Panther Cash: You’re doing it wrong

Panther Cash is, as the school website calls it, a “record of pre-deposited funds.” It is essentially a debit card that is tied to your personal school account. You can put funds into it and use it like any debit card. Colleges around the country use them as a means to streamline the student’s spending and CampusID all in one convenient card. But how convenient is it for the student? And is there really any point in having one?

In short: No.

The basic rules of monetary policy make it pretty clear that creating a currency and trying to regulate it is a very arduous task. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just…I don’t know…use the already existing currency we have in America? Or those nifty plastic cards students already have through their banks?

Colleges have this idea that they need their own cute currency to set themselves apart from other institutions, yet there is no method to the madness. In my three years at Georgia State I have yet to encounter an item that I could not buy with my own debit card or with cash anywhere on campus.

The school website states that you can open a Panther Cash account using a pre-existing MasterCard, American Express or Visa card. Here’s a novel tip from me: Keep your debit card the way it is! I promise you, there’s no budgeting or money management skills that can’t be exercised using any old debit card you have. There’s no point in opening some convoluted line of credit with little to no benefits. And when I say “little to no,” I mean it.

There’s no incentive in carrying a Panther Cash card. A quick search on the school website comes up empty with reasons why having a Panther Cash card is beneficial to you. The best thing I could find was a banner touting eight percent off vending beverages when you use your Panther Cash. Guys…eight percent! That’s almost 20 whole cents you could save on your $2 bottle of Coke.

Maybe if the school were to re-vamp the Panther Cash system, more students would be lining up to pump cash into their accounts. Higher incentives such as discounts on school sporting events, local tourist attractions or even freebies––like five percent cash back on anything you buy on campus––would be ideal.

One silver lining to this is that the marketing of Panther Cash seems to be pretty null and void lately. Perhaps the school is figuring out that the students at Georgia State already have established bank accounts and debit cards and don’t need to add one more piece of plastic to their wallets.

So do yourself a favor and stick to your tried-and-true method of spending money. Debit cards are safe and efficient, and what the school offers through Panther Cash just isn’t unique enough to warrant a second look.