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Mount Holyoke College pilots mobile payments app for on-campus purchases

Mount Holyoke College is piloting a new mobile payments app that enables students to pay for purchases around campus.

Currently, the MyPay app is being used by limited number of students but the college plans to make it available campus-wide this summer. The app was developed by Heartland Payment Systems, which expects more higher education institutions to begin offering mobile payments to students this year.

“Many colleges are beginning to offer their students mobile apps for various campus resources, such as maps and events, and this is the natural progression to stay ahead of the technology curve,” said Fred Emery, vice president and general manager of campus solutions at Heartland Payment Systems, Princeton, NJ.

“By offering mobile payment apps similar to those offered by some of the world’s leading retailers, like Starbucks, colleges are giving students convenient payment options on the devices they use most often,” he said.

“It is also a win for the college because it can help speed up lines at campus locations, like the dining hall and increase operational efficiencies.”

Reducing lines
TheMyPay app lets students pay for their purchases in the student union and at other locations on campus via their smartphones. Purchases are funded with a debit or credit card or a student’s OneCard campus card account, also offered by Heartland Payment Systems.

Students can also use the app to pay for purchases from vending machines and for copying services.

To make a purchase, students log into the MyPay app and select that they want to make a purchase using the MyPay app.

Transaction approval can be sent by the student prior to reaching the front of the line and is held in a queue. The cashier simply hits the MyPay key and then selects the appropriate transaction from a list of those who are paying by MyPay.

The queue shows the user’s photo, name and account information so it is quick and efficient.

The app also works as a virtual campus identification card and provides access to students’ campus account.

Students can reduce their wait times with the app by sending their payment information to the point-of-sale terminal while waiting in a checkout line. Cashiers simply press a button to complete a transaction.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Mount Holyoke, which is located in South Hadley, MA, will begin promoting the new app to the entire student body after the pilot using email blasts, campus newspaper articles and signs around campus.

Higher ed apps
Many higher education institutions are offering mobile apps for campus resources and information such as maps and events.

At the same time, mobile payments solutions are becoming more popular with smartphone owners.

Heartland Payment Systems through its Campus Solutions division offers credit and debit card payment processing and disbursement solutions to colleges and universities through its OneCard program.

The company also offers three mobile apps for higher education institutions and students: the MyPay mobile payments and virtual ID app, MyAccount, which is similar to a bank account app and enables student to manage their campus accounts, as well as OneCard Mobile Admin, which gives school administrators the ability to manage the OneCard system from their mobile device.

“Once the pilot wraps at Mt. Holyoke, these new apps will be available on our upcoming software version release to all of our higher ed clients who would like to use it on their campus,” Mr. Emery said.