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10 Ways Declining Balance Accounts Can Benefit Your Campus

9/20/2022 9:00:00 AM

Transformational change is the ‘word du jour’ in higher education, and the pandemic spurred on unprecedented levels of accelerated change. With the predictions of the future of higher ed being assessed, everyone’s attention is directed toward institutions that have thrived, gleaning any insights from them on how to emulate their success.

Institutions who are leading the pack are those that have reimagined the campus experience, eliminated outdated systems and processes, and implemented student-centric solutions. Some have turned to tactics of remodeling and updating residence halls, installing high-tech classrooms, or equipping recreation centers to name a few, while others are implementing initiatives that create a campuswide impact. Maximizing declining balance opportunities via the campus card and connecting students to more services and resources through their student ID is an example of this strategy.

Today’s campus experience and declining balances

Let’s pause and unpack what is meant by the campus card. We are not discussing the antiquated ID with just the student picture and ID number. Today’s campus ID is more than that, it is the central hub of student transactions, literally and figuratively unlocking the student experience through a broad range of permissions, privileges, and payments.

Expanding your campus IDs to work as a reloadable card where family members or guardians can add funds for the student to use allows students convenient access to resources and services across your institution—making it a seamless experience is key. Need a cup of coffee? Whip out the campus card. Want to grab a quick bite to eat? Whip out the campus card. Need extra lab supplies from the bookstore? Whip out the campus card. Laundry? Printing? Tickets to a game? Paying for tutoring? Snack shop, vending, textbooks, concert tickets, parking, transportation, the list goes on-and-on with all the ways students can use their campus card.

Colleges and universities doing the campus card right have adopted declining balance options into their cash management infrastructure. Using the campus ID as a closed-loop payment option, that functions like a credit card but without the fees, makes purchasing goods and services easy for students. For parents, this functionality gives them a convenient, trackable way to add funds and monitor spending while administrators have complete visibility and oversight of payments campuswide.

How does declining balance work and what are the benefits?

For students and parents:

1. Funds loaded to the campus card gives students a payment method that can be used to access services across the institution.

2. Parents and guardians can easily add money to the student’s campus card for on-campus spending.

3. It is a safer and easier way for students to manage spending.

4. When dining, printing or flexible account balances decline, it is easy to reload more funds to the campus card.

For campus management:

5. Institutions are able to entice more vendors to campus with a “closed loop” payment option for students—vendors especially like the reduction in credit card fees and the headaches of managing cash in their machines.

6. Student discounts and grants can be conveniently distributed and managed on their campus card.

7. The configurability of declining balances allows institutions to customize accounts. Consideration can be made to various types of declining balance “buckets” such as taxable, non-taxable items, and decision tree options created for when student funds are depleted.

8. Simplifies cash management systems on campus—supports real-time transactions, eases monitoring, streamlines processes, and provides student engagement and preference data.

9. The reduction of cash on campus keeps vending machines and points of sale more secure.

10. Campus cards can be added as a payment option for order ahead solutions that enable contactless transactions, check in and access, virtual queueing and more.

Today’s students live in a mobile-first, nearly contactless and cashless society. Expanding integrated, low cost payment options across campus creates a unified experience for students and simplified management for institutions. Leveraging campus card declining balance functionality helps increase student satisfaction, gives parents peace of mind knowing they can preload funds to support their student, and simplifies the process for staff and administrators. It just makes sense.