QCash-less

Some local businesses no longer accept the QCard, while others believe the system needs an upgrade

By on October 29, 2014
News Headline

Students take advantage of QCash to cover groceries, laundry and takeout orders, but recently a number of vendors no longer accept QCash.

Although the university’s QCard website lists places like Supercuts, not all of the stores are still accepting this QCash as a means of payment, according to Supercuts and Tonino’s Pizzeria.

Shop Rite, Tonino’s and Thyme and Season are all places that accept QCash, however workers at each of these locations think the QCash system needs an upgrade.

“Yeah it’s rather slow,” said Dupree, a Shop Rite employee in charge of running the QCard scanner. “It’s pretty inconvenient that you have to go off to the side and sign for your purchase.”

Dupree, who would not give his full name, said this backs up the line.

Besides holding up lines, these businesses lose more money when a student uses QCash rather than simply a debit card, according to Tonino’s.

Anthony is a worker at Tonino’s. He says currently the processing fees for QCash are 11 percent.

“It’s costing us considerably more to process QCard,” Anthony said. “Most [stores] are at 13 percent. Which really is extraordinary for processing fees.”

Something that is $10 ends up costing Tonino’s around $11.50, he said.

“We prefer debit cards to QCards,” he said. “Ask any merchant up and down this street [Whitney Avenue], and they’ll tell you the same thing. If they did lower the processing fees, more stores would accept it. They wouldn’t turn away more business.”

John Meriano is the associate vice president for auxiliary services. He said the fees these businesses are referring to are established by Blackboard. Blackboard handles all relationships, contracts, payments and technical aspects directly with the merchants.

“Major credit cards have huge volume and make their revenue on that volume,” he said. “Our vendor base is much too small to operate on such a small discount rate. The 100 or so schools’ vendors that work with BB1 [BlackBoard transact] are all independent and in proximity of the host school.”

QCard is run through Blackboard Transact. Transact runs as a branch of Blackboard and is responsible for the technology that allows QCards to perform tasks such as unlocking dormitory entrances, utilizing on-campus meal plan options and ordering from various eating establishments that accept the currency, according to Blackboard’s site.

He says when vendors enter the program, they are aware of the processing fees.

Despite the processing fees, Anthony said Quinnipiac students are among his highest customers and he does not want to them to order somewhere else.

“The percentage of our business with Quinnipiac is around 45 to 50 percent.” Anthony said. “Administration, students; they are the biggest part of our business.”

Students appreciate the program, but would like for there to be more places where they can use their card.

Evan LeClair is a sophomore computer science major. He enjoys using his QCard, but still has complaints.

“It’s way more convenient to use the QCard for things like groceries and food compared to a credit card,” LeClair said. “It would be nice if it was usable in more locations, especially in New Haven. I want to spend money on food in New Haven, but I can’t.”

Junior Christian Ottorman prefers to use his debit card over QCash.

“I believe [the QCard] is inefficient,” Ottorman said. “I’m hesitant on using it. While it keeps things orderly, it could be better. I usually use my debit card rather than my QCard to pay for things. Overall, it is definitely something that can be improved upon.”

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