Air Force converts to Controlled Spend Account cards|
Posted 1/14/2011 Updated 1/14/2011
1/14/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Over the next few months, the Air Force will be converting to the Controlled Spend Account. The CSA is different from the government travel card, and provides the traveler with increased flexibility to meet their travel needs. Fueled by mission-driven spend limits and unprecedented worldwide merchant acceptance, the new program allows the traveler to fulfill mission requirements while also minimizing the risk of delinquency.
An extensive pilot program validated the tremendous benefits to the Air Force, automating processes to reap huge manpower savings without negatively impacting the traveler. And most importantly, the Controlled Spend Account delivers a higher level of
card excellence, so travelers can perform their missions with confidence while making travel related purchases with ease.
Once travel orders are approved in the Defense Travel System, funds are loaded on the CSA card. If a member is traveling on manual orders, funds will be loaded after finance certifies the orders. Funds are loaded two to three days after orders are approved
and/or certified. The CSA's spend limit automatically adjusts based on the estimated dollar amount for that particular mission. The funds loaded will include funds for airfare, lodging, per diem and any other special authorizations.
If the member needs more funds loaded, they can call Citibank and request a temporary spend limit due to a change in mission requirements. An email is sent to the approving official if a request is made. In addition, the unprecedented merchant acceptance
allows the card's use for all reimbursable travel expenses for TDY, PCS and deployments.
Making purchases from any location around the world has never been easier. Through Citi's global network and with an expanded number of merchants allowed, the CSA cards are accepted at more than 30 million merchant locations worldwide. Access to
ATMs further simplifies the process for getting cash in local currencies. Keep in mind, though, that the card is still only for official travel expenses while on orders.
Increased access to more merchants does not pose more risks for cardholders. The cards only have value when the traveler has an approved travel order. Spend limits adjust automatically when orders are issued, amended or canceled. Once the mission is complete, travelers submit their travel vouchers, and the payment updates the spend limit to reflect the actual cost of the trip. Any residual funds remaining on the CSA are available for use by the cardholder or can be transferred to another personal account.
The cardholder may use the residual balance on the card by using the card like a regular credit/debit card, request the balance be transferred from the CSA to a personal account, request a check from Citibank, or withdraw the available funds from an ATM. Additionally, cardholders have the same protection and dispute capabilities that exist in the traditional government program. If a cardholder exceeds the spend limit as determined by the travel voucher, a debt will result. Citibank will contact the cardholder directly to notify them of the debt, and the cardholder will have to pay it.
At the foundation of the Controlled Spend Account is Citi's 24/7/365 customer service network providing cardholders with support from anywhere in the world. Immediate service is now at the cardholder's fingertips as they can call Citi directly when they need assistance or manage their accounts online, as well as additional coverage for insurance, travel, medical and emergency assistance.
Article courtesy of Air University financial management