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USC moves from magnetic stripe to proximity

The University of Southern California is issuing a new USCard to first time and returning students this fall. The university has moved to proximity cards as a first step in transitioning away from magnetic stripe.

As reported by The Daily Trojan, the new cards will be used for entry to both exterior doors of select university buildings and interior bedroom doors in apartments and residence halls. The new USCards will feature both a magnetic stripe and proximity chip, and more than 50 buildings have already been outfitted with either full proximity card readers or multi-technology readers.

Prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the USCard office notified returning students due to live in USC Village — the university’s newest residential and retail facility — that the new proximity card would be necessary so as to avoid added confusion on move-in day.

“If an individual needs a new ID card because the building or facility requires the use of a proximity card, they can change out the current ID card,” said Peter Tom, Student Account Services Director, in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “However, students must bring in their current ID card to initiate the exchange.”

Accompanying the physical card, students can also download the official USCard app, launched in the summer of 2016, where they can add discretionary dollars, check meal plan balances, present a digital copy of their ID or deactivate a lost or stolen card.

Last year, the USCard office issued nearly 20,000 credentials to students, faculty, staff, guests and visiting scholars. According to Tom, the campus could issue as many as 15% more cards this year as a result of the increased use of the new proximity card readers.

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