New EBT cards coming with added security features to crack down on fraud


Some major security upgrades are coming to new EBT cards in California in an effort to combat growing fraud.

Electronic Benefits Transfer cards are essentially debit cards that allow access to food and cash aid benefits like CalFresh and CalWORKs. These benefits have increasingly become the target of skimmers who use electronic means to capture card information and empty money out of customer accounts. Recipients can fall victim to skimmers without ever losing their card, and they may not notice anything suspicious until they realize that most or all funds are gone.

To crack down on skimming, all new EBT cards will soon come with a chip and the ability to tap to pay. Additional upgrades include Visa and Mastercard compatibility, among other modernization efforts. In addition to that, all cardholder information will move to the back of the card, which makes it much more difficult for skimming devices to read information and create a counterfeit card.

To give customers more control over card security, the state is launching a new mobile app which will allow for touch ID, facial recognition and the ability to freeze and unfreeze a card.

The EBT Card Security Effort is the result of a partnership between the California EBT Project, the California Department of Social Services and Our Services Provider.