New Card Lock Feature Available for EBT Cards

New Card Lock Feature Available for EBT Cards

By Rockland Daily Staff

Households will now have the ability to lock their EBT card, which prevents their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance (TA) cash benefits, or Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits issued as cash to a household, from being accessed as this issue has reached crisis proportions as reported by Rockland Daily here. 

This new feature is intended to be used as a tool to help prevent theft of benefits through skimming or other fraudulent methods. Locking and unlocking the EBT card does not impact Medicaid or other benefits issuances, including restricted payments directly to a landlord, utility, or other vendor. The card lock feature will roll out in multiple phases over the course of the next three months.

The locking feature cannot prevent card information from being skimmed if a household’s card is used on a compromised device. However, if a card remains locked, remote fraudulent use of stolen information would be greatly restricted, limiting vulnerability to theft only at the time during which a household’s card is unlocked for purchasing.

While card locking cannot completely prevent information theft via skimming devices or other fraudulent methods, households whose EBT cards remain locked when not in use have a significantly lower chance of having their benefits stolen.

As of February 20, households can lock and unlock their cards via the ConnectEBT mobile application (available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Cardholders must have a ConnectEBT account. If they have not already created an account, they can set one up using the mobile app. The cardholder must have activated their EBT card to access the lock/unlock feature. On the ConnectEBT mobile app home screen, a radio button will allow the cardholder to lock or unlock the card with one click. During this initial phase of the card lock rollout, the only option available to households will be to completely lock the card, preventing purchases, balance inquiries, and most other transactions until the card is unlocked.  

 Other phases with additional lock features will follow over the next three months. 

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