Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) System 

EBT: Overview | Arkansas WIC EBT  | eWIC Vendor | eWIC Meetings | FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a smart card? -  A smart card is what the WIC benefits will be loaded onto for the participant to use at the grocery store.  Smart cards can hold up to 8 household members and all their benefits.  Smart cards will be distributed at WIC clinics.
  • Will the SNAP benefits and WIC benefits be on the same card? - The smart card for the WIC program will be separate from the EBT card for the SNAP program.
  • Will there be a training plan for WIC participants? - The WIC State Office is currently working on a training plan for participants.  Keep watching for updates!
  • Will there be a training plan for WIC staff? - The WIC State Office is currently working on a training plan for WIC staff.  Keep watching for updates!
  • Where will the pilot program be? - The pilot program will be located in the southwest region of Arkansas, namely Texarkana.  The Miller County Health Unit will be the first health unit to have WIC EBT in the state.
  • When will EBT rollout to other counties? - Currently, EBT roll out is expected to begin sometime in 2014.  Only a few counties will roll out at one time, and rollout is expected to continue through 2015.
  • Will the participants still go to the grocery store to get their benefits? - All participants will still have to go to an Arkansas WIC authorized retailer in order to purchase their WIC items. 
  • Will vendors accept checks and EBT cards? - With the transition to EBT, Vendors will accept both EBT cards and checks.
  • What happens if a participant loses their card? - If a participant loses their smart card, it will be placed on the Hot Card List, and another one will be ordered.  It may take 3-5 days for a replacement card to be issued.
  • Will they be able to use their smart card at the Farmer’s Market? - No.  Participants will still receive Farmer’s Market checks which can be used at specified vendors at local Farmer’s Markets.
  • How will the EBT smart card work at the store? - The process will be very similar to using a debit/credit card.  Participants will shop for their WIC approved items as usual.  At checkout, the smart card will be inserted into the reader where WIC approved items will be deducted from the balance of the benefit package on the card.  Unused benefits will remain on the card and can be used at a later time in the given month until they expire. 
  • How will benefits be loaded onto a smart card? - Benefits will be loaded onto a smart card at WIC clinics.  Clerks, CPAs, and Nutrition staff will have access to a computer system that will allow benefits to be uploaded onto the card.  The card will be put into a pin pad where the participant will choose a PIN number.   The PIN number is chosen by the participant for security purposes and to ensure benefits are only used by them.  The benefits will then be loaded onto the card and once this is complete, a receipt with the food balance information on it and the smart card will be provided to the WIC participant.  The WIC participant is able to immediately shop at a WIC authorized retailer. 
  • Will the smart card be able to have three months’ worth of benefits loaded onto it? - Yes, the smart card will have the ability to have the ability to contain 3 months’ worth of benefits.  Unused benefits will expire in the same way as they do with the current check system.  Participants will still have to return to the WIC clinic to receive additional benefits and nutrition education.