North Carolina WIC - Women, Infants & Children

NC eWIC

NC eWIC Card

Overview

The North Carolina WIC Program is moving from a paper-based method of WIC benefit issuance to an electronic benefit transfer system (eWIC). Instead of paper food instruments, WIC food benefits will be issued into an electronic benefit account at the local WIC clinic. Families will use their eWIC card and PIN to access their food benefits at the grocery store.

eWIC for Families

 eWIC for Vendors

The North Carolina WIC Program will be piloting eWIC from October 4, 2017 to December 31, 2017. The pilot region includes the following counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender. After the pilot period, there are ten rollout weeks scheduled from January 22, 2018 through May 11, 2018. During this time eWIC will be rolled out to the remainder of the counties in the state. Please see the information below for more details regarding the transition to eWIC.

Important Memoranda

Other Important Information

N.C. WIC Authorized Product List (APL)

The North Carolina WIC Program Authorized Product List (APL) (XLSX, 604 KB) has been made available for vendor/retailer review. If you have questions, concerns, or would like items removed from the list, please send us an email inquiry.

UPC Submissions

The NC WIC Program will only consider 12-digit UPCs that meet one of the following criteria:

  • Update an existing UPC for brand specific food items (Juice, Cereal, Bread, Pasta, Tortillas, Brown Rice, Peanut Butter, Infant Meat, Infant Cereal, Infant Fruit and Vegetables, Soy Milk, Yogurt and Tofu)
  • Add a new UPC for non-brand specific items (Cow’s Milk, Cheese, Mature Beans/Peas/Lentils, Eggs, Fish, and Fruits and Vegetables purchased with Cash Value Benefits)
  • Salsa will not be accepted after October 1, 2017

Refer to the NC WIC Approved Foods Nutrition Criteria (PDF, 341 KB) prior to submitting any UPC.

To make submissions, please use the web-based NC WIC Approved Product Registration form.

Please note: UPC submissions will no longer be accepted through email.

FAQs

 eWIC Frequently Asked Questions for Vendors

 1. What are the benefits of eWIC for WIC vendors?

Overall, vendors will experience labor savings because transactions require WIC customers to swipe a card, and no longer will require the counting and processing of food instruments (FIs) and cash-value vouchers (CVVs). Vendors will enjoy a more efficient check out process and receive payment faster through the Automated Clearing House (ACH). The checkout process will be less error prone  because approved foods, effective dates and benefit amounts are validated by the system and many issues related to printed FIs and CVVs will be eliminated.

 2. How will the eWIC card work at checkout?

The eWIC card will be swiped by the WIC customer and foods are scanned and approved for purchase. The family’s account is checked for adequate benefit balance. The account is debited the appropriate quantity of WIC approved foods from the family’s eWIC card. It is important to note that the order of the transaction steps will change depending on the type of cash register system used by the vendor.

 3. Are Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) and eWIC benefits on the same card?

No. FNS and eWIC cards will be separate.

 4. Is eWIC like FNS?

No. With FNS, 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 will continue to receive only specific food items which may be purchased.

 5. If I currently accept FNS EBT, can I automatically accept the eWIC card, too?

No. If you are currently an authorized WIC vendor in good standing, you will be eligible to accept eWIC cards. You may need to upgrade your existing Point of Sale (POS) equipment or get new equipment to process eWIC transactions.

 6. When will vendors receive the Authorized Product List (APL)?

The APL will be available in early July 2017.

 7. When will the NC WIC Program stop processing paper food instruments and cash-value vouchers?

The last FIs and CVVs will be issued for the August to September 2018 timeframe. Vendors must deposit all remaining FIs and CVVs into the bank for payment no more than 30 days after the “Last Date To Spend” listed. After December 31, 2018, paper FIs and CVVs will no longer be paid by the NC WIC Program.

 8. What should I do as a WIC vendor to get prepared for eWIC?

As a WIC vendor, you should review foods in your store to make sure that they are accurately labeled as WIC approved and ask your Point of Sale (POS) provider if your current equipment can support eWIC. If your current POS cannot support eWIC, you should ask what will be needed to support eWIC (e.g. software/equipment update).

 

Should vendors have any questions regarding equipment/software, please contact Solutran, our eWIC processor, via phone at 1-866-730-7746 or via email.

 9. How can I stay connected and updated with the eWIC transition?

The NC WIC Program is here to make the transition to eWIC as easy as possible. Should any vendors have any questions about eWIC, please send them through email. We will answer your questions promptly. Information about eWIC for authorized vendors will continue to be posted on this web page.

 

Additionally, to ensure that the concerns, suggestions and practices of WIC vendors are heard we encourage all vendors to attend the North Carolina Retailer Advisory Council Meetings held via conference call. A schedule of these upcoming calls is available on the Vendor's Connection page.

 10. Can eWIC be transacted at self-checkout stations?

No.  Self-checkout stations cannot be used to transact North Carolina eWIC.

 eWIC for Local Agencies

Welcome to NC eWIC! Local agency eWIC resources are available to ensure eWIC rollout is a success.

eWIC Project Updates

NC eWIC is Coming! Promotional Materials

FAQs

 eWIC Frequently Asked Questions for Local Agencies

 1. Can WIC participants use eWIC with online grocery ordering?

No, WIC participants cannot use eWIC with online grocery ordering.

 2. If WIC participants receive an eWIC card at a pilot agency, can they use it in other areas of NC that haven’t rolled out yet?

Yes, but there may be a limited number of stores offering eWIC if that area has not rolled out yet. The WIC participant will be encouraged to check in with the store/local WIC agency to verify eWIC is available before shopping. Please refer to the eWIC Certified Vendors document on the nutritionnc.com/ewic website for the list of vendors that accept eWIC in NC.

 3. Is eWIC still just for use in North Carolina?

Yes, NC eWIC benefits can only be transacted in NC.

 4. Can anyone download the app to become familiar with it (local agency staff and vendor personnel)?

Anyone can download the Bnft app to their smart phone. However, an Electronic Benefits Account (EBA) must be created and eWIC card issued to set up the account using the app. Therefore, local agency staff and vendor personnel will not be able to set up accounts and see features of the app on their phones.

 5. Will the APL be sent out or only available online?

The APL (XLSX, 604 KB) is currently only available online. The APL has been sent out to vendors. Updated North Carolina WIC Shopping Guides are being developed but will not be available prior to eWIC rollout. The current shopping guide (2015) should continue to be used with participants.

 6. What is the possibility of using WIChealth.org for doing Food Benefit Issuances and loading cards remotely?

The Nutrition Services Branch (NSB) is in the final stages of testing WIChealth.org and we hope that it will be fully functional during eWIC rollout. With eWIC cards are not “loaded.” Local agencies will be allowed to issue food benefits to a participant’s EBA without the cardholder being physically present for specific reasons. Details of this policy are outlined in Chapter 8, Section 3 of the NC Interim eWIC Program Manual and reviewed in the eWIC policies and procedures webinar.

 7. Will there be machines at each computer to load cards, not just at the processing assistants' computers?

With eWIC, cards are not “loaded.” Food benefits are issued to an Electronic Benefit Account (EBA) and an eWIC card is issued to the cardholder.Card readers are used to read the 16-digit card number. Any local agency WIC staff that issues eWIC cards will have an eWIC card reader. Additional card readers are available for staff that may want to use the eWIC card to search for families. The card reader is smaller than a computer mouse and can be attached to the side of your computer monitor.

 8. Will foster children have their own card so that their benefits will be kept separate from other members in the foster family?

Yes, foster children will have their own EBA that will contain their food benefits and will be issued their own eWIC card.

 9. Does eWIC update in Crossroads in real time? For example, if a participant uses their card in a store at 10 am and then contacts the WIC office at 10:15 am and states that they have lost their card, will Crossroads reflect the 10 am purchase?

Crossroads reflects eWIC purchases in real time but ONLY on the shopping list; the FI list and "Purchases under Journal Of Transactions" will not be updated until after the overnight batch process.

 10. Will the education materials that will be distributed 3 months prior to roll out explain to participants how to use multiple payment methods (WIC EBT, Food Stamps, Cash, Debit card etc.) in one transaction?

No, but training for WIC staff and educational materials for WIC participants will be provided before rollout. WIC participants should be educated on how to use eWIC when they are issued their card for the first time.

 11. Will the app that is associated with eWIC have the capability to send the participant an alert when their WIC EBT card is empty to remind them that it’s time for their card to be reload/time for their appointment?

The eWIC app (Bnft) will provide WIC participants with current food benefit balances (including zero balance). Notifications regarding when benefits will expire and account activity can be sent if selected by the participant, but the app does not communicate with the Crossroads scheduling module. NSB is in the final stages of testing the Teletask Autodialer and we hope that it will be fully functional during eWIC rollout to remind WIC participants of upcoming appointments.


Questions about eWIC?

 

 


Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina Public Health