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By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Summer Wildcat
August 25, 1997

CatCard arrives on UA campus


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Ian C. Mayer/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Freshman Lisa Fontanini gets her digital CatCard picture taken Thursday at the Park Student Center. The redesigned identification card will, in addition to traditional uses, serve as a debit card at Saguaro Federal Credit Union.

The arrival of the fall semester has brought with it more than just a new freshman class. Students enrolling at the UA this year will be the first to receive a redesigned identification card.

The new CatCard will have the capability of serving as more than just a university identification, said Elizabeth Taylor, CatCard project manager.

In addition to the ID's traditional uses, such as access to the Student Recreation Center, library books, and purchases on All Aboard and Pocket Money accounts, Taylor said the new cards will be able to serve as a debit card for students who choose to ope n a checking account with Saguaro Credit Union.

"This (CatCard) is not just for dining anymore," Taylor said.

The new card will allow purchases at campus locations equipped to accept a debit card with a pin number, she said.

"We decided on a pin number for security reasons," Taylor said.

She said one advantage of the ID is that each student's digital image will be stored on the CatCard office's computer server, allowing new cards to be issued without requiring new photographs.

New UA students were the first to receive the card. Taylor said the issuing of the cards began at orientation sessions over the summer.

Taylor said the process to re-card the entire university has yet to begin because of the large expense to provide all students with the new ID.

"We are trying to capture as many pictures as possible right now, but it is just not economically feasible (to re-card the entire university at this time)," Taylor said.

Eventually, it will be necessary for all students to get a CatCard, said

Jean Johnson, associate controller for student services in the Bursar's Office.

Even though the CatCard was just implemented over the summer, plans for an updated version are already being considered.

Taylor said the university is searching for an outside company that would be able to produce an updated card with only one magnetic strip for all uses.

The date for the updated version of the new card has not been determined but may be as early as this spring.

Taylor said the current ID change has been a project in the works since January, when the management team for the project was put together.

Card Office Manager Richard Crow said the new system of producing IDs is more economical than the former system, which involved taking a Polaroid photograph of the student and placing in on the card backing.

"We have cut the cost of labor and supplies. In the long run it will save a lot of money," he said.

Johnson said Saguaro Credit Union became a partner in March, after a bidding process was completed.

In conjunction with the new CatCard, Saguaro Credit Union is opening two new branches, one at 988 E. University Blvd., which opened Aug. 15. The second office, in the Memorial Student Union, also was scheduled to open Aug. 15, but was set back by construc tion delays.

Saguaro plans to have the union branch open today, Taylor said.

Gary Sapp, contracts administrator, said the announcement of the bidding process was sent to every financial institution in Tucson, but Saguaro was the only institution that responded.

"No one else wanted anything to do with it," Sapp said.

He said the contract to provide the banking service for the CatCard is valid from April 1,1997 until March 31, 2002 with five, one-year renewal options, allowing for a possible ten-year contract.

He said according to the contract, Saguaro Credit Union will contribute one dollar per card, however, Taylor said current contract renegotiations may change the agreement.

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