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Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

WIC EBT Operating Rules & Technical Implementation Guide

Last Modified: 11/20/2013

The Food and Nutrition Service is pleased to announce release of guidelines for use in development and implementation of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) systems in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The guidelines establish a framework for consistent procedures and implementations by State agencies and their participating retail vendors. The guidelines, which include an Operating Rules document and a Technical Implementation Guide document, have been developed at the request and input of WIC State agencies, food retail vendors, EBT processors, third party processors, payment terminal device manufacturers and cash register software manufacturers.

    WIC EBT Operating Rules  (PDF, 12-21-10)  
    WIC EBT Technical Implementation Guide  (PDF, 09-30-12)   
    Updates to the Technical Implementation Guide  (PDF, 09-30-12)  

The purpose of the guidelines is to enable the incorporation of WIC EBT business practices into automated cash register systems supporting food retail vendors where ever these systems are used within the United States. Adding WIC EBT capability to electronic cash registers is beneficial to the WIC Program by enabling WIC participants to purchase WIC allowed foods using the same process all other grocery store customers are using. Updated electronic cash register systems also eliminate the need for State agencies to separately install EBT equipment that is costly and prone to error.

A major goal of the guidelines is to ensure consistent technical implementations of the ANSI X9.93 standards applicable to WIC EBT messaging and file handling processes utilized by smart card and online WIC EBT systems. The draft guidelines are for use by all WIC State agencies. The Department will be providing further information regarding these guidelines in the future.

For further information, please direct your questions to the following email address: WICEBTTECH@fns.usda.gov. State agencies that want further information should contact their FNS regional office WIC EBT coordinator.