Ohio State University was ahead of the game in 1994 when it developed its BuckID program, which is similar to MUBucks and other off-campus debit card programs.
The BuckID integrated on- and off-campus transactions into one card.
"We implemented the whole thing all at once," said Valerie Shafer, OSU's director of information technology for student affairs. "Ours was a complete switch."
Ohio State created the program, and manages it and markets it, but uses another company's software.
Participating businesses - more than 130 - are charged a $400 equipment installation fee and must also buy their own equipment, which ranges from $350 to $500.
BuckID receives some general fund support from the university, but revenue generated from 3 to 5 percent merchant transaction fees and interest on account balances are what allow the program to operate profitably, Shafer said.
The National Association of Campus Card Users, founded in 1993, is aware of at least 450 colleges and universities that have off-campus debit card programs. The association's Tristate members include Ohio State, Xavier and Indiana universities.
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