MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University will transition from a cash chip system to a new debit account after the winter semester.

Students and employees can use their cash chip cards at most participating campus merchants through May 2 and at WillyÂ’s Snak Shak through May 31. They will then have the choice of spending the remaining cash value or transferring it to the new CatCa$h debit account. Transfer service will be available beginning May 18 in the Wildcat Express Center (room 1107) in the University Center.

NMU is discontinuing the use of cash chip technology because it has become obsolete, according to Andy Wasilewski, associate vice president for auxiliary services.

“It was first implemented at Northern in 1995, but the technology failed to obtain acceptance in the open market,” he said. “It is an expensive system and there have not been any product upgrades. And because the technology is no longer supported by its manufacturer, it is imperative that we make a change.”

CatCa$h will soon reside in a pre-paid account instead of on a cash chip, but its value will cover the same uses: copying, printing and making purchases at on-campus merchants.

Wasilewski said the debit account offers some advantages over the current system, including 24-hour card management capability. Cardholders, parents or other designated parties can make deposits electronically and account statements will be available online. 

It will also be possible to de-activate accounts via the Internet if a card is lost or stolen. Unlike the cash chip, the debit account will not have a $50 limit.

For more information on the new program, visit

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director