eWIC Information for WIC Vendors

eWIC Information for WIC Vendors


MN WIC Program

eWIC Resources for WIC Vendors

The Minnesota WIC program implemented a WIC EBT system, called eWIC, in 2019. WIC vouchers are no longer in circulation.

We encourage you to email us any questions that you have about eWIC at the following address: health.wicvendor@state.mn.us.

For a glossary of terms used below and other training information from the 2018-2019 required WIC Vendor Training Sessions, please refer to the Training section.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q: What is eWIC?
A: eWIC is an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system for WIC, which allows WIC participants to purchase foods with a magnetic stripe card. This system replaced paper vouchers with an electronic process for participants to purchase approved items in your stores in 2019.

Q: Which company is Minnesota WIC’s eWIC Service Provider?
A: Minnesota WIC has contracted with chosen Fidelity Information Services (FIS) to serve as our eWIC Service Provider. FIS has sub-contracted with Custom Data Processing (CDP) to assist with the conversion and ongoing service of our eWIC system.

Q: How does eWIC ensure that participants purchase only allowed foods?
A: Minnesota WIC maintains a UPC list called the Approved Product List (APL). All UPCs in the APL fall into a category of foods. If a participant does not have that category assigned to the card, they will not be able to purchase an item in that category.

Q: Do I have to manage the UPC lists myself?
A: No. POS systems certified for eWIC download the APL file. However, in order to ensure that eWIC works correctly, store personnel must:

  • ensure that the APL is downloaded on a daily basis. This is automatic in most stores.
  • report items to MN WIC that may be allowed but are not in the APL.
  • "map" or "link" all UPC'd WIC allowed fresh produce to a "like" PLU that is in the APL file. (This applies to integrated stores only.)For example, a 5-lb bag of Gala Apples with a UPC code must be linked to a PLU for apples. In chain stores, mapping is completed at the corporate office. More information on Minnesota WIC’s expectations around Produce Mapping can be found here.

Q: How do participants know what they can buy with WIC Cards?
A: There are many ways for participants to know the benefit balance of the WIC card:

  • Shopping List printed at the clinic, combined with most recent receipt from eWIC purchase
  • My MN WIC App –participants can register their card and scan barcodes with the app, which will tell them if a food is allowed and if they have benefits available to buy it
  • Balance Inquiry at checkout or customer service counter
  • Online at www.WICcard.MN.gov
  • By calling 1-833-566-5248
WIC customers and cashiers will still refer to the WIC Shopping Guide to know which foods are allowed. WIC customers will be able to buy any of the foods in the Shopping Guide or App if the UPC is in the APL and the category of foods is listed in the customer's Shopping List.

Q: How should WIC Authorized Pharmacies figure out which medical formula to order for a WIC participant?
A: Minnesota WIC has created at resource for pharmacy staff to understand requirements and suggestions for ordering WIC medical formulas: Pharmacy Guide for Ordering Medical Formula for WIC Participants (eWIC).

Required Equipment and Fees

Q: What are the different ways I can process eWIC? Do I need to have a specific kind of POS system to take WIC cards?
A: There are two ways to process eWIC cards: Integrated into a POS system that is certified to transact eWIC or with a stand-beside terminal from FIS.

You do not need to have a specific kind of POS system because any store can use a stand-beside terminal if their system cannot be integrated.

Note that there are strict requirements for POS systems to become certified for eWIC, so there is a limited number of options for independent retailers to choose from. Here is a list of companies that can provide a FIS-CDP certified POS system:

Please note: While Minnesota WIC was able to offer grant funds during eWIC transition period, that grant application period ended on February 15, 2019, and the funds are no longer available.

Q: I don’t see my POS provider or POS software listed above. Why aren't more companies certified?
A: Many popular POS systems are not sophisticated enough to transact eWIC because they cannot perform many of the required functions, including accessing Minnesota WIC’s APL file and transacting quantities of items, rather than dollar amounts.

Minnesota WIC welcomes the certification of many more POS systems. If your company is interested in pursuing certification, please contact us at 651-201-4404, and we will direct your call to the appropriate contact at CDP.

Q: Do retailers have to pay transaction fees on eWIC transactions?
A: Yes. As with SNAP and Credit/Debit, stores with integrated POS systems, as well as those with multi-function stand-beside terminals, will be responsible for transaction fees. Stores that meet MN WIC Participant Access Criteria may be eligible to receive a stand-beside terminal at no cost.

Q: Is ID required to use a WIC card?
A: With eWIC, there is no name listed on the card, and cashiers may not request photo identification. Anyone who has the WIC card and PIN may shop for WIC foods.

Q: Do coupons work with eWIC?
A: Yes, and stores are required to accept coupons and loyalty cards on WIC transactions if they typically accept them with other forms of payment. However, in integrated POS systems, the ability for your store to accept coupons with eWIC may be limited by your POS system and the way in which the coupon is programmed. A coupon applied to a WIC item will reduce the reimbursement amount requested from MN WIC. Coupons on non-WIC items in a "mixed-basket" transaction may not always be processed correctly, so it may be necessary to transact the non-WIC item(s) and coupon(s) separately.

On a stand-beside terminal, it is possible to enter the dollar value of a coupon on a non-WIC item, but it cannot be scanned, or tied to any particular item, so the cashier must be careful to make sure the terms of the coupon are met. The coupon will reduce the reimbursement amount requested from MN WIC. If your store does not take coupons, always hit "No" when the terminal asks if any coupons are being used.

Training

Q: What kind of training is available for store owners?
A: Online training geared towards new store employees can be found on the Vendor Training Modules page. Minnesota WIC also created a short YouTube video demonstration of how to use an FIS stand-beside terminal. Other training materials can be found on the Vendor Training Materials page.

Please note that Minnesota WIC is unable to provide in-depth training on POS functions for integrated POS systems, because they vary so much from system to system. Please reach out to your corporate office or POS provider with any questions about eWIC transaction procedures.

Q: What training is available for WIC participants?
A: Training materials provided to participants, including a "Using your WIC Card" video can be viewed on the WIC Shopping page.

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Updated Tuesday, 05-Nov-2019 06:31:40 CST