KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany– The majority of Army dining facilities in Germany and Italy are accepting credit and debit card payments, now.
A team comprised of members from the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, the United States Army Financial Management Command, the U.S. Treasury – Fiscal Service, 405th Army Field Support Brigade and 266th Financial Management Support Center installed credit and debit card devices and provided user training at non tactical dining facilities in Germany and Italy, Sept.10-21. The project enabled 14 out of 15 dining facilities to offer credit and debit card payments by Sept. 2, according to Ricky Gaines Food Service System Analyst, Europe Region, JCCoE.
“The credit/debit card initiative aligns with the Army’s DFAC modernization plan of making our dining facilities more competitive with commercial restaurants and improves dinning facility operations overall, “said Victor Martinez, director Europe Garrison Food Program, 405th AFSB
The U.S. Army is the first service branch to implement card services at dining facilities, according to Karl McFarland, USADMCOM E-Commerce directorate. The new service does not occur additional costs for the customer. “Most Federal agencies accepting card payment must use CAS (Treasury Department’s Card Acquiring Service). It does not charge transaction fees to the agency or user,” added Irene Rivera, financial program specialist, US Treasury.
The Defender Café dining facility at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Kaiserslautern, started to accept credit and debit card payments in June of last year. “The facility was the project’s pilot site, and the first Army DFAC accepting credit and debit card transactions,” Gains explained.
Due to the given LAN infrastructure, the dining facility started by processing authorizations over an analog telephone line, resulting in processing times from up to 50 seconds per transaction, according to Staff. Sgt. Albert Ignacio, dining facility manager.
The transaction time was shortened to six to 10 seconds per authorization after the dining facility was able to change to virtual land line services on Sept. 21, said DaVida Usual, US Treasury Department.
“I prefer paying cash, it’s faster but it’s great to have the option (to pay with credit or debit card). Not everyone carries cash,’ said Capt. Timothy Brocks, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, customer at the Defender Dining Facility on ROB.
“Especially, here (in Europe) many do not carry cash (US dollar) at all times. Accepting card payment is a great service we are able to offer, now,” added Ignacio.
The last non-tactical dining facility in Europe, the Kleber dining facility, Kaiserslautern is expected to field the credit/debit card program by the end of this year. Dining facilities in the continental U.S. are expected to follow, according to Gaines.