Oh, Government Travel Card

The government travel card has done it again.  I swear, it seems like it is more trouble than it is worth.

My husband uses his reluctantly, because he is supposed to use it for certain activities.  He travels pretty regularly, usually overseas.  With the exchange rates ever fluctuating, he never hits the exact amount to send to the card, and has a $2.43 cent balance or we get a refund check for $.97.  Then there was the time that the very large travel claim was misprocessed while he was deployed…I shudder just thinking about it.  But today’s saga seems more preventable.

Apparently, your government travel card is deactivated while you are between duty stations during a PCS.  I guess I understand that, since no command is sending you on travel while you are PCSing.  However, what happens when you hit the ground running at your new duty station?  It seems the mechanism to reactivate the card isn’t very speedy.  My husband officially started work at his new job on the 9th of July, and just today I got a phone call from someone because his card was declined.

This wouldn’t be so annoying if there weren’t so many things that are supposed to be put on a government travel card.  In our case, it was visa applications for the family.  Would have been easy enough to do it on a personal card, but that isn’t what the directions say.  So you follow the rules, and then it makes life more difficult.

Okay, venting over.  Return to your regularly scheduled programming.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Dave

    I hate having to use my GTC ever. I have the unrestricted card, so it never gets shut off. But when something is declined for whatever reason, I love to be able to use my own card. Let me rack the miles on my card.

    Then there’s always the chance you can accidentally use the GTC for something personal. I have a separate zipper pocket in my wallet so that never happens to me.

  • John D

    I’ve used the various cards for years and used it for only the purpose as directed. I never found it hard to renew when changing posts. Most units won’t send you TDY or to school right away so you have time to let it be renewed. Most have problems because they think it’s “Their card” and use it for personal items. WRONG!! Self disipline is the cure. Just because you are TDY dosen’t mean you can get those breast implants on your govt card like a female soldier did. She had to pay it back with penalties!

  • I’m assuming this is the military card they issue you do you have some of your paycheck on you when needed? My son is fixing to join the Navy and hearing all this makes me wonder if it’s the best thing to have? Any other suggestions!

    • Matt

      Hey Brandy, sad to say but if you are traveling for any reason with the Navy you are required to have a GTC. Your command will not let you go until the card is up and running. I hate it!! It’s almost as bad as my cooperate card with my Civilian job.

  • Jon C

    I have the GTC but in my current situation, my National Guard unit issued it to me. I now am going active duty and MEPS/Recruiter told me to use my GTC during the PCS. Its activated and everything. I don’t know if this is because the card was not issued by the active side of the house. It sure was a hassle just to get it turned on though. Good luck with everything!!
    Thank you, your husband and your family for being in the military, I appreciate you all!!!