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How to Use EBT Without a Card

If you’ve lost your EBT card or don’t have it on you, you may be wondering – can I still access my benefits?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The good news is yes, there are ways to use your EBT without the physical card.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain alternate EBT access options like ARU PINs, online purchasing, and mobile apps. You’ll learn the specifics of using these cardless methods to check balances, shop for groceries, and more.

By the end, you’ll understand the various options to tap into your EBT benefits, even without your card in hand.

Using Your ARU PIN

What is an ARU PIN?

An ARU PIN, or Access Recipient Number Personal Identification Number, is a unique code that allows recipients of government assistance programs to access their benefits without using a physical EBT card.

It is a four-digit number that is assigned to each individual recipient and serves as a secure way to verify their identity when using their benefits.

How to Use Your ARU PIN

Using your ARU PIN is simple and convenient. Instead of swiping a physical EBT card, you can enter your four-digit PIN at authorized retailers or at an Automated Response Unit (ARU) over the phone.

The ARU system is an automated phone service that allows you to check your balance, review recent transactions, and make purchases using your benefits.

To use your ARU PIN at a retailer, simply inform the cashier that you will be using your PIN instead of swiping your EBT card. They will provide you with a keypad where you can enter your PIN securely.

Once you’ve entered your PIN, the transaction will be processed, and the appropriate amount will be deducted from your benefits balance.

When using the ARU system over the phone, you will be prompted to enter your ARU PIN. Simply follow the voice prompts to navigate through the menu options and access the services you need.

It’s important to keep your ARU PIN confidential and not share it with anyone to protect the security of your benefits.


Important ARU PIN Tips

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when using your ARU PIN:

  • Memorize your PIN: It’s essential to memorize your ARU PIN and avoid writing it down or sharing it with others to prevent unauthorized access to your benefits.
  • Keep your PIN confidential: Treat your ARU PIN like you would treat your ATM or online banking password. Do not share it with anyone, including family members or friends.
  • Be cautious in public: When entering your PIN at a retailer or using the ARU system in a public place, be aware of your surroundings and shield the keypad to prevent others from seeing your PIN.
  • Contact customer service for assistance: If you forget your ARU PIN or suspect that it has been compromised, contact your local EBT customer service hotline immediately for assistance.

For more information about using your ARU PIN and accessing your EBT benefits, visit the official website of your state’s EBT program or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service website.

Shopping Online Without an EBT Card

For individuals who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, shopping online has become a convenient option.

While traditionally, SNAP benefits were only accessible through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, there are now ways to shop online without the physical card.

This article will guide you through the process of using EBT benefits for online grocery shopping.

Creating an Online Grocery Account

The first step in shopping online without an EBT card is to create an online grocery account. Many major grocery retailers now offer the option to order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep.

Start by visiting the website of your preferred grocery store and look for the “Create Account” or “Sign Up” button.

Fill in the required information, such as your name, address, and contact details. Once you have successfully created an account, you can proceed to the next step.

Linking Your EBT Benefits

After creating an online grocery account, you will need to link your EBT benefits to your account.

This can usually be done by navigating to the “Account Settings” or “Payment Options” section of the website. Look for an option to add or link your EBT card.

Follow the prompts and enter the necessary information, such as your EBT card number and PIN. Once your EBT benefits are successfully linked, you can start using them for online grocery shopping.

Checking Out With EBT Online

When you are ready to check out and pay for your online grocery order, select the items you wish to purchase and add them to your cart. Proceed to the checkout page and look for the payment options.

In addition to credit or debit cards, there should be an option to pay with EBT. Select this option and enter your EBT card information when prompted.

If your order total exceeds your EBT balance, you will need to provide an alternative payment method for the remaining balance. Once you have completed the payment process, your groceries will be on their way to your doorstep.

Note: It is important to remember that not all grocery retailers accept EBT for online purchases. Therefore, it is advisable to check the website or contact the store’s customer service to confirm if they offer this option.

Shopping online without an EBT card has made accessing SNAP benefits more convenient for individuals who may have difficulty visiting physical stores.

By following these simple steps, you can easily shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep, ensuring that you have access to the food you need.

Using EBT card online

Using a Mobile EBT App

In today’s digital age, accessing government benefits has become easier and more convenient than ever.

One such way is through the use of a mobile EBT app. This innovative technology allows individuals to manage their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts directly from their smartphones.

By downloading a mobile app, setting up an account, and utilizing the features provided, users can simplify the process of accessing and using their benefits.

Downloading a Mobile App

The first step in using a mobile EBT app is to download it onto your smartphone. These apps are typically available for both iOS and Android devices and can be found in their respective app stores.

Simply search for “EBT app” or a similar keyword, and you should be presented with a list of options. Choose the one that is compatible with your device and has positive user reviews.

Pro tip: Before downloading any app, it’s always a good idea to check its legitimacy and security. Stick to official app stores and look for apps that have been verified by reputable sources.

Setting Up Your Account

Once you have downloaded the app, the next step is to set up your account. This typically involves providing your personal information, such as your name, address, and EBT card number.

Some apps may require additional verification steps, such as answering security questions or providing a photo ID.

It’s important to follow the app’s instructions and provide accurate information to ensure a seamless setup process.

Important: When setting up your account, make sure to choose a strong and unique password. This will help protect your personal information and prevent unauthorized access to your EBT account.

Managing EBT Through the App

Once your account is set up, you can start managing your EBT benefits through the app. The exact features and functionalities may vary depending on the app you choose, but most apps allow you to check your balance, view transaction history, and locate nearby participating stores.

Some apps even offer additional features, such as the ability to create shopping lists or receive notifications about special discounts or promotions.

Did you know? Using a mobile EBT app can help you stay organized and make better-informed decisions when it comes to using your benefits. By easily accessing your balance and transaction history, you can keep track of your spending and plan your purchases accordingly.

It’s worth noting that while using a mobile EBT app can offer numerous benefits, it’s important to continue practicing responsible usage and adhere to the guidelines set forth by your state’s EBT program.

If you encounter any issues or have questions about using the app, reach out to the app’s support team or consult the official website of your state’s EBT program for assistance.

Contacting Your State EBT Office

When it comes to using EBT without a card, it’s important to know how to contact your state EBT office. They are there to assist you with any questions or issues you may have regarding your benefits.

Whether you need to check benefit availability, reset your ARU PIN, or request a card replacement, reaching out to the EBT office is the first step.

Checking Benefit Availability

One of the key reasons you may need to contact your state EBT office is to check the availability of your benefits. This can be done over the phone or through the state’s SNAP website.

By providing your personal information, such as your Social Security number or case number, the EBT office can quickly provide you with the information you need.

It’s always a good idea to have your identification documents handy when making this call or logging into the website.

Resetting ARU PIN

If you’re having trouble accessing your benefits through the automated response unit (ARU), you can contact your state EBT office for assistance. The ARU PIN is a four-digit number that allows you to access your benefits over the phone.

If you’ve forgotten or misplaced your PIN, the EBT office can help you reset it. They may ask you a few security questions to verify your identity before resetting the PIN to ensure the security of your benefits.

Requesting Card Replacement

In the unfortunate event that you lose your EBT card or it gets stolen, you will need to contact your state EBT office to request a card replacement. They will guide you through the process of canceling the lost card and issuing a new one.

It’s important to report the loss or theft of your card as soon as possible to prevent unauthorized use of your benefits. The EBT office will provide you with instructions on how to receive the replacement card, which may involve visiting their office or having it mailed to you.

Remember, the state EBT office is there to help you navigate through any issues or concerns you may have regarding your benefits. They can provide you with the necessary information and assistance to ensure you can access your benefits without any interruptions.

If you need to contact your state EBT office, you can find their contact information on the official website of your state’s Department of Social Services or Human Services. If you lose or damage an EBT card or if it got stolen, you should call the EBT Help Desk at 800-997-9999.

Using EBT

Troubleshooting Problems

Using EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) without a card can sometimes present its own set of challenges.

Here are some common problems that individuals may encounter and helpful solutions to overcome them.

Dealing With Lost or Stolen Cards

Losing your EBT card or having it stolen can be a stressful experience. However, there are steps you can take to resolve this issue quickly.

First, contact your state’s EBT customer service helpline immediately to report the lost or stolen card. They will be able to deactivate the card to prevent any unauthorized use.

After reporting the loss, you will need to request a replacement card. The process for obtaining a new card varies by state, but most states allow you to request a replacement card online or by calling their customer service hotline.

Be prepared to provide your personal information and answer security questions to verify your identity.

Remember to keep a close eye on your EBT transactions and report any unauthorized activity to your state’s EBT customer service immediately.

It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your EBT card number and customer service phone number in a safe place, so you can quickly access them if needed.

Handling Issues With ARU PIN

The ARU (Automated Response Unit) PIN is a four-digit number that allows you to access your EBT account over the phone. If you are having trouble with your ARU PIN, there are a few steps you can take to resolve the issue.

First, make sure you are entering the correct PIN. It’s easy to mix up numbers or forget your PIN, so double-check your entries and try again.

If you still can’t access your account, you may need to reset your PIN. 

To reset your ARU PIN, contact your state’s EBT customer service hotline. They will guide you through the process of resetting your PIN and provide any necessary instructions or documentation.

It’s important to have your personal information and EBT card number on hand when contacting customer service.

Problems Linking EBT to Online Account

If you are having difficulty linking your EBT card to an online account, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try.

First, ensure that your online account is compatible with EBT. Not all websites or apps accept EBT as a payment method, so double-check the website’s terms and conditions or contact their customer service for assistance.

If you are sure that the website or app accepts EBT but you are still experiencing issues, contact the website’s customer service. They will be able to troubleshoot the problem and guide you through the process of linking your EBT card to your online account.

Remember, it’s important to protect your personal information when linking your EBT card to an online account. Only provide your information on secure, trusted websites, and never share your PIN or other sensitive details with anyone.


Losing your EBT card doesn’t mean losing access to your benefits. Tap into options like ARU PINs, online grocery accounts, mobile apps, and your state EBT office for cardless access.

With the ability to check balances, shop, and manage your EBT account without a card, you can maintain benefit access as needed. Just be sure to keep ARU PINs secure and contact your state for any issues. Stay on top of your EBT without the card in hand.

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