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Spanish University Rolls Out Multi-Function Identity Cards

Spain's University Politecnica Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona will be rolling out a university identity card from Banco Santander that uses technology from Gemalto, which develops digital security software. The bank's Optelio cards offer Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) payment, multi-application identity for digital signature, strong authentication, and secure contactless access to facilities. Gemalto provides authentication software to enable digital signature applications. The university program has been implemented and is being supported by Acotec, a Gemalto reseller in Spain.

As part of the program, students use their card as a Banco Santander EMV debit card. Spain and other countries are migrating payment systems to the more secure EMV standard. Students can also use their card for a wide variety of services and applications. The new digital signature functionality allows students and professors to sign documents electronically.

The contactless features on the Gemalto card enable secure access to buildings such as libraries, dorms, and gyms. Students also use the card for secure access to the campus electronic networks, to pay in cafeterias, take out books from the library, store grades and personal documents, pay for laundry and photocopies, and for other student expenses. The university card is also used for students to gain access to public transportation in the cities of Burgos, Lerida, Malaga, and Santander.

"We believe that this initiative will deliver better and faster services for students and will contribute to streamlining UPC's electronic processes by reducing internal paperwork," said Vicente Prior, smart cards director at Banco Santander.

In addition to Spain, Banco Santander is currently running its university identity card program in Latin America, Morocco, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Santander manages several million cards in use at 200 universities, 48 of which are in Spain.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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