University of Pennsylvania Converts to Contactless ID Cards

UPenn is officially converting their magnetic stripe ID cards and to cards with embedded chips—think of a card you would use to pay for a train ride. The cards use RFID—radio frequency identification—that enables information to be transmitted when the card is held about two inches away from the reader or makes contact with the reader. So far, the new cards have been tested at a restricted research facility and at housing on campus.

School officials expect that full migration to contactless technology will take 5 to 7 years with card readers expected this fall. Materials for the card are nonproprietary: 8K MIFARE DESFire EV1 chip with a magnetic stripe option and a PVC card stock body.

“Right now, we use a magnetic stripe similar to those found on credit cards,” says Chris Sapp, director of the PennCard Center. “The chip, however, is more secure and positions us well to offer other services through the PennCard in the future.”

For full story, see Campus Technology.

Yvonne Chan

Yvonne Chan

Yvonne is a writer for Edtech Times who is most interested in technology's role in culture. When she is not combing the web for the latest in educational technology, she is reading classic literature or watching the game on TV. You may know her from Gradeable,, Emerson College, Busa Wine & Spirits, UMass Dartmouth, or Burlington High School.