Blackboard Expands Transact Business with CardSmith Acquisition
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Blackboard has acquired CardSmith, a competitor in the student debit card business. The two companies both have card-based campus payment systems, and it was common for them to face off in vying for business. The terms of the deal for these privately-held firms were not released.
Besides bringing about 200 new customers into the Blackboard fold, the acquisition also adds cloud-based offerings to Blackboard's Transact portfolio, which includes offerings for managing commerce, security and financial services. CardSmith's multi-tenant cloud technology and managed services options allow schools to implement a student credential system without the need for IT resources, including physical infrastructure or software management. The company also provides card production services.
In a statement Blackboard explained that the addition of CardSmith will now allow customers to choose cloud or locally hosted applications.
Student debit cards have multiple purposes. They can serve as the student ID, grant building access, provide a mechanism for making purchases and grant access to school activities.
"Given the diversity of learners, there is a critical need for institutions to provide students with the most innovative technologies that support them both in and out of the classroom," said Jay Bhatt, CEO of Blackboard. "Today's news marks the latest step we are making in growing and investing in our Blackboard Transact portfolio and strengthening the educational experience we help schools provide to their students."
Both companies currently have small showings in the K-12 segment. Transact products are in use at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Illinois, for example; and Card-Smith has systems in place at Massachusetts's Williston Northampton School and the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.