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Emory U.’s Kim Pfeffer outlines card data tips in NACCU blog

In a blog post to the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU) website, Emory University’s Kim Pfeffer outlines some helpful starting points for campuses looking to interpret their campus card data. One of the biggest conversations in our industry today is how to best utilize card data, where to draw boundaries, and which specific data can be most useful.

In Pfeffer’s “Data Points At Your Fingertips” post, readers can get a good grip on the basics of interpreting card system data and some helpful best practices.

“Have you ever gotten an unexpected data request from your vice president or another university leader,” Pfeffer asks. “If this has happened to you, consider tracking some basic data points to be prepared; not only will it save you time and lessen your anxiety, but it will make you look like a rock star!”

Pfeffer first highlights the data point that all campuses should be keeping tabs on: card production figures. This includes the number of active cards in the system on a given date, and is a figure that should be re-checked on a consistent date to better ensure the data is comparable.

Pfeffer suggests running these figures on a monthly basis to be better prepared and organized when the data requests arrive. She identifies some of the data requests that a card office admin might expect, including card swipes for:

  • Vending
  • Bookstore
  • Dining Purchases
  • Meal plans
  • Printing/Copying
  • Library Access
  • Post Office

There’s also basic data considerations for the campus declining balance accounts. These data points could include tracking and identifying trends in card deposits, swipes, spend and carry balance. Be ready for requests like:

  • How many active accounts were carrying a balance in a given month?
  • What was the monthly spend?
  • What was the total declining balance carried in a given month?

Another major area of interest for campus leadership is expenses and revenue. Pfeffer poses some questions you should expect:

  • For expenses, what is your monthly commission and income, if applicable?
  • Do you have income from various fees or charges?
  • What about your campus subsidy or allocated departmental budget?
  • How are you utilizing your funds?

Pfeffer suggests tracking both personnel and non-personnel expenses, as well as how your actual expenses stack up against what was budgeted. “This information will allow you to calculate your Net Income (Revenue minus Expenses) as well as your Profit Margin (Net Income divided by Revenue),” she explains.

Financials aside, she also suggests having access to the basic data from campus partners in security systems and dining services. “These partnerships will be helpful to avoid the possibility of directing campus leaders to a different department,” Pfeffer says.

Kim Pfeffer is a first-term member of the NACCU Board of Directors. She has been serving as the director of the EmoryCard at Emory University since 2018, and has over twenty years of higher education experience. Pfeffer is offering further insight, on request, as well as sharing reporting templates and tracking worksheets.

To see her full write up on campus card data, visit

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