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How do I buy DS-Print credit?

Buying DS-Print credit, and the difference between 'Local Balance' and 'Common Balance' credit.

Various institutions participate in the DS-Print service, either as part of a Managed Cluster (MCS) or by subscription into the service. Each institution has its own pricing structure. A large number of institutions participate in the Common Balance scheme described further below. For institutions not participating in the Common Balance scheme, information about payment methods and use of Local Balance should be sought from local IT support staff. General guidance on Local Balance use can be seen below.

For a list of Institutions participating in the Common Balance scheme, pricing and location of printers and photocopying facilities see Where can I use DS-Print?

To use the DS-Print service it is necessary to have credit in either Common Balance or Local Balance account. Payment for Common Balance credit can be made using either eCredit or cash.


This is a safe and secure on-line portal which allows you to add credit to your Common Balance using debit or credit card payment. Money added to your balance can be used in your department, in college and the UIS, on printers and photocopiers which are part of the DS-Print service.

Minimum payment is £1 and you can buy credit in units of £1, but online payment is not allowed if it will take your credit balance above £30. Your balance limit is set to £30.

To make an online payment, visit My DS-Print. Note that AMEX cards are not accepted.

If your payment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email. If your online payment fails because of an error in filling in the form, you should get an explanatory error message. In case of difficulty, please contact the University Information Service's Service Desk. If the payment fails because your card issuer has rejected it, you should get an email informing you of this. If the reason for the failure is not obvious to you, you will need to contact the card issuer.


Cash can be paid in institutions and colleges where staff accept such payments and add credit to Common Balance accounts. The University Information Service's Service Desk (Roger Needham Building, West Cambridge Site) will accept cash (minimum cash payment is £1) to apply to your Common Balance.

Terms and conditions for payment

Online and Cash payment is subject to the University Information Service policy regarding online payment for DS-Print credit and to the University's general Standard Terms and Conditions of Sale.

Common Balance

To use any Common Balance printer or photocopier, you need to prepay by a minimum of £1 (approximately 20 B&W A4 sheets). Each time that you print/copy/scan a page, your balance will be reduced by the appropriate amount set by the institution. When your credit is exhausted, you will not be able to produce any more print/copy/scan output.

No refunds are given for self-service print/copy. Any sheets generated through the printer or MFD (Multi-Functional Device) will be charged for, even blank ones, so it is in your interests to ensure the pagination of your document is correct before you print it.

Local Balance

Some institutions allocate a set quota for printing and photocopying, this credit is placed in your Local Balance. Credit in this balance can only be used at the institution which provided this credit. Enquiries regarding quota, including entitlement should be made to the institution in the first instance. 

When using your quota at an institution which has provided credit for your Local Balance, this balance will be used first before credit in your Common Balance is used.

For Colleges not participating in Common Balance please contact the local Computer Office for further particulars of the Local Balance. For example, the Local Balance may well be running in arrears which will be added to your College bill.

Checking your balance

You can check your balances using the DS-Print Balance under the Account Management menu found on Managed Cluster workstations, or via My DS-Print (Raven authentication is required). The Common Balance together with any Local Balance (and you can have more than one) will be listed with credit amounts.