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WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC)


How will eWIC Improve the Shopping Experience?

Improved store-participant relations.
Stores are no longer the “WIC Authorized Items police”. The cashier and participants are not required to decide which items are authorized to be purchased. Items electronically stored, either on the card or on a master file depending on the eWIC technology implemented, and approved or denied electronically when scanned. Each WIC approved item will be maintained in the UPC database, providing stores with a more accurate description of approved items. This database will be updated regularly, making it easier for vendors to accommodate client purchases of products with recent changes in package size or brand name. Additionally, participant authentication is managed through the use of a participant PIN, eliminating the need for the cashier to verify the signature on the check with the signature on the paper folder.

Automatic, electronic claim payments.
eWIC eliminates paper WIC checks, reducing paperwork and manual records for stores. The store’s account will be credited within 24 to 48 hours for food benefits redeemed by participants.

Reduced risk of mistakes associated with food instrument.
WIC food items will be identified by the cash register system at the time of purchase. Wrong package size and/or quantity will not be allowed when scanned. The cashier will no longer be responsible for ensuring that the date of purchase is within authorized dates, the system will perform verification of redemption dates. The cashier will not be responsible for obtaining the participant’s signature as no signature is required for eWIC processing. Participants use a unique PIN as identification, rather than a signature match. In addition, with eWIC retail vendor’s bookkeeping staff will no longer be responsible for applying 5-digit WIC stamp because claims are submitted and paid electronically with eWIC. eWIC will also reduce the number of non-approved WIC items being purchased, because non-WIC items will be identified during scanning.

Reduced “time in lane”.
With eWIC, family benefits are combined onto one card. The cashier is not required to separate individual family member’s WIC items during checkout, as family benefits will be combined onto one card.

Do WIC Retail Vendors have a Voice in the eWIC Planning?

Yes! Throughout the planning process all WIC approved retail vendors have been invited to participate in the WIC EBT Vendor Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to keep WIC retail vendors apprised of the progress of the Iowa WIC program and provide an open forum for eWIC related discussion. Additionally, information is shared through the Vendor Newsletter publication and during other meetings periodically facilitated by the IDPH. The current status of the eWIC project can also be found on the eWIC “home” page.

Vendor Resources for eWIC

  • Technical Implementation Guide (TIG) - This USDA/FNS publication provides the standards and specifications for all stakeholders supporting eWIC. This is made available for reference and guidance. Iowa specific requirements will not be available until eWIC implementation.