Offer students cash back on Bevo Pay

Michael Lazenby, Columnist

In 2019, UT transformed Bevo Bucks into Bevo Pay, a platform that enables students to make purchases with select vendors with their student ID. The platform was intended to make it easier for students to make cashless purchases. 

At its core, Bevo Pay is similar to a prepaid debit card that allows students to transfer funds from their primary bank account into their Bevo Pay account. One of the main advertised benefits of the platform is that it eliminates the need for students to use their bank card when making purchases. In order to stay relevant and useful to the student body, the platform should offer a benefit that students have been deprived of for far too long: cash back.

Undeclared business freshman Ana Villicana, a user of Bevo Pay, expressed interest in UT offering student consumers cash back.

“I’d love (a cash back program), that’d be really beneficial,”Villicana said. “ “Having cash back would give you way more opportunities to spend how you’d like…it’s not the case where everybody can just use the money from their credit card or they might not have enough (funds).”

If Bevo Pay were to offer a small percentage cash back on student purchases, both spending and saving opportunities would open up. Cash back opportunities could go a long way for students especially, as many generally live on a tight budget.

“Something that is consistent and expected, having that security, is better,” Villicana said. “How many times are you really going to get a $25 gift card?”

Cynthia Lew, director of marketing and communications for University Housing and Dining, explained some current perks Bevo Pay users receive.

“We do a weekly prize pack where the merchant provides a prize that’s about $25 in value, and students can follow us and participate in an opportunity to win that prize,” Lew said. “Merchants give us swag and gift cards. It’s always very well received.”

While Bevo Pay periodically offers students a minuscule chance of winning gift cards or trinkets from their partners, only a random select few receive these available rewards. If a small percentage of cash back were offered, all users would be able to benefit on a regular basis.

“(A cash back program is) an interesting idea,” Lew said. “That’s nothing we’ve considered before but we’re always happy exploring ways to improve our programs and services.”

It’s promising that the University is open to student feedback; however, it’s time for the University to make that change. While offering gift cards and coupons is an incentive for students, they’re temporary by nature. Students will spend the small, finite amount of their gift card and be back to purchasing without earning.

If the University wants to keep students active on Bevo Pay, proper incentives must be put in place. 

Students have many opportunities to spend but not many to earn. By offering a percentage cash back on purchases, Bevo Pay can allow students to spend confidently and save consistently for the future, while ensuring longevity and relevancy for this platform.

Lazenby is an economics junior from Chicago, Illinois.