AUC Coin: Campus Goes Cashless

a student using his ID to buy something from a cashier across the counter
A student uses AUC Coin at Seoudi market on campus.

AUC Coin, the first cashless program at a university in the region, has arrived at AUC. The system will make transactions around campus easier, faster and more secure, according to the Office of the Vice President for Digital Innovation, which is heading the project. AUC Coin, a pre-paid electronic system, allows students to use their IDs as a method of payment for on-campus purchases at most of the major eateries, bookstores and the Copy Center.

This year, Hanan Abdel-Meguid, vice president for digital innovation, introduced her plan for a digital transformation at AUC, focusing on three pillars: paperless, open data and beyond the campus. This first pillar is where AUC Coin comes in. Spearheading this movement, with the goal of transitioning to a paperless campus in all aspects, Abdel-Meguid says, “This digital transformation is leveraging technological advancement to redefine the entire AUC experience, providing services to all stakeholders.”

By simply loading money onto your card at one of three on-campus locations, or through the online portal, you can purchase food, books and other services with just a tap. The online portal will also allow users to track their spending and manage their accounts.

The system is not completely replacing cash; you will still be able to use paper money everywhere on campus. Electronic payment offers another option that is “environmentally conscious, more accurate and there will be more transparency for all the transactions happening across campus,” said Abdel-Meguid. “It’s the new wave.”

Eventually, said Maha Farouk, operations and follow-up director in the Office of the Vice President for Digital Innovation, AUC Coin will transition into a fully digital wallet where students will be able to pre-order food to pick up when it’s ready. “It will be a very responsive experience,” according to Farouk, who is heading the project. This is great news for anyone who’s been caught in a long line at assembly hour waiting for their espresso-laden pick-me-up at TBS.

Roughly 1,000 students used the system within six hours of its launch during Orientation Week.  “In less than two days since its launch, AUC Coin accomplished 35 percent penetration, with 300 transactions each day,” shared Farouk. “This is a very impressive reflection of how digitally savvy our student body is, with a great appetite for digital innovation. We are extremely optimistic about AUC Coin and will be learning from the experiences shared by students as we continue.”

This appetite for innovation can certainly be heard in students excited conversations about the new cashless system. “I used it at Seoudi. I was so relieved," said Dina Ismail, business finance graduating senior. "It was very quick. I’m going to use it everywhere."

You’ll find the maroon “AUC Coin” stickers plastered on your favorite eateries around campus, including Zooba, Catering Co. and L’Aroma, a hopeful sign that the days of fumbling for change and navigating hectic lines are coming to an end. “It will definitely reduce lines during the semester,” said Omar Marzouk, business administration sophomore, after using his ID at L’Aroma, “It was so quick. I didn’t have to do anything.”

As students continue to sign up to use AUC Coin in its first phase, Abdel-Meguid and her team are working on introducing even more surprises in phases to come.

To join the cashless AUC Coin society, click here.