Students shopping at campus convenience stores can now simply charge their purchases to their Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards.
The Corner Store, the Arbor and the Store at Buchanan began accepting credit and debit cards at the beginning of Spring Quarter. If the new payment systems increase sales and offset their initial cost, UCen Dining Services will equip its other branches, such as Nicoletti’s, with the machines, UCen Administration Director Alan Kirby said.
Lance Heather, division manager of campus convenience stores, said customers have reacted favorably to the new payment options. However, because they were only recently introduced, he said he could not yet measure whether the new credit card systems have resulted in an increase in business for the three convenience stores.
“It’s really too early to tell,” Heather said. “It’s impossible to be able to tell so soon, especially with the opening of the Courtyard Cafe, which could affect the distribution of sales on campus”.
UCen Dining Services will wait until the end of the fiscal year, June 30, to decide whether to expand the credit card payment systems to its other stores, Kirby said.
Kirby said credit card companies charge a fee for every purchase made with a credit card through the new machines.
“Fees are a floating scale; a typical fee could be 2 percent of the purchase price, so we pay a percentage back to the credit card companies,” Kirby said.
The new credit payment systems follow last year’s conversion to a new interface on convenience store registers, Heather said.
“The new systems are more sophisticated and allow us to use this type of payment,” he said. “More and more people are using these credit cards, so it’s a great service to them.”
All transactions on the new systems will be billed as a credit transaction, no pin number will be required, and there will be no cash-back transactions, Heather said.
Sabrina Stolting, Arbor co-manager and fourth-year women’s studies major, said there is no minimum purchase for the use of credit card payment, and reaction from customers has been positive thus far.
“I know it’s a lot more convenient for customers to be able to swipe their Visa or MasterCards,” Stolting said.
Ashley Smith, Corner Store manager and fourth-year history major, said she has noticed a slight increase in business since the implementation of the new payment systems.
“Business has definitely increased – people are really excited about it,” Smith said.
Aakash Arya, a first-year business economics major who has used the payment option at the Corner Store, said the machines are “a lot more convenient” and now he doesn’t have to “carry cash around all the time.”
The Courtyard Cafe is in the midst of working with Visa and MasterCard associates in order to implement credit card payment capabilities, Heather said.