After many years of false starts, OneCards will be accepted as payment at select businesses in downtown Brunswick.
Domino's Pizza, Aki Sushi, and Big Top Deli are currently set up to accept student identification cards as payment, with more businesses soon to join.
"It's a project we've been working on for some time now and its finally coming to fruition," said OneCard Coordinator Chris Bird.
The system, called UGryd, allows merchants to directly charge students' OneCard accounts, and will not accept Polar Points. Similar to credit card services, the company managing UGryd charges the business a small fee per transaction.
"Merchants can look at the details of the program and decide whether it makes sense for their situation to accept student cards or not," said Bird.
Domino's manager Dudley Leavitt said he is enthusiastic about the new program.
"We feel its something that will help the students, and if its something that the students want, we want to make sure we're doing it," he said.
Over the past couple of years, Bowdoin Student Government has frequently spoken with the OneCard office about the implementation of such a program.
"It's been one of the priorities for several years," said Director of Events and Summer Programs Tony Sprague. "The UGryd service...as far as ease of use and also ease of management on our end gave us the opportunity to finally be able to implement that project."
UGryd is powered by CBORD, a company that provides cashless card systems software and commerce management programs to colleges and other institutions around the world. CBORD currently powers all OneCard transactions made on campus.
"When you use your card at the dining halls or at Smith Union for any of those types of purchases, its flowing through CS Gold, which is the software that CBORD makes," said Sprague.
Under the UGryd system, CBORD acts as an intermediary between the OneCard office and merchants in Brunswick, processing transactions and charging them to students' OneCard accounts.
"The model...allows us to manage a program of this scale without needing to increase the size of the OneCard office," said Bird. "It would be tough for an office of this size to add another major component to the OneCard program without this kind of partnership."
Decals in store windows, similar to those of major credit card companies, will identify businesses that accept OneCards.
"We have and will continue to reach out to other merchants," said Bird. "It's just a couple days turnaround time from when they submit a signed agreement to when they get the terminal they need to process the transactions."