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Eagle Cash Helps Manage Money
U.S. Central Command | Master Sgt. Debra Clayton | May 14, 2007

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Deployed servicemembers here can now access their funds 24-hours a day, seven days a week with a new, automated money management program called Eagle Cash.

Co-sponsored by the Army and the Department of the Treasury, Eagle Cash is a financial management tool to support military members deployed in combat zones and on peacekeeping missions.

The program uses a type of payment card referred to as a Stored Value Card along with automated kiosk devices located around the base. Cardholders who are enrolled in the program can access their personal checking or savings accounts by swiping the card in the kiosk machine.

"It's somewhat like going to an automatic teller machine, but instead of withdrawing cash money, you transfer money from your bank account to your SVC card and then use it like a pre-paid gift card to make purchases," said Master Sgt. Angela Smith, the deputy disbursing officer for U.S. Central Command Air Forces.

Sergeant Smith has been instrumental in getting the Air Force to implement the Eagle Cash program. Additionally, she coordinated the Treasury Department teams' visit to set up the program on the base and train base agencies on its use.

Once money is loaded or transferred on to the SVC card, participants pay for their transaction by swiping their card in a point-of-sale machine. The amount of the sale is electronically subtracted from the amount of money the individual has loaded on the card.

When the card's balance is low, the individual can go back to the self-serve kiosk 24/7 and recharge the card with more cash, taking this money from his or her bank or credit union.

"Not only is the Eagle Cash card a new way to handle financial needs, but it will keep people from having to stand in long check-cashing lines at the finance office. Also, with the Eagle Cash card, there is no need to carry around cash to pay for products and services at the base exchange, post office, and for other products and services at a military base," said Maj. David Stephens, the director of financial management and comptroller for CENTAF. Morale, Welfare and Recreation services and products can be purchased with the card and Soldiers can use the card here too. 

Eagle Cash has been in existence since 1999 and came about as a way to reduce currency demands and limit the amount of U.S. currency going to Army posts overseas. Now the program is being used in the Southwest and Middle East theater and can be found at more than 45 military installations in 10 countries around the world.

"Every time a servicemember spends U.S. dollars in the Middle East theater, it's potentially helping fund terrorism because the U.S. dollar has stronger market value in this region," said Juan DeJesus, a Department of the Army Eagle Cash manager.

The Eagle Cash card is also helping the military save money because it is expensive to transport U.S. currency overseas and costs money to provide security for the currency while in flight, Mr. DeJesus said.

To date, more than 100,000 cards have been issued and used to process more than $4.1 million transactions valued in excess of $350 million.

Eagle Cash cards are available at finance offices to servicemembers and contractors whose companies have check-cashing agreements with the U.S. military.

All military pay information can be found in Military.com's Pay Section.

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Copyright 2008 U.S. Central Command. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.