Apple adds contactless student ID cards in Wallet


Apple hit the on switch for contactless student ID cards today. The press release has nice photos but is vague. There is much more detail on the Apple support doc Use student ID cards in Wallet on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

The most interesting detail is the device eligibility: iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and later, Apple Watch Series 1 and later but Express Mode isn’t available on iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. NFC-A/B, definitely not FeliCa but MIFARE. Blackboard’s IC card format is both FeliCa and MIFARE but the eligible device list makes it clear that student ID cards are PassKit NFC Certificate powered MIFARE Card Emulation.

The rest of the support doc details confirm the cards are stored value (SV) with Express Mode and students can recharge them with Apple Pay, a credit/debit card in the eAccounts app or cash at the “school’s self-service machines”. In other words it’s just like Suica App and Apple Pay Suica for door locks instead of transit.

The Blackboard IC card format uses both FeliCa and MIFARE but Blackboard has been migrating IC cards to MIFARE. Apple has not publicly announced MIFARE support, the only place to find out for this kind of thing is WWDC, but it is the only technology compatible with Blackboard IC card formats that could power the express card features of iOS 12 student ID cards across all eligible devices.