Many students are familiar with the red signs at the university market and dining registers promoting the MataMoney card, a pre-pay discount card that offers a straight 5 percent discount for use. Fewer might wonder why the university would be compelled to provide a discount, especially on market products that are already low margin. The answer is: MataMoney saves CSUN cash as well.
Betsy Corrigan, director of food services for The University Corporation, explains that many purchases on campus use credit or debit cards for which the university incurs transaction fees on a per swipe basis. With a pool of over 40,000 students, the fees can add up quickly.
“That’s the cost of doing business,” Corrigan said. “That’s why the banks do so well.”
Corrigan says that the problem is compounded when the average purchase is less than $4, putting the university in the red on many of those transactions.
MataMoney replaced the older A La Card program designed to reduce transaction fees by allowing students to add larger amounts to the proprietary card.
MataMoney use bypasses the financial institutions so students can use it for multiple transactions of any amount without creating additional fees for the university.
Corrigan said the exact cost savings are difficult to pinpoint with a pool of consumers that tends to fluctuate rapidly, but estimates the program could potentially save the university upwards of $100,000 annually.
Those cost savings are also a benefit to the students since they help to keep costs low and that revenue from all TUC markets and dining locations go back to the university according to Corrigan.
Even with the discount program in place, TUC has had some difficulty promoting the program in the past when funds could only be added to the card using only on-campus terminals.
Corrigan explained that some students have parents and family supporting them from other areas who would be unable to place funds on the card directly. TUC responded with a program allowing transfer of funds over the internet, something that has only been available for the last few years.
Alumna Daniela Cross always appreciated the MataMoney program throughout her bachelor and master’s programs.
“The discount is really nice,” Cross said.
Cross now works on-campus and says she gives MataMoney cards as gifts to employees.
“We try to make a point of keeping money on campus,” Cross said.
Corrigan said that without the MataMoney card, the banks are the ones profiting most from the student’s purchases.
“That doesn’t sit well,” Corrigan said.