A number of students have voiced their frustrations and concerns as YUSU begins to implement a 20p surcharge on payments under £5 throughout its commercial outlets.
The financial technology app is now charging YUSU up to 400 percent higher fees for lower value purchases, now that its 18-month trial period with the Students’ Union has expired. YUSU President Millie Beach informed students via social media that YUSU “can’t be in a position where we subsidise every purchase made on Yoyo”.
However, Norwegian student Jens Dahle-Granli has condemned the move as “unbeneficial for international students”. While the fee can be avoided by linking an NUS Extra Card to a Yoyo Wallet account via an app, “you have to have a UK bank account to be able to download the [NUS] app,” Dahle-Granli commented, “which YUSU shouldn’t expect international students to have.”
Former YUSU presidential candidate Oliver Wilson has claimed that “multiple points of failure” already exist with the payment processing method, such as the need for sufficient mobile phone battery, an internet connection and consistently operational servers.
Beach was quick to reassert the benefits of using Yoyo Wallet for students, citing that “in the last academic year alone we gave back more than £45 000 in loyalty, points, special offers and competitions all relating to students and staff using Yoyo”. Regarding the higher costs, she stated that “the prices in YUSU bars reflect student budgets.
“We have been really happy with the way Yoyo has been embraced by York students and staff,” the YUSU President added, “and as a result we have signed up to be a long term user.”
The three methods of avoiding the 20p surcharge, listed on handouts from YUSU Commercial Services, involve spending £5 or more in one single transaction, purchasing an in-app offer, or linking an NUS Extra Card to Yoyo Wallet.