A Review of the Cash Card System


swipecardOne small step for the mess, one giant leap for mess kind! An air of pseudness surrounds those who possess it. The objet du désir here is the shiny piece of plastic you’ve been carrying to the mess. In the true spirit of technology, the old faithful cash coupons have been replaced by the new “SBI sponsored” cash cards. Over time many advantages and (more than) many disadvantages have come to light. An interaction with the card users and CSU counter operators reflects a general antipathy towards the new system vis-à-vis the coupon system.

A CSU counter operator outside CR had this to say –“The card system takes a lot of time. Earlier I could make 50 transactions in the time I take for making 10 now. The students are always in a hurry for their class, it becomes difficult to attend to everyone.” However, he did say that installing two machines at every counter and having another person to operate the machine will make the job easier and “almost” as good as the coupon system. Another counter operator also supported the coupon system, and said “This is IIT, students are fast and they want everything fast! The card slows them down so it is not fit for IIT”

When confronted outside Vindhya with the same question an Aero freshie was quick to reply and said “The line at the counter is so much longer now. Frankly the authorities have just complicated the whole system. And another problem is I can’t keep a track of my expenses as we don’t get any receipt with the purchase.” A Mech 2nd year had similar views “Earlier the money came from the mess bill, so I didn’t really have to worry about the cash but now I’ll have to balance it with my monthly expenditure.”

An Aero 3rd year, who also supported the coupons, said “With the coupons it was easier to lend / borrow, but with the card there is always the risk of revealing your password.”

All is not lost for the card though as there some who appreciate its abstract beauty, such as a German exchange student who was very happy to hear about it, “Earlier exchange students had to go through hell to get the coupons, hopefully things will be better with the card.”

An M.Tech student at the counter also seemed pretty contented with his card, his reply was-“In the market also, paper money is being replaced with plastic. Since this is just the beginning things may take a little longer but in due time this will prove to be more effective than the coupon system.”

Most of the students had similar thoughts on the system as stated above except for the oddball who said both the systems are inefficient and instead we should have biometric identification and voice controlled counters!

The most common complaint is that the cards take too much time. Nevertheless, the majority seems to be supporting the humble coupons rather than the pseud cards. The debate still remains, should we go back to the prehistoric age and start using coupons or as IITians should we embrace new technology at the cost of convenience.

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