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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.

Vendor Resources for eWIC

Operating Rules and Specifications for WIC EBT - The USDA/FNS provides two publications that govern WIC EBT processing standards for all entities involved. These are the Operating Rules for WIC EBT and the Technical Implementation Guide (TIG). The Operating Rules address the operation of WIC EBT for all entities, including: retail system vendors, WIC Vendors, Acquirers and Processors. The TIG consists of the implementation guidelines of the X9.93 standards and specifications for processing WIC EBT transactions. If you are an Iowa WIC Vendor, these documents contain the information you will need to provide to your cash register system/point-of-sale support to integrate WIC EBT into your existing system.

Request the Iowa WIC Program to Add a UPC - To request a specific product to be added to the Iowa WIC Approved Product List (APL), complete the Iowa WIC UPC Submission form. Please follow submission instructions located on the bottom of the form. Your request will be reviewed and if the product meets the nutritional requirements of the WIC Program, it will be added to the Iowa APL.

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.