Navy cashes in on going cashless

Monday - 10/18/2010, 10:31am EDT

Graham Mackenzie, spokesman, Navy Cash

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The Navy is going "cashless." This is a new development for the Navy's Stored Value Card program. The move virtually eliminates the need for currency when sailors are aboard ship.

Graham Mackenzie, a spokesman for Navy Cash told Federal News Radio cash needs went, essentially, two ways.

First was when cash is needed for when a ship gets to port to restock food, fuel, spares, etc.

The second is to support a micro-economy aboard ship. Aircraft carriers, for example, are pretty much like a small town. Candy, toiletries, and snacks can be bought at the ship's store. There's a post office aboard where sailors can send packages home. And then there are the vending machines for sodas and snacks.

"Last year alone," said Mackenzie, "we displaced 80 million quarters that would otherwise have to be carried by personnel, transported, counted and stored and all that kind of stuff. So there's an administrative workload associated with that."

Now, sailors don't have to bring a checkbook on board or stand in line to cash a check. Money can be loaded onto the Navy Cash cards from their home banks or automatically loaded onto the card each payday.

In a press release, Navy Capt. George DeVries, Commander, Naval Supplies System Command explained "ships are carrying on average about 75 percent less cash on deployments and many return with more than 80 percent of that cash remaining."

Card readers and self-serve kiosks have been installed in the stores and post offices across the surface fleet, and are being built into new ship, said Mackenzie. "It's basically a network on the ship. It works in an offline mode.... You can imagine given the location of where the ships are, an offline authorization and settlement mechanism probably makes more sense, and definitely makes more sense for the Navy."

And in case you're wondering, there are about 80 quarters in a pound, so 80 million quarters is a million pounds.