Travel Cards Going Chip-and-PIN

Using a travel card.

In order to better support the global nature of their customers, Department of Defense (DoD) Government Travel Charge Cards are now being issued with both magnetic stripes and chip-and-PIN functionality.   There are a few things you need to know as these cards are disseminated to all users.

Do This Now

To prepare for the transition, log in to your CitiManager account and go to My Card Account/Card Maintenance to ensure your mailing address and contact information are correct.  If you don’t have a CitiManager account, go to and click the Self Registration link on the sign in screen. If you require assistance, you may contact your Agency Program Coordinator (APC)  or call the telephone number listed on the back of your card.

When Will You Get The New Card

Currently, chip-and-PIN travel charge cards are being issued to new GTCC applicants and individuals reporting their card lost or stolen.

For cards that expire in 2015a chip-and-PIN enabled card will be issued approximately 30 days before the current cards expire.

Active accounts with cards that expire after 2015 will receive a chip-and-PIN enabled card between July and October 2015.  An account is considered active if it has been used at least one time within the last 18 months.

Inactive accounts with cards that expire after 2015 will receive a chi-and-PIN enabled card approximately 30 days before the current card expires.  An account is considered inactive if it has not been used within the last 18 months.

What To Do When You Receive Your New Card

When your new card arrives, call to confirm receipt and activate the card.  and sign the back. Then update your DTS profile with the new card information. For instructions, see How to Update Your DTS Profile.

How To Use The New Card

According to the press release, your first purchase must be at a staffed, chip-enabled point-of-sale terminal.  If your first purchase is at a self-service point-of-sale, the terminal will read the magnetic stripe on the new card instead of the chip.

Once you have the PIN portion “activated,” the card is used similarly to US debit cards.  You enter the card into the terminal, and enter the PIN in lieu of signing the sales slip or terminal.

I don’t have a GTCC, but I’ve had mixed results “activating” my other chip-and-PIN cards.  We shall see how this process unfolds.

About chip-and-PIN technology

Chip-and-PIN is a different form of payment card verification and is less susceptible to fraud.  Chip-and-PIN cards contain a microprocessor chip (microchip, or chip) that requires cardholder authentication via a 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) input at point-of-sale.  The chip encrypts the transaction data protecting the cardholders’ personally identifiable information and transaction information. If the card is lost or stolen, the chip makes the card more difficult to counterfeit.

Chip-and-PIN technology is dominant in many regions of the world, particularly Europe, and the US is moving towards the use of chip-and-PIN terminals.  Assuming there are no glitches in the process, these new cards will make world-wide travel much easier for GTCC customers.

More information about the move to chip-and-PIN GTCC can be found at the Defense Travel Management Office website.

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.