UCD are set to roll out a new smart card, sale intended to be used to ease access to a number of campus services. Recently introduced in UCD, online the UCard is being launched with the objective to have a common campus card which, according to the UCD website, will “serve the many current and future uses for cards in UCD.”
All staff, new incoming students and students living in on-campus accommodation have been issued a UCard. The cards function in the same way but will be branded differently depending on the user’s position in UCD. Staff, Alumni and Students will receive unique versions, however for students the UCard resembles an ordinary student card. There has not been an official time frame given by the university for when the UCard will be made available to all students.
The webpage states that it will be “rolled out to… students from September 2011.” Lisa, a nineteen year old second year student, stated that she’s “unsure of why a new card is needed or if [she] can use it yet.”
The card is linked to an UCard account in SIS web from where users are able to add money to their card and start using it for payments. The card can be topped up with a credit or debit card with an upper limit of €100. Users are able to see their current balance as well as transactions from the last thirty days. If you think that your UCard has been lost or stolen, there is an option to “hotlist” the card which will ensure that no one can use the funds on the card if it is found. It is the responsibility of the individual student to disable their own card.
The official webpage for the UCard lists a number uses for the Staff/Student UCard. Excluding identification and attendance purposes, it gives access to appropriate UCD Residences as well as the libraries in UCD. It allows users to pay electronically for food in the Main Restaurant, laundry facilities in the Belgrove Soap Bar Laundry (although not the recently renovated facilities in Glenomena) and CopiPrint services on campus. Using your UCard to pay for purchases will, in some outlets, earn you loyalty UPoints which are converted into value for each Euro you spend. Discounts may also be available, for example, prices in the Belgrove Laundry are 10% cheaper when an UCard is used.
Similarities have been drawn between the UCard and the Student Union Loyalty Card which was promoted during the previous academic year. Donal O’Riordan, a second year Arts student, when asked if he had heard about the UCard stated that he had heard of it but it transpired that he was confused between the two and was actually aware of the SU Loyalty Card. The Student Union scheme rewards students who shop at SU Shops around Campus and each euro spent is the equivalent of one point. Unlike the UCard, this Card cannot be used for electronic payments. At time of going to press, the College Tribune had not received an official statement from the UCD Student Union regarding the UCard and how it may affect their Loyalty Card.