Below are some of the most common questions that we are asked, but they may not answer all of your questions. If you have a question that is not answered below or if you just need a little more information you can contact WatCard directly.
What is a WatCard and what can it be used for?
- Student identification - The WatCard is the official student identification card of the University of Waterloo.
- Debit card - Make purchases on and off campus. Simply add money on it at the WatCard office, online, at one of the main libraries or Food Service terminals, and at Turnkey desk.
- UPASS – Applicable to full-time registered undergraduate and graduate students only. Allows eligible students to ride Grand River Transit transportation in the Region of Waterloo.
- Library card - The barcode card located on the bottom of your WatCard serves as your library barcode. Staff, researchers, post-docs, and alumni will have to activate their barcodes before they are able to use the library services.
- Gym pass - Registered students are entitled to use the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) and Columbia Icefields (CIF) facilities. Using your WatCard you will be able to use the facilities, sign up for courses, borrow equipment and use the towel services. Faculty, staff, or guests who wish to use the PAC, please review Athletics and Recreation membership information.
How do I get my WatCard?
- Go to the WatCard office located inside The Centre on the main floor of Needles Hall(NH).
- Present a valid piece of government issued photo identification, i.e. Driver’s License, Passport, Canadian Citizenship Card, or another government issued document with your picture and name in English.
- Provide some documentation showing your affiliation with the University of Waterloo. Examples include; acceptance letter, offer letter or contract, letter from a department on official University letterhead, etc.
Please note that researchers are required to bring their offer letter, while postdoctoral fellows must bring their offer letter or contract.
Is there a fee for replacing my WatCard?
- Lost card - $30
- Damaged card - $30
- Name change, preferred or legal - $20
- Photo retake - $20 Old card must be returned or it will be considered a lost card replacement. (NOTE: The fee for a photo retake may be waived, if the photo on the current card no longer accurately reflects the cardholder’s appearance. The decision to grant a free replacement is at the sole discretion of WatCard staff.
- Status change (undergraduate to graduate, faculty change) or photo when we decide it is necessary - No cost when old card is returned.
Replacement cards will only be issued to students that are currently enrolled.
Where can I use my meal plan money?
At most dining locations operated by University of Waterloo Food Services.
- 25 locations across campus
- On campus Franchises - Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Subway, Pita Pit, Pizza Pizza, Booster Juice, Wild Olive Pasta and Teriyaki Experience
- Dining options - ML Diner, Mudie's, REVelation, FRSH and Southside Market
For an extensive list of all food service locations as well as detailed information about all of the services they provide we recommend you visit UW Food Services.
What happens to leftover meal plan money at the end of the term?
Any meal plan money remaining on the card at the end of the semester will become transfer meal plan money and will remain on your card for as long as you are a registered student. Meal plan money will not become flex dollars at any point and can only be used to make purchases at food service locations on campus.
Your meal plan discount only applies during the term in which it was purchased for. However, if you purchase a meal plan during a subsequent term, any meal plan money that has carried forward from a previous term will receive your current applicable discount. Any meal plan funds carried forward from a previous term lose their HST exemption.
Can I change my meal plan?
The WatCard office can only make meal plan changes during the term for which the meal plan is purchased. Requests to change your meal plan can be submitted from 1 week prior to the start of each term until the end of the first month of the term using our meal plan change request form.
I've cancelled my optional meal plan for this term, when will I know if the refund has been processed?
You will know when your meal plan has been refunded because it will show under Account Summary on your Quest account.
After we receive your request the meal plan funds will be removed from your WatCard. Meal plan refunds will appear on your Quest account in three to five business days and will be net against any money owing to the University.
For specific details on when and how account balances will be refunded please refer to Student Financial Services refunds information page.
Can I use my WatCard to take the bus?
The WatCard can only be used by students who pay the UPASS fee. The UPASS fee is included in incidental fees for full-time undergraduate and full-time graduate students. This fee allows eligible card holders to ride Grand River Transit (GRT) buses by presenting the card when boarding the bus, as well as ION trains by tapping the card on fare terminals on the ION platforms.
This card will not work as a bus pass for GO buses or any other bus or transport not operated by the GRT. For more information about UPASS services and eligibility for undergraduate students visit the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Assosciation (WUSA) UPASS and you FAQ page or stop by the WUSA office in the Student Life Centre. Graduate students looking for more information about UPASS services and eligibilty can visit the Graduate Student Assosciation UPASS information page, or contact the GSA directly.
Can I purchase a GO bus pass or PRESTO Card from the WatCard office?
The WatCard office is not affiliated with GO Transit and does not sell any related passes or merchandise. Full-time students can obtain a GO Transit Student Identity Card through the Registrar’s Office.
For more information related to GO transit goods and services on campus students can inquire in person at the Turnkey Desk in the SLC or online through the Student Life Centre GO Transit information page.
How can I add funds to my WatCard?
There are a variety of convenient ways to add funds directly to your WatCard.
- You can add funds in person using cash at any Food Services location (minimum $10.00 deposit) and Food Services locations that take debit as payment will also take debit for WatCard deposits (credit cards not accepted at any Food Services locations).
- You can also add funds using cash or debit at most library circulation desks.
- You can add funds 24/7 at the Turnkey Desk in SLC using credit, debit or cash.
- If you would like to add funds directly through the WatCard office you can visit our service counter in Needles Hall (NH). We accept cash, debit, or credit (no minimum deposit required) or you can deposit funds online through our add funds page using credit or debit.
How can I check how much money is on my WatCard?
You can check your account balance and purchase history at any time online by logging into your WatCard account. You can also come into our service counter in SLC to check your balance or to ask any questions related to your WatCard account. You can also ask to check your balance at any food service location.
What if I lose my WatCard?
If your WatCard has been lost or stolen there are two things you need to do in order to replace it.
- Deactivate your card. All transactions made with your WatCard are your responsibility, even if you weren’t the one making them. You can deactivate your WatCard online, or in person at the Turnkey Desk in the SLC or at any Food Services cash register. If you find your card after it has been deactivated, bring it to the WatCard office and it will be reactivated, free of charge.
- Visit the WatCard office with a piece of photo ID. We’re conveniently located on the lower level of the SLC. A new card will be issued for a replacement fee of $30.
What if I find a lost WatCard?
Lost WatCards should be returned to the WatCard Office. This can be done in several ways:
- Lost WatCards can be dropped off in person at our service counter located in The Centre in Needles Hall during regular business hours.
- If you can't make it to our service counter during regular business hours you can leave the WatCard with a trusted campus partner such as; UW Police, one of the campus libraries, any UW Food Services location, or the Turnkey Desk. Lost WatCards left at these locations will be returned to the WatCard Office within a few business days.
- If you are off campus you can mail the card addressed to the WatCard Office to the university's mailing address of 200 University Ave West Waterloo, ON, CAN N2L 3G1.
- If you are a staff or faculty member you can send the lost card via on-campus mail by addressing the envelope to the WatCard Office.
Can I refund the money from my WatCard?
Only students are able to request a WatCard refund because all refunds are processed through Student Accounts and Quest. Refunds can only be processed when the student is leaving the University.
To request a refund from your student WatCard account fill out and submit a refund request form. Please consider the following before submitting your refund request form.
- Refunds from student WatCard account balances will only be issued to those intending to close their accounts for the following reasons: withdrawal from the University, graduation, or termination of affiliation with the University.
- Only the full balance will be refunded.
- Refunds are subject to an administrative service charge.
- The credit will appear on your Quest student account. Any amount not required to pay outstanding charges on your student account can be refunded to you. Please find more information about refunds on the Student Financial Services website.
If you have any further questions please review Student Financial Services refund information page.
How can I protect my WatCard from damage?
- Keep your WatCard inside a card holder when it’s not in use.
- Do not keep it in a wallet you would carry in your back pocket.
- Do not cut, bend, hole-punch, chew, or use your WatCard as a scraper or pry tool.
- Do not expose to excessive heat or open flame, static electricity or strong magnetic field.
- Do not mark or alter the card in any way including putting stickers on the card.
- Maintain possession of your card and do not use your WatCard as a deposit for goods or services outside of campus.