By Gary SheftickJune 17, 2009
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 17, 2009) -- Soldiers and Army civilian employees can now use their government travel charge card for relocation expenses when moving from one command to another.
New Army policy became effective June 10, allowing the government charge cards to be used for permanent-change-of-station moves.
"Cardholders will benefit because of the convenience" of using the cards for PCS moves, said John J. Argodale, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Financial Operations in his memorandum sent to Army commands June 9 along with implementing instructions for using the government travel charge card for PCS moves.
The cards can be used for transportation, lodging, meals, temporary quarters, subsistence expenses and approved house-hunting expenses.
"It has to be a reimbursable expense," said Frank Rago, Army Travel Charge Card Program Manager. He explained that cardholders just can't charge all of their expenses when driving across country. Stopping at an amusement park en route with the family would be one example of a non-reimbursable expense where the card shouldn't be used. He said auto repairs and retail purchases are other examples.
"There has to be some education given to folks before they leave," Rago said, explaining that cardholders must check in with their agency program coordinator for a briefing and request their card be placed on a PCS status. Then upon arrival at their new duty station, they must see the agency program coordinator so the account can be transferred to the new organization.
While the card is on PCS status, payment requirements are suspended. Payments will not be due until 30 days after the PCS period ends. Cardholders will not need to worry about delinquency or suspension of accounts during their PCS, Rago said.
In November, the government changed its travel card contract from Bank of America to Citibank.
More than 400,000 Soldiers and Army civilian employees now have government travel charge cards issued through Citibank.
During the last two years of the Bank of America contract, a program was actually in place for cardholders to use their cards for PCS moves, Rago said. But he admitted not many employees knew about the program.
"It was a voluntary program then, and it's a voluntary program now," Rago said, adding that the card is recommended for use during PCS moves.
During the contract changeover, use of the card for PCS moves was suspended.
"We wanted to complete the transition before we put any new programs in place," Rago said.
Under the new program, travel advances for participating PCS travelers will only be issued using the charge cards.
The $7,500 credit limit for standard cardholders can be increased by the Agency Program Coordinator in advance of the PCS move, if necessary, Rago said, in order to cover all reimbursable costs of the move.
The cards also cannot be used for accession or separation moves, such as PCS moves in conjunction with retirement.