Evolution of Mobile Credentials

June 20, 2022

Campus ID


Credential technology is constantly evolving. In fact, when you take a look back at how it started in the 80s compared to the features it holds today, the differences can be hard to believe.

As college campuses and students' needs have evolved, credential technology has kept the same pace.

Today, nearly every area of a university campus can see an improvement with the help of Mobile Credentials.

Credential Technology Through the Decades

Improving access control has been the goal for businesses and universities for decades.

What started as finding a way to manage who came in and out of a building sparked a  transformation of technology that now allows for cross-campus streamlined payments, event entrance, and more.

Let’s take a closer look at how credential technology has evolved into something much greater.

Swipe Technologies

In the 1980s, as an improved replacement for manual locks and keys, swipe cards were introduced. They allowed students to access buildings by physically swiping or inserting a key into a reader.

These were rather limited and were not encrypted, meaning they were vulnerable to security breaches.


The 90s brought along another vulnerable solution in the form of touch-and-go technology.

While security still remained an issue, students were able to tap cards or fobs near compatible readers to gain access.

Smart Cards

Throughout the late 90s, 00s, and early 10s, tap-and-go technologies were improved to be more secure and carry more functions than the standard ID number.

However, hackers quickly caught on and were able to exploit the preventative measures.

This created a push for the secure credential technology we have today.

Mobile Credentials

In today's world, credential technology is highly secure. Instead of physical ID cards, Mobile Credentials are being used across college campuses to support a myriad of features, including door access control.

With heightened security, mobile credentials are becoming more of an obvious choice for campus administrators who are looking to keep students safe, offer convenience and flexibility, and implement a mobile-centric campus experience.

Mobile Credentials are Improving Campus Life…

For Administrators

Unlike traditional cards, Mobile Credentials give administrators the ability to improve how they manage their campus.

Should on- or off-campus payments be integrated into the Mobile Credential, they will reduce wait times and long lines and improve operational efficiency. This is achieved with a direct red between the mobile device and the  contactless reader; resulting in quick, more secure transactions.

Speaking of security, as we mentioned previously, Mobile Credentials bring an additional level of security to access control. Considering students are rarely found without their phones nearby, including credentials on mobile devices reduces theft and unauthorized access. They also allow for quick and easy changes in instances where privileges need to be remotely issued, updated, or revoked.

A relatively new feature in Mobile Credentials is capacity management. Since the pandemic, this has become critical in promoting student safety. Administrators can easily manage the number of students physically present at any given time and location. This ability is supported by the ability to:

  • Manage windows of time for arrivals
  • View capacity and walk-ins
  • Send push notifications prior to arrival and when nearing reservation end time
  • Control maximum capacity at any given time and location

As an added bonus, administrators can customize their Mobile Credentials to include school colors, logos, mascots, and slogans to reflect school spirit which is instrumental in building a united campus.

For Students

Along with administrators, students will also see a myriad of benefits. By simply carrying their mobile devices, they’ll have access to touchless interactions everywhere on campus, including:

  • Dining halls
  • Book stores
  • Event access
  • Libraries
  • Door access
  • And more

The Mobile Credential also gives students the ability to manage accounts right from their mobile device; whether it be print credits, meal plans, and everything in between.

Student and Administrators’ Requests Met With Mobile Credential 

Administrators at the University of Alabama knew it was time to act when students requested a mobile-centric campus with better student IDs. They selected Transact to introduce a Mobile Credential that was easy to implement and provided seamless campus access.

According to students, Mobile Credential is a game-changer that provides worry-free access on and off-campus, and also fits easily into their already technology-centric lifestyles.

Transact has ID Solutions for Your Campus

Credential access has clearly evolved over the years, improving security and adding additional features beyond access control.

For campus administrators, it opens the door to building a mobile-centric campus and meeting the needs of students, which are centered around convenience and a true college experience.

If you are ready to bring Mobile Credentials to your campus, contact Transact today!

We offer  Campus ID Solutions that provide a secure, mobile-centric campus environment with contactless student ID credentials for effortless, campus-wide transactions and access privileges.