Newton, MA, August 29, 2013—Today, Sovereign Bank, N.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Santander Holdings USA and one of the 25 largest retail banks in the United States, issued a press release announcing its launch of the first university smart cards in the U.S. The cards will be provided as a result of agreements that Sovereign Bank, through its Santander Universities division, formalized with Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, in addition to Wheelock College in Boston. Smart cards enable students, faculty and staff to access buildings, use school services, and for the first time, link directly to a Sovereign Bank account.
The ability to link identification cards to gain entry, utilize institutional services and conduct banking is an example of the growing trend reflecting consumer preferences prioritizing both secure access and convenience in making financial transactions.
Sovereign Bank’s desire to build strong relationships with U.S. higher education institutions and students through its Santander Universities arm, led to its commitment to provide these cards to local colleges and universities. Santander issued its first university smart card through its Santander Universities Global Division in 1996. It is now a leading issuer of bank-connected smart cards for higher education institutions having provided more than six million cards to university students around the world.
“We are thrilled to support Mount Ida College and Wheelock College in their efforts to enhance services by launching this new banking functionality for students, faculty and staff. The ability to link their ID cards to a Sovereign checking account will benefit smart card users by providing greater flexibility, safety and convenience when accessing their money to pay for books, supplies, meals and any of their other needs both on and off campus,” said Eduardo Garrido, Director of Santander Universities. “We look forward to working with other colleges and universities to support their students and staff members in the same way.”
“The convenience of the smart card was greatly attractive, but our principal concern was ensuring the personal and financial security of our students. With Santander Universities’ proven experience in providing secure access to universities and students around the world, it was able to meet the high security standards that are very important to us,” said Barry Brown, President of Mount Ida College.
The banking functionality of the smart card is optional and must be activated before use at one of Sovereign Bank’s branches. Unlike a credit card or pre-paid debit card, the Santander University smart card can be linked to bank accounts, making it easier for students and their parents to seamlessly manage spending during the school year. The smart card can be used for both on and off campus services and provides users with the option to make either ATM or PIN-based debit transactions linked to a Sovereign checking account.
Sovereign Bank offers a special student checking account that has no monthly fee and requires no minimum balance. Students, faculty and staff will be able to access cash or transfer money at no cost at all Sovereign ATMs. As part of the agreements with Mount Ida College, Sovereign Bank ATMs will be installed in the student activity centers at each school.
Santander University smart cards have both chips and magnetic stripes, allowing the school to make timely enhancements to their security standards and services in a way that is easy for the school and the users.