The University smart identity card, CU Link Card, was introduced in 1999. The first generation CU Link card contains only one IC chip which is the contact chip (MULTOS). It was used as an identity card for staff and students. The chip was used in both user authentication (door access) and small amount payment solution (air-conditioning and laundry in hostels). In 2009, CU Link became a hybrid smart card which contained two chips: contact chip (MULTOS) and contactless chip (MIFARE). The user authentication function was gradually switched to the contactless chip as it provides a more user-friendly experience. Starting from Sep 2012, the only application for MULTOS is the hostel payment system.
Contact chips and contact card readers are more prone to wear and tear than their contactless counterparts. The contact card readers in some hostels were in use for more than 10 years and resulted in high maintenance cost. Besides, due to the distributed approach that each room has its own card reader, the maintenance cost was even higher.
Trend and Development
In 2014, ITSC started assisting hostels to revamp their hostel payment systems to use Octopus. Besides, a centralized approach is used which greatly reduced the number of card readers and hence maintenance cost. More hostels are moving towards this approach and the number of MULTOS readers has then been decreasing over years. In 2016, ITSC communicated with colleges to discuss about the decommissioning plan of MULTOS by 2018. In Mar 2018, all hostels stopped using MULTOS. The decommissioning of MULTOS is endorsed by IT Governance Committee in 2018.
Change of Card Face
Starting from 2019, newly issued CU Link will only have one chip which is the contactless chip (MIFARE). There will be no change to existing cards.
As the newly issued CU Link will not have contact chip anymore, there is no chip shown on card front. The change to card face is also endorsed by IT Governance Committee in 2018.
With Both Contact and Contactless Chips
No Impact to Existing Cardholders
Both original and new designs of CU Link card face are valid CU Link designs. No arrangement will be done by CU Link Card Centre to replace existing cards.