Kansas paycard program offers good case study for CU

Education will accompany discontinuance of paper paychecks

Employee Services is coming to your campus in June to answer questions about paycards (CU Anschutz Medical Campus visit was Tuesday):

CU Denver

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Thursday, June 12

Lawrence Street Building

10th Floor Conference Room


12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Friday, June 13

UMC, Room 404


Noon – 4 p.m.

Monday, June 16

East Campus

ARC Building, Room 310


10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tuesday, June 17

University Center, Room 126

If the idea of CU abandoning paper payroll checks for paycards alarms you, just look to the state’s neighbor to the east for reassurance of just how useful the university’s new payment type can be.

In October 2010, the state of Kansas did what CU will do starting on July 2: It stopped distributing paper paychecks to state employees and issued paycards to anyone who didn’t open a direct deposit account. At first, there was some confusion and hesitation about the paycard program, says Amanda Entress, payroll processing team lead for the state of Kansas.

“A lot of them didn't have bank accounts,” Entress says. “We have seven regent institutions with us; a lot of (those employees) were student employees who didn’t have a bank account, or they were lower-income employees who couldn’t get a bank account or didn't have one.”

That required a ton of education, which, fortunately for the state, came in the form of pre-packaged information kits from paycard vendor Skylight Financial — the same vendor managing CU’s paycard program. With Skylight, every employee who receives a paycard also gets this comprehensive guide, containing everything they’d want or need to know about using their new pay source.

What that information boils down to: Employees can have their own bank accounts, which they can access via a debit card. And there are multiple cherries on top, including easy access to their money, a network of surcharge-free ATMs and usage rewards.

Nearly four years since Kansas implemented the mandate, paycards have acted as a financial launching pad for a large number of employees, allowing them to improve their credit, according to Dennis Jones, a payroll accountant at Kansas State University.

“Most people seem to view it as kind of a temporary situation until they get their credit and their banking history well-established, and then they usually switch to a local bank or a hometown bank,” Jones says.

Of the estimated 300 KSU employees who have participated in the paycard program since 2010, only about 50 or 60 still hold paycards, he says. Because paycards are simply an alternative to direct deposit, not the state’s sole solution, that decrease isn’t troubling.

“The ones (who) have paycards seem to be very satisfied,” Jones says.

CU’s paycard program will function similarly to the one used by the state of Kansas. Want to learn more? Visit


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