Campus Key Pilot Program Success

< Go back to blog

Campus Key Pilot Program Success

CampusKey view on mobile phones.

What is Campus Key?

Campus Key, the newest solution from Nelnet Campus Commerce, connects students to campus through a digital app experience. Campus Key offers:

  • ID / Access: Digital student ID that allows touchless access to classes, residence halls, and campus activities, such as sporting events.
  • Payments: Manage tuition balances in real time, plus keep track of refund history.
  • Rewards: Partner with local merchants to offer discounts, coupons, and loyalty programs.
  • Campus Cash: Pre-load funds from a debit or credit card to the app. Make purchases on and off campus, and invite others to load funds.
  • Student Financial Account Access: View university account balance, pay for tuition, and select refund options.
    CampusKey infograph that shows 30 students participated in a three-week trail of the product. Four merchants received 174 transactions and the Campus Key app earned 4.5 stars from the students.

Pilot program

In partnership with the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, Nelnet Campus Commerce piloted Campus Key with a group of 30 technology-based students. The group downloaded the app to their personal mobile phones, as well as $50 in the Campus Cash portion of the app. For three weeks, students tested the app and then provide feedback and recommendations on the user experience and features.

“It’s crucial that the app is useful for students, so by inviting students to participate in the product build, we’re able to develop something that’s relevant on today’s mobile campus,” said Howard Polack, director of mobile strategies for Nelnet Campus Commerce.

Students had the ability to load their personal image into the student ID, receive push notifications and in-app messages from Nelnet Campus Commerce (acting as the “test university”), and pay for food and beverages with local partner merchants.

Nelnet Campus Commerce partnered with four local restaurants for the test, providing them with a tablet loaded with the cashiering app that connects with Campus Key. Each student was provided with $50 loaded into their app to spend with these merchants, and each transaction was rated by the student. Of the 174 transactions made, Campus Key received a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating from the students. Payments totaling more than $1,500 were quickly processed and merchants were pleased to see end-of-day settlement reports.

Merchants were also excited to get a group of local students in that they hadn’t seen before. Being part of this exclusive program allowed their store to be advertised to the student testers through app push notifications and the merchant map feature.

The Campus Key team held a focus group to culminate the testing, gathering valuable feedback from students on integrations and features they would like to see in the product. The findings from the pilot program have helped craft the near future of Campus Key.

Beta institution sign up

Nelnet Campus Commerce is actively looking for beta institutions to implement similar programs on their campus. Become part of the mobile movement. Learn more or sign up here.


Amy Stover is the Sales Director for Campus Key. Amy has been in the higher education payments industry for over 14 years, with the majority of the time in client operations and software implementations.


Connect with us

Request more information

We can find a custom-fit solution to meet your needs.

Request more information

Upcoming events



Workday Rising

Virtual Conference



CCBO Annual Conference

Nashville, Tennessee