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The Bonn Student Union modernizes its card system

The Studierendenwerk Bonn is a partner of the University of Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. With around 400 employees at the Bonn, Sankt Augustin and Rheinbach sites, it is responsible for providing services to more than 45,000 students in the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg higher education area. (Photo: Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg/Eva Tritschler)

Together with its partners, the Studierendenwerk Bonn (Stw Bonn) decided to convert its card system from the basic technology MIFARE® Classic to the modern and secure procedure MIFARE® DESFire EV1. As part of a tender process, Stw Bonn selected Schomäcker as its new system partner.

“We wanted a partner who is close to us. With whom it is also possible to arrange an appointment on site at short notice. In addition, the product portfolio seemed fresh and modern to us,” discusses Wolfram Piorr, Head of Information Technology.

Subsidy level updated daily
As the operator of university catering, the Stw Bonn offers food and drink in the dining halls and cafeterias at subsidized prices for staff and students. Guests pay the highest price. Based on the “status of the cardholder”, the price to be paid is automatically deducted from the card’s stock credit at the cash registers when the chip card is presented. Each time the card is scanned, the cardholder’s status is checked and, if necessary, updated. The blocking of a card, for example in the event of loss, is thus also possible in a timely manner.

“By constantly updating the card status, we can immediately consider the correct price to be paid at the cash registers. In this way, we avoid misuse of the card and, in the best case, also generate higher sales,” explains Mr. Piorr.

Inclusion of user groups and locations
Currently, the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences with its locations in Sankt Augustin and Rheinbach is active as a project partner. The card enables payment in the dining halls and cafeterias and serves as a library card, including the option to pay library fees. Besides, the library can also be used by non-university members. Moreover, the application of other applications, such as time tracking for employees, has been implemented.

“All project participants have built a high level of trust in each other’s technical capabilities as the project started. This helped us a lot to inspire the Stw Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences with our solutions,” says Ralf Schomäcker, Managing Director of Schomäcker GmbH.

The introduction of a new ID and payment system at the Bonn Student Union has simplified and automated card issuing at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. This reduces the workload of the employees. Another innovation is the assignment of the cardholder’s individual status by an application on the chip card, which is checked and, if necessary, changed each time the card is used to pay in the canteen or cafeteria. As a result, only eligible customers receive the subsidies to which they are entitled.

Mr. Piorr is satisfied with the project progress and praises the close cooperation. Moreover, he is already looking to the digital future:

“There were only three months from planning to project. Despite a tight schedule, the project went well and was fun to work on. Schomäcker is a young, dynamic team with a high level of expertise. In addition, our company benefits to this day from the short communication channels: If a question arises or a problem arises, I can contact Mr. Schomäcker or one of his employees directly.

Furthermore, we are already planning the next steps. Our goal is to reduce the number of payment cards to a minimum and replace them with an app. By the start of the 2023 summer semester, we want to offer app use and smartphone payment.”