The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 26, 1996-- 3
After one semester, the University's
ID/bank card gets mixed reviews
By Jeff Lawson
Daily Staff Reporter
ince last summer, nearly 16,000 students
have been carded by the University -
M-Carded that is. Like a bouncer at The
Blind Pig, the new card has raised quite a ruckus.
After one semester on campus, the
M-Card has integrated into student life.
From students and faculty to local mer-
chants and administrators, the M-Card
has gained the attention and criticism of
many University students and Ann Ar-
The concept of the student identifica
tion card is nothing new. Many
schools use photo ID with magnetic
stripes to store student information.
Washington University in St. Louis and
Laola College in Maryland have re-
cently adopted "Smart Cards" - iden-
tification cards that include a cash stor-
However, the combination bank card,
phone card, cash storage chip and stu-
dent ID can be found only two schools:
the University of Michigan and West-
ern Michigan University.
Despite the revenue the University
receives from each M-Card bank
stripe, cash chip or ATM transaction,
Bob Russel, assistant director of finan-
cial operations, credits several other
factors with the changes in Entree plus
and the development of the M-Card's
"It was a legal decision to scale back
Entr6e Plus ... the University was col-
lecting money from students on behalf
of non-University vendors," he said. "It
was providing, in essence, a bank func-
tion and the University lawyers decided
this was not appropriate.
"At the same time, students wanted
to use Entree Plus off campus and off-
Plus wanted access to
5ntrno Pius it-that's howthe
The University's old cash program is M-Card deve-
rit dead. With the arrival of the oped."
Meard program, Entr6e Plus can be Meanwhile, the
Wised only in the residence halls and program has re-
the cafeterias in the Union, League ceived mixed re-
and North Campus Commons. Here's views from local
how the program's numbers have merchants.
fared this year compare to last year. "Hopefully, as
994 20it becomes more
1994199 universally acces-
*Inlng Rooms sible on campus
f!pa44j -gs i-... and different mer-
chants begin to
take it and the
$1@,OOO more choices on
. campus that they
Snack Bars (students) have, it
will definitely be-
come more popu-
lar," said Steve
v0 I,"Waimsley, man-
ager of Where-
, ndIng Machlpn -house Records on
has accepted the
saundryM-Card since last
d summer. "It gives
students a better
svariety in ways to
that 2 percent of
the store's sales are M-Card transac-
tions, while 50 percent remain on Visa
Dave Richard, general manager of
Ulrich's and Michigan Book and Sup-
Cards issued: 21,000
Cost per card: $6
Cost of old card: $2.40
Number of card printers:
Cost of card printers:
Merchant card readers
Photo ilustration by STEPHANIE GRACE LIM/Daily
"1 have an ATM
card, I have a credit
card, l havye an ID- I
donI need to put all
mny eggs in one
ordinarily gone to the Michigan Union
Bookstore to use Entree Plus are now
free to shop around.
"I know M-Card is not being used as
much as Entree Plus would be," Rich-
ard said. "It was very easy for students
to put money into their Entree Plus
accounts- with the M-Card, it's not as
The two bookstores have invested
more than $10,000 in M-Card equip-
ment and training, in addition to the 4-
percent charge paid to First of America
on all M-Card purchases, Richard said.
This is similar to the bank fee mer-
chants pay for sales on credit cards like
Visa or MasterCard.
Richard also estimated that the Uni-
versity receives more than half of that
These costs, however, prevented
Footprints on South University Avenue
from entering the program, said Terry
Reilly, the store's manager.
"It was exorbitantly expensive to get
involved in it," Reilly said. "On top of
it all, the University mandated that First
of America take a 4-percent service fee
- I'm not going to lose that much on a
"I'm not saying I would never take
the M-Card ... I'd like to see what bugs
Second-year Law student Ellen
Wheeler said she never considered get-
ting an M-Card.
"I don't know anyone who has it,"
LSA senior Kevin Paul got an M-
Card because he lost his old ID.
"I think it's pretty useless. ...I just
see it as an ATM card," he said. "I
wouldn't have gotten on otherwise."
However, first-year LSA student
Chris Mcvety found his M-Card useful.
"I like the fact I can use the little
(cash) chip," he said. "I live in West
Quad and so its easy to use in the Union.
I don't have to carry cash,just a card.
"If I had to carry change, I'd prob-
ably end up wasting it in the arcade."
S ince the introduction of the M-
Card, use of Entree Plus has de-
clined significantly. Dorms, dining
halls, vending machines and laundry
machines have all seendecreased spend-
ing from Entree Plus accounts since last
Larry Durst, business manager for
University Housing, equated this drop
in usage to several factors, including
misinformation. Residents have been
unsure of Entree Plus' status after the
advent of the M-Card.
"I think I didn't do as good a job as I
should have to explain Entree Plus," he
said. "It really was a bit confusing.
"We know washers and dryers are
being used as much as in the past which
means that students are having to go get
Additionally, Durst links changes this
year in the residence hall meal plans to
decreased Entree Plus usage. By chang-
ing the dining halls' hours of operation,
limiting rate increases and adjusting
features of the different meal plans, the
supervisor Corey Frane.
e t ..p.. f
Security door access through an ID
card's magnetic strip is nothing
new. The same feature, which allowed
students access to residence halls and
,residential computing labs, existed on
previous ID and Entree Plus cards. Ad-
ditionally, the record keeping policies
of the Entree Plus office have remained
unchanged through the switch to the M-
Whenever an M-Card is used to at-
tempt access to a campus door, a record
of the event is recorded in a University
computer. This information is used to
track door traffic, especially in comput-
ing lab environments, Durst said.
Under most circumstances, a
student's information is only acces-
sible by that person. However, certain
authorities can also request such infor-
"It's certainly going to take a high
level of security - with the proper
signatures," said Durst. "DPS could
He estimated that in the past five
years, personal information has only
been requested 25 times.
The information is kept inefinitely,
P lans for the near future include
increased uses for the M-Card cash
chip. Recent modifications to the 14
cash chip machines located around cam-
pus allow students to transfer money
from any bank's ATM card to their chip
without additional ATM fees.
Users may soon see acceptance ofthe
cash chip on Ann Arbor city buses and
on the road by food delivery services.
Number of stores that accept:
Number of accounts linked to M-Cards and
the percentage of cards with that link.