While many Cal State Long Beach campus members routinely use their identification cards for bus fare and knocking the sales tax off food, the university has launched an application for the plastic cards that is expected to make life easier for students.
Since February, students have been able to deposit money online through the Blackboard Transact Mobile eAccounts app.
According to Cyndi Farrington, ID card services manager at Forty-Niner Shops, the decision to launch a multipurpose “OneCard” ID was part of a bigger Smart Campus Initiative, which aims to give easy access to technological service to the students and faculty.
“Imagine a time where students can just use their IDs as if it’s Apple Pay — just a simple tap at the cash register and off you go,” Farrington said. “That is something that we discuss in our meetings. It would just make the lines more efficient; everyone is happy.”
According to Farrington, the idea for the app came after meeting with a student President’s Scholar in the design department.
“She was saying how inconvenient it was for her to have to go all the way to the Outpost or the student union to put money on her card, and it would be better if there was an app available,” Farrington said.
Currently, campus members with these cards can receive discounts of at least 10 percent at off-campus locations including George’s Greek Cafe and The Brix on Second Street, Marketplace Grill and Lazy Acres.
Farrington said the university aims to encourage more students to take advantage of these cards, but they haven’t quite figured out just how to convince students to use them more.
“That’s a big question for us: how do we get students to use their ID cards in other ways besides just for printing?” Farrington said. “We want to provide more deals to our students. Students can already get discounts at many eateries … the bookstores and other shops across Long Beach just by showing their ID card.”
Hector Prado, a junior finance major, said he doesn’t usually use his card when he’s not at the university.
“If I am off campus, chances are high that I’m not going to be pulling out my ID card from my wallet,” Prado said. “At the same time however, I could be at fault for not knowing about the deals that supposedly come with the ID card.”
Over the past two academic semesters, the university has partnered with many businesses, such as El Pollo Loco, Subway and Coffee Bean to offer student discounts by using the Beach Bucks on their ID cards. From yoga classes to sushi — these cards benefit students off campus, too.
Some students living on campus voiced a preference to using the cards as a paying method on campus.
“You have to take into account … how can we make things easier for our students,” said Anthony Kash, a sophomore political science major. “For someone like myself who is currently living on campus, it is more convenient just to have money on one paying method instead of needing multiple methods.”
The campus ID Card Services, Housing and Residential Life and the Division of Information Technology are partnering up to work on a project for the Beachside dorms that would allow students to use their cards for electronic door access.
“Students would be able to use the mobile app or their campus ID card to access their rooms at Beachside, reducing the need for additional keys,” Farrington said. “This project moves the campus toward its ‘OneCard’ goal over time, one of the ‘Smart Campus’ initiatives underway.”
In the near future, the plan at the university is to let students personally customize their ID by allowing ID photos submissions online, and allow the cards to be used for Uber and Lyft.
James Chow contributed to this article.