What is eWIC?
A benefit delivery method that allows WIC participants to purchase their benefits electronically with use of an eWIC card and Personal Identification Number (PIN). This system replaced paper vouchers with an electronic process for participants to purchase approved items in your stores in 2020.
Which Company is Illinois WIC's eWIC Service Provider?
Illinois WIC has contracted with Solutran to serve as our eWIC Service Provider. Contact information for Solutran can be found on the webpage eWIC Contacts.
How does WIC ensure that participants purchase only allowed foods?
Illinois 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.
Do I have to manage the UPC lists myself?
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 automatically done in most stores.
- Report items to IL WIC that may be allowed but are not in the APL through the UPC Submission Request Process.
- "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 clamshell of raspberries with a UPC code must be linked to a PLU for raspberries. In most chain stores, mapping is completed at the corporate office. Please see the webpage Mapping of WIC Allowed Produce Items for more information about Illinois WIC's expectations around Produce Mapping.
How do cardholders know what they can buy with WIC Cards?
There are multiple ways for cardholders to know the benefit balance of their WIC card:
- Family Shopping List - printed at the clinic when benefits are issues, combined with the most recent receipt from an eWIC purchase.
- BNFT App - cardholders 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 at any WIC Authorized Store.
- Online at www.myBNFT.com
- By calling 1-833-916-1509
WIC cardholders and cashiers should still refer to the WIC Authorized Food List to know which foods are allowed. WIC participants will be able to buy any of the foods in the Authorized Food List or App if the UPC is in the APL and the category of foods is listed in the cardholder's Family Shopping List.
How should WIC Authorized Pharmacies figure out which medical formula to order for a WIC participant?
Pharmacies can ask participants to provide a copy of their Family Shopping List which specifies the specific brand, size, and type of formula hat has been prescribed. THey can also check the specific UPC for the item by looking at the APL.
What is an Illinois eWIC card?
A card with a magnetic strip that contains WIC food benefits for a WIC household to purchase WIC-approved food at authorized WIC retailers.
Are Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)/SNAP and eWIC benefits on the same card?
No. FNS/SNAP and eWIC cards are separate.
Is eWIC like FNS/SNAP?
No. With FNS/SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, the cardholder has a specific dollar amount benefit that can be used to purchase any FNS-approved food item. With eWIC, the WIC customer receives only specific food items and quantities which may be purchased.
If I currently accept FNS/SNAP EBT, can I automatically accept the eWIC card, too?
No. You must go through the WIC application process outlined on the Application, Authorization & Training webpage.
Can eWIC be transacted at self-checkout stations?
Yes. Self-checkout stations can be used to transact Illinois eWIC.
What happens if a participant loses their card?
Customers should be referred back to their local agency if their card is lost or stolen.
What happens if a WIC customer leaves their eWIC card at a store?
Contact the toll-free number listed on the back of the card as soon as possible. Or you may reach out to DHS.WICVendor@illinois.gov for further instructions.
Can WIC customers shop in other states with their Illinois eWIC card?
No. Illinois eWIC cards are only accepted at authorized WIC retailers authorized in Illinois.
Required Equipment and Fees
What are the different ways I can process eWIC? Do I need to have a specific kind of POS system to take WIC cards?
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 Solutran.
You do not need to have a specific kind of POS system because any store can use a leased stand-beside terminal if their system cannot be integrated.
Here is a list of companies that can provide a Solutran certified POS system:
I don't see my POS provider or POS software listed above. Why aren't more companies certified?
Many popular POS systems are not sophisticated enough to transact eWIC because they cannot perform many of the required functions, including accessing Illinois' APL file and transacting quantities of items rather than dollar amounts.
Do retailers have to pay transaction fees on eWIC transactions?
Yes. As with SNAP and Credit/Debit, stores with integrated POS systems, as well as those with stand-beside terminals, are responsible for transaction fees or leasing fees. Stores that meet IL WIC Participant Access Criteria may be eligible to receive a stand-beside terminal at no cost, but this will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Is ID required to use a WIC card?
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.
Do coupons work with eWIC?
Yes! 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 IL 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 IL WIC. If your store does not take coupons, always hit "No" when the terminal asks if any coupons are being used.
What kind of training is available for store owners?
Online training geared towards new store employees can be found on the Vendor Training Modules page.
Please note that Illinois 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.
What training is available for WIC participants?
Participants are provided education and training at the local WIC Agency on how to use their benefits.