Final Sun Dollar phase-out makes way for MidFirst Bank Pitchfork card

Freshman Jake Gadon quickly removes his Pitchfork Card from a MidFirst Bank ATM before examining available funds. (Photo by Tyler Griffin)

The ASU Sun Dollar program will terminate Dec. 31, ending students’ ability to purchase food and merchandise from local businesses with money pre-loaded on their Sun Cards.

The Sun Dollar program officially ended in July, but students who had a remaining balance of less than $50 have been able to use their cards at some on-campus stores, according to ASU Sun Devil Card Services. After Dec. 31, any remaining Sun Dollar balances will be forfeited to the University.

ASU Marketing Manager Aaron Byrant said a decline in Sun Dollar use prompted the death of the program, which has been replaced with a new identification and debit card combination through MidFirst Bank.

“Over the past several years, fewer students selected to use the Sun Dollars program, opting toward personal checking accounts with debit cards as their main method of paying for their daily needs,” he said.

Byrant said laundry services in the dorms, which used to be paid for with Sun Dollars, will now be facilitated through student housing.

He said printing on campus will be provided by ASU’s copy and printing partner, Canon. Byrant said Canon will also provide an online payment system, which will come out soon.

According to an email to students by Sun Card Manager Andrew Perkins sent Sept. 18, Sun Dollar accounts can be closed before Dec. 31 for a fee of $15.

MidFirst Bank Vice President and Marketing Director Mike Piazza said MidFirst was selected from competing banks as ASU’s banking partner in an 11-year agreement.

“The Pitchfork Card offers ASU students, faculty and staff an all-in-one ID, MasterCard check card and building access card,” Piazza said.

The bank also sponsors ASU Athletics, which includes naming rights for the MidFirst Bank Press Box and the new MidFirst Bank Stadium Club, he said.

In exchange for the partnership, ASU will receive revenue from the bank, he said.

Piazza said there are 43 ATMs across the four campuses and a full-service banking system located in the Tempe campus’s Memorial Union. There are plans to build a banking center on the Downtown campus soon.

Film junior Jonas Serra still uses his traditional Sun Card and didn’t consider switching to the Pitchfork card.

“I’m disappointed about the Sun Dollars,” Serra said. “I used them a lot last year.”

He said he now uses his debit card and doesn’t eat out as much.

Serra said his mom paid for his Sun Dollars, but now he has to buy his own food.

History and political science sophomore Lauren Penlend saw no need to switch to the new card.

“I’ve had it since I was a freshman … I just use it for (Maroon and Gold dollars) and to get into where I live at (Vista Del Sol),” she said.

 

Reach the reporter at mncosta1@asu.edu