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Electronic Benefits Transfer
Electronic benefits transfer (EBT).
Electronic benefits transfer, or EBT, is a system through which recipients of certain government benefits receive and spend funds electronically, using a plastic EBT card similar to a bank debit card.
Benefits are deposited electronically into the recipient's program account. The recipient can then use his or her EBT card to make purchases, which are debited from the account.
All states now use EBT in addition to traditional paper coupons to distribute food stamp benefits. Some states also use EBT to disburse benefits for other programs, including the US Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs.
There are no fees when recipients use EBT cards for purchases, but fees may apply to cash withdrawals from ATMs or electronic balance inquiries.