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Wayne State aims for cashless dining services

Wayne State University is continuing its move away from cash transactions in campus dining. The university’s initial push toward a cashless dining experience began with the onset of the pandemic and the trend of retail businesses moving away from cash-based transactions.

According to an official university release, businesses under Wayne State’s Dining Services operations, including Starbucks, Midtown Market, Tenders Love and Chicken, Panda Express, and Taco Bell, have all moved away from cash transactions. In addition, Sushi Kabar, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and WSU’s two residential dining halls have also moved to cashless payments.

“One reason was limiting the passing of cash itself, which even before the pandemic was thought of as possibly not 100% sanitary,” says Alex MacKenzie, resident district manager for WSU’s Dining Services. “But then — and somewhat well-publicized — was the difficulty to actually procure cash through the banking and courier services. It was no different for us. So, we also had to shift out of necessity.”

According to MacKenzie, cashless made sense for the Wayne State even prior to the arrival of COVID-19.

“Cash for us, specifically, made up a very small portion of previous transactions. The pandemic just sped up things that were already naturally occurring,” says MacKenzie. “And when we talk about cash replacement on campus, we’re talking about the OneCard, Warrior Dollars, debit and credit cards, and Apple or Google Pay.”

“Also, the increase in mobile, since we use GrubHub on campus, is obviously a cashless transaction as well. Prior to COVID-19, we already knew those payments made up the vast majority of transactions,” adds MacKenzie.

Students have a number of options available to them, including the campus card, where funds can be easily loaded to make purchases around the Wayne State campus.

“While some people have been aware of this for some time, we want to make sure the entire campus community understands why many of our on-campus businesses are not taking cash for payments,” says Tim Michael, associate vice president of WSU’s Division of Student Auxiliary Services. “We also want to raise awareness of other forms of payment, including the easy loading and use of OneCard dollars onto ID cards. OneCard cash deposit machines are located in the Student Center and many residence halls.”

Wayne State joins a host of other higher-ed institutions in the state to make the switch to a cashless retail system. Wayne State would also join neighboring Detroit entertainment venues — the Mike Ilitch School of Business, the Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park and the Fox Theatre — who have all phased out cash payments.

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