Although it may not be widely known, student ID cards from many colleges and universities double as prepaid cards for lots of purchases, from the school bookstore to the cafeteria and beyond. Some outside merchants in the community surrounding the schools may even accept the student ID cards as payment.
Many of the ID cards are PIN-based and work just like debit cards. As just one more example of how financial and payment advances are taking place at colleges, some schools are even applying financial aid refunds to the prepaid student ID card balances.
As an even greater step in the world of prepaid student ID cards, SunTrust issued a reloadable prepaid MasterCard that doubles as a student ID and can be used for payment anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Since then, Discover and American Express have also jumped on the student ID card / payment card bandwagon.
Some things to keep in mind if you or your family runs into the student ID card as a form of payment:
- Can you use the card on campus only or at outside vendors as well?
- Are there any associated fees?
- Are any funds on the card insured or protected should the card be lost or stolen?
- What is the best way to reload the card?
Prepaid student ID cards can be a convenient way of teaching students good spending and financial behavior. Be sure to ask lots of questions if you do encounter the opportunity for you or your child to use a prepaid student ID.