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ISIC to launch virtual student identity card

The world’s most recognised form of student identification, the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), is to launch a new “virtual identity card”, which allows users to search for student concessions online wherever they are in the world.

John Zachariassen, Secretary General of the 1953 International Student Conference was integral to the creation of the ISIC card and guest of honour at the conference

5 million cards were issued last year with the Czech Republic, Netherlands and France leading sales

Platforms for push and pull marketing campaigns, used to highlight specific deals to students based on predetermined preferences, will also be integrated into the app. Students with an ISIC Mastercard will be able to top-up funds and check their balance via the interface, too.

“Although the format has changed completely, ISIC services have changed, the discounts have changed”

Organisers soft launched the virtual card at the firm’s 60th anniversary conference in Copenhagen last month. Steven Winnen, IT Business Manager for the ISIC Global Office said:  “There’s no deep interaction yet but we will roll out in September after pilots in select markets.” Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands are flagged.

The ISIC card was conceptualised in 1953 but gained global appeal after UNESCO endorsed it as the only internationally accepted proof of full-time student status in 1968. Now licensed authorities and provisional licensed authorities issue the card in 127 countries and are responsible for securing local and national benefits for cardholders in the form of discounts and deals.

Some 5 million cards were issued last year, with the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and France leading sales in 2012.

Martijn van de Veen, General Manager of of the ISIC Global offices said the organisation is focused on constantly reinventing itself to keep up with global trends. “The world has changed completely but we still offer the same thing, although the format has changed completely, the services have changed, the discounts have changed,” he told The PIE News.

Currently about 10% of all cards are paired with a Mastercard credit card

“In 60 years it will have changed even more but we’ll still be doing what we do today: proving and verifying student status and giving them an identity as students and keys to opportunities available to them.”

The physical cards will still be sold as part of a package with the app. Currently about 10% of all cards are paired with a Mastercard credit card in select countries including the US, Argentina and Brazil.

The Copenhagen event saw ISIC stakeholders and and issuers discuss the future of the ISIC card in light of changing global student demographics. UNESCO also backed the event, its first involvement with ISIC in 10 years.

“Our partnership with UNESCO is more than just a memorandum of understanding, there’s an actual agreement on reaching goals together,” said van de Veen.

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