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Recarding to remove the SSN? Consider capitalizing on the effort by readying for banking functionality

Chris Corum   ||   Jul 26, 2004  ||   ,

Recarding a campus is never easy. It requires a great deal of effort, cost, and disruption. It should be done only when absolutely necessary. When it is necessary, you should make sure that you are capitalizing on the opportunities it presents. This is the time to make changes that require new cards to be issued and/or that can benefit from the face-to-face interaction with your cardholder population. Changes like readying your program for banking functionality.

Typical reasons for recarding have included new system launches, new partner or service offerings, or new card technology additions. But a new trend is pushing campuses to recard at levels never before seen: the elimination of the Social Security Number (SSN) from cards and databases. Spurred on by fears of identity theft and legislative action or pending action to require the removal of the SSN, campuses around the country are undertaking the reissuance project.

But are they getting all they can from the recarding effort? Have they looked into the future a bit to see what other applications and services could piggyback on this very real, immediate need to consider recarding?

Many campuses are opting to replace the SSN with another unique, though non-meaningful nine-digit identification number. Such a change does eliminate the SSN but it opens very few additional doors for the card program.

For many campuses, a reissuance using a 16-digit ISO number could open up the opportunity for banking services via the card. The ISO number is the numbering system used by financial institutions to route payment requests and authorizations through the worldwide financial processing networks. It is the number that can enable a card to work in the point-of-sale and ATM networks.

If your campus is planning a recarding to remove the SSN, the opportunity to migrate to the industry standard ISO number should, at least, be considered. It can open up new services for cardholders and create revenue sharing opportunities for the campus.

Talk to some providers of banking services for campus card programs and explore the opportunities. Consider applying for an ISO number through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Perhaps even issue and RFI or RFP and select a partner. You can always delay actually making the services live for a while but prepare the card with numbering schemes and even bank-related information to prepare for the future and make the most of the recarding the first time around.

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