Wheelock to Pilot Smart Cards

August 28, 2013

Wheelock College will be one of the first colleges in the U.S. to distribute the Santander Universities Smart Cards, enabling students, faculty and staff to access buildings, use school services, and for the first time, link directly to a Sovereign Bank account.

The cards will be provided as a result of agreements that Sovereign Bank, through its Santander Universities division. Over 500 students, faculty and staff are expected to receive their cards as they return to campus for the start of the fall semester.

The ability to link identification cards to gain entry, utilize institutional services and conduct banking is an example of the growing trend reflecting consumer preferences prioritizing both secure access and convenience in making financial transactions.

"We're pleased to be one of the first colleges in New England to offer enhanced ID cards to students. Given their hectic schedules, we're always looking for ways to make our students' lives simpler and easier," said Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President of Wheelock College.

Sovereign Bank's desire to build strong relationships with U.S. higher education institutions and students through its Santander Universities arm led to its commitment to provide these cards to local colleges and universities. Santander issued its first university smart card overseas through its Santander Universities Global Division in 1996. It is now a leading issuer of bank-connected smart cards for higher education institutions, having provided more than six million cards to university students around the world.

The banking functionality of the smart card is optional and must be activated before use at one of Sovereign Bank's branches. Unlike a credit card or pre-paid debit card, the Santander University smart card can be linked to bank accounts, making it easier for students and their parents to seamlessly manage spending during the school year. The smart card can be used for both on- and off-campus services and provides users with the option to make either ATM or PIN-based debit transactions linked to a Sovereign checking account.

"The ability to link their ID cards to a Sovereign checking account will benefit smart card users by providing greater flexibility, safety, and convenience when accessing their money to pay for books, supplies, meals, and any of their other needs both on and off campus," said Eduardo Garrido, Director of Santander Universities.

Sovereign Bank offers a special student checking account that has no monthly fee and requires no minimum balance. Students, faculty and staff will be able to access cash or transfer money at no cost at all Sovereign ATMs. As part of the agreement with Wheelock College, a Sovereign Bank ATM has been installed in the Campus Center.

Santander University smart cards have both chips and magnetic stripes, allowing higher ed institutions to make timely enhancements to their security standards and services in a way that is easy for the school and the users.

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