The US government has made it easy for its officials to travel on official duties or business without having to spend any of their dimes. However, there are rules attached to using them which must be strictly adhered to, to avoid unnecessary hassles with the government. The government travel charge card (GTCC), is a card issued by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to any of its civilian or military personnel for official travels. Let’s know government travel card rules.
This card works just like your usual debit card with the exception that it is usable in many countries of the world. Also, the travel card is supported by over 200 million ATMs worldwide. There are rules that you will have to abide like only paying for certified expenses and avoiding misusing it.
Rules guiding the use of the government travel card
Just like any other government-issued card, there are always guidelines to toe, otherwise, one risks unwittingly defaulting and may face legal actions. Some dos and don’ts should be known to every carrier of the government travel card and we shall take a look at them closely.
What are you allowed to do with the government travel charge card?
You may be wondering what exactly you are allowed to do with the card; if obtaining or having the card is worth the hassle. Well, here are a few things should know:
- First, get familiar with the USDA’s Zero Tolerance Policy and the Federal Travel Regulations from the USDA’s official document.
- Always use your travel card to pay for any government-certified official travel expenses. This is what it was meant for anyhow.
- Obtaining a travel advance should be done using an ATM sanctioned by your agency and should not exceed $50 per day to be obtained moments before the actual travel.
- Always keep a record of your expenses while on official travel. This means that you must keep the receipt of everything you spent money on so that filing a travel claim will not be difficult.
- Always, make sure to file the travel claim within five days after you are back from the trip or two weeks after the trip if you were on a continuous trip.
- After you have received your monthly statement each month, always submit the evidence of full payment for the travel card to the appropriate quarters.
- Any incorrect deductions made from the travel card should be reported to the issuing bank following their due processes. This should include contacting their customer service agents peradventure you have issues concerning your monthly card statement.
- Make sure to return your travel card to your Program Coordinator when you are leaving the agency through termination of appointment or retirement.
- If your government travel card gets stolen or lost, report it to the appropriate quarters immediately, that is, the issuing bank, your program coordinator, and your supervisor.
- You should destroy any travel card that was found again after it had earlier been reported stolen or lost.
What not to do with the travel card?
Here is a list of some of what not to do with a government travel card.
- You are not allowed to use the government travel card for any personal use like toiletries, gifts, or clothing even when you are on official travel.
- Don’t ever use your government-issued travel card to pay for someone else’s meal or expenses in exchange for cash.
- It is not acceptable to use the card for any purchases in your official station on the day of travel. For example, making purchases at the airport before takeoff should not be done with a travel card.
- Don’t make withdrawals from the ATM with your travel back after you are back from the official trip.
- You cannot use the travel card to buy any alcoholic beverage or meal. It is frowned upon and can land you in trouble.
- Do not use the government travel card to withdraw any amount of money unless you are scheduled to travel soon or you are already on travel.
- Withdrawing amounts over what your officially approved travel expenses should be are prohibited.
- After you must have taken a travel advance with your card through an ATM, you are not expected to still use the card to purchase meals. You should do that from the travel advance you have taken.
- You must not allow your travel card monthly bill to become overdue before you pay them, otherwise, you risk the suspension or ultimate cancellation of the card.
- You are not allowed to wait until you have received your monthly statement of bills before you file for your travel claims.
- Don’t, for any reason whatsoever, write the PIN of the travel card anywhere or even inside your wallet. Don’t give the PIN to someone else either.
- Lastly, the travel card was issued in your name. So, you must not forget that any liability or fraudulent activities on the card will solely be your responsibility to bear.
Using the government travel card while on official assignment is beneficial in that even if you have a problem using the card, you can get through to their customer service representatives from anywhere in the world, any time of the day, and any day of the year.
- Can I use my government travel charge card for gas payment?
You can use the GTCC for meals (non-alcoholic), rental cars, gas or fuel, lodgings, or anything related to the assignment.
- Must I use a GTCC card while on official travels?
Yes. It is a must for all military and civilian personnel of the DoD to use a GTCC to pay for any expenses incurred during an official journey.