Mcard, the Universitys new identification card now available to students, is not your typical, run-of-the-mill photo I.D.
Students, as well as faculty and staff beginning in November, will still use the card for meal plans and for access to campus libraries, computer labs and recreational facilities.
But cardholders now have the option to buy books, supplies, meals, groceries, clothing and other items from local merchants simply by using their Mcard. The card also can be used for reduced-rate AT&T long-distance calling service, to access Cirrus ATMs, pay University bills such as tuition and UMTel, and parents may deposit money in their students account.
According to Bob Russell, assistant director of financial operations, students no longer need to carry cash, checks or bank cards, thanks to Mcards CashChip and BankStripe.
These functions allow students to purchase goods and services from local merchants without the use of cash or check, he says. While each Mcard has a magnetic stripe and a computer chip, it is up to the student to decide whether to use them or not.
The CashChip allows cardholders to make small-dollar transactions at many local restaurants and retail stores, as well as in vending machines and copiers. Up to $50 in value may be stored on the card for such purchases by depositing money in campus Mcard CashChip machines.
The BankStripe, which is linked to a checking account at First of America Bank, can be used for larger purchases from participating merchants and to access ATMs.
Im excited about implementing this new technology and being among the first in the country with a smart card program of this magnitude, Russell says. Not only will this have an impact on the campus community, but it will also have an impact on the way business is conducted throughout the Ann Arbor community.
Initially, nearly 60 merchants on or near campus will accept the Mcard, using either the CashChip or BankStripe, or both.
More information on the Mcard is available through the Internet on GOpherBlue and the Universitys World Wide Web page. For additional questions, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 936-2273, or stop by the new Mcard center in the first-floor lobby of the Student Activities Bldg.