Benefits of a Cashless Campus

In Brief:

  • Many higher education institutions are adopting the idea of going cashless

  • Going cashless can help promote health and safety as there is no physical exchange of cash

  • Business offices can streamline payment processes by eliminating cash transactions

Blog Post

Since the onset of the pandemic, many higher education institutions have adopted the ever-popular idea of becoming a cashless campus. Students are rarely carrying cash thanks to apps like Venmo and Google Pay, so they are more motived to use digital alternates for their payments. There are many benefits your institution can gain from going cashless, including promoting health and safety among your staff and students, streamlining processes in the business office, and improving security and reducing fraud.

Promoting Health and Safety among Your Staff and Students

Cash is dirty, hard to clean, and can carry germs and viruses. In a 2017 study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers swabbed $1 bills from a bank in New York City to see what was living on paper currency and they found hundreds of species of microorganisms. Although it’s unlikely to spread COVID-19 through handling cash, many schools, like Miami University, took this opportunity to go cashless. Their executive director of campus services and chief hospitality officer, Geno Svec, wrote in an email to the student paper that the university made the decision to eliminate the sharing of items like bills and coins that are easily spread and difficult to clean. Along with promoting health and safety, this move to go cashless could be a cost savings for the institution by eliminating the need to handle, count, and transport cash.

Streamlining Cashless Payment Processes in the Business Office

Many institutions are struggling with reduced budgets and resources yet are still expected to be productive and efficient. Cash transactions can be burdensome as they require several steps to complete, secure, and generally manage. Whereas cashless transactions are becoming the norm as they are quick, and can reduce fraud and human error as every dollar is accounted for with debit/credit card payments. The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is an institution that is looking to go completely cashless and is planning to do so in stages, allowing their students time to adjust to a new payment method. They already accept online payments, so going completely cashless across campus is one way to use their finance and administration resources more effectively.

Improving Security and Reducing Fraud

The pandemic accelerated the use of digital transactions. According to Dynata research, contactless payment usage is up across multiple countries, generations, and income levels. Before the pandemic, 52 percent of consumers preferred contactless; that number now stands at 59 percent. At the same time, the worldwide preference for cash dropped to just 15 percent. And with an increase of contactless payments, comes a need for an increase in security—including at higher ed institutions.

Higher ed institutions are key targets for ransomware attacks because of the amount of personal and financial data they possess. Making now a great time to invest in contactless smart cards or even apps like Campus Key from Nelnet Campus Commerce. Touch-free and cashless options like these can enable institutions to offer their students more secure and convenient on-campus credentialing and payment options. Smart cards and apps should have layered security which allows for the encryption of data and supports the development of multiple application-specific protocols all in one place, such as with Campus Key. Not only can Campus Key be used for payments, it can also be used as a digital student ID and messaging center.

Interested in going cashless? Read our blog Becoming a Cashless Business Office.

Natalie Schwarz
Author: Natalie Schwarz

Natalie Schwarz is a former Content Marketing Writer for Nelnet Campus Commerce. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing and has over a decade of professional writing experience.

View all posts by Natalie Schwarz