Electronic benefits transfer

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Electronic Benefits Transfer

A system in which a government grants a citizen a card with features like a debit card to dispense public service benefits. For example, most U.S. states use electronic benefits transfer for food stamps. The recipient of food stamps receives a debit card with a certain amount of money pre-programmed into it and the recipient can use it to buy food. Not all establishments accept electronic benefits transfers for payment (just as not all stores accepted actual food stamps), but many do. Electronic benefits transfers are also sometimes used for other welfare programs.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Categories: July 28, 2010, Accountability, Criminal investigation, Databases, Disadvantaged persons, Electronic benefits transfers, Eligibility criteria, Eligibility determinations, Erroneous payments, Errors, Food relief programs, Food Stamp Program, Fraud, Income statistics, Internal controls, Investigations by federal agencies, Monitoring, Performance measures, Policy evaluation, Program evaluation, Program management, Quality control, Regulation, Risk assessment, Risk management, State-administered programs, USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Transaction volume, dollar volume, and average payment value were collected on general-purpose and private-label credit cards, off-line and online debits, automated clearinghouse transactions and electronic benefits transfers.
The federal system of electronic benefits transfers (EBTs) was created in the mid-1980s to streamline the $30 billion-a-year federal food stamp program.

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