SAN FRANCISCO - A national consumer group is weighing on California state officials to negotiate more "user-friendly" terms in a pending electronic benefit transfer contract with Citigroup Inc., which has been sharply criticized in the past for its EBT services in other states.

A major concern among consumer advocacy groups and those representing the state's low-income communities is that California will agree to an EBT program that would actually make it more difficult and more expensive for recipients of welfare and other benefits recipients to receive these benefits electronically than through traditional routes such as checks or food stamps.

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