EBT card CVV enablement and card replacement

The California Department of Social Services is activating Card Verification Value (CVV) on Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.  CVV is an is an additional layer of coding embedded in the magnetic stripe on the back of the EBT card and not visible to clients.  It is the three-digit code on the back of credit cards.  However, unlike the CVV number on most credit or debit cards, the EBT CVV number is not printed on the EBT card.

All cards issued by the EBT vendor after June, 2018, and all cards printed at the county welfare department since October, 2019, have the CVV embedded.  Cardholders with EBT cards printed before those dates will need a replacement card.  This is about 911,000 replacement cards.  New cards were mailed from mid-February to mid-March, 2022.  The mailing has instructions for activating the new cards.

The CVV technology will be enabled in late April, 2022.  Cards that do not have the CVV will not work after the CVV technology is activated.  If cardholders have issues with not receiving new cards or with activation of new cards, cardholders need to contact the EBT vendor.  Counties will refer callers to the EBT Customer Service Center.  Counties should follow the current card replacement process if a customer did not receive their new card or otherwise needs a replacement card.  (ACWDL, March 17, 2022.)