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QUEST Operating Rules

The rules are the basis for nationwide EBT. By relying on uniform rules that are the same from state to state and the "piggyback" on commercial relationships, QUEST EBT transactions, like commercial transactions, can be routed across state liens. Like a commercial bank card holder, clients who hold an EBT card can access their accounts wherever and whenever needed. The rules specify the responsibilities and liabilities of the various parties involved in EBT transactions. They strike a balance between the needs of EBT participants and address the practical realities of serving individuals with limited incomes. For instance, the rules require that balances must be printed on the point-of-sale (POS) terminal receipts for Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefit transactions that are denied due to insufficient funds. Recipients, who may have no recourse other than EBT for purchasing food, then know how much they can buy and the merchant does not have to reshelve an entire basket of food


Also addressed in the rules are requirements for EBT participants, payments settlements, transaction sets, card specifications, arbitration and security. They also provide for agreements that must be entered into by the participants.


The rules are administered, maintained and updated by the EBT Council, operating under the auspices of NACHA. Because the rules will be amended to reflect practical experience gained in EBT implementation and advances in technology, input from all the EBT stakeholders will continue to be critical.