New Banking Partner to support University’s vision for cashless campuses

Barclays has been appointed as the new banking partner of Ulster University.  As preparations continue at pace for its new Cathedral Quarter campus in Belfast, alongside significant investments on the Coleraine and Magee campuses, the University has stated that Barclays has been selected as the partner to support its future innovation and vision for cashless campuses.

The University has just signed a contract with Barclays which will see them take on all day-to-day banking services, from payments, salaries and wages, through to the collection of student fees, direct debits and foreign exchange.  With rapid developments in technology, this is likely to evolve to include cashless payments for everything from library fees and photocopying cards to grabbing a cappuccino.

Ulster University has 27,000 students across four campuses in Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Magee in Derry-Londonderry.  The current development of its new 75,000 sqm campus in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is providing an ideal catalyst to begin the financial transformation whilst infrastructure is being built.

Barclays Corporate Banking Relationship Director Graeme McLaughlin said, “The leadership team has been really visionary in its approach.  With the Magee and Coleraine campus investments accompanied by the construction of the new Belfast City Centre campus, the University has an opportunity to do things differently and that includes a modern approach to financial technology.  Many universities around the UK have the ambition to go cashless but very few are in the position to achieve it.

“Barclays has always been at the forefront of digital innovation in banking and this is driven by our focus on the user experience.  In this case, Ulster University’s customers are young people who have come of age without reliance on traditional payments, paperwork and over the counter cash transactions. The University’s ambition to make all types of payments cash-free, contactless, instant and secure, is precisely as today’s students have grown up to expect.”

With student finance issues contributing significantly to a student’s overall university experience, tech savvy students are also seeing the benefits of financial technology which allows them to track their spending more accurately.

Peter Hope, Ulster University’s Chief Financial officer said, “We’re competing in a global marketplace for students and we recognise that a great overall student experience is just as important in attracting and retaining students as the tuition and courses available.  With the recent campus investments including tech-led solutions for our digitally savvy students, we are seizing the opportunity to make some really exciting innovations which will further demonstrate Ulster University’s place as a progressive, modern institution.  The vision for our Belfast campus will reimagine the approaches to teaching and ensure that our state-of-the-art Belfast campus implements best practice from our other campuses. We are delighted that with Barclays’ support, we will be able to introduce the latest payment technology to all our campuses.

“We selected Barclays as our new banking partner based on a combination of the bank’s expertise in the Higher Education sector throughout the UK and its unique digital platform which will provide a seamless, efficient and future-proof solution for many years to come.”

Peter Hope continued, “The eventual transition to cashless banking will help the University in a number of ways, including easing the logistical demands of managing widespread regional campuses and premises.  Also, to put it simply, cash is outdated and slow: young people carry out most of their business online and they are very comfortable with flashing a phone or a card for speedy contactless payments – they don’t expect to have to wait in a queue for a chip and pin transaction to go through or carry cash. As an institution supporting the development of the next generation of innovators, we are excited to be working with Barclays to offer our students a truly modern University experience.”

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