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The convenience and use of bank-issued debit and credit cards at Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities cost the military community dearly, according to the Army and Air Force Exchange. This year alone, bank-issued card processing expenses at Fort Benning facilities are actually down 16.58 percent compared to this time last year, yet have sapped $1,174,513 from the Exchange and, in turn, critical funds that could be used for morale, welfare and recreation programs. In 2011, total credit card fees for the entire year at Fort Benning were $1,774,180.
A dual mission to provide quality merchandise and services at competitively low prices and generate earnings for morale, welfare and recreation programs means something as minor as a credit or debit fee can have a real effect on military quality of life, said Vincent James, Fort Benning Exchanges general manager.
One way shoppers can help reduce costs and strengthen their Exchange benefit is by using the MILITARY STAR® Card. Unlike bank cards, swiping a MILITARY STAR® Card produces no fees as the card is administered by the Exchange and revenue generated is shared with military communities through contributions to quality-of-life programs.
Traditionally, two-thirds of earnings generated at Exchange activities are paid to morale, welfare and recreation programs, while the other third is invested in improvements that enhance the shopping experience, James said. This structure means that decreased fees can quickly provide additional arts and crafts supplies, reduced green fees or maybe even a new aquatics center.