By Becky Wilson
Purple Pass, the brainchild of enterprising Masters student Andy Mathews, has taken Durham’s students and city by storm. Costing £10, and offering discounts at fifty local businesses, the card has now been bought by over 1,000 thrifty students.
“I thought it would be cool to try and create a card that offered discounts at the places where students actually spend most of their time and money”, says Mathews, who started up the Purple Pass after watching other student cards run by companies outside of the student body “pop up and fizzle out pretty quickly.”
For Mathews, currently studying Computer Sciences, the card’s student origins and online presence add a level of credibility and accountability to the pass.
Despite this, some students have become frustrated with a misleading discount offered by Mathews’ card.
Alex Hill, from Collingwood, bought the card to benefit from discounted beers at Head of Steam. He said: “The initial email [promoting the pass] said that the deal was 50% off beers there. After buying the card I found that the deal had been cancelled.”
Mathews explains that this transpired following an issue with the online advertising of the deal. “As soon as Head of Steam pulled out, their deal was removed from the website and any students that purchased the cards were told they were no longer participating.”
Hill says “I’m pretty annoyed. Had the deal been in place the card would have been well worth the money. As it is I haven’t gotten any use out of the pass so far.”
Ella Egerton, a second year from St Aidan’s, also believes buying the card was a mistake. “I still haven’t used Purple Pass and I doubt I will.”
However, many students like Ingeborg Holba, believe that at £10, the card is well worth the money.
“I got 40% off a meal, cheaper drinks, and a queue jump at Nova, which was great because the queue was huge. I’ve already saved more money than I spent on the card initially, so I’d definitely recommend it to others”.
For Mathews, Purple Pass is a win-win venture, because businesses benefit as well as students.
“Lots of the local businesses involved have reported an increase in customers as a result of the scheme, and some are keen to add even more deals throughout the year,” he tells Palatinate.
He believes there are many opportunities available to Durham students wanting to start up their own business.
“My advice to other students would be to take advantage of the facilities that are available to us as students.
“Sending an email to the entire student body through the university email system helped spread the word about Purple Pass.”
It should be mentioned that sending an email through the university email system for commercial reasons is technically against University policy.
“Being a student also helped out when approaching local businesses – many are keen to get more students through their doors, so being a student yourself is a great starting point,” Mathews said.
Photograph: Andy Mathews