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November 21, 1996

List of area vendors participating in CampusFunds program grows

CampusFunds, the money that faculty, staff and students deposit on their new PittCard ID cards, currently is being accepted in about 15 stores and restaurants in Oakland and Shadyside.

And more vendors are being added to the list every week.

"Our goal for the end of this year is a total of 35 vendors," said Lynell Scaff, director of the ID Center. "And our goal for the end of spring is about 70." The PittCard is a joint project of Pitt and American Express, which has provided $1.8 million to start the program. The credit card company is paying the bill because it sees university students as a rich vein of new customers.

CampusFunds can be deposited on the PittCard at the ID Center in McCormick Hall and at card management centers in Litchfield Towers and Sutherland Hall.

Faculty and staff also can have funds deposited on their PittCard through payroll deduction. Statements are available at all machines that accept the card.

As a rule, CampusFunds remaining on the PittCard at the end of a term will be carried over until a student graduates or an employee leaves the University.

Students who graduate or employees who leave Pitt and have $10 or more remaining on their card will receive a full refund, according to the agreement with American Express. The company is not obligated to refund any amount under $10.

"People are coming in the office every day to load funds onto CampusFunds," said Scaff. "We've seen a drastic increase now that there is utility for the card." Currently, students are using CampusFunds more than faculty and staff, according to Scaff. The reason may be that students received their PittCards in August and have had longer to adapt to the situation. Most faculty and staff received their cards in October and early November.

"Faculty and staff really haven't loaded their cards [with funds] as much as the students have," Scaff said. "So, we have a lot more going on with the students at this point in time." In addition to signing up vendors, American Express during the first week in December will start converting vending machines in the Cathedral of Learning, Litchfield Towers and Benedum Hall to accept CampusFunds.

"You'll be able to use coinage in those machines or you'll be able to use your cards," Scaff noted.

Work on converting the vending machines in the Cathedral, the Towers and Benedum is expected to be completed by the start of classes in January.

As might be expected with any new operation, a few problems have cropped up with CampusFunds. According to Scaff, the corners have broken on some of the new ID cards and others have cracked while being swiped through machines that read the magnetic band on the back of the cards.

If a card breaks, Scaff said, the owner should take it to the ID Center in McCormick Hall for a free replacement.

Some vendors also have confused CampusFunds with Choice Dollars and have processed the cards incorrectly, with the result that the cash registers refused to accept them. Until Campus-Funds become more widely accepted, Harry Kline of American Express Special Teams recommends that cardholders inform vendors that they are using CampusFunds and not Choice Dollars.

If a vendor should refuse a PittCard for a purchase on which sufficient CampusFunds have been deposited, cardholders should call the American Express Special Teams desk at 383-7879. "They can research your account immediately and find out why," said Scaff.

The following locations now accept CampusFunds:

* On campus: The Book Center, Packages Plus, The Schenley Cafe in the William Pitt Union, Eddies, The Second Plate and the C-Store in Sutherland Hall.

* Oakland: Video One, Dave & Andy's Homemade Ice Cream, Pamela's Country Kitchen, Uncle Sam's Submarines, The Original Hot Dog, Domino's Pizza, The Pitt Shop, Miami Subs, Roy Rogers and Bobby O's.

* Shadyside: Pittsburgh Deli Co. and Pamela's Country Kitchen.

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 7

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