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WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC)


What is eWIC?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, but is often referred to as eWIC. With eWIC, the WIC food benefits are accessed using a plastic card similar to a credit or debit card, instead of using paper WIC checks. Participants use the card at the store when redeeming food benefits. The WIC foods for all WIC participants in a household are accessed using one family card. Iowa is in the latter stages of eWIC planning and is required by federal mandate to complete implementation by October 1, 2020.

How will eWIC Improve the Clinic Experience?

States that have already implemented eWIC have found that state and local agencies are able to gather much more information regarding what and how many WIC food benefits participants are redeeming. Having the ability to see what food items are being redeemed more often than others allows clinic staff to better tailor education and information to the needs and preferences of participants. For example, knowing what type of fruits and vegetables are being purchased provides valuable information that can be used to tailor specific nutrition education messages to participants.

Do Local Agencies have a Voice in the eWIC Planning?

Yes! Throughout the planning process all local agencies have been invited to participate in the WIC EBT Clinic Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to inform local agency staff of the progress of the Iowa WIC program and provide an open forum for eWIC related discussion. Additionally, information is shared through the Friday Facts publication and during various trainings provided by the IDPH. The current status of the eWIC project can also be found on the eWIC “home” page.