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Thread: Travel cards/Purchase cards

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Stinking desert valley of bad air quality, AZ

    Default Travel cards/Purchase cards

    I wrestled with where to put this as it is opinion. Maybe my own thread? It is a fed day job thing pertaining to all miitary and civilian employees.

    JP Morgan Chase travel and purchase cards. What brought this to mind was a blog by James+zip that popped up today on the activity stream.

    Outsourcing to the biggest corporations on earth - Blogs - TSP Talk Forums

    I replied there but said little about my true topic. Mainly because spammers have that link. By referencing it they probably have this one too.

    I have not been happy for a long time about the travel card situation and being forced to have one. This goes way back to the early days in my military time and Diners Club card and one other that escapes me at the moment. Two cards that no one would take, except at posh hotels inside the beltway.

    My last travel was in July 2010 and before that some time in 2006. I still must keep the card. I am also supposed to charge all meals while on detail (TDY) on this card. I must never go over the daily M&I on the card. But I must use it for all purchases while away from my home station. I am encouraged to take cash advances for my travel. Someone actually checks on all this.

    After my last travel I found out there are no paper bills. I was over due. JP Morgan Chase stated they had no current e-mail address for me. The overdue notice got to my current e-mail address, my supervisors, the accounts people and everyone else in my chain's e-mail addresses. Strange. Ok, I screwed up maybe. How did the overdue notice get to my e-mail address and not the bill? I didn't check the correct block on the JP Morgan Chase gov1 website. Might be the gov2 web site. No longer sure.

    At this point I replied to all e-mails using reply all and asked why I had to maintain this account as I had only used it twice in 10 years, was there a monthly charge for this account and that the cost of maintaining this very unactive account could be mitigated by closing it. Replies ranged from federal regulations say you have to have it; canned statements about how many Brazillion dollars the program was saving the government; the US government will not tolerate credit card abuse and shut up and pay the bill deadbeat and "be aware we can give you time off without pay for this offense".

    I still have the card.

    The purchase card. Same vendor. JP Morgan Chase. I haven't used mine since July 2013. I get e-mails from JP Morgan Chase every month extolling the virtues of using the purchase card.

    FWIW I also get e-mails from GSA Advantage encouraging me to buy stuff.

    In December I got an e-mail from JP Morgan Chase complaining that I wasn't using the purchase card enough and they were declaring the account inactive. Shortly after that I got an e-mail from the OPC asking if I still needed the card. This e-mail of course went to all people in my chain of command. I repled (to all of course, being a good, obediant fed) that I did not need it. Chain of command immediately replied that I did need it and would be encouraged to use it.

    I still have that card and from time to time am encouraged by superiors to use it. For what? I don't need anything.

    I do know that my superiors are passing along instructions they get from further up. The question is why?

    Keeping two credit accounts active when they are seldom used must be making money for someone. JP Morgan Chase maybe? The mandate from DC saying the seldom used accounts must be used makes me suspicious that maybe someone else is making money off this program?

    Naw. couldn't be. This program saves us a brazillion dollars a year.

  3. #2

    Default Re: Travel cards/Purchase cards

    This was something I wondered about too. Strictly why I have to keep my p-card. I traveled earlier this year and I know for a fact it'll be years before I travel again. So why do I need to keep it?

    Well turns out its a pain to cancel and then apply to get a new one. Or so I've been told.

    Personally I'd feel better not having an extra line of credit out in my name.

  5. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    San Diego, CA

    Default Re: Travel cards/Purchase cards


    Sounds to me like you have an IG complaint. I know in some agencies, they try to give responsibility at the lowest level, but sometimes it is a little much. "Trenchers" what I call myself since I'm low on the organizational chart in my agency get caught between the needs & wants level of bureaucracy. You probably need to find out the exact reason why the Purchase Card needed to be at your position and provide a rebuttal on the reason. But take care, giving up something that you may need could get rough.

    It is a fine line between doing the job right ad just doing a job. I applaud you for your valid concern to broach this subject.

    Personally, I hate the travel card. I have side stepped its usage for 10 years by using my own personal card (while earning tons of points) for travel. The current rule is the card is set inactive until I request it activated for travel. Hehe! yeah, nice procedure, until a colleague of mine sent a request to activate theirs and wouldn't you know, the responsible person did not activate it. How embarrassing for the individual that didn't have other means to check into a hotel on official travel.

    I suggested a prepaid card with the amount of travel loaded so that these issues could disappear, but no company wants to provide this service at a reasonable fee.

    Good Luck, and hopefully you can be an agent of change where change is needed.
    Tracker =
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  7. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Travel cards/Purchase cards

    I'm with you there PO. The story is even worse than you think. I am surprized (well, not surprized, really) that JP Morgan is no longer mailing out the bills. (saving about $1 each month in paper and postage, times the million government employees, times 12 months a year, starts to add up to real money).

    The story is....back in the early 1990's, when Discover Card was hot, there was a guy to did his government travel on his own personal Discover card. He ended up getting about $100 cash back from Discover. I remember reading about it at the time.

    GSA went after him and tried to collect back the Discover card cash-back. (*it was from a couple years before GSA figured it out).

    However, the judge in the case wrote- that since there was, at the time, NO REQUIREMENT to use a government contractor-issued charge card, the employee was free to use his Discover card, and free to keep the cash-back.

    Of course, a Congressman heard about this, and the next thing you know, JP MORGAN, Bank of America, and a few other big bank corps swooped in, and wrote draft language making the government credit card mandatory for all purchases. Handed that legislation to their bought-and--aid-for Congressmen, and - the next thing you know- it was signed into law.

    JP Morgan hads already spent almost $6 million on lobbying Congress in 2013 for the 2014 election cycle. That's a drop in the bucket- not even what they save simply by eliminating postal mailed bills. And for that, they get the best laws that money can buy.

    JPMorgan Chase & Co: Summary | OpenSecrets

    59 out of 69 JPMorgan Chase & Co lobbyists in 2013 have previously held government jobs.

    Of course, they own America now.

    Hook. Line. Sinker.

    What? You though we were a democracy? Or a Constitutional republic?


    We're owned by the bankers.

  9. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Blog Entries



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