With a swipe of a MILITARY STAR card, retired Soldiers can make a difference for military communities and those who wear the uniform today. The card, designed exclusively for service members, their families and retirees, offers terrific benefits and is widely accepted at more than 120 Exchange main stores, 500 Express convenience stores and gas stations, 1,700 quick-serve restaurants and 3,300 concessions. It’s also accepted online at shopmyexchange.com as well as Navy, Marine and Coast Guard exchanges and mynavyexchange.com. But that’s about to change.
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is working to make MILITARY STAR card the installation-wide credit solution of choice. The Exchange Credit Program is partnering with IMCOM G9 and the Defense Commissary Agency to allow for MILITARY STAR card acceptance at MWR facilities and the commissary.
Surveys have shown that military customers want the ability to use MILITARY STAR across the installation. This expansion is a win-win for cardholders—whether retired or currently serving—and the military community–a single card with one of the lowest APR would address virtually all the payment needs on Army installations. The Exchange already serves Soldiers and Airmen and brings the MILITARY STAR card to Marines, Sailors and Coast Guard members, so this expansion further demonstrates the Exchange’s commitment to increase the card’s usability across the entire military community.
To start the expansion process, the Exchange and MWR began testing MILITARY STAR card acceptance at Fort Hood’s Phantom Warrior Lanes last November. For Soldiers, families and retirees in the Great Place, an easy way to pay for fun is right up their alley—literally! Our testing at Fort Hood has expanded to include almost all Child & Youth Services programs, which generates savings that go right back to Quality-of-Life programs including those same youth services activities, Fitness Centers and more. In the last decade, the MILITARY STAR card has provided $727 million in financial support for these critical, and increasingly budget constrained, programs.
Additionally, MWR saves every American money with every swipe. Because the Exchange Credit Program processes MILITARY STAR card transactions in-house, MWR functions that accept the proprietary card avoid onerous fees assessed when bank-issued credit cards are used. For example, Exchange shoppers saved the military community more than $20.7 million in bank fees last year alone by simply using a MILITARY STAR card instead of a bank-issued credit card.
MILITARY STAR acceptance is coming to your commissary too. The commissary is working diligently to ensure MILITARY STAR card acceptance as it installs a new cash register system while looking for opportunities to modify its current cash registers to allow MILITARY STAR card acceptance in 2017.
The benefits of the MILITARY STAR card are also compelling for the active-duty or retired Soldier. Cardholders enjoy exclusive discounts such as free standard shipping when ordering through shopmyexchange.com, 5 cents off per gallon of gas at the Express and savings of 10 percent at Exchange restaurants. These value-added benefits offer tangible everyday savings for Soldiers, families and retirees who do their part to make our military installations great places to live and work by reaching for their for their MILITARY STAR card.
With MILITARY STAR, a 0 percent promotion is a 0 percent promotion. Unlike other cards, the MILITARY STAR card does not charge a customer for all deferred interest if the customer does not completely pay off their balance by the end of the promotion period. Additionally, cardholders are never subject to late, over limit, or annual fees. The MILITARY STAR card’s 10.99 percent interest rate was also recently cited by CreditCards.com as the lowest flat rate interest rate of any retail card, allowing new recruits an affordable opportunity to build credit without the prohibitive interest rate other retail credit products offer—some reaching more than 25 percent.
The Exchange is looking forward to offering greater convenience and increased dividend support to Soldiers, families and retirees through MILITARY STAR card acceptance at MWR facilities and the commissary. If you aren’t a cardholder, you can find out more about the card and apply online at myECP.com.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our Nation. It’s truly an honor to continue to serve you and your families.
Soldier For Life!
Tom Shull, a former infantry company commander, served as Military Assistant to Robert C. McFarlane, National Security Advisor to President Reagan. Currently, he is the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's Director/CEO and has served as CEO for retail and consumer packaged goods companies.