Ask Benny

How can I upgrade to a contactless PennCard?

Dear Benny,
I’m excited to be back on campus, but there’s one thing that doesn’t seem as familiar to me. Some of my classmates are using contactless PennCards to enter buildings. It seems pretty convenient. How can I upgrade my old magnetic stripe PennCard to a new contactless one? —Swiping Steve

Dear Swiping,
Welcome back! The days of using a key to enter a building are long behind us now. Penn is always positioning itself to be in line with the most up-to-date level of security, and wants to keep things as convenient as possible for students, faculty, and staff. The contactless PennCard initiative, which started last summer, reflects that philosophy.

The contactless PennCards move the University from the magnetic stripe to an embedded contactless chip. This technology makes building entry more convenient by way of a contactless reader, provides a higher level of security for data stored on the card, and also positions the PennCard for use in several future business transactions, as well as eventual use on SEPTA.

There have been special “re-carding” events at different buildings on campus—to coincide with the installation of new card readers—where cards could be replaced for no cost. Penn plans to hold more “re-carding” events throughout the fall. Stay tuned for information on exact dates, specifically in the months of October and November. Many of the buildings on Penn’s campus are slated to be equipped with new readers for the contactless cards by December.

Members of the Penn community who have problems with their cards or have cards that are about to expire should stop by the PennCard Center in the Penn Bookstore for a replacement at no cost. Otherwise, members of the Penn community are encouraged to get their new contactless cards at one of the upcoming card events.

To contact the PennCard Center, call 215-417-CARD or email