Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

Last Modified: 12/06/2013

Electronic Benefit 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 many States to issue food stamp, WIC, and other benefits. SNAP EBT has been implemented in all States since June 2004.

SNAP EBT
The APD Process for SNAP EBT systems is almost identical to the process used for SNAP certification and eligibility systems.  The EBT process is more streamlined in nature due to the stability of the system requirements.  For details regarding SNAP EBT APDs, please refer to FNS Handbook 901, Chapter 3.  For specific program guidelines and information, please click here: SNAP EBT.

WIC EBT
WIC EBT is still evolving and while only a few states have implemented or piloted WIC EBT, the others are very interested and watching developments closely.  WIC EBT allows the client much more freedom by replacing the paper food voucher or check with a card similar to that used by SNAP EBT.  This allows the client to purchase only those items actually needed without losing all remaining benefits for the month and provides retailers with prompt payment for the food items purchased.  For specific program guidelines and information, please go to WIC EBT.

The APD Process for WIC EBT also follows a process almost identical to the process used for WIC certification and eligibility systems.  The major difference being that States may compete on a Federal Fiscal Year basis for special WIC EBT infrastructure grant funds available from FNS.  Therefore, the infrastructure grant proposal may be used in place of an APD initially.  For details regarding WIC EBT APDs, please refer to FNS Handbook 901, Chapter 4, Section 4.2.

For WIC EBT documents including policy memorandums, testing guidelines, and ANSI specifications, go to the Document Library.