DeCA officials announce Commissary Gift Card program

  • Published
  • By Kevin L. Robinson
  • Defense Commissary Agency Public Affairs
Extending the gift of groceries to authorized commissary patrons soon will be a lot easier thanks to the new Commissary Gift Card.

The gift cards, available in denominations of $25 and $50, will be available June 30 for purchase in stateside stores or online through Commissary customers overseas can expect to see Commissary Gift Cards in their stores by early July. Customers there should check with their local store manager for card availability.

Anyone will be able to purchase the gift cards for commissary shoppers, said Defense Commissary Agency director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu.

"These gift cards allow anyone to give the gift of groceries, whether it's mom and dad at home helping their military child in Germany stock up for a holiday dinner, or a senior noncommissioned officer who wants to introduce the commissary benefit to a junior soldier who has a family at Fort Hood, Texas," Mr. Jeu said. "We are excited to unveil a program that will allow more people to take full advantage of their benefit."

This is how the card works: Anyone can purchase the card, but only an authorized patron can redeem it. A customer uses the card as long as there is a balance on it; once the complete $25 or $50 total is exhausted, the card can no longer be used. There is no monetary change issued for unused portions of the card. Shoppers can use the remaining card balance in conjunction with other forms of payment, said Robert J. Bunch, chief of DeCA's customer service division.

"These cards allow us to offer the gift of groceries without a paper voucher or a gift check," Mr. Bunch said. "And, the ability to order them online helps people who may not ordinarily be connected with the military, or even on an installation, to still be able to reach out to support the troops."

Here are some quick facts about the Commissary Gift Card:

* The cards will be available at all commissaries worldwide -- on a rack at full service, front-end registers -- as well as through the DeCA website,

* The cards expire five years from the date of purchase.

* Online orders incur a handling fee. These fees are not assessed to in-store orders.

* There is no limit to the number of gift cards that a purchaser can buy. However, DeCA officials recommend that people in organizations and activities consider purchasing online if they need $500 or more in gift cards.

* Commissary Gift Cards can be shipped anywhere in the United States. Outside the United States, gift cards can be shipped to APO, FPO or DPO addresses.

* For customer service questions, call the toll-free phone number, 1-877-988-4438, which also allows the user to check the card balance.

* DeCA representatives are not responsible for replacing lost, stolen, destroyed or mutilated cards.

Once commissary managers receive their first gift cards for sale, they no longer will sell gift vouchers. However, customers who have already purchased gift vouchers will be able to redeem them through Aug. 31, 2016.

"In the military we have a longstanding tradition of taking care of our own," said Army Command Sgt. Maj. John M. Gaines Jr., the DeCA senior enlisted advisor. "However, this program also allows families at home, friends, our industry partners and charitable organizations to extend the gift of groceries to our commissary patrons. That's a wonderful way to say 'thanks' for everything they do in serving our nation."

DeCA officials began using gift vouchers in 2009 shortly after the agency's gift check provider, CertifiChecks Inc., ceased operations. Since then, customers have redeemed nearly 191,000 vouchers for about $4.7 million in sales.