Debit Dollars expand approach

The GWorld Debit Dollars program has grown almost five-fold since its inception in 1997. Students said they enjoy the ease and convenience of the program.

When the program started we had to work really hard to sign people but now they contact us, said Steve Hersey, GWorld Debit Dollars program coordinator.

We are trying to make at least one option for each service available, Hersey said. We want people to have more options than just restaurants.

Pizza Italia is one of the newest additions to the GW Debit Dollars plan this year, along with Armand’s Pizzeria and Sholl’s Cafeteria.

Pizza Italia joined our program about two weeks ago and has already climbed the ladder to number one, Hersey said. It was inevitable given the location. The whole point of having Debit Dollars is for convenience and safety.

The program began in the fall of 1997 with five restaurants. Debit Dollars are now accepted at 23 local restaurants and a few other stores, such as The Washington Post store and Mailboxes, Etc., according to the GWorld Web site.

Many restaurants and shops have been coming to us about the program, Hersey said. They are realizing that it’s a low investment for a high return.

The Debit Dollars program is open to all GW faculty and students.

Debit Dollars have made my life much easier, especially at the bookstore at the beginning of the semester, Joanna Koeppel said.

Students said they use Debit Dollars to cover a variety of daily costs such as laundry and copies.

I came to school without Debit Dollars but put some in my account once I realized how convenient it was for little things like laundry, Oriane Schwartzman said. No one has eight quarters every time they need to do a wash.

Students said using Debit Dollars allows them to manage their finances better.

It seems like money just disappears in this city, Norm Pentelovitch said. At least with Debit Dollars I can keep track of how much I spend.

Jennie Udell said the popularity of Debit Dollars persuaded her to give it a try.

I see how convenient it is when other people use their Debit Dollars, so I became interested, she said. It seems a lot simpler than going to an ATM every other day.

Hersey said another local restaurant will join the Debit Dollars roster within the next few weeks.

We are also interested in incorporating other services into the Debit Dollars program, Hersey said.

The program could expand to include parking lots and vending machines around campus next semester, Hersey said.

With the program growing so quickly it is hard to figure out what will be in the near future, Hersey said. We just hope that more places in D.C. recognize the benefits of our program.

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