A Dining Hall Card for the Bar?

By Hans van Deursen

When current UCSA treasurer Florian Verhaak ran for the UCSA one of his campaign promises was to implement a paying card in the bar. At the moment students pay with cash, but the plan is to replace this with a Dining Hall-like system based on credit. You would be able to recharge this card through cash or IDEAL online transfer, and never again have to worry about the absence of coins or losing pockets.

At first both the Secretary and the Inventory manager of BarCo, Sonya Suransky and Mirjam van Kampen, were a bit apprehensive about this idea. BarCo had considered a chipknip or a PIN machine before. Neither seemed viable paying methods, seeing as the Dutch government intends to abolish the aforementioned chipknip. PIN machines, on the other hand, would allow for “nearly unlimited spending, which is not preferable when someone is already drunk,” says Mirjam. BarCo expected similar problems with the proposed card.

But after exploring the details of the card, both Sonya and Mirjam were convinced it would be an enormous improvement. The benefits would include faster ordering (as only a quick scan of a card is necessary), easier implementation of bar bans by simply blocking the cards, and it would make the life of the Barco treasurer a bit easier. Also, considering the amount of cash that flows through the bar, such cards would make transactions safer.

Second year Inger van Boeijen sees this as the solution to a lack of cash of money. “Students do not want to go to the ATM every time before the bar. This card would solve that issue.”

Not everyone is entirely convinced, though. Second year Paula Ozola is a bit ambivalent towards the plan. She prefers to pay with cash, as it is “more real. You realise that you are spending actual money, instead of just scanning a plastic card.”

All in all, despite some initial worries, students seem to embrace the idea. But is it feasible budget wise? During the General Assembly on the 6th of November, UCSA Chair Sil Boedi Scholte said the initial offers the UCSA explored were unfortunately too expensive, but they are looking into other options. Only time will tell!


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