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Re-evaluating revalue: Online vs. metal box

Online is perfect fit for one community college

Heartland client Tompkins Cortland Community College is one campus where online revalue is the best fit. The college has cashed in its one and only value transfer station, instead offering online and in-person revalue.

“We removed our value transfer station from campus and either have deposits made online or in our office,” says Tova Sturmer, director of campus card services at Tompkins Cortland Community College. “Our online deposits account for at least 75% of our total deposits.”

Our campus deposit machine was strictly accepting cash and because of that it didn’t see much use,” explains Sturmer. “It was cost prohibitive to keep the machine up and running, and with a major remodel of the campus in the area that the machine was located, it wasn’t worth the cost to relocate or purchase a newer model.”

Tompkins Cortland uses Heartland’s OneWeb solution for online deposits. There is an annual maintenance fee plus normal transaction processing fees. “For us, the cost for all of that combined is more than the cost of the deposit machine annual maintenance fee, but the added cost of online is well worth the time savings for both myself and our users,” says Sturmer.

As for the value of moving the service online, Sturmer is more than convinced. “The convenience of online deposits has helped tremendously, and having a mobile app that allows reloading on the fly is priceless,” she adds.

A combined approach

While the future of revalue may well leverage a comprehensive online solution, a combined approach that incorporates both online revalue and value transfer stations may provide the best service near term.

“The cash option will be the first to disappear,” says Blackboard’s Pawlak. “If you remove the cash from the situation, you remove some of the risk that’s associated with these machines.”

That being said, he sees a need for these machines for the foreseeable future, five years at least.

CBORD’s Perkins agrees that a combo offering provides a campus with an effective revalue solution. “Campuses are implementing online solutions, but they are not necessarily displacing automated revalue stations in the process,” Perkins says. “They are complementary approaches to delivering services on campus, and both have their place in a full-service environment.”

“The machines facilitate unattended cash deposits not possible online, they dispense visitor cards and they are still popular for on-the-fly deposits for print and library applications,” he says.

Machines facilitate unattended cash deposits not possible online, they dispense visitor cards and they are still popular for on-the-fly deposits for print and library applications

So while the future of campus card account revalue seems destined for the Web, it’s clear that value transfer stations still have some role to play on campus.

“The dynamics of every campus program can vary quite significantly and related costs for third-party credit card processing and cash handling can vary substantially from one campus to another,” says Perkins. “I think what is clear though, and why we have seen such widespread adoption of both approaches, is that they both offer substantial advances in convenience and cost savings compared to facilitating these transactions manually.”

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