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Fingerprint replaces card and cash

The Whitworthian /Hannah Whitsel and Tim Takechi | September 22 2006

Students now have easy access to off-campus meals with the touch of a finger.

Whitworth College has recently installed the IMYE system, which allows students, faculty and staff to buy meals on- and off-campus, without cash or student ID card.

Each time a student makes purchases through IMYE, the student scans their fingerprint to authorize payment. Pirate Bucs cannot be used to pay for the account, even though IMYE is partnered with Sodexho.

Students and parents can create an account at http://www.imye.com, where they can manage and transfer funds.

"It's an interesting way for students to be able to access off-campus vendors," said Jim O' Brien, Sodexho General Manager.

IMYE creates a more convenient and secure way for students to pay for meals on- and off-campus.

Gonzaga University started using the service last year. Charles Wesley, general manager of dining services at Gonzaga, said there have been some technical problems such as slow computer service, but IMYE has been working to clean up the glitches.

"Feedback is good. [Gonzaga students] think it's cool that they don't have to bring their wallets to downtown venues," Wesley said.

Sodexho met with student life representatives last spring and proposed installing the IMYE system on campus. The IMYE system has already established a partnership with Gonzaga, Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College.

Students at Gonzaga responded well to the new program, said Wesley. The Faculty at Gonzaga, however, have felt uneasy about privacy issues.

Students can use the account to purchase at both Sodexho, the café and the Mind and Hearth. Off-campus locations include: Pizza Hut, Tomato Street, Papa John's, Bruchi's and Coldstone Creamery.

Although the technology has been in place at a number of off-campus locations since the end of last year, business managers have not noticed a significant rise in the number of customers utilizing the system.

"We started using this last year, but not many people did it. But this year things have kicked up," said Cecilia Jansson, Assistant Manager at Papa John's.

All of the technology flukes in the system have yet to be worked out. Some businesses used a dial-up Internet connection, which slowed down the scanning process. In response, IMYE installed land access Internet free of charge.

IMYE recently sent repair crews to Tomato Street in order to fix some bugs in the system, which has already been up and running for the past year. Tomato Street wants to make the IMYE system more accessible to customers.

"[The IMYE repair crew] is supposed to have something that can be brought to the table," said Steven Germain, manager of Tomato Street.

Germain said if the IMYE system does not register a finger print, students can use their student ID number.

IMYE has integrated several security measures to protect its account holders from theft. The scanner translates each individual's fingerprint into an algorithm that the machine recognizes, instead of the fingerprint itself. There is also a series of fire-walls to protect the accounts. No files containing the account holder's personal information are kept on file.

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