Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) System 

EBT: Overview | Arkansas WIC EBT  | eWIC Vendor | eWIC MeetingsFAQS

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows recipients to use authorized government benefits to pay for items.  Currently, Arkansas SNAP uses EBT.  Arkansas WIC EBT is in the process of being developed and will allow participants to use an electronic benefits card instead of paper checks. This will provide more freedom to participants by allowing them to purchase only those items needed without losing all remaining benefits. 

Two major platforms used for EBT to operate are an on-line and an off-line system.

On-line EBT (Arkansas SNAP EBT):

  • Requires the use of a magnetic stripe
  • Location of benefits are in a centralized host
  • Transactions occur in real-time            

Off-line EBT (Arkansas WIC EBT):

  • Requires the use of a smart card     
  • Location of benefits are contained within the smart cards microchip
  • Transactions occur through daily batch processes from retailers

Arkansas WIC determined through comprehensive studies that an off-line platform was best for the state as it moves towards EBT in the future.