What is EBT?

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system in the United States that allows state governments to provide benefits to authorized recipients via a plastic debit card. Common benefits provided via EBT are typically sorted into two general categories: Food Stamp and Cash benefits. Food stamp benefits are federally authorized benefits that can be used only to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages. Cash benefits include State General Assistance, TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) benefits and refugee benefits.

Through EBT, a recipient uses his/her EBT card to make purchases at participating retailers. Food Stamp benefits can be used only to purchase food items authorized by the USDA’s Food Stamp program. Cash benefits may be used to purchase any item at a participating retailer, as well as to obtain cash-back or make a cash withdrawal from a participating ATM.

State food stamp agencies work with contractors to procure their own EBT systems for delivery of food stamps and other state-administered benefit programs. In the United States, all food stamp benefits are now being issued via EBT.

For example, in the Food Stamp Program, food stamp recipients apply for their benefits in the usual way, by filling out a form at their local food stamp office. Once eligibility and level of benefits have been determined, information is transferred to the state’s EBT contractor and an account is established in the participant’s name, and food stamp benefits are deposited electronically in the account each month. A plastic debit card, similar to a bank card, is issued and a personal identification number (PIN) is assigned or chosen by the recipient to give access to the account. Recipients are offered the opportunity to change the PIN at any time, and are offered ongoing training if they have any problems accessing the system.

All states have systems that use magnetic stripe cards and “on-line” authorization of transactions. When paying for groceries, the food stamp customer’s card is run through an electronic reader or a point of sale terminal (POS), and the recipient enters the secret PIN to access the food stamp account. Then, electronically, the processor verifies the PIN and the account balance, and sends an authorization or denial back to the retailer. The recipient’s account is then debited for the amount of the purchase, and the retailer’s account is credited. No money and no Food Stamps change hands. Payment is made to the retailer through a settlement process at the end of the business day. Most states’ online EBT systems are interoperable through the Quest network, which is sponsored by the Electronic Benefits and Services Council (formerly the EBT Council) of NACHA-The Electronic Payments Association.

EBT food stamp accounts are often recharged at the beginning of each month; in New Hampshire it is the 5th of each month. In Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, and Texas EBT food stamp accounts are recharged at different times of the month for each recipient based on his/her case number or Social Security number.

It is illegal for anyone to charge sales tax, surcharges or card processing fees from an EBT Card Food Stamp Benefits account, according to Federal Law and USDA Food Stamp Program Guidelines USDA Retailer Training Guide PDF File.

The success of EBT enabled Congress to rename the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as of October 2008, and update all references in federal law from “stamp” or “coupon” to “card” or “EBT”. This was effectuated by H.R. 2419, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (a.k.a. “2008 Farm Bill”) passed into law as Public Law No: 110-234, over President Bush’s veto.

Looking For Free Grocery Coupons to Print?

Are you in search of some great free grocery coupons to print from your own home? There are some great resources you can use to find exactly what you are looking for. Coupons are an excellent way to save money on food.

Are times tough for you right now? Rising prices of food have got consumers everywhere trying to find some ways to cut back. Instead of worrying about how you are going to pay for everything, invest some time in learning about coupons. Through the use of coupons you can literally save thousands of dollars a year. There are coupons available for all types of name brand, healthy, foods. If you think that you already get the lowest prices around by shopping off-brand and discount grocery stores, you may be wrong!

Using coupons at the right time and place can get you food for super low costs, sometimes even for free. The prices you see on name brand foods after using coupons is often times less than choosing off brands or shopping those discount stores. Some people immediately think that couponing is not for them, or that they are already getting the best prices, but that is just not true.

You can use manufacturers coupons to save a ton at the store. If you also look for free grocery coupons to print, you can save even more! Free grocery coupons, found online and printed right from your computer are the same as manufacturers coupons. This only offers you one more great resource for coupons.

Search the internet and you can find many great sites that will allow you to print coupons. Most of these places are free and they allow you to customize your coupon search. You can simply type in the brands of foods you use most and see what coupons are there for you to use. No searching through newspapers and magazines.

Free grocery coupons to print can be found all over the Internet. This makes finding coupons a snap, and you will be on your way to saving tons of money on food.

Coupon Codes & Discounts For Online Shopping – Hints & Tips!

1. Can you use coupon codes at that particular store?

Have you ever shopped at an online retailer and seen an empty field such as ‘promo code’ or ‘promotional codes’? Well, this field can be used to get you extra discounts on your purchases. For example, I once received a 25% discount on an online contact lens order using a ‘Clearly Contacts discount code’.

So, any time you are shopping online and are in the process of going through the checkout, take a look for the coupon code box. It can come under many different names, from Swiss Chalet promo codes, Air Canada discount codes, an Avon Canada coupon code, or an Aldo Shoes promo code.

2. Search for the discount codes!

It is recommended that you search Google Canada for the exact search term and the company name. For example, ‘Staples coupon code’. You can also check out sites that have listings of promo codes, such as Retailmenot. You may find a dollar discount, a percentage discount, or perhaps a coupon code for free shipping.

3. Search more!

Do NOT settle for the first coupon code that you come across. There could be bigger and better discount coupons online. A couple of minutes of searching can save you a lot of cash in the end!

4. Adjust the discount code!

Companies can be quite predictable. For example, SEARS10 may give you a 10% discount, SEARS20 could give you 20% discount! When you find any promo code and enter it in the box provided, you can try a few other variations and see if you stumble upon a higher discount amount!

5. Check duration of discounts!

Occasionally, the promo codes cease to work before their stated expiry date. They may have been very popular and the retailer decided to cancel the offer code early. However, the opposite to this can also be true: sometimes the coupon codes continue to work well after the original expiry date. Be sure you see the exact discount amount shown in your shopping cart or when you go start to through the checkout. The discount code may not have worked, and you could be charged full price on your products or services.

6. Useful tips:

  • Some discount codes may be case sensitive (For example, ’10OFF’ might work well, but ’10off’ might not)
  • You might only be able to use a discount coupon once per customer account
  • Some of the voucher codes may only apply to certain types of products (E.g. Hardware)
  • Each promo code may have a limited life span (E.g. expires 31st December)

7. Subscriptions!

Lots of retailers send out free discount coupons when you subscribe to email newsletters. For example: every week, Michaels Canada sends out various coupons by email. You can sign up to a lot of newsletters using a junk email address, and get interesting coupons through! If you do decide to subscribe to a lot of newsletters, it is recommend that you use a disposable email account such as mailinator, or a new gmail account just for that purpose.

Tips To Getting Free (or Almost Free) Stuff

I think almost everybody likes to get something for nothing, or failing that, get something for a substantial discount. There are many, many ways to get free stuff and I am sure most of you have your own favorite ways but I thought I would include some of my tips on how to get things for free or almost for free.

Tip #1

My favorite place to get free stuff is the grocery store. Most grocery stores these days have tons of free samples that they give away to get you to try new products or switch from existing brands. I am sure you have all seen and tried them at least once. One extra thing to look for at these in-store promotions are coupons you can use to buy the product at a discount. Only of course if you like it.

Tip #2

A great way to get free services is to look for new store openings in your area, especially ones that offer services such as hair cuts, waxing, tanning, etc. These types of businesses will often offer their services free or at a substantially reduced cost to try to get word of mouth about their store going and/or use you as a demonstration of their work. If you live in a big city there are usually dozens of new stores opening every week so keep your eyes open.

Tip #3

Another great way to get free stuff is to look on websites such as craigslist.org or your local classifieds section of the newspaper for the free stuff section. Often you can get things for free from people who no longer want them simply by offering to go pick them up. I find it surprising the kind of things that people are willing to give away simply because they no longer want them. Check your local listings and see what turns up.

Tip #4

A 4th great way to get free stuff is to get free product samples or free trials of products or services. Often companies are more than happy to give a sample of their product for you to try, especially if you are seen as being likely to purchase the product in the future. The benefit to you is that you can try new products virtually risk free. If you are looking for a specific free sample or free trial from a company, I recommend contacting the company directly to see what, if any, free samples they offer. On the other hand if you are looking for companies that offer free sample of their products check out the tip below.

Tip #5

Now, this is my favorite tip although I am a little biased since I run a “free samples” website and newsletter. One of the best ways to find free stuff is simply to search for it on Google or any other search engine. There are hundreds of websites claiming to offer free stuff from free product samples to free registration. One word of warning though, make sure the websites explains what is required to get your free thing. For example, check if there are shipping and handling fees, credit card requirements, trial term length etc. The web is the best place to find free offers, just be careful which websites you use.

How to Find Coupons For Free Stuff Online

With the economy in the shape that it’s in today, many people are trying to find coupons for free stuff. The simple fact is that the money consumers used to spend on frivolous things just isn’t there anymore. Because of this very reason, companies are trying to gain new customers by giving them coupons for free stuff.

If you turn on any news channel today, you will see many companies going out of business and laying off 1000’s of employees. The companies that are still in business have figured out that giving consumers free samples of their products is a great way to gain a long and loyal customer. This has proven to be a very effective marketing method and these big companies spend millions of dollars each year just giving away free samples of their products.

So the question is, “What’s the best way to find coupons for free stuff.”

There are several options to choose from. The easiest way is to check online. There are several websites that will give you all of the latest coupons for free stuff all in one place. Using one of these sites will save you hours because all the information you need is in one place.

Your next choice is your local newspaper. Usually you will find discount coupons and buy one get one free coupons. Not a bad option, but I prefer using the online method. Finding coupons for free stuff online is much easier as you can find everything you’re looking for all in one place.