Call us old fashioned, but we think paper paychecks are a pretty easy, efficient way to receive our work payments.
Clearly, Temple doesn’t think so. According to them, paper is nothing but bad news.
That’s why by mid-2008, both full- and part-time Temple employees who are not signed up to receive payment through direct deposit will no longer receive paper paychecks. Instead, they’ll receive a Visa debit card for every payment, worth the appropriate monetary amount.
The Visa debit cards will be issued through Temple’s partnership with a firm called Ecount, which is part of Citigroup Inc. that also owns Citibank.
As much as we’d like to believe this isn’t the case, Temple, Citigroup Inc. and Visa will be making money off every debit card issued to Temple employees. Keep in mind, this affects you, students. All of you who participate in work-study, intern for the Fox School of Business, or even work for The Temple News will be contributing to Citigroup Inc. and Visa’s business through your hard-earned money.
And the profits don’t stop at Citigroup Inc. and Visa. On Ecount’s Web site, it displays images of debit cards that feature select clients like LG, Lexus, Toyoya, Comcast, Maxell and Ralph Lauren. These cards offer “special deals” when used toward that specific company’s products.
We can just see Temple students getting their nifty, new Visa debit card paychecks and running out to purchase a discounted Lexus.
Ecount’s site describes the benefits of the debit card as “ranging from incentives to compensation to specialized rewards.” If business and spending are being encouraged toward certain companies, the consumer is never the one who wins out.
Ecount also touts the debit cards as enabling “unique brand extension.”
How dare Temple endorse brand extension when it comes to its employees and student workers receiving their hard-earned money.
These university-bank deals seem to be a rising problem in the United States. According to a USA Today article by Kathy Chu, Portland State University in Oregon enabled their student ID cards to double as debit cards. But in order to use that function, students had to open an account with a specific bank designated by the university.
Portland State and the promoted bank both profited whenever students swiped their cards to purchase something. Profits were also made based on how much money students kept in their accounts.
Portland’s situation is not far from Temple’s, and if Temple engages in this practice now, it’s likely that we could become the next Portland.
This new debit card payment system is wrong. It is not more efficient and it puts the university in shady circumstances. We don’t think Temple can afford to become any more corporate. We can’t afford to be paid this way.