January 2020 - Vendor Outreach Call Minutes


Illinois DHS WIC Central Office - Lisa Cunningham, Harry Lobb, Jeff Peddycoart, Anna Sabin, Marissa Ashbaugh, Joy Thompson

Solutran - Samantha Bailey, Chad Main, Walter Olfson

DHS Announcements

  • Delay in Pilot implementation to March 16, 2020 for Region 4. Remainder of dates are tentatively set to be the same. The WIC EBT Implementation schedule can be found on the WIC Vendor Page of DHS Website.
  • Pilot implementation will begin with DHS Region 4 counties as outlined on the WIC Vendor Page of DHS Website.
  • Preferred form of communication is email. Please make sure to provide current email contacts for each authorized store. Contact DHS.WICVendor@illinois.gov to update contact information.

Solutran Announcements

  • Contact Solutran at RetailCert@solutran.com for any questions or concerns regarding EBT rollout.
  • Still reaching out to those who have not responded to Solutran about equipment needed and POS system integration. It is important that vendors respond to these calls!
  • Authorized Product List (APL) file has been shared with chains and POS who have completed FTP profiles.
    • If you still need to complete FTP or have questions about obtaining APL, email Solutran at RetailCert@solutran.com with questions.
    • Files will be generated daily
    • For those using stand-beside systems: upload will be automatic.
    • For those with integrated POS: POS IT contact should reach out to Solutran at email above to complete FTP clearance and request APL.
  • Level 3 Certification will be completed for 100% of pilot stores to ensure retailers are ready prior to March 16, 2020.
    • Purpose of L3 certifications is to ensure system connectivity, highlight issues and verify that cashiers have been trained on EBT process prior to participants using EBT.
    • L3 Certifications will begin mid-February.
    • Someone from Solutran or DHS will come to the vendor site or call to complete the certification test.

Q & A

1. Will L3 Certifications be 100% for all of rollout?

  1. No. Pilot will do 100% L3 Certification, and remainder of rollouts will be spot checks of chain stores.

2. Will vendors be notified when L3 Certifications will be done in regions other than pilot?

  1. Yes, Solutran will be notifying vendors of approximate timeframes that L3 Certifications will be taking place in each region.

3. Where can vendors get FTP credentials?

  1. Email Solutran at RetailCert@solutran.com for guidance.

4. Since Pilot has been delayed, does this mean that the rest of rollout is going to be delayed?

  1. No. Rollout is anticipated to remain the same. Please see WIC Vendor Page of DHS Website.

5. Are Test cards going to be sent to stores or distributed at the corporate level?

  1. Test cards will be card numbers not an actual plastic card and will be shared with POS provider or corporate office.

6. Is there a L3 Certification Script?

  1. The script will be the following:
    1. Card Balance Inquiries
    2. Some sample purchases or WIC approved items and non-WIC items
    3. Transaction Voids

7. When will rollout be in my county?

  1. Please see the map of counties and anticipated rollout dates available on the WIC Vendor Page of the DHS Website for specific information.

8) When will the Vendor Application Moratorium end?

  1. DHS aims to begin accepting vendor applications again in the beginning of October 2020. The new application form and information will be posted on the WIC Vendor Page of the DHS Website.

9) Will participants have plastic cards and how will they be loaded?

  1. Participants will have plastic cards loaded with their specific prescription of food products.

10) What is an APL?

  1. The APL is the WIC Authorized Product List (APL). The Illinois WIC APL is a file of Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and Price Look-Up (PLU) codes for foods authorized by IL WIC. All products in the APL meet state and federal authorization requirements. WIC staff reviews and authorizes all products before adding them to the APL. Participants using the Illinois WIC EBT Card can only buy products included in the APL.

11) Will the APL come through IT services?

  1. The APL will need to be uploaded daily to ensure vendors have the most current APL.
    1. Stand Beside units will have the current APL automatically loaded.
    2. POS providers will need FTP credentials and will receive the most current APL.
      1. If a POS provider has not heard from Solutran, they should contact RetailCert@solutran.com.

12) If the store price is higher than the WIC approved price, will the purchase go through?

  1. The State sets the Not-to-Exceed (NTE) price based on current pricing in the region of products. The IL WIC will not pay more than the NTE price of a product. Vendors MAY NOT charge the participant the difference in the prices (except in cases of CVV fruits and vegetables).

13) Will WIC EBT cards have participant names on them and will Participants still have a Signature Card?

  1. No. As long as the participant has the WIC EBT Card and is able to enter the correct PIN, the card will be accepted. Vendors will no longer need to "police" card use. There will be no requirement to verify against a WIC Signature card.

14) When will Solutran distribute stand-beside systems?

  1. Equipment will not be distributed until closer to the go-live date for each vendor.
  2. The number of terminals will be dependent on the number of WIC sales per Federal Regulations.
  3. If you need a stand-beside system and have not heard from Solutran, you may email them at RetailCert@solutran.com for information.

15) If a product brand is not on the APL, can it be purchased?

  1. If a specific brand matches the product description but is not on the APL, participants will not be able to purchase the item at that time.
  2. Vendors are encouraged to complete a UPC Request to request that a specific UPC be added to the APL. The product will be evaluated by the Illinois WIC Nutrition team and if determined to meet the nutrition requirements, will be added to the APL. This is why it is important to upload the APL daily, as this list will be changing frequently, especially in the initial rollout period.

16) How do we know if we are going to be using our own system or a stand-beside?

  1. If a vendor has a POS provider, WIC EBT purchases will go through the POS Provider.
  2. If a vendor has a credit card processing system only, they will need a stand-beside system and should be in communication with Solutran on how to obtain one.

17) Do vendors have to pay for stand-beside terminals?

  1. The state will be paying for stand-beside terminals. The number vendors will get is based on WIC sales per Federal Regulations. Not all check-out terminals may have a stand-beside.

18) Is Illinois going to allow full mapping?

  1. Full mapping is strongly encouraged but 4469 is an option for fruits and vegetables when necessary.

19) When pilot is done, can chain stores turn on vendors ahead of rollout in the area?

  1. All vendors will need to accept card & paper until all paper has expired (anticipated by the end of 2020).
  2. If L3 certification goes well for a chain in pilot, then Illinois WIC will allow stores outside of pilot area to turn on EBT. DHS reserves the right to limit activation of EBT for vendor companies that have issues during L3 testing that will need to be followed up on.

20) Is there anything vendors need to provide to Solutran to ensure that financial settlements occur?

  1. Vendors with POS providers will use the current information provided to the POS provider.
  2. Vendors with an equipment contract will need to include bank information in their contract for Stand-Beside systems.