A significant number of broken GWorld card readers have recently impeded students from spending their Colonial Cash on and off campus.
There are currently broken or disabled GWorld card readers at popular locations like Potbelly’s Sandwich Works, Georgetown’s Chipotle, Cosi at 19th and M streets, Tonic, Charlie Chiang’s and two CVS locations.
BbOne, the provider for the GWorld service, replaced 18 card readers in 2008 because of malfunctions, said Matt Maurer, BbOne director of public relations.
Stephanie Mogil, a freshman, said she was frustrated with the number of broken GWorld readers.
“It is hard enough to eat around here with the GWorlds working because we have such limited options, but when the machines are broken – well, then we have to eat” at J Street, Mogil said.
Students frequenting the CVS on 20th and L streets found they could not pay with their GWorld for weeks because of a failed connection with all of the store’s machines.
“It was out for maybe two or three weeks because of the telephone line,” said Demetrius, a manager at CVS, who declined to give his last name. “We could not accept GWorld for that entire time.”
The Chipotle in Georgetown was unable to accept GWorld because its machine was not dialing out.
“Sometimes what it does is it takes a long time to connect. I do not know what is going on with that machine,” manager Omar Bravo said. “It has been going on for about a month.”
That time frame is unusual, Maurer said.
“The BbOne program, called GWorld on [GW’s] campus, offers next-day replacement,” Maurer said. “It depends on the time of day you call, but we will usually send out a machine that day or the next day.”
Another reason students might find restaurants not accepting GWorld is because employees may have been inadequately trained how to use the reader.
Ken Pimentel, managing director of GWorld Card Program, said that he has been to local restaurants, attempted to pay with GWorld and told the machine was down, when in fact the employees just did not know how to use it. He added that he has even “gone behind the counter” and shown the cashier how to pay with GWorld on occasions.
“Many of these partners have more than one terminal,” Pimentel said. “Overall we have over 500 readers out in the field. Having 18 fail, that is about a 4 percent error rate.”
Maurer added that 18 failures is the “usual amount accepted” within a system as large as GW’s.
The Colonial Cash option gives students money to spend at about 115 locations throughout the city. BbOne could not confirm how many venues are currently waiting on machines or updates.