Electronic payments continue to spread around the world, with both public and private entities getting into electronic payment processing. One of the latest developments is Wisconsin's Women Infants and Children nutrition program. The WIC program will be fully switching to electronic payments soon, according to Wisconsin Radio Network.

Previously, participants in the WIC program had to use special voucher checks and separate their food at the cash register. This made checkout times longer and the payment processes cumbersome. The new electronic payments won't necessarily save the WIC program money, but they should speed up the process for program users.

"The transaction goes just much quicker at the cash register," Wisconsin WIC Program Director Patti Hauser told Wisconsin Radio Network. "The family doesn't need to sort their WIC foods from their other foods,"

Before this update, the same process had been used since the 1970s. The National WIC Association has supported the switch to electronic payments for a few years, according to ISTHMUS, a Madison, Wisconsin-based newspaper. Although the national organization supported the electronic efforts and other states had already made the switch, the Wisconsin government didn't approve the money to make the switch until this year. The state will continue phasing in the cards that will be used by WIC participants over the next few months. 

Continued spread of electronic payments
The announcement of the WIC program's switch to electronic payments is part of a global trend, as evidenced by the large number of institutions and businesses either adding or switching fully to electronic or online payments around the world. China has seen electronic payments make their way into rural areas of the country, spurring a small boom in rural ecommerce, and the Tanzanian Port Authority recent switched from paper invoices to an electronic payment format. This trend will likely continue as technology become more easily accessible throughout the world.