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Tufts considers consolidation of campus currency cards

Tufts University is considering a consolidation of its JumboCash and Rhino Bucks cashless accounts into a unified system that supports both currencies on a single card.

At present, JumboCash and Rhino Bucks are stored on separate cards issued to students. As reported by Tufts Daily, the consolidation would see the Tufts ID and the Rhino Card combined into a single student ID card. The early stages of the process will require approval for a new credential, purchasing new card stock and determining when the cards would be distributed to students, but the move to a single credential would of course bring the university inline with widely accepted campus card best practices.

“We have a pretty good understanding of what the various steps are that would be required to combine IDs, which actually means issuing a different kind of ID, and typically we would try to phase that in over several years and each new class matriculates,” said Patti Klos, director of Dining and Business Services at Tufts. “Ideally, we could work on this in the coming semester and the summer to be ready for next fall.”

The JumboCash and Rhino Bucks systems exist on the university’s Medford/Somerville and Fenway campuses, respectively. JumboCash can be used via the Tufts ID to pay for meals, laundry, school supplies, printing, and more. JumboCash is used as a debit card at locations across all four Tufts campuses.

Rhino Bucks, however, require students to carry a separate card issued to students studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston. SMFA students use the Rhino Card as a prepaid spending account with the Rhino Bucks program. The Rhino Card is only used to make purchases with Rhino Bucks, and there is currently no method for students to transfer Rhino Bucks to JumboCash or vice versa.

“Both programs wanted the ability to have a campus debit card that was a convenient way to access funds on your Tufts ID, which you’re really expected to carry with you at all times,” Klos added. “It’s convenient to have this program, but we’re in this place where because the two schools have merged, can we successfully merge those two cards together?”

In addition to making things more convenient in the form of one credential instead of two, Klos believes that the merging of the two currencies on a single ID card could be a way to increase fluidity between the Tufts campuses.

“I think in many ways because the SMFA is part of the university, and more importantly part of the School of Arts and Sciences, the more that we can make moving between those worlds as seamless as possible is highly desirable, giving everyone the same access to the same kinds of things in one ID card.”

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