CREDIT CARDS, BANKS AND EXCHANGE RATES
For many Soldiers, civilians and families they will find themselves on the economy for travel, entertainment, and dining. While most businesses will accept bank debit and credit cards, some vendors operate on local currency, cash only. Typically, larger box stores and shopping malls will accept debit and credit cards while smaller shops, restaurants, and street vendors will be cash only. It is recommend carrying some cash in local currency if you plan to shop on the economy. During the PCS process, there is not a direct need to interact on the economy, as you will be moving from airport directly to post.
GOVERNMENT TRAVEL CHARGE CARD (GTCC)
All Soldiers on official government travel (not leave) status will be issued a chip and pin from their gaining unit to use for permissible travel expenses (see Appendix G of JTR Manual).
REDUCED INTEREST RATES
When deployed or on PCS Orders, your Active Duty Solider may be eligible for reduced interest rates on credit cards. Contact your bank to ask about reduced rates. Also, learn about SCRA protections.
FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES
When deployed or with a copy of OCONUS PCS Orders, some banks will eliminate the foreign currency transaction fee on credit and/or debit cards (usually 1-2% of purchase price). Contact your bank to learn more.
CHIP CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS
Chip credit cards are more convenient for you when traveling overseas because some merchants and kiosks no longer accept traditional magnetic-stripe credit cards. However, most merchants can still process your magnetic-stripe card manually by swiping the card.
You always can use an ATM to withdraw cash if the merchant doesn't accept the magnetic-stripe cards. Chip-and-PIN technology provides stronger protection against "skimming," a technique in which criminals copy the data from a card's magnetic stripe and use it to create a duplicate or counterfeit card. When a retailer uses a chip-enabled terminal, the chip technology helps prevent theft of account information.