How Can I Get a Government Travel Card for My Military Move?

Government travel card

Dear Q&B,

I heard that the government travel card is supposed to be used for all military moves in the Army, but my unit says it’s only for temporary duty travel, so they won’t issue me one. I’m headed overseas with my family of five and being able to pay with the government travel card would really help my finances. How can I convince my unit to give me one?

Sincerely, Let Me Use Plastic

Dear Plastic,

Like many finance issues, the mandate within in some services to use the government travel credit card (GTC) for a permanent change of station (PCS) move is confusing.

As of May 2015, only the Army and Air Force are asking their troops to use the GTC during a PCS. And, although the Navy and Marine Corps were reported in late 2014 as working on making the change, they still aren’t quite on board with it yet. 

But here’s the catch: both the Army and Air Force only mandate use if you already have a card on hand. That’s very different from issuing a card to every PCSing soldier or airman.

And that’s probably why you’re finding problems. If you don’t already have a card, which your specific unit only plans to issue if you are going on temporary duty (TDY), they don’t have to give you one just for your PCS, according to Army policy. 

So what are your options? You’re going to have to PCS the old fashioned way — with advanced payment against what you should be receiving for reimbursement later, or with the cash you personally have on hand. 

For everyone who already has a GTC, the Army and Air Force does mandate that the card be used for PCS expenses. That means you really aren’t supposed to be paying out of pocket or on a personal card for anything reimbursable. 

If you do have a card and are worried about getting reimbursed in time, the DoD has made things a little bit easier on you. Paying off the GTC can be notoriously difficult thanks to the glacial pace of some units’ finance offices, so the card can be placed in a “PCS mission critical” status. That status comes with longer payment windows and a credit increase, for example. 

Sincerely,  Team Q&B

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