Key entry of the Illinois Link card number or use of a paper voucher may sometimes be necessary when the magnetic stripe on the card cannot be read, equipment is not available, or the phone lines are down.
Key-entry transaction occurs when a Point of Sale (POS) terminal is in working order, the phone lines are operable, but the magnetic stripe of the Illinois Link card can't be read by the equipment. When the magnetic stripe of the card can't be read, the Illinois Link system allows for the manual entry of the Personal Account Number (PAN) displayed on the Illinois Link card and the Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Key-entry transaction can only be done at POS terminals. It can't be done at ATM machines. If key-entry of the PAN and PIN fails, neither voucher processing nor exception processing may be used. After excessive consecutive key-entry processing, the current card remains operational but a new card is mailed by the EBT contractor. The current card remains operational until:
- the new mailed card is used for a financial transaction at the POS terminal or ATM including balance inquiry causing the card to no longer be operational, or
- 30 days after the new card was mailed. After 30 days if the new card has not been used, the key-entered card is no longer operational.
Voucher processing covers the routine processing of purchases from vendors who don't have access to a phone at the time of sale, including:
- food stores that opt to make home deliveries;
- house-to-house trade routes that operate on a standing order from a client;
- farmer's markets; and
- food buying cooperatives.
Voucher processing also covers times when the POS equipment can't process an automatic transaction but the phone lines are operational.
There is a $150.00 limit per voucher transaction per day. The vendor must get authorization before the sale to ensure payment. If preapproval is not obtained, the vendor assumes the risk that the client has enough benefits to cover the sale.
Exception processing occurs when the equipment and phone lines are inoperable, usually when a disaster occurs. It is only available upon joint declaration of DHS and the EBT contractor. The vouchering process is followed, but pre-approval is not required. There is no minimum purchase required, but the maximum purchase amount is $25.00 per day.