FSA Debit Cards: Easy and Convenient

FSA debit card

What do you call a country that doesn’t use payment cards? A Czech Republic! Get it? 🙂

Believe it or not, in 2022, only 55% of Americans wrote at least one check. Nearly half of us didn’t write even one! That’s because it’s so easy and convenient to use debit cards. Debit cards are accepted almost everywhere and for almost any type of purchase, from groceries and gas to utilities and clothing.

Debit cards linked to employer-sponsored benefit accounts. like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), are also easy and convenient. You can use your benefits debit card at many locations for a wide variety of eligible products and services.

Where can I use my FSA debit card?

Look at your FSA or HSA debit card for a Mastercard, Visa, or other card network logo. Any retailer that accepts that type of credit card is likely to also accept your debit card.

Approved Merchants 

The technology behind benefits debit cards is impressive. Retailers that accept debit and credit cards have a Merchant Category Code (MCC) that indicates what goods and services they sell. A benefits debit card is enabled only for specific MCC codes, which prevents it from being used at a restaurant, movie theater, or other location that typically doesn’t sell products and services eligible for FSA and HSA plans.

Security Features

In addition to the MCC, there is built-in security through what is known as the Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). The IIAS uses a digital code to differentiate IRS-approved eligible inventory from non-eligible items. So even if you purchase from an authorized merchant, IIAS further prevents fraud by declining the transaction if non-eligible items are included.

Below are some typical locations for using your benefits debit card. Keep in mind that not all retailers accept FSA debit cards. You may have to pay by another method and then submit receipts to your plan administrator for reimbursement.


Most pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, Walmart, Costco, or your grocery store pharmacy, accept debit card payments. You can purchase prescriptions, first aid supplies, orthopedic shoe inserts, reading glasses, and many over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare items. 

Online Retailers

Use your benefits card at approved online merchants that sell eligible goods. For example, FSAstore and HSAstore are online retailers that sell only approved items. Amazon.com also accepts FSA and HSA cards for approved items.

When shopping online, search for “FSA” or “HSA.” Many retailers label eligible items, making it easier to find what you need.

Doctor’s Offices

Check with your doctor, dentist, optometrist, or other healthcare provider to see if you can use your FSA/HSA debit card to pay for co-pays, deductibles, and approved treatments.

Vision Centers

Places that sell prescription eyewear usually accept FSA/HSA debit cards for payment.

Eligible Expenses

You can use your FSA/HSA dollars to cover various items and services. Here’s a list of 10 everyday expenses that are FSA- and HSA-eligible.

  • Dental treatments
  • Eye exams
  • Prescription eyewear, including contact lenses and sunglasses
  • Birth control and contraceptive devices
  • Chiropractic care
  • Organ transplants
  • Laboratory fees
  • X-rays
  • Wheelchairs
  • Breastfeeding supplies/lactation expenses

For a complete list of eligible medical expenses, check out IRS publication 502.

Do I need to keep my receipts?

Yes, always keep your receipts. While shopping with your FSA or HSA debit card makes eligible purchases easy and convenient, you still need to keep the paperwork in case you need to verify the purchase. The IRS requires all debit card transactions and manual claims reimbursements to be substantiated, which could require submission of a physical receipt. Talk with your administrator for more information.

An FSA or HSA debit card can help you get the most out of your benefit dollars. It’s convenient, secure, and widely accepted for many qualified healthcare-related items and services.