Cindy Conger, chief financial officer and head of the Finance Section, wrote this column.
The Finance and Business Services Sections have successfully launched the Fermilab Travel Card Program, and many employees across the laboratory have already begun using the new card for official Fermilab-related business travel. All Fermilab employees who expect to go on approved business travel now have the opportunity to enroll in the program and to receive a Visa travel card issued by U.S. Bank, which is accepted worldwide.
The laboratory’s travel card website includes detailed information regarding the travel card program, as well as instructions on how to apply for a card. VPN login is required for remote access. Fermilab’s Visa travel card program is voluntary except for trips during which you rent a vehicle in a foreign country, in which case the travel card is required.
You can use the Visa travel card to withdraw funds from an ATM while on official business travel, thus eliminating the need for travel advances. ATM fees for reasonable cash withdrawals are paid by the laboratory. Therefore, as of Dec. 1, the Accounting Department will discontinue the practice of providing travel advances via check.
The travel card can be used on all official business trips approved by Fermilab to pay for hotels, rental cars, conference registration fees and other travel-related expenses. When you return from your trip, you complete a travel voucher and use the reimbursement to pay the amount due on your travel card. U.S. Bank will send you a monthly paper statement when you use the card, and their Access Online feature allows you to monitor your transactions online. It is not a credit card, so the card does not incur interest, and there is therefore no credit limit that counts toward your personal credit score. There is a longer grace period on the card to accommodate necessary processing time for reimbursements, after which late fees will apply.
The travel card will also give you access to an Avis Wizard number linked to your card. This will allow you to bypass the Avis counter when renting a car for Fermilab-approved travel. The Travel Group will send you information on how to apply for your Wizard number soon after you apply for a card.
Feedback from those who have traveled with the card has been positive. I hope our lab travelers look closely at the travel card and take advantage of the program.