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Choosing Between Separate versus Integrated WIC Payment Solutions

Accepting EBT, such as WIC, is a simple way to increase revenue and provide better customer service. Learn about the different EBT POS options and the associated costs.

Electronic benefit transfer (EBT) is the electronic system through which state agencies issue benefits via a magnetic payment card. As we move closer to the October 2020 deadline for implementation of EBT systems, it’s more important than ever that small merchants consider how to accept these types of payments.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandated that state agencies offering Women, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits must implement an EBT system by October 1 of next year. While WIC-authorized farmer’s markets are exempt from this requirement, other small merchants who are WIC-authorized vendors may need to take this into account. As this rollout occurs, participating citizens will enjoy improvements to the system, including instant receipt of WIC EBT cards and real-time issuance of benefits.

Merchants that qualify to accept EBT benefits must maintain pace with these changes – and other changes that will be introduced in the future – and ensure that they have the ability to process EBT payments. There are several options for EBT acceptance, though some are costlier than others.

Separate EBT POS Systems

Purchasing and implementing a separate EBT POS system that layers on top of an existing POS system for all other payment options is one option. Here’s the thing—EBT payments are complex and costly for merchants to accept. Each state has specific record-keeping requirements that are often complex and difficult to maintain. This can cut into check-out efficiency, especially where multiple card readers are required.

What’s more, these additional card readers, tools, and software rack up unnecessary costs for the merchant. Using an ad hoc process rather than a streamlined solution increases errors, the potential for fraud, and risks associated with merchant compliance. The costs associated with separate EBT POS systems also present a compelling case against this option.

Hard Costs

It’s easy to see how hard costs add up when using multiple POS systems to accommodate traditional tender types and EBT. Separate POS hardware and software means at least double the cost. Additionally, it takes time and staff to understand how to run multiple POS systems and handle accounting. With limited resources, smaller merchants may find that they have to invest extra to keep everyone up-to-speed on multiple systems.

Opportunity Costs

While hard costs may be quantifiable, there are also opportunity costs associated with leveraging multiple POS systems to accommodate EBT payments. The checkout process slows, sales at checkout may not be maximized due to lost counter space, and more friction hurts the customer experience. It also adds inconvenience for staff members, who must juggle multiple systems while trying to properly accommodate customers. These decreased efficiencies can negatively impact the bottom line.

Integrated EBT POS Systems

Another option is to replace existing legacy systems with an integrated system that easily accepts all payment forms. This is an especially appealing option for smaller merchants that accept WIC. Using an all-in-one mobile reader can replace clunky POS terminals and eliminate the need for additional software requirements.

TotilPay, formerly known as Mobile Market+, is an example of a streamlined, integrated solution that automatically accepts any combination of tender including credit, debit, and WIC cards as well as other EBT such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards, enabling merchants to process all types of transactions seamlessly. Rather than layering an additional solution on top of a legacy POS terminal, Mobile Market+ enables merchants to save valuable counter space and automate inventory and record keeping. This is the ideal solution for merchants who want to:

  • Reclaim counter space and streamline the checkout process
  • Future-proof their ability to accept EBT
  • Streamline all payment transactions, including EBT, debit, credit, and mobile
  • Stop worrying about the complexities of EBT and gain access to a support team that can manage all aspects

TotilPay is the only multi-tender system that accepts EBT and all other payment forms. It’s also the fastest, most affordable and compliant way to process WIC. Merchants that utilize it get access to all the features and benefits of a great POS solution while ensuring that EBT acceptance is a smooth process.

Cost Savings

Choosing an integrated solution like TotilPay enables merchants to save costs on POS hardware and software while processing EBT, debit and credit cards. The user-friendly software works with most existing terminals, smartphones and tablets and comes in an affordable product bundle.

Beyond savings on hard costs, merchants enjoy intuitive, easy-to-learn register and POS software that streamlines the multi-tender checkout process. Checkout efficiency is important; faster checkout means happy customers and happy customers are loyal customers. The multi-tender capabilities of TotilPay make it an ideal POS solution that minimizes friction and maximizes sales.

If you qualify to accept WIC or other EBT payments, you will want to consider your options carefully. Asses the capacity of your convenience store or farmer’s market and make the best decision. Given the benefits listed above, choosing an integrated solution to replace your existing POS solution is likely your best bet.