GONZALEZ: MarquetteCASH an overlooked but still valuable resource

Jasmine Gonzalez

gonzalez color sidedAfter running out of PrintWise money last semester, I resorted to adding MarquetteCASH to my ID card in order to cover printing costs for the remainder of the term. Of course, I didn’t use all of my deposit on printing and, with my PrintWise allowance renewing this semester, I found myself with a good chunk of money left on my card.

Were I an underclassman, I could find use for my remaining MarquetteCASH, putting it toward things like laundry costs. Living in an off-campus apartment, however, my need for these amenities is nonexistent, limiting my use for MarquetteCASH to on-campus dining and less than a dozen restaurants located on campus as well. Of course, there is the option to have my balance refunded, but the process is more time-consuming, and being able to spend it more freely would be optimal.

Touting itself as “the convenient, cashless way to pay on and off campus,” it is surprising to see such a small number of businesses that accept MarquetteCASH as a form of payment. As it stands, MarquetteCASH is certainly useful for on-campus use, but a seemingly overlooked resource with great potential.

By expanding the way it is used off-campus, students’ ID cards could potentially aid in breaking down the “Marquette bubble” by encouraging students to explore the rest of their city.

At Northwestern University, for example, it is common to see WildCARD stickers gracing the front doors and windows of hundreds of local shops and businesses not only in Evanston, where the university is located, but throughout several surrounding suburbs and Chicago as well. The stickers help encourage students to stop in and receive rewards or discounts for patronizing the business after showing their student ID cards. By seeing the Marquette logo gracing more front doors throughout the city, students would feel like their patronage is highly sought after and would be more inclined to spend money through their ID cards.

Among the locations that currently accept MarquetteCASH are a mix of chain restaurants and local businesses, such as the Broken Yolk and Miss Katie’s Diner. One possibility is for Marquette to work with other local businesses to set them up within the MarquetteCASH network. With local businesses accepting MarquetteCASH, students with a few extra dollars to spend on their IDs may be motivated to branch out and try something new. The benefits would be manifold: students get to try something new and unique – like dining at local hotspot AJ Bombers or buying fresh flowers at the Milwaukee Public Market – and local businesses gain greater exposure and new clients for several years.

Finally, MarquetteCASH is a safe way to store money. A lost or stolen card can be quickly deactivated online and replaced at Union Station. Plus, an unauthorized user —assuming they even knew the card had money loaded onto it — would have a far more difficult time passing off a Marquette ID as their own. With safety always on students’ minds, MarquetteCASH could help students gain more peace-of-mind knowing their spending money is in a safer place.

The many features of MarquetteCASH could make it a viable alternative to regular cash or debit cards and an attractive means for students to spend their money in the city. Unfortunately, the list of vendors has not only remained small, but has also shrunk, with businesses such as Sobelman’s and McDonald’s being removed from the list. The university should revisit this system and find ways to make it more expansive within the city and more useful for students overall.