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News > CSA the new way to pay for Air Force travel
CSA the new way to pay for Air Force travel

Posted 1/26/2011   Updated 1/26/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Saphfire D. Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/26/2011 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.,  -- The Air Force will be replacing the government travel cards of old with new controlled spend account travel cards from January 2011 through March 2011.

The CSA, provided by Citibank, is designed with more flexibility to better meet the travelers needs and differs from the GTC in many ways.

Before, travelers had to pass a credit check to be issued a GTC.

"If Citibank evaluated the credit history of the DoD member and they did not meet the DoD established criteria, they were not issued a travel card," said 2nd Lt. Rogelio De La Fuente, 355th Comptroller Squadron financial services officer. "They may have been eligible to receive a travel advance, but if they refused a credit history check, they weren't eligible for that either."

The CSA does not require a credit check.

"CSA is better because Air Force members will not be subject to a credit history check or have to self-certify their creditworthiness, so all will be approved," he said.

Not only are CSAs available to everyone but they are better equipped to meet the needs of those traveling.

Another benefit of the CSA is that their credit limits are based on the estimated cost of an approved travel itinerary. This feature is meant to cut down on unauthorized card use, which was a major problem with the GTC.

"I like the CSA because it helps reduce the risk of delinquencies and misuse. I spend approximately 10 hours a week researching delinquencies and contacting squadrons Agency Program Coordinator's (APC) to find out delinquency statuses," said Lieutenant De La Fuente. "With the work load reduction of the GTC, I will be able to focus more on my primary duties."

CSAs also have the added benefit of a Credit Balance Refund, which lets the cardholder use any remaining funds for personal expenses.

"If there are funds remaining on the card after the assignment is complete, cardholders are authorized to use the CSA's remaining funds like you would with a prepaid card," said Lieutenant De La Fuente.

Features such as this would provide funds for Airmen, but the CSA would also financially benefit the government.

With the GTCs, not all the monies used for government travel were charged to travel cards.

"In fiscal year 2009 travel costs amounted to $2.5 billion but only $1.3 billion was charged to the GTC," said Lieutenant De La Fuente. "The difference of $1.2 billion cost the Air Force $10 million in rebates. That rebate money could have been used at the base level for programs that support our Airmen."

All government travel, including temporary duty assignments, permanent changes in station, and deployments, will now be paid for using a CSA. This helps the government keep an accurate account of their government travel expenses.

For additional information, Airmen can visit the 'Virtual Finance' site on the Air Force Portal or on Citibank's CSA website. Both contain useful learning tools, such as the CSA Checklist, that Airmen can use to educate themselves on the changes and benefits of the program.

12/8/2011 9:42:38 AM ET
Do not follow the information about this new spend account you will owe. Use the CSA exactly like you used the GSA. Only thing that will be re-embursed are travel to airportticketstravel to new duty station. I got stuck with a 3000. dollar bill because my card was loaded with 11000. You will not get what is left over. Be careful with using this card.
Sean Fletcher, England
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