In order to accept Hawaii WIC checks, a store must have a signed and approved Authorized WIC Vendor Agreement on file with the Hawaii WIC Services Branch. Grocery stores interested in becoming a WIC Authorized Vendor can call the WIC Vendor Management Unit at (808) 586-4776 to request an application. Stores interested in applying to be a WIC Vendor should first read: Selection-And-Authorization
Hawaii eWIC Vendor Guide (for Integrated POS Systems)
Hawaii eWIC Vendor Guide (for Stand-Beside vendors)
Hawaii eWIC Vendor Kick-off Meeting Presentation – June 12, 2019
Hawaii eWIC Vendor Kick-off Meeting Slide Show (.PDF, no audio)
eWIC Q and A
Approved Product List (APL) – Categorized list of UPCs and PLUs that are WIC allowed. WIC cards cannot be used to pay for any item that is not in the APL.
eWIC Service Provider – Contractor whose software will connect cash registers to the WIC Information System and transfer payments between banks.
Integrated Stores – Stores that can accept eWIC as a form of payment along with cash, credit/debit, and SNAP EBT.
Non-Integrated Stores – Stores that need a stand-beside terminal to process eWIC benefits. They may currently use separate machines to process credit/debit and/or SNAP EBT.
Stand-Beside Terminal – A machine that allows non-integrated stores the ability to accept eWIC payments. The terminal connects to the internet over a dial-up connection or high-speed internet to get participants’ benefits and download the APL. The stand-beside terminal has a barcode scanner and a PIN pad.
PIN – Personal Identification Number. Participants and proxies must enter a PIN number after swiping the WIC card. Anyone who knows the PIN can use the WIC card.
WIC Card – Used as payment in an eWIC transaction. Benefits are not stored on the card, but the point of sale system’s card reader will read the card’s magnetic strip and get the account balance for the household.
Q and A
Q: What is eWIC? A: eWIC is an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system for WIC. This system will replace the current paper checks with an electronic process for participants to purchase approved items in your stores by 2020.
Q: Which company will serve as Hawaii’s WIC’s eWIC Service Provider? A: Hawaii 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. FIS-CDP is the eWIC service provider for many states, including Washington, Oregon, and California and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the project.
Q: What is the transition timeline? A: At this time, Pilot will begin on Kauai on October 29, 2019. Statewide rollout will commence in January 2020 with Oahu scheduled to go live on March 3, 2020, Maui County scheduled to go live April, 6 2020, and the Big Island scheduled to go live May 4, 2020
Q: Will the WIC allowed foods change? A: Yes. We will be adding some WIC allowed foods. Vendors will be notified in the beginning of July the specifics regarding those additions. Our goal is to add WIC allowed foods that stores already carry (e.g more brands of juices, cereal, and infant foods). The Hawaii WIC Food Selection Committee visited many of our Hawaii WIC stores and the new WIC allowed foods were based on items stores already have in stock. The challenge will be train the cashier and staff so they are prepared to see WIC participants purchase different brands of foods. A new Food List will be printed and sent to all Hawaii WIC vendors prior to the official addition of new foods. In addition, Minimum Stocking Requirements will be updated to reflect these changes. For example, instead of “12 bottles of Juicy Juice”, the requirement will be “12 bottles of WIC allowed Juice”.
Q: Will customers have a choice between WIC checks and eWIC cards? A: No. There will be a period during the transition where some participants will have WIC cards and others will still have WIC checks. During this transition, WIC vendors should expect to process both paper and eWIC tranactions. However, once the transition is complete, there will only be WIC cards.
Differences between eWIC Card and WIC Checks
Q: What are some of the benefits of eWIC to Retailers? A: Benefits of eWIC to retailers include:
- If the item scans as WIC allowed, it is allowed. If it does not scan as WIC allowed, cashiers cannot override the eWIC system.
- For retailers with an integrated eWIC system, it is a quicker, more discreet transaction.
- No need to check ID folder for signatures. Each card has a pin number; if someone has the pin number, he or she can shop for WIC foods.
- No need to deal with checks – smudgy stamps, dates of use, forgotten signatures, rejections, etc.
- Faster reimbursement.
Q: What are some of the benefits of eWIC to WIC Participants? A: Benefits of eWIC to participants include:
- Can purchase foods as needed throughout the month – no need to buy everything on the check at once.
- Household benefits are combined on one card.
- eWIC cards are more discrete than WIC checks
- No need to carry an ID folder – anyone with the PIN can use a WIC card.
APL (Approved Product List) Questions
Q: How does eWIC restrict allowed items? A: All UPCs in the APL fall into a category of foods. If a participant does not have that category assigned to the household, they will not be able to purchase an item in that category.
Q: Do I have to manage the UPC lists myself? A: No. Both integrated eWIC systems and stand-beside terminals will connect to the Hawaii WIC APL file. However, store owners/managers need to ensure that their system updates daily. They will also need to report items to Hawaii WIC that may be allowed but are not in the APL. Hawaii WIC will have a process in place for vendors to submit UPCs for possible inclusion on to the APL. Once that process is finalized, it will be shared with all Hawaii WIC vendors.
Q: How difficult is it for vendors to perform the UPC updates every day? A: This is a simple process for vendors, provided they have a dedicated phone or broadband connection. The POS system automatically downloads the new Approved Products List (APL) file; the file feeds into the vendor’s POS system to match-up with the store’s item file.
Q: I have an integrated system POS system at my store. Will I be able to process eWIC transaction? A: Jim Chilcoat, Retail Integration Manager at CDP, and his team has begun to reach out to all Hawaii WIC vendors to assess their existing POS equipment. He will then be able to determine the necessary steps it will require for that equipment to process eWIC transaction.
Q: Do I have to buy a new cash register to take WIC cards? A: No. Stores with systems that are not able to accept integrated eWIC payments can use a stand-beside machine to process eWIC. This is similar to the machine that they already use to process SNAP EBT and/or Credit/Debit transactions.
Q: Will I use the same equipment for eWIC that I use for SNAP EBT? A: If you are currently using a stand-beside terminal to process SNAP EBT, you will not use the same equipment that you currently use to process eWIC. Details and options regarding eWIC stand-beside terminals will be sent to vendors beginning in August 2019.
Q: How will participants know what they can buy with WIC Cards if they don’t have a WIC check with the items listed on it? A: There are many ways for participants to know the benefit balance of the WIC card:
- Shopping List printed at the clinic, combined with receipts
- Balance Inquiry at checkout
- Online Portal
- 1-800 Number
Q: How will eWIC affect the long transaction times that we sometimes have with WIC checks? Sometimes people bring up the wrong thing and we have to help them troubleshoot and get the right one. A: Generally, eWIC will reduce the transaction times for WIC customers. They may still occasionally bring up the wrong items and require help troubleshooting. However, in stores with integrated systems, WIC customers will no longer have to separate their WIC foods from other purchases or by WIC check. With a split tender transaction, you will be able to process the entire order together. Additionally, customers will no longer have to redeem a full check at once. They can purchase a gallon of milk or box of cereal as needed, so they may bring up fewer items at once.
Q: Will there be ID required? If so, with photo? A: With eWIC, no form of photo identification or signature is required. The WIC customer will have a PIN number to identify themselves as an authorized WIC shopper. Anyone with the PIN is authorized. This will eliminate the need for customers to show an ID folder to verify signatures.
WIC TACKS ARCHIVES 2016-2017
WIC Services Branch Vendor Management Unit
Leiopapa A Kamehameha State Office Tower
235 S. Beretania Street, Suite 701
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 586-4776 or Toll Free 1-888-820-6425
Fax (808) 586-8189