Contactless FAQs

Contactless PennCard  Project

What is contactless?

Why is the University moving to contactless?

How will this be implemented campus wide?

How will I know if my School/Center/Administrative Unit is using the new technology?

Are there any costs associated with this project?

How can I get more information about this project?


Card Technology

What is the difference between contactless and Proximity Cards (prox)?

What is the read distance?

How long does it take for the reader to read the card?

 

PennCard Questions

When will the new contactless PennCard be implemented?  How do I get a PennCard with the new chip technology?

Does the contactless chip displace the magnetic stripe currently on my card? What if I still need the mag-stripe for function in my department?

Will my PennCard continue to do everything it does now (dining plans, door access, etc.)?

Will I need to carry an additional card?

Do I have to pay for a new PennCard?

If my School/Center/Administrative Unit is interested in using the contactless technology, who should I contact?

 

Contactless PennCard Project

What is contactless?

This initiative is introducing a new contactless Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that will move the University from the magnetic stripe, which is currently used on the PennCard, to an imbedded contactless chip.  This chip technology allows data to be transmitted when held within a few inches of a reader.  There is a storage area on the chip where multiple applications and information can be stored.

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Why is the University moving to contactless?

This technology will offer a number of benefits to the Penn community including:

  • Improved security of access & card technology on campus;
  • Faster transaction speed eases access;
  • The ability to integrate the PennCard for use in other systems; and
  • Enhanced operational efficiency by standardizing card technology.

In addition, the transition to contactless allows the University to better position itself for future developments and applications in card technology such as the integration with SEPTA’s plans for its new payment technology.

How will this be implemented Campus wide?

AY 2013-2015: The first PennCards with this new chip technology were piloted during the 2013-1014 Academic Year in the Singh Center for Nanotechnology  and Gregory College House . These locations were chosen, in part, because they represent two very different uses of the technology as it relates to building access allowing us to observe its use in a restricted research environment as well as a residential living situation.

Summer 2014:

  • The first use for the new technology will be for building access. The Division of Public Safety (DPS) is working with Schools and Centers across campus to develop a schedule to replace all card readers associated with access to buildings or sections of buildings. It is estimated that the majority of campus card readers will be replaced by Fall Semester 2014.
  • In addition, PennCards with the new technology will be distributed per the usual methods starting in July 2014. (See PennCard Question Section for additional details).

Going Forward:

  • New PennCards will continue to use the magnetic strip  in addition to contactless technology as we fully  transition over to the chip. We anticipate a minimum of five to seven years for the transition to be completed before the magnetic strip can begin to be phased out.

The second phase of the project will focus on integration with SEPTA’s plan for its new payment technology.

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How will I know if my School/Center/Administrative Unit is using the new technology?

A Stakeholders Group has been established to help provide feedback to the Project Team. The group members will also be responsible for communicating about the project to their colleagues and will provide updates on the project, such as when a contactless reader has been installed in your building.  Contactless readers and PennCards will all have the contactless symbol (see below) making them easily identifiable.

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Are there any costs associated with this project?

There is no additional cost to individual members of the Penn Community.

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How can I get more information about this project?

You can email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Card Technology

What is the difference between contactless and Proximity Cards (prox)?

Proximity cards are read only, do not support multiple applications nor is data written to the card.  Additionally, contactless cards provide greater security of the data on the card.

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What is the read distance?

The read distance is 2-3 inches.

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How long does it take for the reader to read the card?

Normal read time is approximately 1-3 seconds.

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PennCard Questions

 

When will the new contactless PennCard be implemented?  How do I get a PennCard with the new chip technology?

PennCards with chip technology will be distributed per the usual method starting in July 2014. Individuals who are new to the University, whose PennCard has expired or who need a replacement card due to it being lost or stolen will receive the new card. Because of the new chip technology, there may be some instances when selected individuals will need to have their cards replaced due to specific needs.  We will also do on-demand card replacement if there is a justified business need.

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Does the contactless chip displace the magnetic stripe currently on my card? What if I still need the mag-stripe for function in my department?

Although the current plan is to eventually replace the magnetic strip, we will continue to use that technology as we transition over to the contactless.  PennCards will have both the contactless chip and the magnetic stripe. We anticipate a minimum of 5-7 years for the transition to be completed and the magnetic strip to be phased out.

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Will my PennCard continue to do everything it does now (dining plans, door access, etc.)?

Yes, and it is anticipated that new services will be offered through the contactless PennCard such as integration with SEPTA when they move to a similar technology for payment.

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Will I need to carry an additional card?

A. No, the new contactless PennCard will replace the current PennCard.  During the transition period, your PennCard will have both a mag-stipe and contactless chip.


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Do I have to pay for a new PennCard?

The current fees (as of Aug. 1, 2014) for PennCard’s are listed below:

  • There is no charge for the initial PennCard.
  • There is a charge for replacement of a PennCard, unless the replacement is necessitated by change of name, change of identification, or specific  business purpose.
  • Lost or stolen PennCards—$30
  • Damaged PennCards—$10 (you must have your old card with you)
  • Guest PennCards—$30