Quite often campus administrators ask if they should move to contactless card technology as part of their campus card program, using contactless identification cards instead of magnetic stripe. The answer is a resounding yes. Contactless technology offers many benefits over magnetic stripe technology and will enhance your campus card program for both access control and financial transactions, but more importantly it will enhance the experience of your students.
Benefits of contactless cards
There are many benefits of moving to contactless technology however the following ones listed are important considerations when weighing whether to move to contactless technology as part of your campus card program:
- Reduced reader maintenance – magnetic stripe readers are designed to read a card as it is run past a read head or a card is inserted and read. This process lends itself to possible read head failure as well as reduced card read reliability due to dirt transported to the read head from the card. Magnetic stripe readers quite often need to be cleaned to continue to function properly. Moving to contactless readers will decrease personnel time and labor cleaning magnetic stripe readers. Additionally the cost of repairing or replacing magnetic stripe read heads, as well as the personnel time, can be reduced.
- Increased card read reliability – the magnetic stripe on a card quite often wears from use, making it more difficult to read the card. This requires the cardholder or cashier to swipe the card multiple times before being read properly. This can cause frustration for the cardholder and longer wait times for those who may be in line. Contactless cards offer a higher level of read reliability and faster complete transaction time.
- Outdoor use – we often see magnetic stripe readers that are used for access control outside needing more repairs and need to be placed in special housings to protect them from the elements. Direct contact to dirt, snow and rain can tend to damage many magnetic card readers that are not specially designed for this type of placement. This tends not to be the case with contactless card readers since they are designed to be sealed and enclosed, protecting the device.
- Convenience – How many times have you swiped a magnetic stripe card through a reader and needed to turn it around because you were swiping the stripe the wrong way? I know it has happened to me many times. Contactless card readers do not require the cardholder to hold the card a certain way, you simply present the card to the reader. It is easier and faster.
- Security – There is no comparison when it comes to security between magnetic stripe cards and contactless technology. Information stored on contactless cards can be encrypted and communication between the reader and the card can also be encrypted. Contactless cards are extremely difficult to duplicate and there are measures in place within the various card technology to help thwart tampering. This provides added levels of security to the cardholder and to the issuing campus.
Whether a magnetic stripe system is in place now or you are planning to implement a system for the first time, I suggest you seriously consider using contactless technology as part of your solution. Contactless card technology can help you reduce maintenance, personnel time, increase throughput by decreasing transaction time, adds a higher level of security and provides a better experience for the cardholder.