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AF government travel cards receive tech upgrade

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Beginning this month, Citibank is issuing chip and PIN-enabled government travel cards (GTC) to new card applicants, individuals whose cards will expire in 2015 and individuals who have reported lost or stolen cards.

This is the first phase in a multi-phased rollout, which will enhance the security and convenience of government travel and pay systems.

The new cards are embedded with a microchip that provides for transaction encryption and an elevated level of authentication. Chip and PIN technology strengthens data security, better protecting cardholders’ personally identifiable information, as well as the government’s sensitive transaction and payment data.

“The cards are yet another tool to combat potential fraud,” said Eric Cuebas, the director of Air Force financial services. “By working together with chip-enabled terminals, they ensure a more secure transaction by validating both the card and cardholder. Additionally, Citi’s chip and PIN cards do not use radio frequency functionality and are strictly contact-only cards. Therefore, they are not susceptible to the skimming issue encountered by radio frequency identification cards.”

All cardholders should log into CitiManager and review mailing and email addresses and contact information under “My Card Account/Card Maintenance.” The cardholder can also review their information using the account listing report in Citibank’s custom reporting system.

“This new card change should have minimal impact on Airmen,” Cuebas said. “If the current card will expire while TDY, the traveler should update the address at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the current GTC to ensure delivery of the replacement card to the new address. If the card is not expiring while TDY but the traveler feels they need an early reissuance of the chip card, they should contact their agency program coordinator (APC).”

He urged all Airmen who have questions or unusual circumstances to contact their APC for more information and assistance.

Citibank worked closely with the Defense Travel Management Office and services on a phased rollout of the new cards.

In the second phase, between July and October 2015, Citi will issue chip and PIN cards for all remaining active accounts (cards used within last 18 months). Individuals with inactive accounts and cards not used within last 18 months will be issued a chip and PIN card upon expiration, regardless of the year. There will be no change to the account number and the three-digit security code for replacement cards and the magnetic stripe can still be used for merchants without chip and PIN technology.

“The cards can be used in regions where chip technology is dominant,” Cuebas said. “It is expected U.S. merchants will be adopting chip technology more widely throughout 2015.”

For more questions about chip and PIN cards, contact local APCs.