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Notre Dame moving to smart cards

Fall 2017 will mark a major change to Notre Dame’s Irish1Card program card program, with all students set to be issued new, smart card IDs.

According to a report from The Observer, Notre Dame will be transitioning from the magstripe-only credentials it is currently issuing to multi-technology credentials that incorporate both magstripe and smart card capabilities.

“Magnetic strips are reliable, but it’s not always the most secure, and you’ll find a lot of schools are moving away from the magnetic strips or are starting to look at smart card technology and how to incorporate that into their programs,” said Daniel Tormey, Irish1Card program director. “This new card will have a smart chip in it, and for students or staff, instead of handing over your card to swipe it, you’re just going to tap it on a reader. The technology there is much more secure than swiping it and just reading that information off.”

Despite the current credentials and card system maintaining reliable levels of service, Irish1Card officials say that because the card system traces its origins back to food services and campus dining, it isn’t as much of a “campus-directed enterprise” as at other peer institutions.

“You really need a system in place that supports the use of mobile tablets for doing attendance and event verification and those sorts of things,” Tormey said in an interview with The Observer. “There’s lots of functionality that exists out there, and you really need a system that’s scalable enough that you can adopt these certain technologies, and that’s been our struggle for the last few years.”

According to Tormey, a majority of the transition will consist of back-end technical advancement and development, rather than noticeable changes for the cardholder community. However, the transition to smart cards will be accompanied by the university’s flex point and Domer Dollar accounts being accessible through CBORD’s GET platform. Students will also likely notice two other primary changes as part of the transition — a new photo submission utility for Irish1Cards, and the introduction of new internal card readers to be used for residential students’ dorm room access.

Replacement costs for the current ID cards currently runs $30, and that fee is set to remain as the transition concludes. Also included in the transition will be a card design vote to be held in early January. Irish1Card officials worked with university marketing communications to develop three card designs, and will open voting up to students, faculty, staff and the general campus community.

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