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What Is The Ebt Card Number? A Complete Explanation

Receiving government food assistance? You’ll need to understand your EBT card number to manage your benefits online.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Your EBT card number is the 16-digit number printed on the front of your card below the card expiration date.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything related to the EBT card number, from what it is to how it works and more.

What is the EBT Card Number?

The EBT card number is a unique identifier associated with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

This number is used to track and manage benefits provided through government assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The EBT card number is essential for accessing and using the benefits loaded onto the card.

Definition of EBT card number

The EBT card number is a series of digits assigned to an individual’s EBT card. It acts as a virtual “bank account” for individuals receiving government assistance.

When a person is approved for benefits, they are issued an EBT card with a unique card number.

This number is linked to their account and is used to identify the individual and their benefits.

ebt card

Difference between EBT number and EBT card number

The terms “EBT number” and “EBT card number” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different things.

The EBT number is the individual’s identification number associated with their benefits account. It is used for administrative purposes and is not typically shared with the cardholder.

On the other hand, the EBT card number is the unique number printed on the physical EBT card itself, which the cardholder uses to access their benefits.

Other names for EBT card number

The EBT card number may also be referred to as the “card identification number” or “card serial number.” These terms are used to describe the same unique identifier associated with the EBT card.

For more information on EBT cards and government assistance programs, you can visit the official website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at

Where to Find Your EBT Card Number

If you are a recipient of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program, you may be wondering where to find your EBT card number.

The EBT card number is a crucial piece of information that is required for accessing your benefits and making transactions.

Here are three common places where you can find your EBT card number:

1. On the front of your EBT card

The easiest and most straightforward place to find your EBT card number is right on the front of your card.

The card number is usually displayed prominently on the front, along with other important details such as your name and the expiration date of the card. It is typically a 16-digit number that is unique to your EBT card.

2. On EBT paperwork and documents

If you cannot find your EBT card or if it has been lost or stolen, you can still retrieve your EBT card number from the paperwork and documents that were provided to you when you first enrolled in the program.

Look for any letters, statements, or notices that mention your EBT card number. It may be listed alongside other relevant information, such as your case number or personal identification number (PIN).

3. By calling the EBT helpline

If you are unable to find your EBT card number on the card itself or in any of the documents you have, you can always call the EBT helpline for assistance.

The helpline is staffed with knowledgeable representatives who can help you retrieve your EBT card number. Be prepared to provide them with your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, and social security number, to verify your identity.

Remember, it is important to keep your EBT card number confidential and secure. Treat it as you would any other sensitive financial information.

If you suspect that your EBT card number has been compromised or if you have any concerns about the security of your account, contact your local EBT office immediately.

calling ebt hotline

How the EBT Card Number Works

The EBT card number is a crucial component of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, which is used to distribute government assistance benefits to eligible individuals and families. 

16-digit format

The EBT card number follows a specific 16-digit format, similar to credit and debit card numbers. This format ensures that the number is unique and easy to process electronically.

Each digit in the number has a specific purpose and meaning.

First 6 digits identify program provider

The first six digits of the EBT card number are known as the “Issuer Identification Number” (IIN) or “Bank Identification Number” (BIN). These digits identify the program provider or the financial institution that issued the EBT card.

For example, the first six digits might indicate that the card is issued by a state government agency or a contracted financial institution.

Encoded with cardholder information

The remaining digits in the EBT card number are encoded with specific information about the cardholder.

This information typically includes the individual’s unique identifier within the program, such as their case number or Social Security number, as well as additional security features to prevent fraud.

Used for PIN-based EBT transactions

The EBT card number is primarily used for PIN-based transactions, where the cardholder enters their personal identification number (PIN) to access their benefits.

When making a purchase or withdrawing cash, the cardholder enters their PIN at the point of sale or an ATM, and the EBT system verifies the card number and PIN to authorize the transaction.

It’s important to note that the EBT card number should be kept confidential and not shared with anyone to protect the cardholder’s benefits and personal information.

For more information about EBT cards and how they work, you can visit the official website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at

pin number

Keeping Your EBT Card Number Secure

When it comes to your EBT card number, it’s important to take steps to keep it secure. By protecting your card number, you can help prevent unauthorized access to your benefits and ensure that your assistance is used for its intended purpose.

Here are some key strategies to keep your EBT card number safe:

Memorize your EBT card number

One of the best ways to keep your EBT card number secure is to commit it to memory.

By memorizing your card number, you won’t have to rely on written notes or risk losing them. This can help prevent others from finding your card number if they come across your personal belongings.

Additionally, memorizing your card number allows you to quickly access your benefits without fumbling through paperwork or searching for your card.

Never share your EBT card number

It’s important to remember that your EBT card number is confidential information. Just like you wouldn’t share your credit card number or social security number with others, you should never share your EBT card number.

This includes not giving it to friends, family members, or anyone else who may ask for it. By keeping this information to yourself, you can reduce the risk of unauthorized transactions or potential fraud.

Call EBT to report lost or stolen cards

If your EBT card is lost or stolen, it’s crucial to take immediate action.

Contact your state’s EBT customer service line right away to report the incident and request a replacement card. By notifying them promptly, you can protect your benefits from being used by someone else.

It’s also important to keep a record of the date and time you reported the incident, as well as the name of the representative you spoke with. This information can be useful if you encounter any issues or discrepancies with your benefits in the future.

By following these steps and taking precautions to keep your EBT card number secure, you can safeguard your benefits and ensure that they are used for their intended purpose.

Remember, your EBT card number is valuable information that should be treated with the same level of care and protection as other sensitive personal information.

Using Your EBT Card Number

Once you receive your EBT card, you can start using it to access your SNAP and cash benefits. The EBT card number plays a crucial role in managing and accessing your benefits.

Here are three important ways you can use your EBT card number:

Check SNAP and cash benefit balances

Knowing your benefit balances is essential for planning your grocery shopping and managing your expenses. To check your SNAP and cash benefit balances, you can call the toll-free number provided on the back of your EBT card or log in to your state’s EBT website.

Simply enter your EBT card number and follow the prompts to access your current balance. It’s a convenient and efficient way to keep track of your available benefits and ensure you can make informed decisions when shopping for essential items.

Check SNAP

View EBT transaction history

Keeping track of your EBT transactions can provide valuable insights into your spending patterns and help you budget effectively. By logging in to your state’s EBT website with your EBT card number, you can access your transaction history.

This allows you to see where and when your benefits were used, helping you stay on top of your finances. It’s an excellent tool for monitoring your spending habits and making adjustments if necessary.

Report lost or stolen EBT card

If you lose your EBT card or it gets stolen, it’s crucial to report it immediately to prevent unauthorized use of your benefits. You can report a lost or stolen EBT card by calling the number provided on the back of your card or contacting your state’s EBT customer service.

The representative will guide you through the process of canceling the lost card and issuing a replacement. Remember, acting swiftly can help protect your benefits and ensure that you can continue accessing the assistance you need.


Your EBT card number is a unique 16-digit code that enables you to make purchases with your benefits.

It’s important to keep this number secure and memorized.

Use this comprehensive guide to fully understand your EBT card number, from where to find it to how to use it and keep it protected.

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