Finance rodeo: Getting your cash downrange
January 9, 2013
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The paycheck is one of the most rudimentary forms of morale for a deployed soldier. But for the protection of soldiers, many facilities downrange do not accept cash or a personal debit card. That is where the Eagle Cash Card comes in.
"The main goal of the Eagle Cash Card is to limit American currency on the battlefield," said Cpl. Scott Delano, a finance management technician from Bravo Detachment, 4th Finance Management Support Unit, 15th Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Bliss, Texas. Delano, a native of Scarborough, Maine, is deployed to Forward Operating Base Walton in RC-South, Afghanistan.
The Eagle Cash Card is a card linked to the soldier's bank account which safely allows them to make purchases. Soldiers generally have access to an Eagle Cash Card machine, which allows them to transfer money onto it from their bank account. For locations that do not have the machines, finance soldiers travel to them on a monthly basis to provide the cash-loading service for soldiers.
Delano expects to spend nearly half of each month traveling to different forward operating bases and combat operating posts to help soldiers with their monetary needs.
"Our job is to take care of the soldiers in any way possible," said Delano. "We do that by either correcting their pay, giving them entitlements that are due, or giving them cash in hand."
Because finance only goes to most locations for a few days a month, soldiers can put up to $350 on their card per day, as well as take out lesser amounts of cash- enough to last them for the month. The maximum amount that is allowed on a soldier's card is $9,999. When using their Eagle Cash Card, a receipt is printed so soldiers can see how much remains on their card, and know how to budget until finance returns again.
A local benefit to reducing American currency on the battlefield is it gives an influx of Afghan currency to the local economy. Boosting the Afghan economy assures the Afghans are one step closer to obtaining independence.
However, one of the biggest benefits to the Eagle Cash Card is the protection it provides.
"If someone loses a card, or it's destroyed, the card can be cancelled and any money that was left on the card will be refunded to the soldier," said Delano.