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    Citi Government Travel Card: Everything You Must Understand

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    Citi Government Travel Card

    Citi Government Travel Card: The Citi Government Travel Card is an essential payment and expense management solution for U.S. government employees. This card simplifies travel payments and streamlines the reconciliation process. Here is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about the Citi Government Travel Card program.

    What is the Citi Government Travel Card?

    The Citi Government Travel Card is a charge card issued by Citibank to U.S. government employees for official travel and travel-related expenses. It provides a more efficient way for government travelers to pay for expenses like hotels, transportation, meals and incidentals.

    The card is sponsored by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) as part of the GSA SmartPay program. Citibank is the issuing bank for the travel card. There are over 3 million Citi Government Travel Card accounts for U.S. government employees and military personnel.

    Key Benefits of the Citi Government Travel Card

    Here are some of the main benefits of using the Citi Government Travel Card:

    • Streamlines travel expense management – Charges are billed directly to the government. Employees don’t have to pay expenses out of pocket.
    • Enhances convenience – Widely accepted by merchants, works similar to a personal credit card.
    • Provides purchasing power – Higher credit limits than personal cards, ideal for booking travel.
    • Increases security – Provides transparency into government travel spend compared to cash or personal cards.
    • Improves savings – Agencies can take advantage of rebates by negotiating with Citibank.
    • Integrates tracking – Charges flow directly into travel management systems.

    Types of Citi Government Travel Card Accounts

    There are three main types of Citi Government Travel Card accounts:

    Individually Billed Accounts (IBA)

    Individually billed accounts are the most common travel card account. The employee is responsible for paying the bill. IBA accounts are issued in the employee’s name and they are liable for making on-time payments.

    Centrally Billed Accounts (CBA)

    With centrally billed accounts, the agency or organizational unit pays the bill directly. CBA accounts are typically used for group or site-specific travel where individuals wouldn’t pay their own expenses.

    Restricted Accounts

    Restricted accounts limit use to specific merchant categories or dollar amounts. They provide agencies with extra control over travel spend. Restrictions help enforce travel policies and prevent misuse.

    Citi Government Travel Card

    How to Apply for a Citi Government Travel Card

    Applying for a Citi Government Travel Card involves these steps:

    1. Check that you are eligible – You must be a U.S. government employee traveling on official business.
    2. Obtain application forms – Contact your agency’s travel card program coordinator.
    3. Complete application – Fill out the forms with all required personal and employment information.
    4. Provide signatures – Both the employee and approving official need to sign.
    5. Submit application – Send completed forms to your agency’s program coordinator.
    6. Wait for approval – Citibank will review the application and verify eligibility.
    7. Activate card – Once approved, activate your card when you receive it.
    8. Review terms – Read all policies, procedures, and cardholder agreement terms.

    The card should arrive within 7-10 business days once you are approved. Then you’ll need to activate it and review all the applicable rules before making any charges.

    How the Citi Government Travel Card Works

    Here is an overview of how to use the Citi Government Travel Card:

    Making Purchases

    You can use the card to pay for any authorized travel expenses such as airfare, lodging, rental cars, meals, and incidental purchases like baggage fees. The card works similar to a normal credit card via chip, swipe, or contactless payments.

    Getting Reimbursed

    For individually billed accounts, you will need to submit expenses on a travel voucher to your agency. Once approved, you will be reimbursed. The reimbursement should be used to pay your travel card bill.

    Paying Your Bill

    Citi provides online and mobile access to view statements and make payments. For IBAs, you are responsible for paying the balance each month. Payments are typically due within 30 days of the statement closing date.

    Reporting Lost or Stolen Cards

    If your card is lost or stolen, report it immediately to Citibank and your agency’s program coordinator. You can request an emergency replacement card in 2 business days or less.

    Account Verification and Security

    Citibank uses chip card technology, 3D Secure, and CVV codes to verify transactions. Be sure to check charges frequently in your online account and report any unauthorized activity promptly.

    Prohibited Uses of the Citi Government Travel Card

    There are restrictions on how you can use the Citi Government Travel Card. Prohibited transactions include:

    • Personal purchases
    • Family expenses
    • Cash advances
    • Gift cards
    • Fines or penalties
    • Insurance policies
    • Anything not authorized under travel regulations

    Personal and unauthorized use can result in disciplinary action from your agency or even criminal charges in severe cases.

    Costs and Fees of the Citi Government Travel Card

    There are no fees directly charged to the employee government travel cardholder. However, agencies can incur program costs. Common agency fees include:

    • Setup fees – For establishing new card programs
    • Account fees – Flat monthly fee per travel card account
    • Transaction fees – Per transaction processing fee
    • Late fees – Charged if account reconciliation is delayed

    Citibank also provides rebates to the agency based on sales volume. Rebates can often offset program fees and provide savings.

    Is the Citi Government Travel Card Mandatory?

    Use of the Citi Government Travel Card is mandatory across most federal agencies and military branches. There are regulations requiring the use of government issued travel cards.

    The Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act mandates use of travel cards on official business. The Federal Travel Regulation also requires card use. Agencies may stipulate some exceptions if an employee cannot qualify for a card.

    Refusing to apply for or use a government travel card can result in disciplinary action per your agency’s policies. Most agencies strongly enforce mandatory card use.

    How to Use the Citi Government Travel Card Responsibly

    To properly manage your Citi Government Travel Card, be sure to:

    • Read and understand all policies and procedures for your agency’s card program.
    • Only make authorized purchases related to official travel.
    • Review charges frequently and report any unauthorized activity.
    • Submit expenses and get reimbursed promptly.
    • Pay the balance in full each billing cycle.
    • Notify your agency and Citibank immediately if your card is lost or stolen.
    • Do not use for personal expenses or to withdraw cash.

    Responsible use includes staying compliant with all regulations and ensuring the card is used only for approved purchases.

    What Happens If You Misuse the Card?

    Intentional misuse of the Citi Government Travel Card can have serious consequences. Potential penalties include:

    • Revoking travel card privileges
    • Disciplinary action from your agency
    • Account delinquency reported to credit bureaus
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