Mixed Reviews for ASIJ’s Gold Card

Article by Rachel Martini, Writer, Photographer

In today’s world, practically everything can be paid for electronically, whether that be through credit card, smartphone, or even your Suica train pass. Similar methods have also made their way to our very own campus: the Gold Card will replace all cash and ticket payments at ASIJ’s kiosk and cafeteria starting this February. With a quick fingerprint or ID card scan, students can buy school lunches, Friday cookies, or even a Ti-Nspire calculator. 

So why did ASIJ start the Gold Card system? According to school services support manager Tai Dirkse, there are several reasons for the switch to a cashless system. For one, the school took parent survey feedback into consideration. 

 

Many parents vocalized their concern about how much money their children spend in a day, and wanted a way to keep track of all of their spendings. Secondly, with an electronic system, the cafeteria and kiosk can easily get statistics on which items are popular. This can help the school know which products to buy more of, which can additionally help the school minimize their food waste. Lastly, the Gold Card transaction tackles previous issues of students forgetting their wallets at home, as well as cases of ticket counterfeits.

 

Some features of the Gold Card system include users being able to view their transaction history and setting restrictions on the amount they can spend. All accounts are also allowed up to a negative balance of 2000 yen, but this component is only available if used towards cafeteria lunches or light meals such as sandwiches and soups from the kiosk. In addition, users can include any food allergies in their profile and set product restrictions on cookies, ice cream, and so on. This can be particularly useful for parents who worry about their younger kids with allergies and their choice of snacks. 

 

As high tech as it sounds, many students have mixed opinions on this new system. I sent out a Google Form survey with several questions to the ASIJ student body to gain some of their thoughts on the new Gold Card system. Some favored the idea of not having to worry about bringing money to school, in case they forget it at home or if it gets stolen. On the other hand, numerous students disliked things such as sharing an account with their siblings, having to pay an additional fee to put money on the account, and how the system is “too modern.” 

Twelfth grader Sol Smith stated, “It adds an extra step to every interaction. If I want something at the kiosk but don’t have money on my card, I have to go fill it then get what I want. It’s making something that worked perfectly fine overly modern.” Many seniors who took the survey communicated that implementing the system this late in the year may not have been a good idea, because they are graduating soon. They will have to be mindful of the amount they put on their account in order to not waste any money that is remaining on their balance.

While there may be some criticism from students, Dirkse explains that the Gold Card system is still a work in progress as an operation, but believes that it has the potential to better serve the ASIJ community. One student mentioned, “As the student body, we should be supportive of the school’s attempt to adapt to modern technology and be open-minded to new ideas.” 

Inevitably, there will always be something that will be difficult to adapt to or immediately like when it comes to change. However, with ASIJ’s Gold Card system it’s likely that we will see gradual improvements over time. As students, we can still hope that this new system may prove to be beneficial to our school life, but we should also use our voices to point out the flaws we see in it.