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Beginning later this academic year, The Book Store will lower the minimum purchase price necessary to pay with a PennCard to $10 from $25, according to Book Store Director Michael Knezic. The change will become effective as soon as Book Store officials can reprogram their computers and make some other final arrangements, Knezic said. The new policy is a response to student requests that The Book Store lower the minimum charge. "The students, who are our customers, who use the PennCard have asked us to do this for reasons of convenience," Knezic said. Since September 1994, students have been able to charge purchases at The Book Store to their bursar bill by using their PennCards. The program was implemented through a unique joint effort by The Book Store, the PennCard Center, Student Financial Services and Data Processing. But Knezic said he and other University officials were worried at first. They were concerned that the purchases made by students would not add up to enough money to justify allowing them to use their Penn-Cards as credit cards in The Book Store. "We didn't know what people were going to be buying," Knezic said. "We didn't want anyone to pay for a 10-cent pack of gum with their Penn-Cards." Since then, it has become clear to Book Store officials that students are using their PennCards to pay for substantial items like school supplies and textbooks. And the increased revenues from PennCard sales -- coupled with a decrease in purchases by cash, checks and credit cards -- have made it cost-effective for The Book Store to satisfy customer demands and lower the minimum. Knezic said the original $25 minimum purchase was established to guarantee that processing costs would be covered by revenues from PennCard purchases. Credit card purchases at The Book Store have a minimum requirement of $10, which is also used to cover processing costs and credit card company fees. Because of the minimum, many students have been purchasing $25 worth of goods, regardless of the actual price of the items they really want. College sophomore April Edlow said she expects to spend much less money at The Book Store when the change goes into effect. "The last three times I've used my PennCard, I've had to buy extra things just to make up the $25," she said. "It's usually things I wasn't planning on buying that day, just to push me over the limit." And Wharton freshman J.B. Slosburg said he has frequently bought items he did not urgently need in order to reach the minimum purchase. But Knezic emphasized that the $25 minimum had nothing to do with increasing revenues for The Book Store. He said he predicts revenues will actually increase as a result of the new $10 minimum. Knezic expects more students to shop at The Book Store when the minimum is lowered because it will be more convenient than other nearby stores. And students said they do not expect to spend less money at The Book Store as a result of the change.

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