Captain Contributor

Maximize Your FSA with Your FSA Debit Card

Benefits debit card; FSA debit card; HSA 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 make a payment with card there. When it comes to your employer-sponsored benefits, like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), 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 a debit card for your Health Savings Account (HSA), there are lots of retailers that accept that payment. When you look at the front of your card, you’ll probably find a Mastercard®, Visa, or other company 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.

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 items.

Then there’s an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) code that some stores use. The IIAS code is an electronic inventory code that knows which items are FSA eligible. This also helps prevent fraud because it won’t allow someone to use your card to buy 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, take a debit card for payment. You can purchase prescriptions, first aid items, orthopedic shoe inserts, and much more.

Doctor’s Office

If your physician allows it, you can use your FSA debit card to pay for co-pays and deductibles. This includes dentists and optometrists (eye doctors).

Eyewear Centers

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


Did you know that you can use your card online? Many retailers allow you to search for FSA eligible items and pay for them with your FSA debit card. Just search FSA and a whole list of inventory that is FSA approved will display. You can also shop at FSAStore is an online retailer that specializes in selling only FSA-approved items.

Do I need to keep my receipts?

Yes, you should always keep your receipts. While an FSA debit card makes it easy and convenient to shop with your benefit dollars, you still need to keep the paperwork in case you need to verify a purchase. The IRS requires that all FSA reimbursements be substantiated with receipts or other forms of documentation.

Eligible Expenses

A wide range of items and services are available for you to use your FSA funds. 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, look at IRS publication 502.

As you can see, an FSA debit card can help you get the most out of your benefit dollars because its convenient, secure, and widely accepted for many eligible healthcare related items and services.


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