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Aug 31, 2013 04:24 AM EDT

Wheelock and Mount Ida Students to Receive Smart ID Cards with Banking Functionality

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Sovereign Bank is issuing its first university smart ID cards to two small colleges in the United States that will allow over 2,000 students, faculty and staff to access dormitories, school services, and for the first time, connect directly to a Sovereign Bank account.

Students from the Wheelock College in Boston and Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts will now be able to manage and track their expenditure effortlessly, banking through their identity cards. They will be receiving their cards when they return to campus for the fall semester.

"We are thrilled to support Wheelock College and Mount Ida College in their efforts to enhance services by launching this new banking functionality for students, faculty and staff. The ability to link their ID cards to a Sovereign checking account will benefit smart card users by providing greater flexibility, safety and convenience when accessing their money to pay for books, supplies, meals and any of their other needs both on and off campus," said Eduardo Garrido, Director of Santander Universities."We look forward to working with other colleges and universities to support their students and staff members in the same way."

As part of the agreements with both the colleges, ATMs will be placed in student activity centers at each school. The smart card can be used both on and off campus for various services and to withdraw or transfer money. Users will not be troubled with monthly fee charges and minimum balance requirements.

This smart ID card, similar to any other college ID, will have its school logo and a photo of the student on the front, while Sovereign, and its parent company's name, Santander feature on the back corner of the card.

"We're pleased to be one of the first colleges in New England to offer enhanced ID cards to students. Given their hectic schedules, we're always looking for ways to make our students' lives simpler and easier," said Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President of Wheelock College.

Scott said that they hope to simplify students' lives by offering banking functions on the card. It includes two strips and maintains information on college life, dormitory entrances, and spending on meals and books, separate from the bank account. The Bank will not have access to student data.

The banking functionality of the smart card is not compulsory. If students chose to avail the function, they must activate it at one of the Bank's branches before use.

"The convenience of the smart card was greatly attractive, but our principal concern was ensuring the personal and financial security of our students.  With Santander Universities' proven experience in providing secure access to universities and students around the world, it was able to meet the high security standards that are very important to us," said Barry Brown, President of Mount Ida College.

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