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Vandenberg transitions to CSA cards

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Starting March 18, Vandenberg will be fully transitioning from the Government Travel Card (GTC) to the Controlled Spend Account (CSA) card. The CSA card is designed to give you more control over your travels and to address some of the concerns of the GTC. Vandenberg already has 350 cardholders since 280 GTCs cardholders were issued the new CSA card after their GTC expired and 70 new applicants have received their card.

The CSA card's purpose is to better handle the dynamic travels of the Air Force; reduce delinquency tracking; reduce fraud and waste; and give card holders more control over their travels. The change was initiated by card holders and the CSA card is intended to address card holders' issues.

Not all travelers previously qualified for the GTC based on credit worthiness and travel frequency requirements. Now, all military and DOD civilians are eligible for the CSA card. The GTC used an open line of credit at all times; which was susceptible to fraud. Also, members that did not qualify for the GTC had to use the Centrally Billed Account managed by the Logistics Readiness Squadron to purchase their airline tickets. The CSA card only has funds loaded when a traveler has orders certified so all card holders are eligible and also help reduce misuse/abuse of the card.

The GTC was not accepted at all locations in order to prevent fraud; however, it made traveling under the DOD policy that all official travel expenses are to be charged on the GTC difficult. Throughout the years travelers just used their GTC cards for airline tickets and lodging. The CSA card can be used at most locations because funds are only available based on certified orders.

Under the GTC, travelers would split disburse their travel voucher entitlements to the GTC and to their own bank account. The Air Force estimated that 77 percent of all delinquencies were due to incorrect or no split disbursement to pay off the GTC. Unit and wing Agency Program Coordinators (APC), supervisors, first sergeants and commanders at all levels spend a significant amount of time tracking delinquencies. The new CSA card mandates that 100 percent of all travel voucher entitlements go to the card. This will significantly reduce delinquencies by eliminating split disbursement errors.

After 100 percent total trip reimbursement, most travelers will have a residual balance, or a credit, on the CSA card. Under the GTC, residual payments had to be sent by check which could take up to six weeks. The residual left on the CSA card can be used in one of four ways:

1. The traveler can spend the residual amount on the CSA card at most locations AFTER 100% of the travel voucher has been filed and funds loaded on the CSA card.
2. The card holder can call 1-877-784-1407, the number on the back of the card, and request an electronic funds transfer to his or her own bank account. (Can take 1 -2 days)
3. The card holder can call 1-877-784-1407, the number on the back of the card, and request a check. (Can take up to 6 weeks)
4. The card holder can take the money out using an ATM; however, the card holder will be assessed a 2 percent non-reimbursable ATM fee. NOTE: ATM fees while on official travel are reimbursable.

The GTC operated off of credit limits from $4,000 to $7,500. If a traveler encountered any changes to the travels that maxed out the credit limit, he or she would have to contact the home station. The home station would have to create a credit limit increase worksheet, have the squadron commander sign it, send it to the wing APC, send it to AFSPC for approval and then send it back to the unit to inform the member. This process was not very fast and if any of the personnel weren't immediately available the cardholder could be stranded temporarily. The CSA card uses a capability called the Temporary Spend Limit (TSL) increase. Card holders can call 1-877-784-1407, the number on the back of the CSA card, and request a TSL increase. The temporary increase will be good for 5 days to allow enough time to amend the travel order if needed.

All current GTC holders will be automatically enrolled in the CSA program. All GTC holders will be issued a new CSA card in March if they have a zero balance and no orders to travel in the accounting system. If a GTC holder has a balance or orders in the system they will be issued a CSA after the travel is complete and the GTC is paid off.

The success of the transfer depends on GTC holders ensuring their physical mailing address and e-mail address is correct with Citibank. Please call 1-877-784-1407, the number on back of your card, or contact your unit APC, and ensure your information is correct.

You can find training resources and more information here at http://www.citibank.com/transactionservices/home/sa/2010q3/csa/index.jsp. If you have any questions please contact your unit APC or contact the 30 CPTS Money Hawk$ Finance Customer Service section at 606-4606 or e-mail us at 30cptspayhelp@vandenberg.af.mil. The Money Hawk$ strive to ensure the financial readiness of Team V's total force Airmen.