ALBANY, N.Y. -- Students at the University of Albany soon will be using student meal cards to pay for deliveries from D.C.'s Pizza and Wings and four other restaurants near campus.

According to The Business Review, over the next three weeks, some eateries that deliver to U. Albany will begin accepting student debit accounts. Previously, students could only use their university debit accounts, called Podium+, at vending machines, bookstores and food retailers on campus.

But the new program, called OffPodium, will allow food deliveries Thursday to Sunday from 8 p.m. on. The school is considering adding dine-in service later.

When the service becomes available, students can give their student I.D. numbers when they order. Merchants, who pay a commission to the university, will then enter the numbers into a credit card machine to access the student debit accounts.

Vendors that sell alcohol are not eligible for the program.

Duke University and the University of Virginia offer programs such as OffPodium. In New York, Cornell has a similar system and Union College in Schenectady has a program where students use their I.D. cards for payment at two local food establishments. The bill is sent to Union and then forwarded on to students.

Jeanne Ciampino, who co-owns D.C.'s Pizza and Wings, located directly across from U. Albany's uptown campus, said the program sounds good.

"Like any kids, they're more apt to use their cards than to use cash," she said. "It'll be convenient for them and I would think that it would definitely bring us some more revenue."

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