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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a fee for using the card at an ATM?

If the card is used at a PNC ATM, there is no surcharge imposed. There will be a $2.50 charge for non-PNC ATM withdrawals (with the potential for the ATM operator to assess a surcharge).

What is the process for setting up a PIN (for use at an ATM)?

Using the Account Access Code provided on the card instructions, the cardholder calls the PNC automated service (866.453.5071) and follows the prompts to establish a PIN. Please note that this PIN is set by each cardholder, and neither PNC nor Northwestern can obtain it if forgotten.

What is the maximum amount that can be loaded onto a card?

NU policy states that the maximum amount that can be loaded onto an individual card is $100, and an exception authorization must be obtained to exceed this maximum. This exception authorization must be obtain from Amy Mykytiuk (for discretionary accounts) or Katherine Mustea (for card loads if transferring to a grant account). For more information regarding this limit, please consult the Human Subject Policy

How much is the inactivity fee and when will it be assessed?

The inactivity fee imposed on the card is $3.00 after 1 year of inactivity and $3.00 each additional month of non-use. Please note that the 1 year inactivity window starts anew once the card has been used.

Can a grant chart string be used for obtaining cards?


Exceptions on use of the card (use at a gas station, restaurant tipping)

If the card is used at a restaurant, there will be a 20% "hold" above the tab amount. The card will be declined if used at a gas pump. Rather, the card must be physically presented to the gas station attendant.

What is the proper handling procedure for “live” cards?

Once cards have been distributed to your department, please ensure that they are kept in a secure environment as they are loaded and ready for distribution; please treat them like cash. Do not open the card envelope. If your department has additional information for the card recipient, place the sealed card envelope in a separate folder or envelope along with your additional information.

What happens if the card is lost?

In the event that the card is lost or stolen, the cardholder should first contact the issuing department. The department will then contact Depository Services with the card's ICN so that the card’s balance can be verified, the funds removed and the card cancelled, and funds loaded onto a replacement card. For SVCs mailed and never received by the card recipient, the department should notify Depository Services with the ICN in order for the card balance to be verified. The department can then determine whether the original card should be cancelled and a replacement card should be issued.  Beginning May 1, 2019 we will no longer be defunding PNC cards, crediting chartstrings, or transferring funds to a new PNC card, for any amount less than $5.00.

Can unused cards be returned?

Unused and sealed cards can be returned to either Depository Services office. Please email Stored Value Cards and provide the ICNs of the cards to be returned along with a scan of the original card request form. Depository Services will verify the amount remaining on the cards and, once the physical cards are returned, funds will be credited back to the original chart string used.

Can the cardholder personalize the card?

The cardholder cannot personalize the card himself. However, the card balance and a transaction history can be obtained online at or by calling 866.453.5071.

What resources are available to assist a card recipient?

Depository Services cannot speak directly to a card recipient. However, the automated PNC helpline (866.453.5071) is always available for assistance for obtaining the current balance on the card as well as verifying recent card activity. Please note that the card recipient can access a live operator at any time by pressing "0", but a $2.50 per call charge will be assessed. Card balances can also be obtained by visiting

What resources are available regarding the policy pertaining to these cards?

The Human Subject Payments Policy outlines the requirements for Northwestern to comply with the Human Subject Protection Program (HSPP), University Human Resource policies and practices, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the University purchasing and payment policies related to human subject payments.