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Retailer WIC EBT Workgroup Meetings

Meeting Minutes/Notes

VA WIC EBT Relationship

The Virginia Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Food Programs is currently involved in a United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service initiative to develop a WIC State Agency Model (SAM) information system. The Crossroads SAM system will support all aspects of the WIC Program including local agency participant services, caseload management and appointment scheduling as well as State agency retailer, operations and financial management.

The Crossroads SAM system will support food benefit issuance and is required by USDA to be Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ready. As an EBT ready system, Crossroads includes all functionality required to interface with an EBT system that would support electronic food benefit issuance.

In Virginia, the Crossroads SAM system will be implemented as fully EBT functional. It will be supported by the concurrent development of WIC EBT, an EBT system that includes the use of electronic food prescription. The prescription specifies particular food items, quantities of the food items that can be purchased, the time period within which the food items must be purchased, and the maximum value associated with the food item purchases. The WIC EBT system is the system responsible for the issuance, redemption, payment, and reconciliation of food benefits prescribed by the Crossroads system.

For retailers, the interaction between the Crossroads system and the WIC EBT system is of particular interest. WIC EBT provides for a more streamlined POS transaction, as on average a WIC EBT transaction takes only 1.5 minutes to complete, compared with over 4 minutes for most paper WIC transactions. Crossroads communicates pricing information, approved product UPCs, and benefit data to the WIC EBT system through daily batch file transfers. Additionally, in a WIC EBT environment, Crossroads communicates with the WIC EBT system to issue the Approved Product List (APL), which is based on WIC approved food UPCs. UPCs from products purchased by WIC participants are then compared to the APL, and then approved or rejected by the system. Conversely, at the end of every day, the WIC EBT system provides Crossroads with a batch file, (this file is termed the "Daily Interface Batch File") so that Crossroads may validate the Benefit transactions from which it has records and match the data in this file. This data becomes the redemption detail data which is used to then issue payment to retailers. Once the data is verified, Crossroads then issues payments through a Third Party Processor to retailers, in most cases the retailer payments are received within 48 hours of purchase.

Retailers will benefit from improved transaction controls, faster in-lane service, and daily payment settlement. It is the hope of the Commonwealth that through Crossroads and WIC EBT, our participants will shop more often, redeem more benefits, and become loyal customers at our authorized retail stores.


Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) development has been a key long-term goal of The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), The WIC Program, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under WIC EBT, an electronic system replaces paper checks or vouchers with a card that can be used at the Point of Sale (POS). An EBT based benefits solution is superior to the traditional paper based solution in a number of different ways, which will be discussed below. Specific dates for EBT roll out have not yet been determined as of yet. The Commonwealth will be in contact with retailers moving forward to advise them of any important dates of note.

In a WIC EBT environment, the WIC EBT transaction is approved or rejected based on the Commonwealth's Approved Product List, (APL) which is downloaded to the retailer POS daily. Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are then compared to the APL for approval.

Our retailers will benefit from improved transaction controls, faster in-lane service, and daily payment settlement. In a WIC EBT environment, the cashier is no longer responsible for policing the WIC transaction. The APL reflects all approved products, and takes the decision out of the cashier's hands. WIC EBT provides a more streamlined POS transaction, as on average a WIC EBT transaction takes only 1.5 minutes to complete; compared with over 4 minutes for most paper WIC transactions. Also, WIC EBT transactions are settled daily, so the retailer is often reimbursed the next business day. Additionally, maximum price adjustments are made at the time of the transaction, so the retailer knows the reimbursement amount immediately and can reconcile all WIC EBT transactions. In addition to direct retailer benefits, WIC EBT facilitates a better customer service experience for WIC participants through benefit redemption flexibility. Participants will not have to shop for the entire contents of a Food Instrument all at one time, as WIC EBT will allow for multiple visits to the retailer to purchase different benefits on the same prescription. It is the hope of the Commonwealth that through WIC EBT, our participants will shop more often, redeem more benefits, and become loyal customers at our authorized retail stores.


Jerry Owens
Xerox Program Manager of State Enterprise Solutions

Phone - (580) 399-2619
Fax - (405) 947-2990
Email - jerry.owens2@xerox.com

 

 

UPC Update Request Form
UPC Update Request Instructions

Interested parties are encouraged to submit UPC update requests for items in the current WIC Approved Food List. Two methods are available for the submitter’s convenience. One method is the above form, which can be emailed or mailed to the State WIC Office. Another method is the Approved Product List (APL) Central application, which allows retailers and manufacturers to submit multiple items more quickly.

Both methods require label photo submissions.

Please be aware that a follow-up email to wic_retailer@vdh.virginia.gov is required immediately upon APL Central submission. Requests cannot be accurately and efficiently processed without a product label photo that includes the UPC and list of ingredients at a minimum.

Again, these methods are to be used in conjunction with the current WIC Approved Food List

For questions about the submission process or to sign up for an APL Central account, please contact Jessica Owen Day at jessica.owen.day@vdh.virginia.gov or 804-864-7835 and not to be used to recommend new, not currently approved foods.


General FAQ's

  • What is WIC EBT and how does it work?
    WIC EBT stands for Woman, Infants and Children Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC).   The eWIC program is a replacement of the current paper food instruments and cash value vouchers.  eWIC takes advantage of providing eligible participants with a magnetic stripe card that is similar to the SNAP (food stamps) card.  
  • What are my options for accepting eWIC?
    An authorized WIC store must use a state provided stand beside terminal or an integrated Point of Sale (POS) system.
  • What are the benefits for a retailer accepting eWIC?
    The retailer benefits in the following ways:
    • Cashier errors in handling paper food instruments are eliminated, i.e. purchasing unapproved products.
    • Cashier errors in allowing more than the quantity prescribed is eliminated.
    • Faster in-lane transactions.
    • Payments are received faster and are received electronically.
    • Retailers can streamline the checkout process by integration of eWIC into their Point of Sale (POS) system.
  • If the Virginia WIC EBT processing system operated by Xerox, Inc., the State's EBT Processor, goes down, will State-supported help lines be available?
    The primary point of contact for 24/7 support will be the Virginia EBT Processor, Xerox, Inc., with the WIC Program's Vendor Liaisons acting as a secondary point of contact in the event of an escalation of downtime. Staff email addresses are typically cited in all written communications sent out to stores.
  • Will transactions be able to take place at a self-checkout lane?
    Self check-out lanes are permitted at the option of the WIC State Agency and that State Agencies may choose to test and certify self-checkout separately from other point-of-sale systems. Virginia plans to permit retailers to support self-checkout should they choose; however, self-checkout systems will be certified separately to verify transaction controls and accurate processing.
  • Will the NTE price be sent in the transaction, or will retailers get any notification of NTE amounts?
    When any transaction is processed, the maximum price for each UPC is compared to the store price entered in the transaction. The settled or approved price is never to be above the maximum price established by the Commonwealth. If the store price is lower than the maximum price, then the retailer is approved for the store price entered. If the maximum price is paid, the receipt printed by the POS terminal denotes the item with an identifying notation. The price of the WIC benefits redeemed will also be reflected in the WIC total amount found on the customer receipt. If the maximum price has been paid, this total will be different than the total price of the items requested, which will be found below the WIC total amount. 

FAQ’s on Integration

  • What does it mean to integrate eWIC into my POS?
    An Integrated POS system is a POS system that can process eWIC Transactions as well as other forms of payment.  Integrated POS systems do not require a second scan of WIC items presented for purchase, all purchases are transacted within the Retailers POS system with no need for a stand beside device.
  • Do stores have to integrate?
    Integration is not required. In the event that a store is unable to integrate or declines to integrate, Xerox, Inc. will provide a stand-beside POS terminal (free of charge) on which to process eWIC transactions.
  • What are my options for connectivity from the POS to the eWIC system?
    A retailer may choose to connect to an existing Third Party Processor that is certified or connect directly to the eWIC system.   While there are upfront costs, by connecting directly to the eWIC system, the retailer will eliminate any service charges that the Third Party Processor may charge as part of processing eWIC transactions.
  • What are Third Party Processors?
    Third Party Processors, generally referred to as TPPs, contract with retailers to process all of their credit, debit, EBT, and other transactions. They charge a per transaction fee for this service and provide other “value-added services, i.e., consolidated payment and reporting.
  • How do I find out if my POS software is certified for integration?
    The following is a list of certified retailers, Third Party Processors, cash register systems and POS software that are eWIC certified.
Retailer/System Provider

Third Party Processor

POS Software

Wal-Mart

Firstdata

Wal-Mart POS

StoreNext

5/3

ScanMaster V2

StoreNext

Firstdata

ISS45 V7 and V8

Meijer Stores

Direct Connect

Meijer POS

Kroger

Vantiv

IBM SurePOS ACE

Save-a-Lot

First Data

ISS45

Base IBM Platform

First Data

IBM SurePOS ACE

Base IBM Platform

5/3

IBM SurePOS ACE

Retalix

First Data

ISS45 V7 and V8

Retalix

5/3

ISS45 V7 and V8

FAQ’s on Certification

  • What happens during a certification?
    In order to ensure that the POS software/hardware is integrated and all eWIC operating rules are followed, a certification is scheduled to validate that the system is operating as expected.  During the certification process, a specific test script of transactions is performed at the POS and validated by a team of quality assurance analysts.
  • How long does the certification process take?
    No more than a week in most cases.
  • Who from the store will need to be involved in the certification process?
    Generally, the store’s ECR service provider or Value Added Reseller (VAR) is the primary resource used for certifications and the stores are not involved until the VAR installs the functionality in the store ECR system. Larger chains with internal IT department will often be involved directly.
  • Do I have to go through the certification process if I use a stand-beside POS?
    No, the stand-beside device is an established and tested method of retailer enablement, so it simply requires installation. The retailer is responsible for power and connectivity to the lane and Xerox, Inc. installs the devices and provides training.
  • Who do I contact to find out more about certification and how to get started?
    Please contact Jerry Owens at Jerry.Owens2@Xerox.com

Quick Reference Guide for Verifone VX 570 Terminal

Click here to download the Quick Reference Guide for Verifone VX 570 Terminal document.


Last Updated: 07-25-2014

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