Insider's guide to the DalCard

Working in the DalCard office, I get asked the same questions over and over. Here are my answers to the most commonly asked ones.

Try not to lose your DalCard, but luckily you're covered if you do.

As a Dal student, you’ve been issued a DalCard which gives you access to your residence, access to other campus buildings outside regular hours, your meal plan, athletic facilities, libraries, and of course, proves that you’re really you when you write exams. Here are some of the other things you may not know about it.


How do I load money on my card?

You can load as little or as much money as you want on your card in person using your credit card, debit card, or cash at a bunch of locations around all of Dal campuses. Or you can also load it yourself online using a credit card. There’s no transaction fee anytime you use your DalCard at participating DalCard vendors. And 5% of your purchase will be put back on your account! (The 5% you earn should show up on your account by the following Monday.)


Does the DalCard Office handle meal plans?

I answer this question at least five times a day, and while I love seeing people come in the office, it’s an unnecessary step to see us. You access your meal plan with your DalCard, but the DalCard office has nothing to do with your meal plan itself.

If you live in residence, you need to deal with the Residence Office in Halifax or Truro, and if you’re off campus, get in touch with Food Services in Halifax or Truro.


What happens if I lose my card?

It happens to the best of us. You most likely will lose your DalCard at least once, but there’s no need to worry! You can call the office directly or go online and make your card “inactive” so if someone were to find it and try to use it, they won’t have much luck.

You can try looking for your card or come into the office and ask for a replacement. But you should know that if a card is turned into us, we verify that it’s an active card and email the owner to let them know that we have it.

So, if you’ve lost a card, check your email, Dal Security, or the office directly. There’s a $15 replacement fee for the card itself and $15 for the bus pass (or $30 for both). But you can get a free replacement due to natural wear and tear, sudden demagnetization, or if you change your status from “Student” to “Graduate Student” or “Courtesy Access” to “Staff/Faculty.”


Can someone else use my card?

A lot of people worry that when they’ve lost a card, it could be found by another person and used, but we have you covered. If you need to replace your card, your barcode and prox number will be changed before we print the new card. If someone were to find your old card, it wouldn’t still be attached to your account, so they wouldn’t be able to use it for anything. The old card is nothing more than a pretty piece of plastic.


How do I get access to buildings?

Your DalcCard is essential to getting into Dal buildings and labs in general or after hours. This isn’t automatically on everyone’s card, though. When you need access to a building after regular hours besides your residence hall, you have to speak to an administrator or secretary for the building you need access to.


Where can I use it to shop?

You can use your DalCard in Halifax as an accepted form of payment at so many off-campus locations! You can get groceries, pizza, and even medicine with your DalCard. Some of the off-campus vendors include Freeman’s Little New York on Quinpool, Guardian Pharmacy on Coburg, and the Sobeys on Queen Street. Check out for a full list of on- and off-campus vendors and which ones offer the 5% cashback bonus on purchases.


What happens when I graduate?

When you graduate, your card and student account expire since you’re not registered for any courses. If you still have money on your DalCard, you can fill out a form requesting a refund. There’s a $25 fee for processing a refund and you’ll be mailed a cheque (no cash, debit, or credit refunds). The refundable amount also doesn’t include Foodbucks or the 5% cash back amounts, so try to use up any remaining funds before you leave!


When in doubt, call or visit the office

If you have questions or concerns, you can call the DalCard Office at (902) 494-2334 in Halifax or 902-893-7900 in Truro. Or visit us at 6230 Coburg Rd., just a few steps to the left of the Howe Hall front desk, at the Enrolment Services Centre on the Sexton Campus, or at Cumming Hall, rm. 202 in Truro. If you lose your card over the weekend and need access to your residence, don’t panic! You can get a temporary access card that’s active for five days.