Mixed opinions on pilot laundry payment system

New system lets students pay with credit cards.

By Marta Bakula

College Housing and Residential Services is piloting a new system of laundry payment in select dorm buildings that was launched Sunday, March 30, the first day of spring quarter.

The Change Point laundry system allows students to pay for laundry cycles through a credit or debit card on Change Point readers, removing the need to deposit money to student ID cards. The new system also provides students with an instant refund if a machine malfunctions and features an easier method for reporting issues directly through the reader.

Residents of International House, Maclean, and Max Palevsky Central were selected to participate in the spring quarter pilot program.

“These three communities vary in size and student demographic, and Residential Services felt these communities would be able to provide useful feedback about their user experience,” Director of Residential Services Jennifer Luttig-Komrosky said in an e-mail.

Some residents have expressed positive feedback about the Change Point payment system.

“I prefer the new payment system,” first-year and I-House resident Elikem Dorbu said. “It seems more advanced than the previous one, because it gives the ability to pick from available working washers and dryers and provides an immediate refund as soon as there’s a problem.”

Other residents have reacted favorably to the ability to pay with a card.

“I really like the simplicity of paying for laundry with the new system. It’s great to be able to use a credit card instead of having to transfer money onto an ID card,” said first-year and Max Palevsky resident Paul Lou.

Other students expressed concerns with the system when the Change Point reader malfunctioned soon after installation in Max Palevsky Central.

“I placed two loads of laundry into two washers in the laundry room, only to realize that the Change Point reader wasn’t working,” first-year Max Palevsky resident Youngin Kim said. “I was forced to move all of my laundry to the Max Palevsky East laundry room and use the old payment system, which ended up taking an extra 30 minutes.”

Residents affected by the new system were also urged to use all remaining laundry money on their ID cards prior to spring break, as a result of Change Point readers being unable to accept the old laundry payment method. While Change Point readers cannot accept money from the old payment method, all machines continue to accept quarters.

Students participating in the pilot program will have an opportunity to comment on their experiences through a user survey in the coming weeks.

“Getting quality student feedback is very important to Residential Services and College Housing. This feedback will help us decide if the Change Point program should be installed in the remaining communities in summer 2014,” Luttig-Komrosky said. “We want to make sure this is the right laundry program for UChicago.”