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Out with the old in with the new

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  The Department of Defense Government Charge Card is in a period of transition between bank providers. Citibank has issued new cards to all GCC users; the bank sent out the cards based on account information provided by Bank of America. (U.S. Air Force photo graphic / Carolyn Lander and Staff Sgt. Vanessa Valentine)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Department of Defense Government Charge Card is in a period of transition between bank providers. Citibank has issued new cards to all GCC users; the bank sent out the cards based on account information provided by Bank of America. (U.S. Air Force photo graphic / Carolyn Lander and Staff Sgt. Vanessa Valentine)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Department of Defense Government Charge Card is in a period of transition between bank providers. Bank of America, which is the current provider of the card, has turned down a recent bid for the renewal of a contract encompassing all of the military services of the DOD.

Bank of America will finish out the contract and rights to the contract will be passed over to Citibank as of Nov. 30.

The GCC is provided to government employees for official travel purposes. It differs from a credit card in that the balances of the card must be paid off every month. Conveniently, the government will pay off the user's charge card for the use of legitimate expenditures such as rental cars and airline tickets.

"No applications are necessary for current card holders," said Chad Engman, the agency program coordinator for the 30th Space Wing. "Whatever credit you held with Bank of America, you will receive with Citibank."

Citibank has issued new cards to all GCC users; the bank sent out the cards based on account information provided by Bank of America. The cards come in plain envelopes with the Citibank logo on the front.

"If you receive such an envelope in the mail, don't think that it is simply for promotional purposes and discard it, because chances are it is your new government charge card," Mr. Engman said.

"The structure and the way it works within the units have not changed all that much," he said. "A lot of employees from Bank of America that currently run the GCC program have been hired on by Citibank to run the program there. They are setting it up very much the same way as before."

The cutoff date for using the Bank of America card is Nov. 30 and no more GCC applications will be accepted by Bank of America. The old card is recommended to be shredded to prevent fraudulent use or given back to the user's agency program coordinator.

"Make sure that the bills are paid and take action if bills have been overpaid," Mr. Engman said. "If there is money to be owed to the cardholder, the user will need to request a check from Bank of America to close the account. The bank will not automatically send a check to the cardholder until the person has requested it.

"The transition between the systems will operate more smoothly if users call to activate the new Citibank card as soon as they get it," he said. "This allows bank to know that the person has received the card and it will allow us to know who still needs to have a new card shipped to them."

The GCC from Citibank can be activated by calling 1-800-200-7056, and should be done so promptly once the card has been received. However, the new card will not be ready for use until after Nov. 30. If any government employee still does not have the new card at this point, they can apply today or contact their agency program coordinator for assistance.