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Terms & Conditions

Terms • Rules Pertaining to Account • Error Resolution
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Cards • Other Policies


  1. The Caltech Card is the property of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is issued by Caltech to Cardholder only, and is non-transferable. Use of the Card may be revoked at the University's sole discretion for violation of University policies and procedures. Faculty and staff must relinquish the card upon separation from the University. Access privileges of Card will be deactivated when student, faculty or staff status is terminated.
  2. Card must be presented upon request at the time of use to obtain services or to establish official University status.
  3. Card is to be used only by the person to whom it is issued. Only the Cardholder can present the Card for debit and other privileges. Card will be confiscated if presented by someone other than the Cardholder. Departments may be issued Card for use by designated persons for Caltech Department debit privileges in accordance with University policies and procedures.
  4. Additional identification or signature may be required for certain purposes.
  5. There are no limitations on the number of times a Card may be used for purchases, so long as the Cardholder maintains an adequate balance in Cardholder's account, except for limited-use cards issued for special events.
  6. Debit accounts may be used for purchases at locations participating in the program. As long as Cardholder maintains an adequate account balance, there are no dollar limitations on purchases, except for special programs, limited-use cards issued for special events and department cards.

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Rules Pertaining to Account

  • The debit feature (SmartCash) of the Card is optional. Cardholder accounts will be activated upon initial deposit by Cardholder.
  • Deposits may be made my cash, check, or credit card. Check deposits may be made by mail. Checks must be made payable to Caltech. Credit card deposits may be made online at at no charge. Currency will only be accepted at University Load Stations. Credit vouchers from on and off-campus merchants cannot be deposited into SmartCash accounts.
  • There will be no limit on the frequency of check, cash or credit card deposits.
  • Funds will be immediately available for deposits made by cash and credit card. Deposits made by check for a one-day total of $1,000.00 or more will be subject to a hold for 3 business days before funds are made available.
  • Positive balances that remain on accounts for faculty, staff and student Cardholders will carry forward to the next term or year. If a debit account is not active for eighteen (18) months, positive balances may, at the University's option, revert to the University. Negative balances will be transferred to the Bursar's Office for collection. Balance will remain on limited-use cards until card expiration date. Positive balance that remain on limited-use cards that have expired will revert to the University immediately.
  • SmartCash account balances are non-interest bearing for cardholder.
  • Purchases of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and adult material using SmartCash are prohibited. SmartCash merchants that offer these products will not sell them to customers paying with SmartCash.
  • There will be no cash withdrawals or refunds from active SmartCash accounts. Card Services reserves the right to allow refunds on a case-by-case basis depending on circumstances.
  • Returned checks will be transferred to the Bursar's Office for Cardholders with insufficient funds in their debit account to cover the amount of the check. Holds will be placed on student services consistent with existing terms and conditions.
  • Returned checks and the $25.00 returned check fee will be reversed in the Cardholders debit account if there are sufficient funds.
  • Cash refunds will not be issued for returned merchandise purchased with Card; instead, Card accounts will be credited for the amount of the return. Merchandise must be returned to the location where goods and services were purchased.
  • Receipts will be available for goods or services purchased with Card at attended point-of-sale. Monthly account statements will be mailed to the campus address of faculty and staff upon request. Card will be mailed to the mailing address of students and all other cardholders upon request. Statements are also available online at

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Error Resolution

  1. Errors on receipts or statements must be reported to Card Services no later than sixty (60) days after the error appears. Errors that are reported orally must be followed by a written notification within ten (10) business days.
  2. Cardholder name, identification number (UID), transaction description, transaction date and dollar amount must be provided when errors are reported.
  3. Card Services will investigate recorded errors. The results of the investigation will ordinarily be made available within ten (10) business days of notification; however, if the University determines that more time is needed to conduct the investigation, the investigation may take up to forty-five (45) business days.
  4. Errors will be corrected within 24 hours of determination by Card Services and cardholders will be notified. If no error is found, an explanation will be provided within three (3) business days after the close of the investigation.
  5. Copies of any documentation considered by the University during the investigation will be provided upon written request.

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Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Cards

  1. Lost or stolen cards must be reported immediately to Card Services during business hours, to Caltech Security at or online at any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  2. The University maintains liability for the first $50.00 worth of charges made against a stolen/lost card. The Cardholder is liable for any and all transaction made thereafter, before the card is reported lost or stolen. The Card is suspended once reported missing and Cardholder is free of liability thereafter.
  3. The fee for the replacement of lost or stolen cards is $30.00. There is no charge for the replacement of damaged cards provided the damaged card is surrendered upon replacement. A Card shall be considered damaged when, in the reasonable opinion of Card Services, the Card is no longer useable for its intended purpose (i.e. it cannot be read by card readers or the picture has been damaged) from being severely scratched, cracked, bent, warped, etc.
  4. A police report does not waive the charge of $30.00 when replacing a stolen card.
  5. Student payment to replace a lost or stolen card is billed through the Bursar's Office. Payment for Faculty and Staff must be made with a check or credit card.
  6. Replacement cards will only be mailed to the mailing address tied to the individual's Caltech directory entry.

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Other Policies

  1. If Card Services fails to complete a transfer to or from an account in accordance with this Agreement, Card Services will be liable for direct and documented losses or damages that result from the error in an amount not to exceed the amount of the transfer. The University will not be liable if, through no fault of Card Services, there are insufficient funds to complete a transfer, there is documented system failure, or there are circumstances beyond Card Services' control (such as fire, flood, earthquake, civil disturbance, etc.) which prevent the transfer.
  2. Information regarding the Cardholder's account will not be provided to third parties unless required by applicable laws, in compliance with court orders, or with the written permission of the Cardholder.
  3. The University will comply with all applicable laws regarding the use of information or stored images.
  4. These terms and conditions are effective immediately when the Card is issued to the Cardholder and remain in effect until written notification of change is received by Cardholder from University. Notification to Cardholder, when necessary and appropriate, will be at least twenty-one (21) calendar days prior to the effective date of the change.

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