In an effort to be more efficient and convenient, U.Va. Dine has announced its transition to a cashless system — a decision that went into effect Dec. 16 at all retail locations except for Starbucks and the Pavilion XI.
U.Va. Dine oversees all dining options at the University. University dining plans offer students meal swipes at dining halls and meal exchanges at select stores on Grounds. Flex dollars, a digital currency that comes with meal plans, or personal credit or debit cards can also be used at all locations.
With the exception of the Starbucks and the Pavilion XI food court at Newcomb Hall, all other retail locations have already shifted to a cashless model. Jared Hardy, the marketing manager for U.Va. Dine has indicated plans for these remaining two locations to follow suit by the summer.
Hardy said that the decision to go cashless comes from reports via the University’s business office, that say approximately 1 percent of total sales were conducted using cash as a tender. U.Va. Dine aims to streamline transactions and enhance convenience for patrons.
The global trend towards cashless payments has been further accelerated by the pandemic, with only 15% of people worldwide now preferring cash according to Dynata research. Many universities and colleges have consequently made the switch to cash-free operations.
The transition has been met with little surprise among students, many of whom primarily rely on dining halls or other options included in their dining plan for food.
First-year College student, Abby Walsh, said that she does not usually carry cash with her, so the change doesn’t raise any concerns.
“I have never used cash at any of the U.Va. Dine locations,” Walsh said. “Most of the time, I use meal exchanges and flex dollars. I don’t know any other students who still use cash.”
Cashless stores and restaurants have sparked concerns related to equity and accessibility. While fewer Americans use cash on a regular basis, low-income individuals and the elderly often rely on it, leading to concerns that transitions away from cash disproportionately harm marginalized communities.
Addressing potential accessibility concerns, the University has implemented the Cavalier Advantage system, providing an alternative for those who still prefer cash transactions. This system allows students, staff, and faculty to deposit cash into their U.Va. ID cards at any of the conveniently located Cash Deposit Machines across Grounds. The Cavalier Advantage system can be used to purchase food and items at the University, as well as paying for laundry and printing services.