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Digital Wildcard woes

Jacques Kallie
Photos of a Wildcard scanner to grant access into the building.

As the fall semester of Weber State University begins, issues are emerging during the process of switching from physical Wildcard IDs to a digitalized alternative. WSU students, especially those residing in campus dormitories, have had issues with switching to the digital card and having door access to their buildings.

Chip Coleman, systems architect for Student Affairs Technology at WSU, has been one of the university’s staff members helping students through this new process. Coleman has been associated with WSU for 17 years.

“We spent a lot of time with students to figure out why they couldn’t get the Wildcard and door access figured out, but we just had to put a lot of pieces together and go through the process of getting their mobile credentials set,” Coleman said.

Connie Frazier, director of Housing and Residence Life, said the university did small group testing of this process in fall 2022, but this is the first time they are mass-launching the idea.

“With any new system, there are some slow-downs with people,” Frazier said. “Campus IT have been really helpful, especially with students in housing who are struggling to adapt to the digital Wildcard.”

According to Frazier, many of the international students attending WSU do not have United States-based phone services and aren’t able to switch to a digital Wildcard.

Physical Wildcards can be distributed if the individual’s mobile device won’t complete the processes or if they simply do not wish to have a digital card. If a physical card is lost, a $20 fee will be charged to the student’s account.

Coleman said this process was not so much of a malfunction, but more of a series of processes that could take hours or days to complete. This process depends on the mobile device of the individual and if its near-field communications is enabled.

NFC is similar to bluetooth and is used for most e-transactions. This can be found and enabled in the settings of the student’s mobile device. Once this is established, the student will need to set up an account on Duo within the eWeber portal.

Students will then need to download the Transact eAccounts app on their mobile device and upload a profile photo onto the app. Submitting the photo may take time as it needs to be approved by the Wildcard office.

The student’s mobile credentials and digital Wildcard will then be added to the wallet on their mobile device, similar to a debit or credit card. In the case of students in housing, once the card is added to the wallet, there is another process run that adds residence hall door access.

“We’re moving into a realm of smart cards, being that mobile credentials are pretty self-sufficient, and students don’t have to go to the Wildcard office to handle the process there,” Coleman said.

Coleman said this decision also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 through less contact of physical WIldcards.

“We are asking students to be as patient as possible because this is a process of making sure everyone will benefit from this new approach,” Coleman said.

More information and instructions on how to switch to the digital Wildcard can be found on the WSU website.

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Lucas Moore
Lucas Moore, News reporter

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