CBORD and Vanderbilt University Launch the Commodore Card on iPhone and Apple Watch

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With mobile Commodore Cards, students can get around campus with just a tap of their device at campus readers

This new technology shows the work we're doing to protect our campus and community in one of the most challenging years our university has ever faced.

Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff can now add their Commodore Card to Apple Wallet and use their iPhone and Apple Watch to conveniently, safely and securely access campus buildings, purchase meals, and more.

With mobile IDs, students can complete any action that would have previously required a physical ID card — both on and off campus — with just their iPhone or Apple Watch. Students simply place their device near a reader to enter dorms, libraries and fitness centers, buy lunch, make purchases at campus stores, pay for laundry, print documents, and more.

The university decided to introduce this safer, more modern campus credential for the 2020-21 academic year, and successfully completed an accelerated implementation in three months. However, the plan to transition from a plastic ID card to contactless mobile credential began a year ago when CBORD, Vanderbilt’s campus card software provider, announced it was working with Apple to launch mobile student IDs on iPhone and Apple Watch.

“We’ve been looking for a way to provide improved access and simplicity for our students,” said Mark Brown, director of business services technology at Vanderbilt. “Our student government has advocated for a mobile solution for the past few years, and though we’ve been planning the transition for a year now, COVID-19 accelerated the process.”

COVID-19 has significantly affected Vanderbilt’s operations and student services, impacting nearly every area of campus life. Fewer students are living on campus, classes are a blend of in-person and virtual instruction, and entrance to buildings is limited. Campus dining has been modified to grab-and-go meals, contactless payments only, and outdoor seating in tents.

“This initiative has been of interest to both the student body and university administrators, as it supports both accessibility and convenience for our campus community,” Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain said. “We are also excited about this new option because it provides an added health and safety benefit as students return to campus. The contactless payment option helps students avoid touching the readers or handing their ID cards to someone else.”

The move from physical cards to a mobile Commodore Card on smart devices allows for a transaction that is safe and convenient. Students simply hold an iPhone or Apple Watch within 6 inches of the compatible card reader to buy lunch, unlock a door, pay for laundry, check into class, or more. Vanderbilt can also issue school IDs remotely without the need to see students in-person or print and mail physical cards, creating a safer, more cost-effective, and more environmentally-friendly process.

The Commodore Card on iPhone and Apple Watch provides an extra level of security and privacy, so students do not need to worry about misplacing their physical card when they are enjoying campus life, and transaction history is never shared with Apple or stored on Apple servers. If a student misplaces their iPhone or Apple Watch, they can use the Find My app to immediately lock their device and help locate it. The Commodore Card on iPhone and Apple Watch is also protected by two factor authentication to ensure only the student can access their own account, even if someone else knows their password.

Brown continued, “It seems like we haven’t stopped to catch our breath since our kick-off call. Every reader has either been replaced or had its firmware upgraded. Off-campus vendors have received new terminals and training. We also upgraded CS Gold, CBORD’s campus card software, to the latest version.”

Vanderbilt is the fifth CBORD campus to launch mobile student IDs on iPhone and Apple Watch; the first four launched last fall.

The addition of mobile campus credentials adds to Vanderbilt’s comprehensive, cross-campus technology system powered by CBORD and its partners, which include meal plan management, online food ordering, foodservice management, ID card production, physical access, security, off-campus retail and more.

“Vanderbilt has built a connected campus of technology solutions tied together through a central card system,” stated Jim Hoefflin, president of CBORD. “It’s a great example of how you can bring all of your auxiliary services together to create an elevated, engaging student experience. The addition of mobile credentials is just the pinnacle of years of a successful partnership.”

“This new technology continues to solidify our reputation as a leading-edge, student-focused university,” said Brown. “But it also shows the work we’re doing to protect our campus and community in one of the most challenging years our university has faced.”

Vanderbilt launched its mobile Commodore Card when classes resumed on Sept. 8. To learn more about this technology, visit cbord.com/gocontactless.

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