Maximize Your FSA with Your FSA Debit Card

FSA debit card

It’s no secret – using a debit (or credit) card is super convenient. You can use them just about anywhere and for just about anything. Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, clothing shops, doctors’ offices, bus stations … you name it, you can probably pay with a card there. When it comes to employer-sponsored benefits, like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), the same is true. Your FSA debit card can be used in many locations and for a wide range of eligible purchases.

Where can I use my FSA debit card?

If you have an FSA debit card (or HSA benefits card), there are lots of retailers that accept this payment type. On the front of your card, you’ll find a Mastercard®, Visa, or other logo. If the retailer where you shop accepts those types of cards (and most places take Mastercard or Visa), then you can use it there.

Approved merchants and security features

Even better is the technology behind an FSA debit card. Most retailers have a Merchant Category Code (MCC) that tells what types of goods and services that store sells. The debit card knows if the card is being used in an authorized location, preventing it from being used at a hot dog stand or movie theater – places that don’t sell FSA eligible products.

In addition to the MCC, there’s an added layer of security through an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) code. The IIAS uses an electronic inventory code to differentiate between IRS-eligible and non-eligible items. This helps prevent fraud because it won’t allow someone to use your card to buy candy, cigarettes, soda, or other non-eligible items.

Below are a few suggestions for places to use your benefits debit card. Keep in mind that not all retailers will accept an FSA debit card. You may have to pay by another method and submit a claim for reimbursement.


Most pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens or your grocery store pharmacy, accept debit card payments. You can purchase prescriptions, first aid items, orthopedic shoe inserts, and much more.


Believe it or not, you can use your benefits card at approved online merchants. FSAStore is an online retailer that specializes in selling only FSA-approved items. And recently announced that it will accept FSA and HSA cards for approved items.

When you shop online, try searching for “FSA” or “HSA”. Many retailers have labeled their items, making it easier for you to find what you want or need.

Doctor’s Office

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

Eyewear Centers

Places that sell prescription eyewear may take an FSA debit card as payment.

Eligible Expenses

You can use your FSA dollars to cover a wide range of items and services. Here’s a list of 10 FSA-eligible expenses:

  1. Dental treatments
  2. Eye exams
  3. Prescription eye wear, including contact lenses and sunglasses
  4. Birth control and contraceptive devices
  5. Chiropractor
  6. Organ transplants
  7. Laboratory fees
  8. X-rays
  9. Wheelchairs
  10. Breast feeding supplies/lactation expenses

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

Do I need to keep my receipts?

You should always keep your receipts. While an FSA debit card makes it easy and convenient to shop with your pre-tax benefit dollars, you still need to keep the paperwork in case you’re asked to verify a purchase. The IRS requires that all FSA reimbursements be substantiated with receipts or other forms of documentation. Talk with your administrator for more information.

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