Many colleges in the U.S. are merging efforts with financial institutions to enhance student IDs and make them also serve as debit cards, according to a published report.
Almost 900 universities have established partnerships with banks and 32 of the 50 biggest public schools have worked out contracts with financial institutions to endow students with debit cards or prepaid cards, according to a U.S. Public Interest Research Group study cited by The Flor-Ala, the student newspaper of the University of North Alabama.
Though that type of partnership is not in place as of yet with a financial institution and the University of Northern Alabama, incoming freshman Skyler South told the news source that establishing this agreement could be a good idea. But she noted she already is the owner of a debit card from other sources.
The University of Northern Alabama could benefit from the card, according to office manager Karen Kennedy with the UNA Mane Card. However, should the school opt to move forward with that plan, she said it would have to be selective with whom it mergest efforts.
"I think it'd be beneficial, depending on the banking relationship," Kennedy told the news source. "Different banks have different agreements. Some banks will allow students to go into the negative to charge in overdraft fees, and that shouldn't be supported."
But the U.S. PIRG study exposed students to the likelihood of paying high fees, like those charged by ATMs and those applied when overdrafts occur.
Situated in the city of Florence, the university considers the Mane Card to be a student's official University of Northern Alabama card, according to the school's website.
The Mane Card serves as a debit card, a meals card, a library card and it opens doors.
It also serves as a method of payment for various on-campus services.