Temporary fix found for Hardy Barracks credit-card chaos
TOKYO — If you come to Roppongi, don’t worry about bringing cash — at least to pay for lodging at Hardy Barracks.
After a change in ownership last month, the credit-card machine behind the front desk at the popular lodging near Tokyo’s Roppongi district was sent away to be reconfigured. That meant rooms have been available on a cash-only basis — a surprise to many staying at the lodge on temporary duty orders or on a space-available basis.
But Wednesday, after hearing a few complaints, John Senatore, Camp Zama’s Outdoor Recreation manager who now oversees Hardy Barracks, rigged up a system so front desk staff at least can phone in credit-card numbers to Camp Zama for processing. Receipts would be faxed back, Senatore said.
He called it a quick fix to a perplexing problem.
Hardy Barracks had been an Army Lodging property. But as Army Lodging closed some of its smaller operations worldwide, it became a Morale, Welfare and Recreation asset.
The charge was designed to be seamless — with one tiny exception: A chip in the credit-card machine at the front desk needed to be changed so payments would be sent to the appropriate account.
Senatore said he sent the machine to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which handles credit-card processing for the Army. More than four weeks later, the machine still has to be updated.
“We just have to wait it out,” Senatore said. The Army requires that the AAFES system be used for credit-card transactions, he noted, “so I can’t even say ‘I’m tired of this’ and switch to another company.”
According to Master Sgt. Donovan Potter, a spokesman for AAFES’ Pacific headquarters at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, the chip requires a new merchant ID number from AAFES headquarters in Dallas before it can be reconfigured.
Local AAFES officials requested the number from the Dallas headquarters in early October and sent a follow-up request Wednesday, Potter said.
“We will get it back as quickly as possible,” he said.
Hardy Barracks, now called Hardy Recreation Lodging, is in central downtown Tokyo, near Nishi Azabu and Roppongi. Space-available rooms, which often are fully booked, range from $30 to $50.
Because credit cards will be called in to the Local Tours and Outdoor Recreation office at Zama, they can be accepted only during business hours. But officials said the front desk staff can hold the card of a person checking in at night and process it the next morning.
Visitors also should note that under U.S. Army Japan base-access rules, only those with Department of Defense identification cards can enter the Hardy Barracks installation between midnight and 5 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Guests who don’t have a DOD ID card must have a base pass in advance of registration. Those wishing to bring such guests should check with the front desk to learn how to obtain a base pass.