CC students can now buy Domino’s pizza with Gold Card Plus dollars. The number of off-campus businesses accepting gold card continues to increase each year.
According to Lynette DiRaddo, head of the Gold Card office in Worner, eleven local businesses currently accept Gold Card Plus dollars.
The increase in vendors could be attributed to the expansion of CC’s PCS (Privilege Control System), to include a program called UGryd. According to UGryd’s University Support Coordinator, Eric Sacca, UGryd is a payment-processing platform that allows merchants to accept Gold Card off campus.
When a merchant scans the Gold Card, UGryd communicates with CC’s PCS card system software, Odyssey, to confirm or deny the purchase. If the purchase is confirmed, the amount is deducted from the student’s account, like a debit card.
According to Sacca, over 100 colleges and universities across the country use UGryd to process off-campus purchases. Most UGryd merchants pay between seven and eight percent as an interchange fee on every sale, but when CC contracted with UGryd, “there was a desire to keep rates low for the community,” Sacca said.
Gold Card vendors pay a rate “lower than the majority of schools we work with,” he said. Additionally, a minimum monthly transaction fee, which must be paid by most UGryd contract vendors, has been waived for Gold Card vendors.
As a result of the college’s agreement with UGryd, accepting Gold Card is a low-cost business boost for local merchants.
Since the UGryd upgrade, “off-campus vendors are able to reach out to a larger community for student needs,” said senior accountant Joan Taylor. Before the advent of UGryd, CC’s system could only accommodate vendors physically close to campus, so Wooglin’s and La’au’s became the obvious choice for off-campus dining.
Taylor attributes the success of both businesses to their positive relationship with the CC community. “Students see it seamlessly; they don’t see the transition in software, so the students know about La’au’s and Wooglin’s, and they’re the ones that get the most business,” Taylor said.
For La’au’s Taco Shop, gold card business picks up in the winter and slows down in the summer, according to assistant manager Juan Eseodedo. In the fall, two out of ten customers pay with Gold Card, and that number only increases as the weather cools.
The only grievance Eseodedo expressed with regard to off-campus gold card use is that “students think they can use the Gold Card like they do on campus, and that can cause problems,” he said.
However, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs. “We continue accepting Gold Card because we’re making good profit off it,” Eseodedo said.
CC students spent $159,611.80 in Gold Card Plus dollars at off-campus establishments last fiscal year, according to Taylor. That amounts to an average expenditure of $79.81 per student.
Aware of the potential economic payoff, the college receives inquires about accepting Gold Card from “two to three vendors every sixth months or so,” said Taylor. However, “not everyone comes aboard; not everyone is willing, not everyone has the profit margin to bear the cost,” Taylor said.