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Card, mobile credential, payment and security

WebVTS from JSA enables online value transfer to campus cards from many vendors

Chris Corum   ||   Jun 23, 2004  ||   ,

WebVTS, JSA Technologies’ flagship product, is a key way to generate revenues for colleges and universities that use it as part of their campus card program. It enables students and parents to revalue card accounts via the web, bringing more dollars into play. And, if students have more to spend, they…well, they spend it.

“We generate enormous returns for schools,” said JSA’s president, David Johnson. “If there’s no way to put money on a card, what good is it?”

There are ways of course. Send a check to the business office or show up during office hours and reload the campus card. But, points out Mr. Johnson, “the traditional office is only open from nine to five. Most people pay their bills after hours or on weekends.”

The name WebVTS is short for Web Value Transfer Service. The product was created six years ago in 1998, when Mr. Johnson helped develop it in a partnership with Harvard University. Ohio State quickly followed, then Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Brigham Young University.

The key component of WebVTS is that it enables parents or students to reload their campus card via the Internet using a credit card.

“This is significantly cheaper than brick and mortar,” says Mr. Johnson. “We have about 60 schools using the program and our clients are enormously pleased.”

He tells the story of one customer who said that when she was hired, her card program was doing (students were spending) about $230,000 a year. “Now, it’s doing $2 million a year in just four years,” said Mr. Johnson.

“The demand is there from both parents and students. Parents want to get money to their students fast,” he added. And they want a cost effective means to get the money there.

Another reason traditionally hindering a student’s use of the card is that they don’t know how much money or credits they have available. WebVTS gives students more control over their accounts. They can see balance and deposit information, access statements for the previous six months, report cards lost or stolen, as well as make deposits using credit cards. All funds deposited are available for use by the student immediately – typically less than 15 seconds after the deposit is made.

The system, said Mr. Johnson, is designed to increase a college’s cash flow and decrease its card office cost of operations. Card usage normally increases following the addition of WebVTS. “Our schools typically see a 30 to 150% increase in card activity, and a significant reduction in operating expense in the first year of implementation,” said Mr. Johnson.

JSA–headquartered in Fort Worth, Tex.–stands for Johnson Sloane and Associates. There is no “Sloane.” Mr. Johnson explains that when he went to incorporate, Johnson and Associates was already taken, so he pulled a name from the phone book, and JSA was born. Its original office was in Washington, D.C., but the company moved to Fort Worth six months ago.

WebVTS integrates seamlessly with some of the major campus card systems– including Blackboard, Diebold, CBORD, and others.

“There’s no hardware involved; our service takes care of everything,” he said.

Ithaca, NY-based CBORD is certainly happy. In a statement released last December, the company announced it is pleased “with the overwhelmingly positive results” it has received from its college and university clients who have installed the JSA WebVTS interface. CBORD worked with JSA on a system that would allow its customers to combine CBORD’s Odyssey PCS (Privileged Control System) Campus Card System with the WebVTS program. Some of its clients using this system include State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia and Stony Brook, Syracuse University, Trinity University, and the University of Massachusetts.

While JSA isn’t the only company with a web deposit program, “JSA has a very good solution developed by people with experience in encryption and secure transactions,” said CBORD’s vice president and co-owner, Bruce Lane.

Certainly, the security of these web transactions is a key component. Mr. Johnson agrees. “Our expertise is in computer and data security,” he notes, touting RSA, “the Microsoft of security,” as a JSA partner.

But they aren’t stopping with card reloading via credit cards. Soon, the company will have enable parents or students to transfer money to the campus card via a checking account. “Enter the account and routing numbers, click go and you’re done,” said Mr. Johnson.

Additional resources:

To visit JSA Technologies on the web, click here.

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