The Importance of Accepting eWIC at Your Small Business

why it is important to accept ewic cards
Accepting eWIC cards can play a critical role for small businesses looking to serve their communities, grow their customer base, and increase revenue. eWIC is a program consisting of government-issued, electronic benefit cards focused on serving Women, Infants & Children. It is the modern-day digital equivalent of food stamps for underprivileged and underserved women. The cards are used to purchase eWIC-eligible, healthy, and nutritious food staples like milk, bread, meat, cereal, and baby food. The program also gives women essential and valuable resources for living healthy lives and assistance in putting together weekly and monthly grocery lists. Signing up for the program can differ by state. Your local town, county, and social services agencies may also be able to direct you to the appropriate application forms.

What is eWIC?

eWIC is an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) assistance program, the modern-day equivalent of food stamps. The program’s primary demographics are pregnant and postpartum women, children under the age of 5, and babies. The program provides users with important health, nutritional and educational resources. Users can get all their nutritional needs by presenting their card at checkout.

There are many benefits when using the program. Users will never have to feel left on their own to determine the best way to take advantage of the program’s benefits. Many resources are available to assist users in choosing the best food selections. New York City, for instance, has an eWIC Foods Guide and mobile app. Local and state agencies also provide lists of eligible items and stores that accept eWIC cards. Additional benefits for users include nutritional education and counseling at clinics and screening and referrals to other health, welfare, and social service organizations. To learn more about the program, click here.

How many people use eWIC?

The substantial population of those eligible for eWIC has been using the benefit in increasing numbers. The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service reports that in 2019, nearly 11 million people were eligible for benefits. During an average month, eWIC served 60 percent of those that qualified for assistance. It also operated throughout 1,900 local agencies in 10,000 clinic sites, 50 State health departments, and the District of Columbia.

How Your Small Business Can Benefit from Accepting eWIC

Many local and small business owners are weary of accepting the program. They feel it will increase monthly swipe fees and therefore cause a financial loss rather than bring in extra profit. However, that is not necessarily the case. Doing the right thing and standing by the community will bring your store new loyal consumers and generate positive online reviews and word of mouth. Consider advertising and marketing, both physically and online, that you accept the program. Spread the word at community events and fairs, especially those advertising social services and resources for underserved communities. Furthermore, those who qualify for the program are likely to purchase non-eligible food items during their shopping trips. You will also benefit from non-eWIC users who prefer to shop at stores that provide assistance to their neighbors in need.

If you are considering offering the program at your store, it’s essential to consider your POS (Point of Sale) system provider. Certain POS companies offer free eWIC processing equipment, a flat monthly transaction fee, and unlimited transactions.

By accepting eWIC, you’ll be doing right by your customers and feel a sense of pride in your store. All while generating increased revenue. It is a very valuable program, and there’s every reason to start exploring it today.