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Campus eateries to accept credit cards

The new policy will be implemented partially to facilitate guests’ abilities to buy food on campus

The Blue Room, Ivy Room, Campus Market and Poppy’s will accept credit cards starting in early November, representatives from dining services and campus life said.

The eateries will accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards.

“There has been a growing interest in offering the convenience of credit card payment to customers at retail eateries,” said Scott Thacher, director of information technology in the Office of Campus Life and Student Services.

Ann Hoffman, director of administration for Brown Dining Services,said the change will be instituted in part due to “a desire to enable alumni and guests coming to campus for Commencement to use credit cards here.”

Thacher said this is the right time to implement the change because the technology vendor BDS uses recently introduced a new add-on for its cash register system that makes it easy to “implement secure credit card processing.”

The only technology investment needed is a small card reader unit at each register and a new add-on software module to the existing server, Thacher said. He added that the new hardware and software purchases are relatively inexpensive and would not lead to large annual fees, since the system adds on to existing hardware.

Students on meal plan said the change would not significantly affect their dining habits. For instance, Carly Risman ’17 said the new policy would only matter to her if she ran out of points later in the semester.

But students not on meal plan expressed enthusiasm about the change, adding that they believe the new policy could alter their eating habits.

“I never carry cash around campus and I’m no longer on meal plan so I rarely eat on campus,” said Perri Gould ’14. “I’m super excited that on-campus eateries will be accepting credit cards, because now I’ll be able to eat at the Blue Room in between classes.”

Students said the ability to use credit cards will mostly affect lunchtime habits.

Pa Vue ’14, the unit manager of the Ivy Room, said she believes this change will be more useful “when the Ivy Room is opened in the afternoons, since there tend to be faculty and other professionals — who don’t have the convenience of a meal plan on their cards — who have lunch there at that time.”

She added that the ability to use a credit card in the Ivy Room may also be useful since there are “no ATM machines in the building.”

Hoffman and Thacher both said it is unclear if the change will cause an increase in the number of purchases made at dining facilities.

“That would be great, but we’re really not sure — volume is hard to predict,” Thacher said. “The project is primarily about enhancing customer convenience.”



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