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Northwestern redesigns the Wildcard

Move expands use of smart card technology, cycles out old credentials

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jul 29, 2016  ||   ,

Northwestern University has redesigned its Wildcard and will begin issuing the new credentials August 1. The updated smart card reflects Northwestern's brand and visual identity, and brings enhanced security features.

According to a release from Northwestern's WildCard office, the transition will boost campus security and add new conveniences to the university's cardholders. The HID iCLASS cards will be used by students to enter dorms, check books out at the library, access parking lots and enter secure campus facilities.

Four residence halls on campus will be equipped to support the use of smart card access by the time students begin classes in the fall. The cards will also be used for dorm room access. University officials intend to add all campus buildings to the new card access system within a four-year period.

All new incoming 2016-2017 students will be issued the newly redesigned Wildcard, while a majority of existing students, faculty and staff will be able to upgrade to the new design on Nov. 1 at no cost. Cardholders carrying a chip credential will have to pay a $25 upgrade fee or wait until their card expires to obtain the new design.

Existing Wildcards will be transitioned to the new design over time as they expire or need replacement. A number of Wildcards currently in circulation are already equipped with a smart chip but other, older models will require an upgrade in order to benefit from the improved security features.

Those that do not currently have a smart Wildcard are eligible to upgrade to the new credential beginning November 1 and will receive a replacement at no cost by returning the old card. To aid in the recarding efforts, the Wildcard office has requested that existing cardholders eligible for the free upgrade wait until November as it will allow the card office to optimize its issuance services and process the immediate needs of incoming 2016-17 students. Upgrading prior to November 1 is allowed but will carry a $25 processing fee.

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