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Students face limited payment options at the CIC

Zachary Canter       

Contributing Writer

 In many locations at UMBC, students are not able to make purchases using their credit cards.  While it may seem like an inconvenience, there is a good reason behind this that helps the university handle business efficiently.

With homecoming fast approaching, ticket sales for the Homecoming comedian, Bo Burnham, are on sale and seem to be selling very quickly.

The show will take place this weekend – Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8:00 p.m. – in the RAC. Since ticket sales began on September 12, 700 out of 1000 tickets have been sold.

But a question may arise when a person goes to buy their tickets at the Campus Information Center (CIC) – why can’t I pay for my ticket with a credit card?

At the CIC, students are only able to pay for tickets using cash or Retriever Dollars that have been loaded onto their red cards.

Trishant Bhatija, a freshman majoring in computer science, said “I don’t have cash laying around or any Retriever Dollars.”

Even though there is a PNC ATM down the hall from the CIC, Trishant also said “I also would rather not pay the $3 fee to withdraw cash from the ATM. It would make it much easier for me if I was able to use my credit card [to buy tickets].”

Why can’t students use their credit cards on campus to make purchases from the CIC, to print papers in the library or to wash their clothes in the laundry rooms? The Bookstore is able to process credit cards but not these other places on campus.

Jon Carr, a junior financial economics major, speculated why both The Gameroom and the CIC do not take credit cards.

Carr pointed out that the registers they use in The Gameroom and the CIC are the same registers so the technology isn’t the issue. Rather, UMBC wants to collect the entire transaction through cash or retriever dollars.

This circumvents the percentage cut credit card companies such as Visa or Mastercard take out, allowing UMBC to maintain all the profits.

Chick-fil-A and Starbucks are outside corporate organizations as are the restaurants in the The Commons, which makes it convenient for them to take a credit card over cash or retriever dollars if not more so.

For campus sales organizations however, whose profits go to the university or other organizations within UMBC such as the Student Events Board responsible for organizing the Homecoming comedian show, using either cash or Retriever Dollars eliminates many problems that  often accompany the use of Credit Cards.

Luckily for UMBC students, putting funds on their red cards is not difficult. They can easily go to the Billing and Personal Finances tab in myUMBC, click the option Campus Card and add Retriever Dollars to their cards.

While here students can also monitor purchases, the number of meals they have and even change the meal plan that they are on.

While it may be more convenient for many student to use their credit cards to make their purchases on campus, it is much easier for the University to handle other methods of payment.