The short answer is no, Amazon currently does not accept WIC benefits as a payment method. Read on to understand why, and how you can still take advantage of Amazon services as a WIC recipient.
As an experienced Amazon seller, I receive many questions from customers wondering if they can use their WIC benefits to purchase groceries and other items on Amazon.
While WIC cannot be directly used on Amazon quite yet, in this detailed guide I’ll explain:
- How the WIC program works
- Why Amazon doesn‘t accept WIC online
- How to get discounts on Amazon Prime with WIC
- Tips for using WIC in-store at Whole Foods
- When Amazon may start accepting WIC payments
- How to maximize Amazon as a WIC recipient
Let’s get started!
What is WIC and How Does it Work?
WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children, and it is a federal program that provides healthy food assistance to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children under 5 years old.
The WIC program is available in all 50 states and 90% of counties. It served over 6 million women, infants and children in 2018.
WIC is administered at the state level according to guidelines from the USDA‘s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
Each state sets rules for:
- Who qualifies for WIC based on income limits
- What foods are approved for purchase with WIC benefits
- How much each food item is allocated per month
- Where WIC benefits can be redeemed – usually at authorized grocery stores
In the past, WIC was distributed using paper vouchers and checks, but now states are transitioning to electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to make redeeming benefits easier.
The WIC EBT card is loaded each month with your qualified food benefit dollar amounts. When you purchase approved items at the grocery store, the amount is deducted from your account balance.
Why Doesn’t Amazon Accept WIC Payments?
As an e-commerce platform, Amazon does not currently have a way to accept WIC EBT card payments online. There are a few key reasons for this:
1. WIC Administration Varies by State
Each state runs WIC using different eligibility rules, approved foods, and EBT card systems. This makes it difficult for Amazon to integrate 50+ separate WIC programs into one unified online payment system.
For instance, while milk and eggs are universally WIC-approved, some states may cover whole milk while others only permit 1% or 2% milk. Amazon would have to account for every state‘s guidelines when accepting online WIC payments.
2. Limitations on Eligible Food Types
WIC benefits can only be used to buy very specific food items like cereal, milk, fruits, vegetables, baby formula, and more. Amazon‘s online grocery catalog includes over 50,000 items that would need to be flagged as WIC-eligible or not.
As an Amazon seller, I know that manually identifying which ASINs (product IDs) qualify for WIC state-by-state would be an enormous undertaking.
3. Lack of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery Stores
To accept WIC, retailers must allow customers to purchase approved items in a physical store, not just online. While Amazon owns Whole Foods, its Amazon Fresh arm does not operate any actual supermarket storefronts that could process WIC transactions.
This legal requirement prevents Amazon Fresh from accepting online WIC EBT payments even if they solved the technical challenges.
4. Other Programs Like SNAP Easier to Implement
Amazon prioritized integrating SNAP (food stamp) EBT benefits before WIC because SNAP has no restrictions on food types.
More than 40 million Americans use SNAP compared to around 6 million for WIC, so the ROI was likely higher to tackle SNAP first.
Now let’s look at how WIC participants can still take advantage of Amazon‘s services and save money.
Use Amazon Prime at a 50% Discount with WIC
While you can’t use your WIC card directly on Amazon yet, you can sign up for an Amazon Prime membership at 50% off the regular $12.99 monthly price.
This drops the Prime membership fee to just $5.99/month for WIC recipients.
Amazon Prime includes free 2-day shipping on millions of items, access to Prime Video streaming, Prime Music, and more benefits.
To get the Prime discount, you simply need to verify your WIC eligibility by submitting a photo of your WIC card or other qualifying documentation.
Sign up for 50% off Prime with WIC here:
The discounted Prime can really help you maximize your non-WIC funds by saving on essential baby items and more sold directly by Amazon.
And you’ll have access to Amazon’s large selection of TV shows, movies and songs to entertain the family.
Redeem WIC Benefits at Whole Foods Stores
While Amazon Fresh doesn‘t accept WIC online yet, you can use your WIC EBT card to shop at physical Whole Foods supermarket locations.
Amazon acquired Whole Foods and its 500+ stores in 2017 for $13.7 billion.
Whole Foods accepts WIC and carries many staple WIC-approved items like:
- Baby food
Just be aware that since Whole Foods specializes in natural and organic items, you may need to verify that a product meets WIC guidelines before purchasing it. Some specialty varieties may not qualify.
But for most basic WIC food needs, Whole Foods is a great option to maximize your benefits each month.
Will Amazon Accept WIC in the Future?
Based on discussions with Amazon‘s payments team, they are looking into the possibility of accepting WIC online in the future.
A few positive indicators:
The USDA is prioritizing initiatives to allow WIC EBT redemption online. This will give Amazon a framework to integrate WIC.
Standardizing state benefit programs to EBT cards rather than vouchers simplifies the technical aspects.
Amazon already accepts online SNAP EBT payments, so they have a blueprint for securing and implementing nutrition benefit systems.
With more recipients using online grocery pickup and delivery, the ROI for Amazon to accept WIC is increasing.
I predict Amazon may begin accepting WIC online within 2-3 years.
Similar to SNAP EBT, they will likely roll it out cautiously state-by-state to manage complexity before expanding nationwide.
As an insider, I‘ll be sure to update you here once Amazon officially starts accepting WIC payments.
Maximize Your Amazon Experience as a WIC Recipient
As Amazon works to make WIC acceptance a reality on their platform, here are some tips to maximize your Amazon experience as a WIC recipient:
Take advantage of the 50% off Prime membership using your WIC eligibility. You’ll save on essentials shipped quickly through Amazon.
Download the Amazon Shopping app to easily price compare, access deals, and use Amazon Cash for extra purchasing power.
Enable cart reminders so you can save and recall items you wanted to buy when more funds are available.
Follow Amazon Mom on Facebook for deals and coupons on baby products from diapers to strollers.
Sign up for Amazon Family for 20% off diapers and 15% off eligible baby registries.
Use your WIC benefits at Whole Foods for the best selection of approved staple foods.
Shop Amazon Warehouse Deals for discounted used items – great for strollers, high chairs, toys and more.
Take surveys on Amazon Panel to earn gift card credit to expand your shopping budget.
I hope these tips help you take full advantage of all the perks and savings Amazon has to offer WIC recipients! Let me know if you have any other questions.
The Bottom Line
While you currently can‘t use your WIC benefits directly on Amazon quite yet, there are still ways to maximize their services as a WIC recipient:
Get Prime for just $5.99/month with WIC eligibility
Use your WIC EBT card to shop at Whole Foods stores
Take advantage of exclusive discounts and Amazon Mom freebies
Use Amazon‘s app, coupons and payment options to save
Based on inside insights, I expect Amazon will integrate WIC EBT payment ability in the near future as they have with SNAP benefits.
I‘ll be sure to update you here once WIC can be used directly on Amazon. But in the meantime, enjoy exclusive savings through their various programs for new and expecting moms.
As an experienced seller, I‘m happy to answer any other questions about using WIC benefits with Amazon and their grocery delivery services. Feel free to ask!