Students can now pay for certain Village foods with just the swipe of their Ball State ID.
Five businesses in The Village are now accepting Cardinal Cash: Hot Box Pizza, Jimmy John’s, Two Cats Café, Subway and Pita Pit.
The businesses began accepting Cardinal Cash — an account Ball State students and faculty can deposit money into and access with their ID — as a part of President Geoffrey Mearns’ Better Together initiative.
Ball State began contacting Village merchants July 1 to participate in the pilot program. Bernard Hannon, vice president for business affairs and treasurer, said the university began this program because many other colleges across the nation have an arrangement like this with local merchants.
While the program was open to all business in the Village, so far, only those four have responded.
In order to accept Cardinal Cash, the businesses had to work with CBORD, a company Ball State hired to handle ID transactions. The initial set up cost each business $250. Additionally, businesses must pay an ongoing service fee of $30 per month.
Suzanne Flynn, owner of Hot Box Pizza, said this project is something she has been wanting to do for a while. In fact, when she and her husband Bryan opened their Muncie location in 2016, she reached out to the Ball State bursar to see if bursar money might be usable at her business.
At the time, it wasn’t. But when she first received a letter in July telling her Ball State was starting a pilot program, she responded right away.
“I was excited to get to do it,” Flynn said. “The program was so new that when I called them to get our stickers — because they said we would get a sticker for our window that says we accept Cardinal Cash — it didn’t come. So, I called and said, ‘We didn’t get them,’ and they said, ‘This program is so new that we don’t even have the stickers done yet.’”
Now that the necessary technology is set up, Flynn said Cardinal Cash can be used to make deliveries if customers call instead of ordering online. She said this pilot program brings a variety of opportunities to both her business and students.
“It opens us up to that entire market of kids who they want Hot Box but the majority of their money for food is through Cardinal Cash,” Flynn said.
While Flynn said other Hot Box locations have programs like this, this is the only one she owns that does. She said she hopes other businesses in The Village will also start accepting the cash.
“This is the best thing since sliced bread,” Flynn said. “I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t want to do it. I mean I think it’s awesome.”
Once vendors begin the program, there is no limit on what they can sell, Hannon said. If the pilot program is successful, he said it might expand into downtown Muncie.
Andrew Harp contributed to this story.