Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, January 19, 2019

Tenleytown Whole Foods now accepts EagleBucks

The Tenleytown Whole Foods grocery store will now accept EagleBucks as a form of payment, according to Housing and Dining Programs.

The university hopes this partnership will give students living off campus or in Nebraska Hall more opportunities to use their EagleBucks, said Aaron Long, AU’s Dining Programs Coordinator.

Whole Foods is the 23rd off-campus EagleBucks vendor. The university entered into negotiations with Whole Foods 14 months ago, according to Long.

To promote its partnership with AU, the store offered $23 EagleBucks gift cards to every 23rd customer who used his or her AU ID card in the store last week.

AU began expanding its EagleBucks program in 2007 when CVS became the first off-campus EagleBucks vendor, The Eagle previously reported.

The university generally looks for businesses that are nearby and popular with AU students, Long said.

There are only two checkout lanes that can process EagleBucks transactions.

Whole Foods had to install special machines and a telephone line to AU to process EagleBucks transactions, according to the Whole Foods customer relations department.

The installation of the new EagleBucks system was delayed because the staff needed more training, Long said.

The store needed to test whether the new EagleBucks machines would disrupt credit and debit card systems, according to a customer service representative from Whole Foods.

The EagleBucks system works the same way the credit card transactions do, but EagleBucks transactions cannot be processed on a regular credit card machine, The Eagle previously reported.

AU gets a commission for every EagleBuck that students and staff spends. This money helps keep costs down and allows for the expansion of the EagleBucks program, Long said.

AU also uses this revenue to invest in new technologies. The university is hoping to use the commissions it gets from EagleBucks transactions with Whole Foods and other businesses to finance the installation of new cash transfer machines. These machines will meet new industry standards that ensure greater protection from identity theft, according to Long.

AU is engaged in negotiations with another local business to expand its EagleBucks program, but he declined to specify, Long said.

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