Giovanni’s, a pizzeria on Pardall Road, now joins the slowly growing ranks of off-campus locations that allow students to pay for goods with their ACCESS Cards.

The restaurant, located at 6583 Pardall Rd. in Isla Vista, will begin accepting student ACCESS Cards once technicians install the proper electronic equipment at 10 a.m. today. ACCESS Cards are a form of student identification that also doubles as a debit card, allowing students to spend money they or their parents deposit in their UCSB ACCESS account.

Giovanni’s is the latest addition to the collection of off-campus business opening their doors to the ACCESS Card program. Giovanni’s participation will bring the total number of ACCESS-friendly off-campus locations to four.

In January 2004, I.V. businesses Silvergreens and Woodstocks Pizza contacted UCen administrators and expressed interest in the ACCESS Program. The two businesses began accepting the cards later that month, becoming the first off-campus locations to do so. Previously, ACCESS Card had only been accepted as a method of payment at 20 on-campus businesses.

Gary Lawrence, assistant director of marketing for the UCen, said the availability of off-campus locations is a reflection of how local businesses are trying to cater to students’ needs.

“We’ve opened [up] to people who call us, but we haven’t been going out and recruiting businesses to participate,” he said. “These places know that it will be a benefit to their student customers if they can use their ACCESS Cards off campus. We’re seeing this at places that are popular.”

Approximately two weeks ago, Zodo’s Bowling and Beyond, located in Goleta, followed suit. However, the card is currently only accepted as a method of payment for bowling – not for food or alcoholic beverages.

Lawrence said he thinks that students can expect to see more off-campus locations available over time, most likely from the more popular locations in the area.

“It’s the popular places that are asking for this,” he said. “It’s expensive to set up this equipment, and they want to make sure they’ll get that money back. It’s beneficial for students and for the businesses.”

To participate in the program, businesses must pay a flat monthly rate of an undisclosed amount, in addition to the cost of equipment purchase and installation.

Silvergreens Manager Ron Gleiberman said the business has been happy with the ACCESS Program since they began using it in January, and that the cost of starting the program was worth it.

“We’ve seen a pretty decent amount of ACCESS use since we began the program,” he said. “It’s hard to tell if it’s new business or the same people, but our customers are using it pretty frequently. It was pretty expensive to install, but we realized the usefulness of it. Instead of buying books, you can buy Silvergreens instead.”

Paul Ozhekh, sophomore business economics major, said the off-campus locations were convenient.

“It’s great when you’re in I.V. and it’s late at night, and you’re hungry or you don’t have money on you.”