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MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – The Naval Supply Systems Command is moving forward with a plan to increase the use of debit cards aboard Navy ships. The program, Navy/Marine Cash, allows afloat Sailors and Marines to conduct personal banking and purchasing electronically while deployed. The system consists of a commercial debit card, which uses both stored-value chips and magnetic strips. The program reduces the need for cash aboard the ship and significantly reduces workload afloat, the Navy said. Using the cards provides 24/7 access to pay and allowances on and off the ship. Afloat personnel are able to receive electronic pay, access home bank and credit union accounts, transfer and withdraw funds, and make purchases, both on ship and ashore. Aboard ship, cashless ATMs verify card funds, transfer funds to and from the cards and authenticate PINs. Purchases are made using Point of Sale devices and vending machine card readers that access the card’s chip. Once ashore, funds can be accessed by the magnetic strip to withdraw funds from more than 900,000 ATMs worldwide and make purchases at more than 32 million merchants. So far in 2004, 16 additional ships, including the aircraft carriers USS Harry S. Truman and USS Ronald Reagan have had the Navy/Marine CashT system installed and a total of 24 ships have successfully implemented the new cashless system. The Navy has issued more than 25,000 cards in the program with $27 million processed since the program’s inception. Over 5.7 million transactions have passed through the system in the form of transfers, vending and store purchases and ATM withdrawals. According to Rear Admiral Justin D. McCarthy, commander, Naval Supply Systems Command, Navy/Marine Cash is one of the key initiatives the navy’s future supply chain programs. “The system is aimed at providing the convenience and ease of living cash-free to Navy, Marine and other assigned personnel aboard ship, and freeing up the disbursing and other retail offices from the often labor-intensive payment and reporting mechanisms used aboard ship,” McCarthy said. “This is a rewarding and challenging private/public venture, which provides our afloat supply operation with a robust financial cash management system,” said Barbara C. Straw, director with the supply command. “The system delivers greater efficiencies, promotes flexibility and interoperability between both DoD and other government agencies, and most importantly, improves the quality of life of our Sailors and Marines in the fleet.” -

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