It is your student identification, it can give you access to your residence hall, pay for your meals on campus and, in the campus-area, is almost as widely accepted as cash.
It is your BuckID.
Across all Ohio State campuses there are currently 504 merchants accepting BuckID as a form of payment. These merchants range from laundry services, food options, clothing stores, pharmacies and more.
David Anthony, director of the university ID center, said OSU’s BuckID program has the most clients of any university ID payment program.
“There’s no college or university that has as many participating merchants as we do,” Anthony said.
Anthony said there are requirements as to which companies can accept Buck ID as a form of payment. He said merchants must fill out an application and then, pending approval, will receive a point-of-sale machine.
BuckID started serving off-campus vendors in 1995, Anthony said. It originally started with off-campus bookstores. And now, there are currently 12 bookstores accepting BuckID.
Jon Ernst, a third-year in accounting, said he mainly purchases books and uses the money on his BuckID to play at the OSU Golf Club.
“I think (BuckID money) is awesome, but I’d rather have it be more widely (accepted) than it is,” Ernst said.
Student Book Exchange has been using the system from the time it came out. Karen Clark, office manager at SBX, said they use BuckID because of the convenience it provided to students and parents.
Clark said about 3 percent of SBX’s overall sales come from students using their BuckIDs. A transaction rate of 3 percent applies, which Clark said is pretty comparable to their rates with credit card companies.
“(BuckID services) are very easy to work with,” Clark said. “They’re quick if there’s a problem.”
Clark did say that the biggest problem they sometimes run into are problems with old equipment.
Since 1995, Anthony said the service has expanded in many ways.
The largest group of BuckID accepters is restaurants at 163 locations, according to BuckID’s website. This includes both on-and-off-campus locations. Campus dining services also accept BuckID cash along with swipes.
Adriatico’s, a pizza restaurant located on 11th Avenue, has also been working with BuckID since it first started working off-campus.
“I thought it would be easy for parents to deposit money,” said Greg Fortney, owner of Adriatico’s. “I thought it would be good for my business to strengthen the relationship with the students.”
A 5 percent transaction rate applies from Adriatico’s sales, higher than percentages applied from Visa and MasterCard, Fortney said. He also agreed that equipment technology could be better.
“We have not changed our rates since 1995,” Anthony said. “The long established merchants have not seen any cost go up and we’re competitive with what credit and debit card percentages are.”
Chloe Higgins, a second-year in chemical engineering, said she uses her BuckID mainly at CVS for items she needs and periodically at food locations.
“It’s extra money that you have,” Higgins said. “You don’t use all of the $100 that’s usually on it for laundry and it’s nice not to have to think about carrying cash or a debit card.”
Anthony also said that BuckID has some limitations on what students can purchase.
Alcohol charges cannot be made with BuckIDs.
“A vast majority of people that use BuckID for payments are those that live in the residence halls which tend to be freshman or sophomores,” Anthony said. “If someone wants to use a BuckID that’s a pretty good indicator that they’re underage.”
Ernst said there are some clear limitations when it comes to paying for food at some restaurants. He said at locations such as Buffalo Wild Wings on High Street, you can pay for your meal but not leave a tip.
Anthony also said that merchants are required to verify that the person presenting the card matches the picture on the card.
There are some advantages to using BuckId over bank cards or credit cards, Anthony said. There are no overdraft charges or interest payments. He also said that transactions won’t go through if the amount due is not available on the card.
Most on-campus meal plan options come with a $100 deposit on the BuckID, which can be used at these establishments.
Students and parents can reload money from a credit card online at anytime, and there are various kiosks around campus that allow students to add money to their BuckID using cash.