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
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 -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-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).
Under Gallagher’s direction, Villanova recently expanded the Wildcard system to integrate CBORD’s new
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 standard, 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-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.”
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?
Official MIFARE site
MIFARE DESFire EV1 for secure
multi-application campus cards