Mo. State Implements Contactless Campus Card System

WASHINGTON — Missouri State University (MSU) has selected Blackboard Transact in a move away from magnetic stripe student IDs for contactless credentials.

Based on the Near Field Communication (NFC) ISO-standard protocol, the new system enables MSU to integrate student identification, door security, commerce, and campus payment with a single contactless card to make the student experience significantly more convenient and secure.

With the new system, over 25,000 students, faculty and administrators can pay for purchases and enter buildings with a simple tap or wave of the new BearPass ID cards. The cards use SONY’s FeliCa contactless technology and work with Blackboard NFC-enabled smart readers – which also support magnetic stripe technology – for faster and more secure transactions. 

MSU is the latest of hundreds of institutions to upgrade their campus card system with Blackboard’s NFC-compatible contactless system. Officials at MSU selected Blackboard Transact following a full evaluation of major providers led by a committee of department representatives and a student spokesperson. The committee found that Blackboard offered the most advanced and student-focused solution.

“It’s our mission to provide a safe and secure campus, and with Blackboard we’re truly future-proofing our system,” said Kent Thomas, special assistant to the president at Missouri State University, who spearheaded the project. “Blackboard was the clear choice to update our legacy card system. The company leads the market with technology that improves security and reduces the chances of identity theft, but also provides great management efficiency and system integration.” 

Students at MSU can easily add money to their student ID account, view transactions online, immediately stop activity on their account if their card is lost or stolen, and use their smartphone to manage their account. MSU can also use the cards to operate electronic access control devices for academic, administrative and student buildings, ensuring that only authorized persons are able to gain entry to secured facilities and events.

Blackboard was the first company to offer a contactless, NFC-compatible card solution specifically designed for education institutions in 2010. Since then, Blackboard clients have issued hundreds of thousands of NFC-enabled credentials, transforming the student experience on and off campus.

The NFC standard is also widely adopted in the mobile industry, with over 100 million NFC enabled phones expected to ship this year, according to a recent report by Eurosmart. As the NFC standard evolves, Blackboard Transact readers and devices will receive future software updates to support additional ISO-14443 contactless technologies, including those used in mass transit, payment and highly secure applications. 

“We are excited to see schools like MSU have chosen the value and transformative impact of an NFC-compatible contactless credential,” said David Marr, president of Blackboard Transact. “Because our solution provides for an elegant transition from magnetic stripe to contactless by accepting both formats at the reader, we enable and encourage schools to begin building the infrastructure now that will support future technologies and higher levels of service to their constituents.”

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