How to Check Your EBT Balance


If you qualify for food stamps or cash assistance (TANF), you will receive an EBT card. Your funds will be loaded onto the card, which you can use like a debit card. To check the balance, you should either call, go online, or look at your most recent receipt.

Part 1
Finding Your Current Balance

Finding Your Current Balance on How to Check Your EBT Balance

1
Each state should have a telephone number you can call to check your balance. Search online for “your state” and “EBT balance.” You can also call this number to change your PIN, if necessary.[1] The helpline should run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you lost your card, you may order a replacement by calling this number.

Finding Your Current Balance on How to Check Your EBT Balance

2
Your state may also have a website you can use to check the balance. About 20 states use the following website: . If your state doesn’t, then search online to find your state’s individual website. You’ll probably need to create a username and password before you can log into your account.

Finding Your Current Balance on How to Check Your EBT Balance

3
The receipt should tell you how much money you still have in your account. Find the receipt and check.[2]

Part 2
Using the Card

Using the Card on How to Check Your EBT Balance

1
Many stores advertise that they accept EBT, so look for a sign on the door. If you don’t see anything, then stop in and check before shopping.[3] Some businesses are prohibited from accepting EBT cards. These include liquor or wine stores, casinos, and off-track betting facilities.

Using the Card on How to Check Your EBT Balance

2
You can only buy certain foods if you’re using SNAP food stamp benefits. If the food item doesn’t qualify, you’ll need to use your cash. Learn the rules before shopping:[4] You can buy food for household consumption, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, breads, and cereals. However, you can’t buy foods that will be eaten in stores. You cannot buy non-food items such as soap, paper products, cleaning supplies, or pet food. You also cannot buy alcohol or cigarettes.

Using the Card on How to Check Your EBT Balance

3
[5] Your card works like a credit or debit card, so swipe it where you would swipe a debit card. In some stores, you may need to hand the card to a clerk to swipe.

Using the Card on How to Check Your EBT Balance

4
Every card should have a four-digit number, called your PIN. If you can’t remember it, then call the toll-free helpline to change the number. After swiping the card, enter your PIN. Only you should enter it, not the clerk.[6]

Using the Card on How to Check Your EBT Balance

5
If you receive TANF cash assistance, then some stores will let you get cash back with a purchase.[7] After entering your PIN, you’ll be asked if you want cash back and the amount.

Using the Card on How to Check Your EBT Balance

6
The transaction should be approved provided you have enough money on the card. Check the receipt to make sure you were charged the right amount and keep your receipts in case you need to return an item.[8]