WASHINGTON -- Retailers in seven Southern states are gearing up to take part in an electronic benefits transfer pilot that seeks to standardize procedures across state lines. EBT, the electronic distribution of government benefits such as food stamps, has been tested at supermarkets in clusters of counties across the country and, to a lesser degree, on a statewide basis. However, only recently have plans and timetables for a card-based national EBT model begun to take more definite shape. ...

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