What you need to know about the new travel card program

By 27th Special Operations Comptroller Squadron

The Air Force is currently in the process of converting from the Government Travel Card (GTC) to a new Controlled Spend Account (CSA) travel card.

According to Air Force officials, the new card will offer greater flexibility in meeting the cardholder’s travel needs. Characteristics of the new card will allow it to better minimize the risk of delinquencies (analysis indicated that 77 percent of delinquent cardholders in 2009 received their travel payment but failed to pay their GTC’s outstanding balance) while still satisfying mission requirements.

Key elements that cardholders need to know are summarized below:

• Everyone, military and civilians, will get a CSA card since no credit check is required.

• All benefits and protections (insurance, fraud protection, etc.) remain.

• Infrequent travelers, without a GTC card balance and without approved travel orders for future travel in the system, will receive the CSA card first.

• Cardholders must call to confirm receipt of their card and establish a PIN; an existing GTC PIN will not automatically transfer to CSA and PINs will not be sent in the mail.

• When the CSA card is activated, the member’s GTC card will become inactive. It is imperative that the traveler update their DTS account with the new card information.

• Once orders are approved, an automated email message will be sent to the traveler informing them how much money has been loaded on their card. Cardholders must have a valid e-mail address listed with CitiBank in order to receive e-mail alerts.

• The new card is to be used for ALL travel expenses (TDY, PCS and deployments).

• The cardholder, or their APC, can contact the bank directly to request adjustments to their spending limit based on mission requirements.

• An automated email message is sent to the respective traveler and their Agency Program Coordinator (APC) to confirm the temporary increase request.

• Temporary Spend Limit increases are valid for 5 business days.

• A “Do Not Strand” policy remains in effect; Citi will force travel authorizations through if the card runs out of funds or becomes suspended while the traveler is trying to get home.

• The maximum amount allowed per cash withdraw is $200.

• Unlike the GTC which allowed split disbursements, 100 percent of the voucher payment will be sent directly to the traveler’s account.

• Residual funds that remain on the card may be spent off the card like a gift card or obtained through an electronic funds transfer to another account, via a check issuance, or withdrawn through and ATM (2 percent withdraw fee will apply).

• The CSA card works more like a debit card and has no value unless the individual is in a travel status with valid/approved orders in the financial systems.

• If the account is not paid in full, it will be suspended when it becomes 61 days past due. Like the GTC, accrual vouchers must be filed every 30 days.

• Due to the importance of the automated email messages, keeping contact information up to date is critical.

CSA training is available on the Air Force Portal via Virtual Finance at the Life and Career: Money — Welcome to Virtual Finance link. (Click the Tools tab to access the — Controlled Spend Account Training icon. Additional training is available at www.airforcetravelcard.transactionservices.citi.com.

Travelers can call Citibank directly at (877) 784-1407 or collect from overseas at (817) 802-1468 when they require assistance. They can also manage their accounts online at https://home.cards.citidirect.com.