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College ID Cards Doubling as Debit Cards

Something seems a little fishy here. Several large universities have deals with financial institutions to convert student ID cards into debit cards. The colleges can make up to $1 million each year from these deals but the cards come with high fees and surcharges, and students often aren't aware of these costly penalties. The arrangement makes money for the banks and the colleges, but students are paying for the convenience of having two cards in one.

Because the universities are promoting something that isn't in the best interest for students, protests have broken out surrounding the issue and it's gotten the attention of government officials. Students should always look around for the best deals and ask questions when something seems too good to be true. The best way to protect yourself is to compare different cards and look out for your own best interests.


Join The Conversation
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
Here at U of I, our ID's or "Icards" can double as TCF bank cards if we choose to set up an account with TCF. They even bribed us with free sweatshirts on the day of registration. I was perfectly satisfied with Chase, so I didn't bother.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
I was telling my friend this because we had just been talking about it this weekend. At my college, our ID cards can also have a separate checking(debit) account, if we request it. But my friend and I don't use the school's accounts. My mom set me up with a debit from our local credit union and my dad got me a debit from Chase, because they have the most ATMs in NYC. I had my parents(esp. my mom) preach to me about using money wisely for my entire life and I always thought that that was good advice, to be perfectly honest. I just don't like the idea of my school having soooo much personal info on me. It really makes me nervous, and I just prefer to have the cards that my parents got me.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Yeah as already posted a lot of schools already use ID cards as currency at local business. It's not linked to a bank or anything, just linked to your college account and you or your parents can add money to it.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I think this is a great option but you should still have to sign the paperwork about the account and actually see the fees. This makes it more convenient and it's harder to use someone else's card when there is a photo on the front. If a college student can't control their own finances they're going to be in a lot of trouble after they graduate. The school isn't facilitating the student in creating debt because they can easily get these cards at the bank if they're over 18. At some point kids need to learn to spend wisely. I do think that they money the school makes from this deal should go to help the students somehow.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
The only thing I see wrong with it is that the school hasn't announced (unless I didn't see it) how they plan to use the money they get from this. If it were to go toward lowering tuition or bettering the school and school programs, then it would be nothing but a good thing. Other than that, I'm failing to see how this added convenience is a problem for the students. The student ID debit card is linked to an account that they have total control of. I think the argument that college students are stupid when it comes to controlling their finances, and that the school is (literally) banking on that, is presumptuous and is more indicative of the opposing students' own lack of financial maturity than the student body as a whole.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that it must say something about our society when they do something for convenience, but it's so against the wellfare of people. students don't know about that stuff as much as they should - take into consideration the college credit card issue where kids get them, can't pay them, and have horrible credit as a result. to have this added on top of that - it's just WRONG
verily verily 9 years
Both of my ex-colleges used systems like this. With my first college, if you had a meal plan, it generally came with dining dollars that could be used in all the campus stores too. So you'd use the card like a debit card. The other college had ID cards that you could attach to a real bank account, but it was a very feature-poor bank account. And they really pushed them on us. I wanted nothing to do with that, so I jumped through hoops to make sure my ID stayed just an ID.
Megatron Megatron 9 years
I have something like this. I use my school ID like a debit card on campus, but not out in town. My ID also opens dorm doors. So, if I lose it, I am pretty much screwed :)
raieven raieven 9 years
i think SFSU has this, i don' use it though.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
Pitt actually has a pretty cool system (since they are too big to have dining halls) but they have Panther Points which are accepted at almost all dining places in 5 miles. Its pretty cool. I went to a small school so the only thing our cards was open any dorms door.
ikimashokie ikimashokie 9 years
We have a program somewhat like this, Hokie Passport. You toss money on, you can use it for laundry, vending machines, and most of downtown and a few other places will take it. I'd like it if they extended the dining plan so that you could use it off campus. We supposedly have #1 dining services/food in the nation, but whoever designed the dining halls should be beaten (I'd say shot... but yeah.) Campus food gets boring after the first year, and you absolutely have to buy a meal plan.
br0wneyed9irl00 br0wneyed9irl00 9 years
my school has ids that work as debit cards. it's an autonomous system entirely, so only businesses on campus or nearby with lots of student customers bother to get hooked up. but it's great for the students. if you buy a meal plan they even give you like $200 credit on it. and you can deposit money online with a credit card. the vending machines even take them. now if our campus parking system we're so nice...
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I know a couple colleges that offer this (Duquesne) You can have your ID card do this as an option. I think they work through PNC, because that is the only bank on campus, plus they always sit around the first few days of school getting students to sign up for their free student checking. I don't think that they change the exorbitant fees, it just replaces them having to get you a card.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
This is interesting. I didn't even know they were doing these. Great tips. Thanks Savvy!
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