The UCF card is a big part of a student’s university life.

According to the department’s website, the ID is not only a “required form of identification for all students,” but also serves as another option for students to pay for certain things such as laundry, a snack at the many vending machines on campus, printing, restaurants on campus and even tuition.

According to UCF Card Services manager Tammy Kidder, as of now, the UCF ID is on an “offline program,” meaning students cannot go online to check balances or access their accounts.

With the new program, Kidder said, students can monitor their accounts, set their pin numbers and check balances all online. Another difference is that student transactions are in “real time,” Kidder said.

This means if a student buys a soda at Knightstop, they can then go online to access their accounts and the transaction will have already gone through or will be listed as pending.

Another difference from the old program is that it allows parents access as well. “Of course this has to be a conversation between student and parent,” Kidder said. “But a parent will be able to check the balance of the card and add money to the card.”

“It’ll be good for parents to access their kid’s account, because they can know if they need money or not,” said Sherrick Washington, a digital media senior from West Palm Beach.

The conversion will automatically occur Aug. 23, the first day of fall semester.

According to Kidder, students won’t have to come in and get a new card. The mag stripe, which is the black stripe on the back of the card that enables the card to be used as a SunTrust ATM/debit card and access to Dining Services dining membership, will automatically change, and the Smart Chip, which stores the values of transactions, will be useless.

There will be converters around campus for students who have their old cards, though. A student with an old card would have to swipe his or her card, which will be read and the information would be moved to an online account.

Feedback from students and parents who wanted to be able to see transactions in real time and manage their accounts was one of the main reasons why the new program will be installed.

“We’re in such a fast-paced world that people want to be able to see information quickly,” Kidder said. “We are driven by what our users want.”

For more information about the new program, students can either go to the Card Services office or to

Source: Central Florida Future, UCF ID becomes more like debit card, by Natalie Richards, staff writer. Published: Sunday, June 13, 2010,  updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010.