Duke students will soon be able to use iPhones, Apple Watches like DukeCards for payments, facilities access

You're at the door of your dorm building when you find out you don’t have your DukeCard with you. Not again! But it’s no trouble this time, as long as you have your Apple Watch on your wrist or your iPhone in your pocket. 

At Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose this past Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Fuqua ’88, previewed Apple’s next-generation systems for iPhone and Apple Watch—iOS 12 and watchOS 5—which both pilot the addition of student ID cards to Apple Wallet. Thus, students, faculty and staff can use their iPhone or Apple Watch for almost all the functions of their campus ID cards. 

“With contactless student ID cards in Wallet, you can use your iPhone or Apple Watch anywhere student ID cards are used on and off campus,” states Apple’s description of the update. “Simply hold your device near the reader to access places like your dorm, the library, and campus events. Or pay for laundry, snacks, and dinners around campus.”

The new feature combines two major functions of a student ID card—building access and payment—into the digital Wallet app. The feature is supported by near-field communication, a set of communication protocols which enable two electronic devices—with one usually being a portable device like a smartphone—establish communication by bringing them close to each other.

Duke, along with the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma, will be the first schools to support the program on campus this fall. Temple University, Johns Hopkins University, and Santa Clara University will also join by the end of the year.

All the six early participating schools are clients of Blackboard Transact, a transaction-processing program that supports campus ID cards. Blackboard Inc. and Apple have both promoted the adoption of NFC in campus ID card systems, according to a CR80 report.

Duke celebrated the announcement on Twitter Monday.


Share and discuss “Duke students will soon be able to use iPhones, Apple Watches like DukeCards for payments, facilities access” on social media.