Insider's guide to the DalCard

When I worked in the DalCard office, I got 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.
This article was updated in August, 2021.

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 get a DalCard?

If you’re new to Dal, you'll need to submit your photo to get the process started. Go to the DalCard Online Photo Submission page to upload your photo and government-issued photo ID. If you upload your photo before August 27, your card will be waiting for you when you arrive on campus. Uploading your photo online is the only way to submit a DalCard photo this fall, so get ready to take a great selfie!


How do I load money on my card?

You can load as little or as much money as you want on your card. Doing it online using a credit card is the easiest way. You can also load money in person using your credit card, debit card, or cash at a bunch of locations around all of Dal campuses. There’s no transaction fee any time you use your DalCard at participating DalCard vendors, and many locations offer 5% back toward your next purchase! (The 5% you earn should show up on your account by the following Monday.)


Does the DalCard Office handle meal plans?

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 check 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 email 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, the team verifies that it’s an active card and emails the owner to let them know that they 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 DalCard has you covered. If you need to replace your card, your barcode and prox number will be changed before a new one is printed. 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, you have to speak to an administrator or secretary for the building you need access to. Residents are given access to their building and meal hall through the Residence Office.


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! Check the Dal Bookstore to get 5% back toward your next purchase when you buy textbooks, Dal gear, or supplies. You can get groceries and takeout in Halifax with your DalCard. Some of the off-campus vendors include Freeman’s Little New York on Quinpool, Pita Pit on Spring Garden, 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, email or visit the office

If you have questions or concerns, you can email  the DalCard Office at Or visit us in Halifax at 6230 Coburg Rd., just a few steps to the left of the Howe Hall front desk.. If you lose your card over the weekend and need access to your residence, don’t panic! You can get a temporary access card from your front desk that’s active for five days.