EBT words to know
POS (Point-of-Sale) Machine
The POS equipment at an authorized EBT merchant reads your EBT card, allowing you to buy food with your food benefits. If you have cash aid benefits on your EBT card, you can buy food and non-food items with your cash benefits, and get cash back with your cash benefit purchases at some stores. Some stores may also allow you to withdraw cash from your cash benefits without making a purchase.
ATM (Automated Teller Machine)
ATMs displaying the Quest® Mark (see below) allow you to get cash from your cash benefit account with your EBT card.
PIN (Personal Identification Number)
A PIN is a four-number secret code you use with your EBT card to make sure no one can use your card but you. ATMs and POS machines will not permit access to your benefits unless you enter your PIN.
It is important to learn and remember your PIN. DO NOT WRITE YOUR PIN ON YOUR EBT CARD, THE CARD SLEEVE, OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU CARRY WITH THE CARD.
The Quest® Mark is the sign you will see on store doors, checkout lanes, ATMs, and POS equipment to tell you that your EBT card can be used at that location. There are special pictures on the Quest® sign to let you know what benefits you can use. Look for the Quest® sign, and these pictures, at the store before you shop.
|You may use food benefits ONLY.|
|You may use cash benefits ONLY.|
|You may use food AND cash benefits.|
|You may ONLY use cash benefits and check account balances. Found at ATMs.|
A surcharge is a service fee that some stores and banks MAY charge you each time you withdraw cash benefits using your EBT card. Before you use your card, LOOK FOR A NOTICE telling you about this surcharge on the ATM screen, or on a sign near the POS equipment in stores. If you do not want to pay a surcharge, you can choose another store or ATM.
Check with your local county public assistance office to find out where you can access your cash aid benefits without paying a surcharge. You can also click here for a list of banks and financial institutions in California that have agreed to accept the EBT card at their ATMs, and many are surcharge free.