Minnesota Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is a payment option for recipients of government benefits such as Food Stamps (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP), Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and General Assistance (GA). As a cardholder, the Minnesota EBT card functions like a debit card that allows beneficiaries to purchase food items from authorized retailers. While the EBT card can be used seamlessly within the state of Minnesota, it may not be as convenient when used outside the state. This article examines the question ‘Can I Use My Minnesota EBT Card Anywhere Outside of MN?’ and provides helpful information for EBT cardholders who plan to travel outside of Minnesota.
The Basics of EBT Cards
EBT cards are used to access benefits from government aid programs that offer food, cash or other assistance. The programs’ guidelines, benefits, and distribution process are determined at the federal, state and local level. An EBT card is typically given to individuals who get these benefits to help them access funds at retailers participating in the program. To use an EBT card, beneficiaries simply swipe it at the point of sale machine, and the amount of their purchase is automatically deducted from their account balance.
Using Your Minnesota EBT Card in Another State
As with most government aid programs, there are limitations to where the Minnesota EBT card can be used. EBT cards work only in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. If a person travels from Minnesota to another state, they can use their EBT card outside the state but only at retailers who participate in the EBT program.
What Stores Accept EBT Cards
Before using an EBT card outside of Minnesota, it’s crucial to determine if the retailer has an EBT program. EBT-authorized retailers can include grocery stores, convenience stores, and even some farmers’ markets. To verify if a store accepts EBT cards, you can look for a sign in their store window that states ‘EBT Accepted here’ or use the official EBT Locator tool.
The EBT Locator Tool
The EBT Locator tool is an online resource that lets EBT cardholders search for authorized retailers near their current location or with a zip code. Users can input their current address, city, or state and find the nearest stores that accept EBT. The locator tool generates a list of independent stores and major chains such as Walmart, Aldi, and Target.
The SNAP Retailer Locator Tool
In addition to the EBT Locator tool, SNAP recipients can also use the SNAP Retailer Locator tool to find grocers that accept EBT in different states. This tool enables EBT cardholders to know where they can buy groceries and eligible food items to participate in SNAP outside their home state. The SNAP retailer locator tool is an excellent tool for travelers that are participating in SNAP and want to find stores that accept EBT cards.
What If My Minnesota EBT Card is Lost or Stolen?
EBT cardholders need to report lost or stolen card as soon as possible. In the event of a lost, stolen or damaged Minnesota EBT card, cardholders can contact the Program Administrator by calling the customer service helpline number 1-888-997-2227 or email them at ebtedge.com. The Program Administrator will then deactivate the lost card, retrieve any remaining balances on it and issue a new EBT card.
Using Your Minnesota EBT Card While Traveling Abroad
Minnesota EBT cards cannot be used outside the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. If cardholders plan to travel abroad, they must withdraw their benefits in advance or receive them after they return to the United States. Cardholders should contact their case manager to make arrangements for their benefits while they are out of the country.
Benefits of Using EBT Card
EBT cardholders enjoy some benefits of using electronic payments for their benefits. Below are some of the perks of using EBT cards:
Convenient and Easy to Use:
EBT cards are easy and convenient to use – swipe the card, and you’re good to go. You don’t need a bank account or a checkbook to use an EBT card, and the transaction is quick and secure.
No Transactions Fees:
EBT cardholders do not have to pay any transaction fees when making purchases using their card. They can use their EBT card at any participating stores without worrying about paying service fees or transaction fees for their purchases.
Retains Your Privacy:
EBT cards provide the cardholder with privacy when shopping, unlike when using paper coupons or vouchers. The cardholder is easily identified by their PIN number, which ensures that their shopping is private and secure.
Easy to Replenish Your Account Balance:
Replenishing funds on your EBT card is easy and straightforward; simply go to an ATM or sign in to the EBT account to check balances or add more funds to the account.
Easy to Learn:
The EBT program is easy to learn and use, even for people who aren’t tech-savvy. EBT cardholders can always access the customer service helpline number or program administrator customer service line for assistance.
The Minnesota EBT card is a useful tool for individuals that want to access benefits from government aid programs. While you can use the card outside Minnesota, it’s essential to remember that it can only be used in states that participate in the Programs such as SNAP, MFIP or GA. Cardholders should also know that their benefits are not accessible when traveling abroad. EBT cards are secure, convenient and often come with no transaction fees. For more information about the EBT program in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services website.
Below are some frequently asked questions about using Minnesota EBT cards outside of the state:
- Can I use my Minnesota EBT card out of state?
- How can I find participating stores that accept EBT cards?
- What should I do if I lose my EBT card?
- Can I use my EBT card to buy hot or prepared food with EBT benefits?
Yes, you can use your Minnesota EBT card to buy eligible food items outside of the state at any authorized EBT card retailer in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands.
You can find stores that accept EBT cards by using the official EBT Locator tool or the SNAP Retailer Locator tool. You can use your zip code or current location to find participating retailers near you.
If you lost your EBT card while traveling outside of Minnesota, contact the Program Administrator as soon as possible by phone at 1-888-997-2227 or through email.
Yes, you can buy hot or prepared meals using your Minnesota EBT card. For instance, cardholders can buy a meal in a store cafeteria or a store that sells hot food ready to eat.
- Minnesota Department of Human Services (2021). EBT Program [Online]. Available at: https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/children-and-families/economic-assistance/food/programs-and-services/ebt.jsp [Accessed: 24 SEP 2021].
- United States Department of Agriculture (2021). SNAP Retailer Locator [Online]. Available at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailerlocator [Accessed: 24 SEP 2021].