Campus News

What’s the difference between Cougar Cash and ShastaBUCKS?

Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Usually there is the choice of cash or credit when purchasing food or novelty items, but at the University, the choice goes beyond that.

The on-campus currency options, Cougar Cash and ShastaBUCKS, are just some of the ways students can keep from having to carry around cash, and it is all done with the swipe of their Cougar Card.

“ShastaBUCKS are managed by the Cougar Card Office and is a flexible spending account,” said Director of Cougar Card Services Deborah Davis. “Cougar Cash can be used in all dining facilities managed by UH Dining Services, which includes, but not limited to the retail venues in the Student Center, Student Center Satellite, Food Trucks and at campus convenience stores.”

Davis said Cougar Cash is can also be used at McAlister’s Deli, Tealicious, Shasta’s Cones and more.

Some students said they did not know the difference between the two currencies.

“I didn’t really know the difference between Cougar Cash and ShastaBUCKS,” said biology freshman Poornima Iyer. “No one ever explained it to me, but I’ve used Cougar Cash to get food.”

Iyer mentioned she has never used ShastaBUCKS before, and cannot see herself learning how to use them in the future.

The big difference between the accounts is ShastaBUCKS can be used at some off-campus locations, as well as at UH Sugar Land and Katy campuses for more than just food items. Meanwhile, Cougar Cash can only be used on-campus and restricts purchases to food items only.

While Cougar Cash and ShastaBUCKS remain to be two separate entities, they have some similarities as well.

“The currencies are both declining balances,” Davis said. “Both declining balances have the restrictions for purchasing tobacco products or alcoholic beverages.”

Davis said Cougar Cash is non-refundable, but the only non-refundable ShastaBUCKS balances is less than five dollars and the account for the ShastaBUCKS can be closed at any time by the student. 

Both accounts of Cougar Cash and ShastaBUCKS have been on campus the same amount of time, but ShastaBUCKS had a different name when it first hit the scene.

“ShastaBUCKS is the new name for the previous Flex Account. We changed the name after we implemented our new TouchNet card solution system.” Davis said. 

The Cougar Card office transitioned to an industry supported solution, Touchnet, which enabled their program to expand their services. This brought on a survey in Spring 2019 to see which locations students would like to use their ShastaBUCKS at. 

After contracting with DishOut, a payment platform, The Nook became a location that started accepting ShastaBUCKS.

The Cougar Card Office said they will continue to work with DishOut to bring additional merchants into the program, including locations near the Sugar Land and Katy campuses.

“As far as The Nook goes… It’s a great thing for students,” said communications senior Edwin Mascorro. “Adding another option where students can spend their money is always welcomed, and I can finally use that money on something I actually enjoy.”

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