York launches new mobile YU-card 

person holding a smartphone

Eligible students, staff and faculty will now be able to add their YU-card to the wallet application on iOS and Android smartphones. With this launch, York becomes the largest University in Canada to transition to a mobile credential program.  

As of July 31, all incoming students to York University will receive their YU-card digitally – a move that places York ahead of the curve in providing students with modern, digital services offered at a university campus. Other York community members will have the opportunity to switch to mobile cards when their current cards are up for renewal.  

The YU-card program is York’s official photo identification for students, faculty and staff on campus. YU-cards provide access to services and spaces across Keele and Glendon campuses, including York University Libraries, recreation facilities, exams, food, meal plans, shopping, events and discounts. The card can also be used as a declining balance card (similar to a debit card) on campus.  

In 2020-21, with students studying remotely and access to campus limited, first-year students were not issued a YU-card unless they were required to be on campus for required services or in-person classes. Many of those students expressed interest in having an official York ID to feel connected to the University – particularly at a time when engagement with the physical campus was curtailed, affirming the value of the YU-card to students, both on and off campus. 

“This was an opportunity for York to lead the way for our students and campus community,” said Tom Watt, interim assistant vice-president, Ancillary Services. “Mobile YU-cards create an important sense of identity and pride as a member of the York community, while being more efficient and cost effective. Issuing mobile credentials saves an incoming class from approximately 12,000 hours of wait time every year and eliminates the replacement fee for lost cards, as mobile cards can be transferred to a new device for free.” 

In addition to time and money saved, mobile YU-cards streamline the user experience and provide new capabilities, such as directly loading flex funds through the eAccounts application. The back of a mobile YU-card also contains the user’s York ID number and key phone numbers for easy access, such as goSAFE and York Security Services. To enable efficient use, mobile cards on Apple and Android phones can be set to work automatically without requiring Face ID or passcodes.

For an institution of York’s size, transition to mobile credentials eliminates approximately 400 kilograms of plastic and polyvinyl chloride consumption per year.  

Two-factor authentication, required for mobile cards, also provides an additional layer of security and cards on lost devices can be revoked immediately to maintain security of campus buildings.  

For those without a compatible smartphone, plastic cards will remain available at no cost through the YU-card office. More information about eligibility, associated costs and how to use the new mobile YU-card can be found on the YU-card website