Ever want to consolidate the number of credit cards, debit cards, and ID’s you have on hand as a foreign student? Now, many colleges and universities are offering another payment method called the Smart Card. Smart Cards for students are being made available through many higher learning institutions and are often incorporated with student’s school ID or room key card, so that students can make purchases, show ID, and gain entrance with one card in hand. These cards are supplied by many colleges and are used to purchase many goods and services on campus or nearby vendors.
Smart cards for students work differently than a credit card or a debit card. Instead, smart cards do not use a magnetic stripe to store information, but rather an integrated computer chip or microprocessor. When the chip is inserted into a vending machine or card on the same network, information stored on the chip is transmitted to the vendor. To put money onto a smart card, the student must insert the card into a payment station, and then insert bills into the machine. Many smart card services have websites which allow the student or the student’s family to put money onto the card online.
These cards are most often used for laundry facilities, vending machines, and small shops on campus. The school’s benefit of offering these smart cards is that they can limit their services for their students alone. The benefit of using the smart cards for students is that they no longer have to carry coins or cash around to buy small items or use services on their campus.
Additionally, local shops or restaurants often accept payment from university smart cards, allowing students the ability to purchase food or school supplies with their smart card. However, most shops outside of the immediate neighborhood of a university’s campus do not accept smart cards. To buy food or other items at stores that do not accept smart cards, a student will need another payment method at their disposal.