Today, the National Union of Students (NUS) launched a new product to replace its long-standing NUS Extra Card, which will be known as ‘Totum’.
Launched in 2010, NUS Extra granted students who held the card discounts to major high street retailers such as The Co-Op, ODEON, and National Express coach travel.
Totum is a discount card partnered with an app which will Ali Milani, NUS’ Vice-President for Union Development, described as a “passport to student life” by providing a more holistic service for students, including student events, volunteering, and a student ID.
The app aims to turn NUS Extra “from a discount card into an engagement platform” explained Adam Bardsley from OneVoice, speaking at the Student Media Summit at Amnesty International’s London centre today.
The app also will advertise student societies available to prospective members, and allow the user to purchase membership where required via a link to the corresponding Students’ Union website.
At the same event, Mr Milani also said Totum would “revolutionise local discounts around campus”. When pushed on who would negotiate these local discounts, Mr Milani said that the onus was on individual Students’ Unions to do so.
Existing multi-year NUS Extra card holders will automatically be added to the Totum programme meaning no extra cost will need to be paid.
He then claimed the NUS “would never sell student data”, calling this “a marker in time for revolutionising our services for students”. Despite this, the app will still collect users’ personal data.
One example is that the app will attempt to tell users available to them in-store, meaning the user should always be able to use the discount, rather than forgetting to after paying. This would have the consequence of knowing users’ device location data.
The Mancunion have learned that users’ data will still be analysed for commercial purposes to target discounts to students, but won’t be sold off to third parties.
Mr Bardsley did however say the app was still in the development phase, and features will be added to it over the next 24 months.
Megan Heath, also from OneVoice, outlined that the annual cost of the card would remain £12 and the app will be launched on 13th September.