MIFARE® brings Villanova’s Wildcard to life 15. December 2015


Ranked as one of America’s leading regional universities, Villanova University, outside Philadelphia, understands that customer service — in the form of exceptional student experiences — is an integral part of being a top-rated school.

One way Villanova stays ahead of the curve is with Wildcard, the university’s official ID card. Each of the school’s more than 7,000 undergraduates carries a contactless Wildcard, as part of a MIFARE® product -driven CS Gold® system provided by CBORD, a leading provider of campus and cashless card solutions designed exclusively for colleges and universities.

“This one little card does a lot here at Villanova,” says Kathy Gallagher, Director of the school’s Wildcard Office. “We use the cards for identification, meal-plan access, and privilege control, but also for off-campus spending, printing, banking, vending-machine purchases, athletics ticketing, and even laundry management.”

Gallagher has been involved with the MIFARE IC-based Wildcard system since it was first deployed, nearly 10 years ago. The launch was so successful, in fact, and made the card such a vital part of campus life, that Gallagher was honored, in 2008, with the Professional Development Award from the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU).

Expanded capabilities

Under Gallagher’s direction, Villanova recently expanded the Wildcard system to integrate CBORD’s new CS Gold Mobile Reader™, an app that makes it possible to process campus-card transactions anywhere and at any time. “Our students want convenience, and we are always looking for ways in which the Wildcard can provide more of it,” she says.

The CS Gold Mobile Reader eliminates the need for dedicated, fixed-in-place. Simply download the iOS or Android app to a tablet or smartphone, attach a low-profile reader, and you’re ready to process sales or track activities. The app is designed for compatibility with the widely used MIFARE ICs, and can read MIFARE Classic®, MIFARE Ultralight®, and MIFARE® DESFire® EV1 cards using the internal NFC capability on compatible smartphones and tablets. Students confirm their identity or initiate a transaction by simply tapping their MIFARE IC-based Wildcard to the device running the app.

The new app helps Villanova improve student services, making it easier to verify credentials and student status. The app can, for example, confirm attendance in classes or labs, record work hours for student employees, verify active student status for entry to campus facilities, or check people in and out of off-site events, like field trips. On career days, the system makes it easier to register students in more detail, with notes about their major, year of graduation, and so on. The app even provides a way for students to submit critiques of their professors.

Campus staff are taking advantage of the app, too. The human resources department uses it to verify employee ID number, public safety uses it to report overtime, and the custodial staff use it for quick notifications, reminding people to pick up their paycheck or attend required safety classes.

The app’s access-control logs help increase security, especially in an emergency. University personnel can identify who’s entered or exited a particular location, so as to account for people’s whereabouts and stay on top of situations as they evolve.

More than 40 mobile readers are in regular use by various departments throughout the school, and another dozen readers are available to students. “The students love the technology,” says Gallagher. “They’re always coming up with new ways to use the readers.”

Extended benefits

With the new CS Gold Mobile Reader, the school’s Wildcards can be used in more places and in more ways, and that adds a new level of flexibility and convenience to the setup. The app also gives Villanova greater return on their initial Wildcard investment, and maintains the school’s reputation as a leader in campus innovation.

Join the conversation

What are some of the more creative applications you’ve seen for campus cards? How do you think mobile apps like the CS Gold Mobile Reader might help a school gather useful data and ensure security?

Related links

The Villanova Wildcard story (video)
Official MIFARE site
MIFARE DESFire EV1 for secure multi-application campus cards