New All Card will work as debit card

Nicole Jones

Northern Kentucky University’s All Card Office is giving the entire student body newly-designed All Cards after reaching an agreement with U.S. Bank, in which the All Cards can function as debit cards also.

Associate Director of the All Card Office Linda Wright said that new cards will function in all the same ways as the old, but with some new benefits. The reason for the switch, however, was a legal symbol which is required to be on all debit cards. “In order to do that, there is a legal requirement to have the little ‘end plus inter-league icon’ on the back of the card. So it was a legal requirement that these be added to the card, and we took the opportunity then to do a card redesign and re-card everybody,” Wright said.

Wright also said the new design for the cards is much more contemporary than the old card which the University has used since 1995. “(I) think it better reflects the way our university has changed,” she said. “At the beginning it was a very utilitarian, plain card, which was fine for the beginning program, but the program has grown a lot, so this just reflects the upgrade. The students, and the faculty and staff, really seem to like the new design. I haven’t heard anyone say the dislike it, and we’ve had it out front for a while.”

Wright said that, because the new card also serves as a debit card, it will alleviate students from carrying many separate cards, which will be especially handy for on-campus students from outside the area. “A lot of parents like it for students who are here from out of town because then they can deposit money into their account, and students that live on campus can just have one card,” she said.

The newly-designed cards will be distributed at the second floor lobby of the University Center between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3 for students with a last names that begin with letters A through M, and between Dec. 6 through Dec. 10 for students whose last names begins with N through Z. The pickup times are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.; Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 4, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

“We have identified about 40 students who take Saturday only classes, so we wanted to make sure we were available for them, and we’ve sent e-mails out to all the students to let them know,” Wright said.

Students, however, will not take a new picture to go with their new card. “If we retook all the photos it would be another huge project, it’s big enough trying to re-card everybody as it is were, so we just made a decision to take what we had and go with it.”

Wright said the reason they didn’t take the new picture is because, with 15,000 new cards to be made, they were forced to hire a separate company to print them. The All Card office sent the data files of NKU student’s pictures, names and ISO numbers to a production company in Florida.

Wright said that the transition from old card to new card should be pretty smooth. “We are doing a lot of testing as we go along, they are producing them now, but I have a lot of samples cards and we’ve done a lot of testing to make sure they work in all the applications,” Wright said. “We are pretty confident that it should be fine. Because these cards do what the old cards did, it should be seamless. If someone can’t get here right away and they come here later in December during exam week or whatever, their old card will still work. We wanted to limit any disruption that it would cause to students.”

Wright said the office hopes to turn all the old cards off on Dec. 31, but it really depends on how many students pick up their new cards. “If it looks like a lot of students haven’t picked up their cards, we may extend it into next semester, but we are hoping to have as many of gold cards out of circulation as possible, just to make it a cleaner break,” she said.

Students who pick up their new All Card will have the option of keeping their old card or having it shredded in the office. “If they have vending money on that vending stripe, its actually on the card, and because we are giving out so many at a time we don’t want to take the time to transfer the money form the old to the new card; so the option is they can use the money that’s on the gold card until it’s gone, or, any time its convenient, they can come to our office and we will switch it from the old one to the new one,” Wright said.

The All Card Office, which is funded by the university’s general fund, will keep its Web site updated weekly to keep up with the new developments of the card. “The new thing we’ve added is the bookstore downstairs – you can use declining balance for that,” Wright said. “There is a discount in food service for declining balance, but the bookstore is more of a convenience thing.”

The All Card Office hopes to continue growing and adding new functions to the program. “What were are hoping to do, probably for next fall, is allow students, if they have financial aid, to allow that to go straight to their U.S. Bank checking account instead of cutting them a check,” Wright said. “It will save them time; they won’t have to wait for a check to be cut and mailed to them.”

Wright said they are also in the process of creating a Web interface which will allow students to deposit money into declining balance over the internet. “We’re ready to go with it, we’ve talked to the vendor, we’ve gone through the technology department, we’re ready to go, but it is very expensive,” Wright said. “That’s the thing we are trying to figure out, how we are going to pay for it. If we can figure out a way to do that, we will be able to implement it sooner. That’s the thing, when we expand the program there is an expense to it.”

Students have mixed reactions to the new card. Although the incoming freshmen of 2005 may be excited about the card’s new features, older students have a more apathetic view.

Commuting freshman Danny Cleves said, “I have never used my card before and I probably won’t use now that they are changing it anyway. If it’s not imposed upon me I’m not going to pick up a new card because I don’t ever use anything the card’s used for.”

However, for students who reside at NKU, the situation is different because they use the card everyday. Dan Eisenman, a sophomore who lives on campus said, “I personally won’t use that, so its not really worth the effort to go get the new card when its something that won’t even effect me; though I use my card every day for food, the C-store and the gym.”