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Smart Cards on Campus

One way smart card companies are using to try to get smart cards more universally accepted is to introduce them into closed societies with specific uses that will make people comfortable using smart card systems. And one place this is occurring is college campuses.

Cybermark Inc., which was formed by Sallie Mae in 1996, already has a million cardholders at 40 schools and has deployed 20,000 smart card terminals. Students on campuses that have accepted the program can use those cards to purchase books and other merchandise from the colleges' shops and departments and from merchants in surrounding areas that are participating in the program. In some locations, they can turn cash and loose change into money on the card.

Recently, the company launched a Web site ( that allows parents to send money directly to their children at school through the site without involving checks, wire transfers, or credit cards. The students can load the money their parents send onto their smart cards at various card centers that are hooked up to the Web. Parents also can set up automatic deposits and can designate how the cash is to be used by setting up different accounts on the card.

Copyright © 2001 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 11, No. 8, 8/01

First published on 08/01/2001

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