EBT Cards in Virginia

The Virginia EBT card allows beneficiaries to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits conveniently. “How long does it take to get Virginia EBT card?” is a common question from recent applicants to the SNAP program. Once applicants receive the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, they usually have additional questions about using the card.
“What can I buy with EBT card?” is one of these questions. “Where can I use my EBT card?” is another important question. Find out how to check your VA EBT card balance and get other helpful information by reading the following sections.

How long does it take to get Virginia EBT card?

How long it takes to get your Virginia EBT card may depend on some circumstances. However, you should receive your VA EBT card in the mail by the time your SNAP benefits period begins. To learn more about when you will receive your Virginia EBT card along with other helpful SNAP benefits information, you can download our comprehensive guide today.

How do I use the EBT card in Virginia?

The Virginia EBT card is similar in design and function to a typical plastic debit card. To utilize the EBT card, the cardholder should swipe the card on the point-of-sale card reader at the authorized store, and then enter his or her four-digit secret PIN. Before using your EBT card, be aware that some store merchants (including farmer’s markets or stores that rarely have customers that use SNAP benefits) will not have the proper point-of-sale machines to run the card. In these situations, the merchants will use a paper voucher to manually accept the EBT card.

A four-digit PIN number must be selected before the VA EBT card can be used to purchase food items. The EBT card PIN must be entered each time a purchase is made using the EBT card – ensuring that only the cardholder can access the money in the account. For this reason, the PIN number should be easy for the cardholder to remember while also being difficult for someone else to guess. Be aware that after five wrong PIN attempts, the Virginia EBT Card will be deactivated until 12:01 a.m. the next day, unless you create a new PIN.

How do I know my Virginia EBT card balance?

It is important for those with a Virginia EBT card to know their current EBT card account balance before making a purchase to be certain that adequate funds are available. Knowing the EBT balance beforehand will ensure that the card can be used to purchase items at the store without any issues. There are four simple methods for finding your account balance. To learn more, review the sections below.

  1. Online Cardholders can access their EBT card balance and the past three months of EBT card transactions online.
  2. By ReceiptsEach time that a purchase is made using your Virginia EBT card, a receipt will be printed out that states both the total amount spent on that transaction and the remaining card balance. Save each receipt and refer back to your most recent receipt to know the current account balance.
  3. By PhoneYou may also review your EBT card balance by making a quick phone call to the toll-free customer service line.
  4. In Person at a StoreReviewing the balance on your EBT card in VA can also be done easily in the store. Most retailers have a point-of-sale machine that runs the card and can also perform a balance inquiry. Simply swipe your card, enter your PIN, and ask the merchant to check your current balance.

Note: An EBT card balance that has not been used within the month that it was issued will continue to remain in the account. Only after 365 days will any benefits be removed and become no longer accessible. Even if the cardholder has his or her SNAP case closed, the benefits remaining in the Virginia EBT card account can still be used for purchases.

For more specific information about viewing your SNAP benefits balance, download our complimentary guide here.

How can I care for the VA EBT Card?

The black magnetic stripe on your Virginia EBT card may stop working if the card is not stored and cared for properly. Do not fold or bend the VA EBT card, do not expose the card to water and do not write on or scratch the magnetic stripe. The EBT cards magnetic stripe can also stop working if exposed to certain items including magnets and electronic devices such as cell phones. In addition, do not leave your EBT benefits card in a place with full sun exposure or extreme heat. Also, be sure to store the card in a safe place to ensure that it does not get lost or stolen.

Note: The EBT card may or may not have the cardholder’s name printed on the front. This depends on whether the card was issued by mail or at the local social service office. The cardholder’s name will only be printed on the front if the EBT card in VA was issued through the mail. Also, the back of the card has a spot available for the cardholder to sign his or her name underneath the black magnetic stripe.

What can I buy with EBT card in Virginia?

What you can buy with your EBT card are certain grocery items at an authorized store. These products must be food items labeled for human consumption, including breads, meats, produce, snack foods and more. Seeds and fruit or vegetable plants may also be purchased with Virginia food stamps since they will produce food for the household.

The Virginia EBT card cannot be used to buy non-grocery items. Also, you cannot access cash from a store or ATM with your card.

Where can I use my EBT card in Virginia?

If your question is “Where can I use my EBT card in VA?” then there are three ways to know for certain. First, most authorized retailers will display the Quest logo or Virginia EBT card logo. If the store doesn’t display those logos you can ask the store manager or cashier if they accept the EBT card before making your purchases. The last method for determining which stores you can shop involves looking online for authorized retailers.

Virginia Department of Social Services