The North Carolina State University student paper suggests the merger of three separate financial accounts associated with the official AllCampus Card. Currently separate accounts are used for debit purchases, copy services, and discretionary mealplan purchases. Student government representatives, according to an article in the campus newspaper, would like to see these combined into a single multi-use account. Though no plan to do so exists, the point raised is a good one for all campus card program administrators to consider. Who does a multi-account architecture really benefit?
Currently the debit account, known as the AllCampus Account, enables bookstore, parking, dining (non-mealplan related), vending, laundry, ticketing, and stadium concession purchases. The campus card is also used for mealplan holders to spend their discretionary dollars, called Board Bucks, in dining and c-store locations. The third account, the Wolfcopy account, requires students to add value to a separate card to use the copy and printing systems.
Another account is also available via the campus card through a partnership with Wachovia Bank. Students can elect to have their AllCampus card linked to a Wachovia bank account for use in ATMs and some POS locations.
Students interviewed for the article raise an interesting point that all card program managers should evaluate. Does the separation of these accounts serve any real purpose? Calling the multiple accounts “silly” and even “annoying,” the article suggests that it makes it more difficult to budget and keep track of finances.
In some cases multi-account setups have been promoted as a budgeting tool for parents and students, but is this reality or simply a way to sell a solution or a business model that works for the vendor and/or the administration, but not the cardholder? It is an interesting question that each card office manager should consider based on the specific campus environment.