Starting Dec. 8, the College will shut down the BbOne program, a debit account allowing students to use their Dartmouth Cards at town vendors, BbOne Senior Operations Director Dan Gretz announced in a BlitzMail message to students Tuesday. Checks refunding the balance of all BbOne accounts will be mailed to students' home addresses before the end of December.
Other Dartmouth Card services like the DASH discretionary account will remain unaffected because Blackboard, Inc., the company that runs the program, only manages the BbOne account.
The College and Blackboard made the decision to end the eight-year-old program after Tranvia, a third-party company that had processed the transactions, went out of business, Gretz said.
The College's BbOne program differs greatly from Blackboard's other BbOne programs because the company inherited it more or less unchanged from former operators Student Advantage and Hanover Green Card.
Because Blackboard no longer supports the College's version of BbOne, the College would have had to accept more responsibilities to run the BbOne program, Gretz said. Those responsibilities would have included managing and administering the accounts, which is currently the standard arrangement with other schools.
According to Gretz, the College was not willing to take on those responsibilities.
"Because we were the only ones who used this, [Blackboard] decided to cut it," said Don Blume, fiscal manager of Dartmouth Dining Services and the Dartmouth Card Office. "We've never been in the mainstream of their business. We're sort of the oddball."
Many students expressed their discontent with the cancellation of a service that had allowed them to use their Dartmouth Cards at area businesses.
"I'm so pissed off," Elkin Cabas '06 said. "I use my card at the Dartmouth Bookstore. Now I can't anymore. I'm going to have to resort to other methods of payment."
Students said they will miss the added convenience of the BbOne service.
"I guess it's kind of frustrating," Nate Raines '07 said. "It's so much easier to pay with BbOne."
The College is looking into other options to replace the program, but if another program is adopted it likely will not be the same as BbOne, Blume said.
"We're looking at alternatives, but I don't want anyone to assume we'll just emulate the card again, we may look at some other way to satisfy student needs," he said.
The importance of BbOne at the College had been waning even before the announcement, Blume said.
"I think the program is not as important today as it used to be, and I can conclude that from looking at deposit sizes," he said. "I think it's less important now than it used to be with the Hanover Green Card now that students have credit cards and debit cards."
Alyssa Palmer '06 said she has been using her Dartmouth Card at Hanover stores less and less in recent years, particularly as the administration of the program shifted from Student Advantage to Blackboard.
"I never really used it in the first place," Palmer said. "But once they went and changed the name a year or so ago, I just got confused and definitely never used it."