you believe the action is incorrect, you may request a fair hearing.

Can I return an item bought with my EBT card?

If the item was purchased with your SNAP account, the cost of the item will be put back into your account.  If you return an item bought with your cash account, the amount of cash is refunded to you, not the account.