EBT card replacement with chip/tap cards

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided information about the replacement of current magnetic stripe EBT cards with chip/tap cards.  The new cards will be for CalWORKs, CalFresh, General Assistance, Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program (TCVAP), Entrant Cash Assistance (ECA), Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  County equipment will be replaced in May, 2024.  New cardstock will be delivered to counties in May, 2024

In Summer, 2024, new chip/tap cards will be mailed to anyone with an active case, that is anyone who has accessed benefits in the last nine months.  The new cards will be mailed in three phases.  The first phase will be combined CalWORKs and CalFresh cases, GA, RCA, TCVAP, CAPI and LIHEAP.  The second phase will be cash-only benefits cases.  The third phase will be CalFresh only cases.

The existing PIN will carry-over to the new chip/tap card.  Cardholders will need to enter the PIN for each transaction with the chip/tap card.

SunBucks and Women, Infants and Children benefits will not be moved to the new chip/tap cards.

Counties should tell cardholders to use their replacement cards as soon as they receive them.  A successful transaction with the new card will activate it.  Cardholders can also activate their new card using the EBT Edge application, or by contacting the EBT customer service center.  Cardholders will have approximately 45 days after they receive their new card before their old magnetic stripe card will be unusable.

CDSS will monitor activation data and do direct outreach to cardholders who receive their new card but do not activate it.

Counties should refer questions to the EBT customer service center.

Any remaining magnetic stripe cards will be deactivated approximately 60 days after mass replacement is completed.  Cardholders who do not receive a new card can ask for their chip/tap card through the EBT Customer Service or the county.

Some retailers may not have equipment to accept chip/tap cards.  In most of those cases, the EBT card will need fall back to a magnetic stripe or manual key-in transaction.

Cardholders who are unhoused can have their replacement cards mailed to the county welfare department.  County welfare departments will get a list of cardholders who use the county welfare department mailing address for triage.  (ACWDL, June 24, 2024.)