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'Smart card' students swipe their way through college

Buying books with the 'Smart Card' September 12, 1997
Web posted at: 10:17 a.m. EDT (1417 GMT)

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- College life at Florida State University just got a little easier, thanks to the "smart card" -- a small piece of plastic that plays a part in a wide range of activities, both on and off campus.

As a pre-paid debit card, students use it to buy goods and services from local merchants. icon (170K/15 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Some stores even give "smart card" users a discount. But that's just the beginning. The "smart card" also can be used:

Watch CNN's entire report on the "smart card"
icon 2 min., 30 sec. VXtreme streaming video
  • To pay tuition.

  • As an identification card to gain dormitory access.

  • To check out library books.

  • To make phone calls.

All students must have a "smart card" as their official student photo identification. They have the option of adding the debit card, which is accepted around the world at participating banks. video icon(476K/14 sec. QuickTime movie)

The FSU 'Smart Card'

An embedded computer chip gives the card its smarts, says Bill Norwood of Cybermark, the company that markets the card. icon (128K/10 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

While the card is convenient, there are occasional glitches. One student told CNN his card was rejected after he'd eaten at a restaurant. icon (119K/10 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

If the "smart card" makes the grade at Florida State, it may soon enroll at other campuses.


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