The University Record, May 22, 1995

Mcard pilot program finds 'smart' solution

The pilot program for Mcard, the University's new debit card program, drew to a close last week. Over 800 students and staff participated in the pilot program--testing the BankStripe and CashStripe transactions and providing valuable feedback. Plans are under way to have the program available to all Ann Arbor campus students and staff by fall.

Based on experiences during the pilot program, "smart" card technology will be incorporated into the Mcard in time for the fall semester. Smart cards, which are hard plastic cards with integrated circuits imbedded in them, are much faster, have lower equipment costs, and use one piece of equipment that can be used for both the BankStripe and CashStripe transactions. The smart card will be used for the "cash chip," or stored value, transactions and the magnetic stripe will be used for BankStripe transactions.

"We're excited about the smart card and the opportunities it offers us," says Robert E. Russell, assistant director of financial operations and Mcard program director. "We appreciate the feedback we received from merchants as well as the willingness of the pilot cardholders to share their experiences with us."

Distribution of Mcards that include smart card technology will begin for Ann Arbor students this fall. Ann Arbor staff will receive Mcards later in the year, and the regional campuses are expected to join the program early in 1996. Participants in the Mcard pilot program will be contacted about converting to the smart card.