UNC Charlotte launched the transition from physical student IDs to mobile IDs for first-year students in the 2022 academic year.
As a result, the mass printing of the physical student ID card is no longer offered for incoming students. However, if requested, a physical ID can be printed for students.
In addition, mobile IDs are available to everyone and contain all the functions of a physical student ID card.
The concept of a mobile ID was introduced as early as 2018 to 2019. Katie Turner, marketing director for auxiliary services, discusses the motivation behind the transition to mobile ID.
"The initiative for going to a mobile credential has been out there forever. Over the past few years, a lot of universities have gone to mobile credentials. It's just where things are going now. So we are not the exception, and we are not the first," Turner said.
Auxiliary Services specializes in the provision of mobile IDs but is also in charge of many different facilities on campus and how they operate. This department also keeps track of the light rail, the dining hall, parking and buses.
Turner has worked for universities for over a decade and is used to the comprehensive environment of large-scale universities such as Charlotte.
"[This is] one of the most dynamic workplaces that I have worked at. I have been in higher education for about 12 years now. The atmosphere here is more relaxed and more fast-paced, believe it or not," Turner said.
Turner explains that the mobile ID is a part of a plan to get UNC Charlotte fully on the environmental tract.
"It's a part of a larger sustainability initiative with Auxiliary Services, and it's a big push too on our strategic plan: the 10-year plan that the chancellor finalized," Turner said.
The 10-year plan includes various commitments, but a portion is how UNC Charlotte will become environmentally sustainable. For example, having copious amounts of student IDs no longer being printed causes a decrease in waste.
The mobile ID assists student life because it is free of cost. So if students lose their ID, they won't have to pay for a new one.
Initially, students also had to pay to change the photo of their ID. Charlotte waived the cost for students transitioning genders to change their photo, but now it is free and can be changed online for the mobile ID.
Students with a physical ID can still keep the card even with a mobile ID, but students need to keep track of it and report it if lost.
The mobile ID has the same functions as a physical student ID. It is used for Respondus LockDown Browser, the dining halls, employee access, declining balance and more.
Turner addresses students' worries over the mobile ID when a phone dies.
"The main concern that we've heard is from students who are worried that their battery is going to die and they're not able to get into their residence hall. And the truth with that is, if you have an iPhone or Apple device, you have a five-hour battery reserve where you are still able to use your ID card after your phone starts to die," Turner said.
The mobile ID has a simple set-up and can all be done online, with instructions and a how-to video. Please visit for instructions: aux.charlotte.edu/49er-Mobile-ID.