Laundry Payment Systems on Campus Need to Align with Smart Phone Purchase Trends

Campus debit cards are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These systems, which grew in popularity during the mid-1980s, enable students to deposit money into school-based accounts and use a debit card to make purchases on campus and at participating off-campus merchants. But these systems are limited by hardware-heavy infrastructure requirements — POS terminals or controllers that are hard-wired to the campus card office — and high costs related to hardware upgrades, license fees, and ongoing support. These outdated systems have become more of a nuisance than the convenience they were once designed to be.

In recent years, the number of college students who have bank-issued debit cards has been steadily growing. Students can use these cards virtually anywhere — even for micro-purchases (more than half of millennials prefer to use cards instead of cash for purchases of $5 or less 1). And because debit cards are often linked to parents’ accounts, their balances can be replenished online in a matter of seconds.

Today, however, there’s a new leader in payment systems among college students. As smartphone usage has increased — 96% of Americans ages 18–29 now own such devices 2 — mobile payments have surpassed debit cards as the most common payment method used on America’s college campuses. From 2016 to 2019, the percentage of college students who make mobile payments increased from 77% to 86%, while the percentage using debit cards remained virtually unchanged. 3

At Automatic Laundry, we recognize that the future of campus laundry room payment systems is in wireless, cloud-based solutions. That’s why we’re pleased to introduce our exclusive mobile payment app for laundry systems, LaundryConnect™ Pay. Think about how easy it would be to use you technology that you always have with you to pay for services rather than dealing with a card or payment kiosk.


Here are a few benefits that make LaundryConnect™ Pay ideal for campus laundry room services:

  • Lower capital expense and ongoing support fees than campus laundry room card systems.
  • Fewer service issues (system failures, refund processing, user errors) than campus laundry card systems.
  • Payments are managed by the most robust mobile laundry payment platform available in the market today.
  • And for students, LaundryConnect™ Pay offers unprecedented convenience.

Using our free app, available from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, students can:

  1. Do laundry without coins, a campus card, or a smart laundry card
  2. Load an initial balance from a debit or credit card
  3. Quickly find available machines in the campus laundry room
  4. Start a washer or dryer with a cell phone using Bluetooth technology (no need for a cellular signal)
  5. Receive an e-mail or text update when laundry is finished or a machine becomes available
  6. Report a laundry machine that’s in need of service
  7. Request a refund

For more than 55 years, Automatic Laundry has been a local, independent, and family-owned business serving the college campus and multi-family housing markets throughout the Northeast. Our tagline — “Superior Service Solutions” — forms the foundation of everything we do. And we have one of the highest customer retention rates in our industry. We aren’t just customer-focused, we’re customer-obsessed.

Pew Research Center
Sallie Mae