Students will no longer experience issues with ALL Cards not working
By Hunter Ellis | Staff writer
This semester, many students have experienced difficulties with their ALL Cards not being accepted at various on-campus vendors and vending machines. After updates to the system, it is believed that these problems will no longer occur.
According to Bill Moran, the Director of Auxiliary Services, a new transaction system has played a role in what are being called “outages” across campus.
For many years, Xavier used the same transaction system to manage all payments made through the ALL Cards, including meal plans, dining dollars and X-Cash. In August, Xavier performed its first update to the system. Previously, the university felt the updates to the software would not be helpful.
During the summer, the university was forced to update the system because the version of the software it had was set to expire at the end of the calendar year. However, Xavier could not update to the newest software right away, Moran explained.
“Thinking of it in terms of Apple updates, we were only able to go from, say, iOS 12.1 to iOS 13.1, instead of the latest and greatest update, 13.2.3, because of the limitations in hardware on campus, particularly to the way we do credit card processing,” Moran said.
Xavier also recently updated its credit card processing systems. Moran hopes this will enable the university to update its software to the latest version during the winter break. It is believed that this final update will correct any lasting issues with ALL Cards.
However, for many students, the limited ALL Card usage has been aggravating. One of the students affected was first-year sports marketing major Lucas Sallee, who voiced his frustrations.
“One late night, I wanted to get some pizza from the Pizza ATM in Fenwick. I picked the chicken bacon ranch, and when I swiped my card to pay for the pizza, it got rejected,” Sallee said. “I had to go through the process two other times until it finally accepted it, and by that point I didn’t even know if I wanted the pizza.”
While the issues at different vending machines have been intermittent, the issues with ALL Cards in the bookstore were considered more serious by Auxiliary Services. In one occasion during mid-October, the Gallagher Bookstore experienced a complete blackout that disabled ALL Card transactions in the store for an entire week.
While this outage could have been connected to the new system, it is unlikely, Moran said. It is believed that the issue was a more robust breakdown of communications between Xavier’s and Follett’s transaction systems, Follett being the third party operator of the bookstore in Gallagher.
In particular, Moran believes that the issue resulted from one system’s firewall blocking the other’s communications attempts.
“A firewall works as a filter. It recognizes things that are permitted and things that aren’t permitted to go into your system,” junior biology and computer science double major Umang Joshi explained.
Auxiliary Services did not hear about the issue until three days after it started, and Xavier IT still is unsure what caused the issue in the first place.
“To be honest, it was a period of our IT and Follett’s pointing fingers at each other and saying, ‘We didn’t change anything’ to each other,” Moran said.
Just as sudden as the issue appeared, it corrected itself. The reason the systems began to work properly again also remains unknown.
According to Moran, while this means the issue could reappear in the future, the updated system will hopefully prevent a blackout like this from happening again.
“These issues aren’t acceptable for us,” Moran said. “We want the card to swipe and work effortlessly 99.9% of the time and we don’t feel like we are there yet right now.”
The ALL Card program started in the 90s, and with continued updates, Xavier is able to offer better services through the program.
In the future, Moran also revealed that Xavier is looking to make ALL Cards a form of mobile credentials, meaning ALL Cards would be attached to mobile wallets on students’ phones. Because of rapidly progressing technology and new updates to Xavier’s transaction systems, this may be a possibility in the coming years.
Until then, Xavier hopes the updates during the break will fix the blackouts currently being experienced across campus.
“We are going to keep striving to make things work better for everyone on campus,” Moran said.