Army dining halls in Europe roll out cashless payment option
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Soldiers at chow halls in Europe will now face another dilemma besides the choice between the main line and grill items: cash or credit.
Customers can now use debit and credit cards at most Army dining facilities in Europe following the new program’s rollout last week. If successful, the program will be expanded to Army dining facilities in the continental U.S.
The Army has finished setting up credit card machines and training personnel at all but one of Europe’s 15 garrison dining halls. At the single holdout — the Clock Tower Cafe at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern — new wiring has to be installed to support the new equipment, Army officials said.
The Army expects the system to be working at Kleber sometime in the next few months.
The systems accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.
The Army hopes the upgrade will make it more convenient for diners to pay. While servicemembers receive varying levels of meal entitlements, many customers still must pay, including civilians.
“The credit/debit card initiative aligns with the Army’s [dining facilities] modernization plan of making our dining facilities more attractive,” Victor Martinez, director of the Europe Garrison Food Program, said in a statement Thursday.
The Army hopes the upgrade will make it easier for paying patrons.
“I prefer paying cash, but it’s great to have the option. Not everyone carries cash,” said Army Capt. Timothy Brocks, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, in a statement.
The new system also makes it easier to audit a dining facility’s financial system, Irene Rivera, financial program specialist with the Treasury Department, said in a statement.
The first DFAC to test debit and credit cards was the Defender Cafe dining facility at Rhine Ordnance Barracks last year.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Staff Sgt. Frantzo Clairvoyant, assistant dining facility manager at Kleber Kaserne. “People always carry their credit card and debit cards, but they don’t always carry cash.”