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TBT: Is the future campus card contactless?

The question facing many institutions when it comes to the campus card is what technology to deploy. Historically the card technology conversation was fairly straightforward, with a vast majority of campuses deploying mag stripe credentials. But the emergence of contactless smart card technology added a new facet to the conversation.

At the time of publication, our “Is the future of campus cards contactless?” piece speculated that as an increasing number of campuses began to switch to contactless smart cards for student IDs and moved more applications to the chip, the mag stripe’s days were ultimately numbered. We’ve learned in the years since that, whether for continuity’s sake or budgetary constraints, the mag stripe still has a place on campus for now.

But as was with contactless smart cards — even as far back as 2010 — a campus can achieve greater security capabilities, increased convenience and reduced wear and tear on cards and readers, giving a campus plenty of reasons to make the switch to contactless.

Hear first from early adopter Santa Clara University, where contactless smart cards and readers were being used to facilitate a range of services including points-of sale, vending, laundry and print/copy stations. The physical access readers were also being converted to accept contactless.

Also hear from Morehead State University where 220 contactless readers were deployed across campus, but only a handful for physical access. At Morehead, the contactless readers proved to be revenue drivers in the form of vending sales. With contactless readers managing purchases across campus, the university was able to offer students a multi-use account, making it easy to spend and manage campus card funds.

What was true for contactless technology in 2010 still stands today. The only difference is that campuses that are considering the jump to contactless credentials today can draw from a greater number of university peers that have already made the switch, gleaning best practices and tips for effective deployment.

Check out our full “Is the future of campus cards contactless?” writeup for more.

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