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Volume 68, Issue 1, Monday, August 26, 2002


UH has mixed feelings on new Cougar 1Cards

By Valarie Torres

A pilot program starting this semester will allow members of the UH community to use their Cougar 1Cards as debit cards. Those
running the program are optimistic; others aren't as excited.

The new 1Card can still be used for the same things it has always been used for the library, meal plan, entry to the residence
halls and everything else it's been used for previously but now it can also be used as a debit card.

Lorrie Novosad/The Daily Cougar

A student gets his picture taken in the Cougar 1Card office earlier this month. A new pilot program will allow UH students, faculty and staff to use their cards as debit cards.

By activating the new Cougar 1Card current students, faculty and staff should be receiving in the mail, the old one will be
deactivated,but since the program is still in its pilot stage; it is an option, not a requirement.

Helen Stout, the associate vice president for administration, who is overseeing the new features, said she thinks the 1Card will
be popular at UH, because it consolidates many uses into one card.

"The 1Card offers more services than your regular debit card, especially with all the University options, and there are no monthly
fees," Stout said.

She also advocates the 1Card's option that allows other people (such as family or friends) to deposit money into an account

"A lot of parents have come to me and said this sounds like a good idea. Parents like to be able to send money to their children
quicker and easier," Stout said. "This option is especially beneficial to international students, who have to try to set up an
account through a bank in the United States, which is not always easy for them."

Jackie Mitchell, the Cougar 1Card manager, is also optimistic about the new card and its popularity. 

She said she expects to hear from a lot of students at the Cougar 1Card office in the University Center once the semester

"We're ready for the lines," she said.

Some students and faculty are not so optimistic. Ramon Saavedra, a senior history major, doesn't think the card will be of much
use to students. 

"I already have a debit/credit card and a bank account; why do I need another one? I don't think I will use it," Saavedra said.

Leticia Gallegos, a junior business major, agrees: "I wouldn't use it because there are times when I have to take out large amounts
of money from my account for rent. I couldn't do that with the card, even if it does have the MasterCard logo on it."

Staff members also have their doubts about the card. 

Tom Rodriguez, customer service representative for the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, has already activated his card,
but doesn't think he will use any of the banking or debit card 


Stout said she isn't sure what will happen if there isn't much demand for the 1Cards' debit and banking features, but said other
universities with similar programs seem to be working it out. Texas A&M University and the University of Minnesota have similar
debit card options for their students and faculty.

Students and faculty who choose to take advantage of the program have to set up an account online, through 

All banking is done online through the Web site.

The MasterCard logo on the new card gives students and faculty the opportunity to use their cards at restaurants, clubs, ATMs
and anywhere else MasterCard 

is accepted. 

All debit cards require money to be in the account, so the account has to be set up first online.



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