Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

EBT Small Logo

What Is EBT?

Image of a Golden State Advantage card. The card features a photograph of a coastline with cliffs and a beach, and ocean waves under a sunset sky. The words Golden State ADVANTAGE are written at the top. The card includes a chip on the left side and a contactless payment symbol on the right side.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is the benefit delivery system that allows CalFresh, CalWORKs, and other program recipients to use a card, much like a debit card, to access their food and cash benefits. Additionally, EBT cardholders are able to use their benefit cards for online purchasing at Safeway, Amazon, Walmart, and more. For additional information regarding online purchasing, please visit the EBT Online webpage.

EBT in California is run by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) with technical support through the Office of Technology and Solutions Integration (OTSI). CDSS contracts with private vendors to run the technical operations of the program. Each county determines benefit eligibility for applicants. Once determined, the county sends the eligibility information to the state EBT vendor where it is process and ultimately disbursed to recipients EBT accounts.

For more information, please visit The EBT Project.

Guiding Authority

EBT is part of the 1996 federal welfare reform entitled Personal Responsibility Work Reconciliation Act. The act identified food stamp coupons as too expensive to manufacture, distribute, and destroy. They also believed moving to an electronic system would reduce fraud. All states were required to implement and be operational with EBT by October 2002.

To manage your CalFresh and/or CalWORKs benefits, log into the ebtEDGE web-based portal or download the free ebtEDGE mobile app available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

ebtEDGE features include:

  • Reset PIN
  • View last 365 days of transactions
  • Order EBT card replacements
  • Freeze card and Unfreeze card functionality
  • Block out of State Transactions
  • Block Internet Transactions
  • And more

Available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

For more information on the free ebtEDGE mobile app, please visit ebtEDGE.

Call customer service right away at (877) 328-9677.

Once reported, your EBT card is disabled and you are told how to get a new card. Call customer service as soon as possible! If someone uses your card and personal identification number (PIN) to get benefits, these benefits might not be replaceable.

If your EBT card is damaged and it does not work (cannot be read) at a merchant or ATM, you should request a replacement EBT card as soon as possible.

  • DO NOT use ATMs that appear to have been altered.
  • DO NOT use ATMs with unusual signage, such as a command to enter your PIN twice to complete a transaction.
  • NEVER write your PIN on your card, the card sleeve or on anything you keep with your card.
  • DO NOT keep your card and PIN together.
  • If someone takes your card and knows your PIN, they can use your benefits!
  • If benefits are withdrawn by someone else before you call Customer Service, YOUR BENEFITS MIGHT NOT BE REPLACED. Call Customer Service immediately at (877) 328-9677 to cancel your card.