Advertising Prices

Why can't commissaries advertise and list prices?

Department of Defense instructions prohibit direct advertising paid for by commissaries. The staff can use handouts or posters within the store and other on-base locations, but prices can't be used in handouts that can be removed from the store. They may list the savings percentage, however on the DeCA website. Also, commissaries may not spend money on patron mailings.

Why? First, commissaries are funded with taxpayer dollars as part of the military benefits package. Those appropriated funds cannot be used to fund direct advertising. You might see advertisements in base newspapers, receive mailings or hear radio ads purchased by various grocery industry partners, and these might list prices. No government dollars are involved, however, and there are no restrictions on how private business spends its advertising dollars.

Agent Authorization

I am a retiree and have trouble getting around; what proof do I need that I require an agent to shop for me?

To authorize an agent, a commissary patron has to provide proof of age, disability, illness, or infirmity to an installation commander, and designate the person who will act as the agent. Some installations may require additional information.

It is best for you to contact the commissary store director closest to you to and request contact information for the installation office that prepares agent authorizations. The authorization office can give you specific information that is needed to obtain agent authorization.

If approved, the agent will be provided official agent credentials or an approval letter, and then may enter any commissary to shop on behalf of the authorized patron.

May an authorized agent use the patron's personal check or credit/debit card when purchasing on behalf of a patron?

If the authorized patron chooses to do so, he or she may empower an agent to use the patron's personal check or credit/debit card to pay for commissary purchases. Agents may also use their own credit/debit card and personal check, provided they put the required information on the check. The Social Security Number of the sponsor will be used for check writing and should be taken from the agent authorization letter. If they are an agent they can shop and pay. If they are assisting they cannot do any of the above.

What directive/regulations govern the agent program?

DoD Instruction 1330.17, Armed Service Commissary Operations, Enclosure 4 2.j, governs the program. The regulation can be found at DefenseLINK, the DoD website.

Am I allowed to bring visitors into the commissary with me?

Visitors may accompany authorized patrons into the commissary; however, the installation commander has the authority to restrict visitors from entering installation facilities. Authorized patrons are advised to contact the installation prior to their visit to inquire about the current visitor policy.

Note: Only authorized patrons are allowed to make purchases.

If I need to bring someone with me to assist me while shopping, do I have to have an agent authorized?

Yes, a specific named person may be authorized on a temporary basis (not exceeding 1 year unless extended for continuing hardship) by the commanding officer, at the command level of a military installation to shop for an authorized patron in extreme hardship cases, or when no adult dependent member is capable of shopping due to injury, illness, incapacitation or stationing away from their household.

My spouse and I are deploying and my children are going to stay with their grandmother, can she get an agent letter to shop in the commissary for my children even though she is not an authorized shopper?

An agent does not have to be an authorized commissary shopper, but only an installation commander can authorize agent privileges.

We recommend that you contact the commissary store director closest to you and request contact information for the installation office that prepares agent authorizations. A list of commissaries can be found on this website and their e-mail addresses are listed on the commissaries' "Locations/Phones" pages.

It might also be helpful to ask what documents an agent needs to gain access to the installation.

How do I place a CLICK2GO order?

  • Go to the CLICK2GO page. The site can be accessed from a mobile device, but is not optimized for mobile use.
  • Choose your commissary location, validate your commissary privileges and register an account, if needed.
  • Once you've logged in, either search for products by name or click the department and category links to browse our virtual aisles. Add notes, both as you shop and at checkout, to make sure we know exactly what you want.
  • When you're ready, complete checkout and choose your pickup time.
  • Pick up and pay for your order at your commissary's curbside pickup point. Your military ID card will be required.

Are all items sold inside the store available to order through CLICK2GO?

The vast majority of items sold in the commissary are available through the CLICK2GO. Most grocery, health and beauty, dairy, frozen, and produce items will be offered, as well as a wide selection of meat, delicatessen, bakery and seafood items. If you know an item is sold in the store but can't find it in CLICK2GO, ask for it in the comment/instructions box and the fulfillment worker will add it to your order if it is available

Can I add additional items after I have submitted my order?

Yes. Modifications to your order can generally be made up to two hours after the order is submitted. Sign in/choose My Account/choose Order History/see Options Available. If no options are shown, contact us by email or phone with the items you would like added to your order. More detailed instructions are available once you're signed in to shop.

Can I use coupons with the CLICK2GO service?

Yes. Both digital coupons on the DeCA Rewards Card and paper coupons will be accepted at time of curbside pickup and payment.

Do I pay for my order online or at the time of curbside pickup?

Payment is collected at curbside pickup. Your total payment may be slightly different (either higher or lower) than your estimated total shown online due to random weight items such as produce and meat. Additionally, DeCA's pricing policy, similar to that of retail grocery chains providing this service, is to charge you the item price in effect on the day and time of pickup.

How do I return a product I bought using CLICK2GO?

Returns will be handled as a normal return, inside the commissary at the customer service area. Visit your commissary to learn about the return policy. 

I am an Authorized Agent. Can I place and pick up an order for the authorized patron?

Yes. The same documentation required for in-store shopping is required at curbside. These requirements are based on guidelines specific to your installation, but normally consist of an Agent Letter or Agent Card and the sponsor's military ID.

Is there a minimum dollar amount or number of items I must purchase to be able to use CLICK2GO?

There is no minimum order size or minimum dollar amount.

Once I've placed my order, how soon can I pick it up?

There is a minimum six-hour lead time from time of order to time of curbside pickup. For example, an order submitted at 5 a.m. can be picked up the same day as early as 11 a.m. Orders placed after noon will default to the next available pickup time on the following day. Orders can be placed 24 hours a day, up to six days in advance of the desired pickup date.

Should I tip the person handling my order when I pick up my groceries?

No. CLICK2GO employees are not allowed to accept tips.

What forms of payment do you accept?

At curbside we can accept:

  • Debit cards that process as credit cards (do not require you to enter a PIN).
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Discover

We are NOT able to accept:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Debit cards that require entering a PIN
  • EBT/WIC vouchers

What happens if an item I ordered is temporarily out of stock?

When placing your online order, if you check the "allow substitutions" box  and enter any specific instructions in the "general comments/instructions" box we will:

  • Substitute a like item in the closest size and at the closest price of the actual item ordered.
  • We will NOT substitute certain items such as baby products, soft drinks and hygiene products unless you specify which brands you will accept as a substitution.
  • If the product we substituted does not meet with your approval, it can be deleted from the order at curbside pickup.

What if I am late for my pickup time, or I miss it altogether?

Contact us by email or phone so we can arrange an alternate time for you.

Will I be charged a service fee when using CLICK2GO?

There is no fee to use the CLICK2GO service.

Can I use a digital coupon and a paper coupon for the same item?

No. At no time will two or more coupons be used on the purchase of one item. Although commissaries do still accept paper coupons, they can only accept one coupon per item or purchase requirement. Commissaries must follow this policy to ensure they will be reimbursed by manufacturers for the coupons they accept. This means you cannot "stack" digital and paper coupons, but you may use both paper and digital coupons in the same transaction, provided both are not used on the same item or set of items.

How do digital coupons work?

Digital coupons are paperless and work automatically when you load them on your Commissary Rewards Card through your online account and scan your card at checkout. Just like paper coupons, these coupons are offered by manufacturers and have expiration dates and terms and conditions that must be followed for redemption.

How many copies of a coupon can I load onto my card?

This is up to the manufacturers that issue the coupons, but in most cases, they will only allow one coupon per customer.

How often will there be new coupons available?

New coupons are posted as soon as they become available, sometimes every day.

I am stationed overseas. Will these coupons be valid for up to six months after expiration overseas, as paper coupons are?

No. One of the advantages of digital coupons is that they are available to all our customers worldwide instantly, so our overseas customers won't need extra time to be able to use these coupons. Once a coupon expires, it will disappear from your account.

If I see a coupon for a product, does that mean it is sold at my store?

Unfortunately, no. While we do our best to work with our industry partners to share coupons for products that are broadly available, due to limited shelf space, not all items are available at all stores.

If I use a digital coupon for an item and end up returning the item, can I reuse my coupon the next time I shop?

No. Once an offer has been used, it cannot be reused and will no longer be available on your account.

If the system is down or offline, how do I get my coupon reductions?

The term "Reward" does not include anything of value from the Defense Commissary Agency. The only "Reward" provided under this program is the downloaded coupons that a patron selects. In the event of a communication system failure that prevents crediting of the digital coupon at the register, at time of check-out, digital coupons will not be applied on that transaction. However, if the coupons have not reached their expiration date, they will remain on a customer's Commissary Rewards Card for use on a future visit. Due to different size/class of commissaries, not all products are available at all stores.

Is there a limit on how many of a particular coupon are available?

Manufacturers provide the number of digital coupons available in their budget. This number can vary from 100-100,000 per digital coupon. Each time a customer “clips” (downloads) a coupon to their Rewards Card, one coupon is deducted from the total available. Once the maximum number of digital coupons provided by the manufacturer has been reached, the coupon disappears from the coupon site so patrons can no longer clip that particular coupon. Once a coupons is clipped, it remains on a patron’s card until it is redeemed or expires.

What are the rules associated with using a particular digital coupon?

Manufactures provide the rules associated with each digital coupon. Most manufacturers allow only one digital coupon per Rewards Card. Patrons are often confused in assuming that if they clip a coupon it will apply to as many of that particular item they have in their cart. (Example: A patron clips a coupon for $1.00 off Sunny Delight, 64 oz. The patron arrives at the checkout with five Sunny Delight 64 oz., and expects to receive $1.00 off of each, however only one Sunny Delight qualifies for the coupon discount since the manufacture has allowed only one coupon per card.)

What do I do if I forgot my password?

Contact customer service at 1-855-829-6219 or commissarysupport@inmar.com.

What is the Commissary Rewards Card?

The Commissary Rewards Card is the result of DeCA working with its industry partners to leverage technology to help you get the most out of your commissary benefit. The card will launch with a digital coupon capability and may expand to offer other features in the future.

Where can I learn more?

Please go to the Commissary Rewards Card page. Help is available through the customer service hotline, (855) 829-6219, or by email at commissarysupport@inmar.com. Please include your Commissary Rewards Card number and transaction information in any correspondence.

Will I be able to receive "overage" from these coupons?

No. None of the coupons available through the Commissary Rewards Card will be valid for more than the price of the item you are purchasing.

Can gift vouchers given as a gift be redeemed for cash?

No. Cash refunds on gift vouchers are not allowed.

How does the 5 percent surcharge affect my purchase when using a gift voucher?

The surcharge applies to any grocery purchase in the commissary. If the purchase total, including surcharge, exceeds the total amount of your gift voucher(s), you must pay the difference using another method of payment.

Is the gift voucher exempt from the monthly Korean Rations control?

The purchase of a gift voucher does not count against your monthly rations. However, all items purchased at commissaries in South Korea are considered part of the monthly ration regardless of the method of payment used.

What is a Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) gift voucher?

DeCA gift vouchers are the equivalent of a gift certificate. They were offered for sale at $25 each in DeCA-operated commissaries from October 2009 through June 2011. Gift vouchers are no longer available for sale as of June 30, 2011, since DeCA has instituted a gift card program. However, previously purchased gift vouchers will be honored for redemption through 31 August 2016.

Who may redeem gift vouchers, and where may they be redeemed?

Gift vouchers may be redeemed only by authorized customers at any DeCA-operated commissary. Check our list of locations for a list of stores.

Who should I contact if I have a question, comment or concern about gift vouchers?

You can contact DeCA with your questions and concerns by filling out our customer comments form.

Will DeCA replace my gift voucher, if I lose it or it is damaged or defaced?

No. DeCA is not responsible for replacing lost, stolen, destroyed or mutilated gift vouchers.

Where can I find information regarding the program, the requirements, and the deadlines for submission?

The DeCA website provides a link to scholarship information, which is accessed by selecting the " Scholarship Info " link button on the News page. At www.militaryscholar.org a new application is provided in November of each year. Once the scholarship is filled out, you can mail or hand deliver it to your local commissary. Applications may be filled out on-line but cannot be e-mailed. Frequently Asked Questions are provided regarding the scholarship program as well.

Does the YES! campaign take the place of promotions?

No; items which are a part of the YES! campaign will still go on promotion and will have their prices reduced even further during these promotions.

How long will the campaign last?

This campaign currently does not have a defined end date. YES! items will have a lower everyday price as opposed to items on promotion which may only last for a brief period of time.

How many items are having their price reduced?

The YES! campaign is starting with hundreds of items and will likely expand over time.

How much are prices being reduced?

It depends on the item, but for all items, we are committed to beating our competitors and providing you with meaningful savings.

How were the items selected?

YES! items were selected because they are the items and brands you, our patrons, purchase most.

I found a lower price off-base for a YES! item. Why is that?

While you may find off-base grocers with lower prices at times (for example, on promotion), we are setting prices so that over the course of a year we will offer savings over what can be found in the market.

What is the "Your Everyday Savings (YES!)" campaign?

We are lowering prices on many of our most frequently purchased items. Our goal is to improve everyday savings and value on the products most important to you, our patrons.

What items are included?

The YES! campaign includes an assortment of items throughout the store. YES! items can be identified by an orange YES! label beneath the price for that item.

Why was the slogan "Your Everyday Savings" chosen?

The slogan was chosen to convey the fact that we are committed to providing competitive prices on items important to you, our patrons, and will maintain lower prices on these items year-round.

Authorized Shopping

Am I eligible to shop in the commissary?

Authorized commissary patrons as defined by Department of Defense Instruction 1330.17, Dod Commissary Program, include active duty, Guard and Reserve members, military retirees, Medal of Honor recipients, 100 percent disabled veterans, and their authorized family members. Please refer to this instruction for a complete list of authorized commissary patrons, including organizations and activities, along with qualifications and any exceptions such as access to U.S. commissaries overseas.

The Defense Commissary Agency has no authority to determine whether a person is authorized to shop in the commissary. If you believe you may be entitled to commissary privileges, visit your local installation Pass and ID office for information about military benefits and to obtain an ID card consistent with your entitlements.

I think that I may have a disability associated with military service that entitles me to commissary privileges.

What should I do to find out whether or not I'm entitled to commissary privileges?

You should get in touch with personnel at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to find out what you have to do to have VA certify your disability.

If VA certifies you as having 100% disability in connection with military service, VA will send you a letter indicating that you are entitled to commissary privileges. You must take this VA letter to a Pass and ID Office on a military installation to have ID issued that will authorize you to shop in commissaries.

Commissary personnel cannot allow you to shop unless you have Department of Defense ID that authorizes commissary privileges.

I'm a member of the National Guard.

Do I (and my family members) have entitlement to commissary privileges?

Yes, since November 2003, members of the Guard and Reserve – including the Ready Reserve, Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, Inactive National Guard, Guard and Reserve retirees and their authorized family members - have enjoyed unlimited access to commissaries in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico. This change is the result of the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act.

Overseas shopping privileges are determined by Status of Forces Agreements and differ by country. Please contact the overseas installation ID office in the country you will be visiting/living to determine your commissary privileges.

At the commissary entrance or at checkout, you and your family members must show an appropriate Department of Defense Military or Family Member ID card.

I'm a military veteran with an honorable discharge, disability associated with my military service, and several decorations for valor.

Am I entitled to commissary privileges?

Based on your description of your status, you probably do not have entitlement to commissary privileges, because in situations involving military service that does not continue through retirement, the laws that authorize commissary privileges grant privileges only to those who are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, or who have been certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as 100% disabled in connection with military service.

However, no one in DeCA can make a final determination regarding whether or not you have entitlement to commissary privileges. We recommend that you contact personnel in the Pass and ID Office on the military installation closest to where you live and ask that these folks assess your situation to determine whether or not you have entitlement to commissary privileges.

I'm a reservist who will retire from the reserves in a few months at age 51 with enough service credit to qualify for full retirement benefits when I reach age 60.

What happens to my commissary privileges when I retire from the reserves?

Until you turn 60, you are what is called a "Gray Area" retiree. As of November 2003, Gray Area retired Guard and Reserve members and their authorized family members have unlimited access to commissaries in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico. This change is the result of the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act.

Overseas shopping privileges are determined by Status of Forces Agreements and differ by country. Please contact the overseas installation ID office in the country you will be visiting/living to determine your commissary privileges.

At the commissary entrance or at checkout, you and your family members must show an appropriate Department of Defense Military or Family Member ID card.

I'm entering the service under a "delayed entry" program.

Do I have entitlement to commissary privileges between the time that I sign an enlistment contract and when I start active duty service?

No. Department of Defense regulations DO NOT authorize commissary privileges during the period prior to the time that you start Active Duty service.

When you start Active Duty service, you'll be issued an Department of Defense ID card that authorizes commissary privileges.

May I bring a guest who is not an authorized patron with me into a commissary while I'm shopping?

Department of Defense regulations permit an authorized patron to bring guests into a commissary during shopping visits.

However, while you and your guest are in the commissary, you are responsible for the actions of your guest. Your guest is NOT authorized to make commissary purchases, and you are NOT permitted to make commissary purchases for your guest.

Also, you need to be aware that local military regulations in some areas prohibit guest access to a commissary. This being the case, we recommend that-if you plan to bring a guest with you during a shopping visit to a commissary-you contact commissary management prior to your shopping trip to find out if you'll be permitted to take your guest with you into the commissary.

While at commissaries.com, you can find e-mail and phone contact information for any commissary by clicking on "Locations," then clicking on a commissary name on a map or alphabetical list, and then clicking on "Location/Phones" on the commissary web page.

What are the rules regarding access to commissaries located outside the US?

Commissary privileges overseas are covered under Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA), Visiting Forces agreements, treaties, etc. Since products sold in overseas commissaries pass across international borders and are customs, duty, and tax free; there are shopping restrictions. These restrictions are to protect the interest of the host nation and to resolve legal, customs, and tax issues. The agreements allow for some exemptions from host nation tax laws, but nonetheless, the privilege is substantially restricted and will vary from country to country. These agreements are negotiated between the Military Services, the U.S. State Department, and the host nation. Some countries allow exemptions from host nation tax laws; others require the payment of taxes, fees, or tariffs. Many do not allow the purchase of rationed items for visitors.

Other countries have minimum stay requirements to be eligible, but the privilege is restricted for military personnel, retired, DoD civilians, DoD contractors and their family members. In addition, commissary privileges for DoD contractors, stationed and TDY overseas are restrictive, and are not automatic – contracting officers/contracting officers representative (COR) must obtain and follow the theater commander's determination of overseas commissary privileges for contractors.

The Military Services, installation commanders, and the Defense Commissary Agency must enforce and cannot grant exceptions to the agreements. DoD civilians and DoD contractors in TDY status unless on emergency evacuation orders to the U.S. from overseas area not authorized commissary privileges. DoD civilians not on official duty from the U.S. to overseas are not entitled to overseas commissary privileges.

Bagging/Carryout Services

Do I have to use bagging/carryout services and tip a bagger for providing these services?

Baggers work for tips only, however, you may choose not to use bagger/carryout services at all.

How can I get a job as a bagger in a commissary?

Baggers are not government or commissary employees, and are paid solely by the tips that commissary patrons offer in exchange for bagging/carryout services.

Baggers are self-employed, and work under a license agreement with an installation commander. Each commissary has a "head bagger" who coordinates and oversees bagger activities.

If you're interested in working as a bagger in a commissary, we recommend that you contact the "head bagger" at the commissary where you wish to work to find out what you have to do to get a job as a bagger.

Who should I contact if I have problems with a commissary bagger?

Although baggers are not government or commissary employees, and do not work under the direct supervision of commissary personnel, you should contact the Commissary Store Director or manager on duty regarding any concerns that you have about a bagger or about bagging/carryout operations.

Baggers are self-employed individuals who work under a license agreement with the installation commander, and who sign an Agreement with a Store Director to conduct themselves according to the terms of this Agreement when engaged in bagging/carryout duties.

A Store Director can suspend or revoke the license of a bagger who violates the terms of the license or Agreement.

Transformation

Mythbusters: Are these changes going to slow down the EBS rollout?

No. We are aware of the significant effort underway to roll out the new Enterprise Business Solution. The transformation team is working closely with IT to ensure any pilots run smoothly alongside the EBS transition and do not disrupt progress that has been made.

Does this effort change DeCA's overall mission?

No – DeCA's mission has always been to offer the right products at the right prices as a critical benefit to its patrons. This effort does not change DeCA's mission - however, it does offer more flexibility in how DeCA delivers that benefit, and positions the agency to be more cost-effective, efficient and better able to protect the benefit for future generations of patrons.

Mythbuster: Are we piloting privatization?

No. Upcoming pilot programs will not be exploring potential privatization (i.e., a private sector company taking over DeCA operations). Privatization was not a part of the changes proposed in the 2017 NDAA and is not planned for DeCA at this time.

Mythbuster: Is DeCA merging with the exchanges?

No. This phase of transformation focuses exclusively on DeCA's operations. DeCA leadership continues to explore different levels of cooperation with the exchanges. To the extent DOD plans to implement any options in the future, we are committed to ensuring you are well-informed and equipped with information to understand any potential impacts.

What exactly is changing under the 2017 NDAA?

  • The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides DeCA the opportunity to make some specific changes to its operations that will sustain patron savings, improve their shopping experience, and reduce the agency's operating costs to ensure the commissary benefit is sustained for generations to come.
  • Congress defined success as maintaining savings for military families, ensuring customer satisfaction and ensuring continued high quality.
  • The elements of the transformation effort are:
    • First, success for DeCA is making sure its patrons save money on their groceries. For active and retired military personnel, the commissary is an important part of their benefits package. The first thing DeCA has done is: update how it measures patron savings. The new savings calculation is rigorous and sets an accurate baseline.
    • Second, Congress gave the commissary system authority to use business best practices when setting prices and negotiating costs with suppliers. These are known as "variable pricing authority" and "category performance improvement."
    • Third, commissary patrons told DeCA they wanted store-brand (private label) options. DeCA is launching a commissary brand to expand choices for its patrons and increase their opportunities to save on same quality products as name brand.

Mythbuster: Does this mean DeCA's status is changing as an appropriated fund entity?

No. At this time, DeCA will not be making changes to funding structure and its APF designation. The FY17 NDAA mentions DeCA may look into becoming a NAF entity at some point in the future, but DeCA's current labor and acquisition management models will remain in place during this phase of transformation. We expect no direct impacts to store operations at this stage. If this status changes, we will ensure you are timely and well informed about any potential impacts.

Mythbusters: Does this effort change DeCA's overall mission?

No. DeCA's mission has always been to offer the right products at the right prices as a critical benefit to our patrons. This transformation effort does not change DeCA's mission. However, it does provide flexibility in how we deliver the benefit and positions the agency to be more cost-effective, efficient and better able to protect the benefit for future generations of patrons.

Case Lot and Truckload Sales

How can I find out when my commissary will have a case lot or truckload sale, or any other type of major promotional event?

If a case lot or truckload sale, or other promotional event, is DeCA-wide, we'll publish information on commissaries.com well in advance of the event. So check commissaries.com frequently to find out about DeCA-wide promotional events.

If a case lot or truckload sale, or other promotional event, is local, the commissary or commissaries where the promotional event will happen will publish information on the commissary web page well in advance of the event.

So check your commissary web page frequently to find out about local promotional events. While at commissaries.com you can get to any commissary web page by clicking on Locations, then clicking on a commissary name on a map or alphabetical list.

Cigarette Pricing

Why are cigarettes priced differently than other commissary products?

Commissaries sell cigarettes on a consignment basis from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service so they are not sold at cost like other commissary products.

In November, 2000, the Department of Defense (DoD) established a cigarette pricing policy that requires exchanges in the U.S. to survey and set prices not more than 5% below the lowest local competitor in their specific area. For this reason, prices will vary from commissary to commissary within the U.S.

Commissary Brands

What are commissary brand products?

  • Commissary brands are high-quality, low-cost alternatives to national brand products that offer commissary customers additional savings.
  • Commissary brands are sold under five names: Freedom’s Choice for food items; HomeBase for nonfood items such as paper products and other household items; TopCare for products such as first aid supplies, vitamins, over-the-counter medications and beauty care; Full Circle Market for natural and organic food options; and TippyToes for baby products. TopCare, TippyToes and Full Circle Market are not exclusive to DeCA.
  • DeCA introduced commissary brands because some of our authorized customers have indicated they shop off base to take advantage of the savings offered by commissary brands at retail grocers, where approximately 20 percent or more of their total sales are generated by commissary brands.
  • Commissary brands undergo rigorous testing for quality that meets or exceeds industry standards. Commissary brand edible products meet or exceed USDA guidelines for wholesomeness.
  • We stand behind commissary brand products with a money back guarantee on every label.
  • DeCA will be introducing additional commissary brands over the next two to three years.
  • Availability of commissary brand items varies by location.
  • Commissary brands have proven to be extremely popular. They provide the quality you expect and the savings you deserve.

Coupons

Can I use coupons generated from the Internet in a commissary?

Yes, commissaries gladly accept Internet or home-printed coupons provided they meet the following requirements: the coupons must have a typical barcode and Product Identification Number (PIN) or GS1 DataBar. A Dot Scan Barcode may appear below the expiration date, but is only required if stated on the coupon, e.g., "Do not accept without a Dot Scan Barcode below the expiration date." Internet coupons cannot be accepted for free products, however, "Buy One Get One Free" coupons are acceptable if they meet all other requirements.

Do commissaries accept coupons?

Yes. Commissaries accept most types of coupons as part of purchase transactions in accordance with the terms and conditions stated on a coupon.

Commissaries CANNOT accept "in-house" coupons issued by commercial grocery stores or supermarkets.

Patrons who wish to use coupons as part of a purchase transaction must buy the item(s) indicated on a coupon, and-except in foreign overseas areas-must use a coupon prior to or on the expiration date stated on a coupon.

Commissaries located in foreign overseas areas accept coupons up to six months after the expiration date stated on a coupon.

Do commissaries ever have "double coupon" or "triple coupon" promotions like those offered by commercial stores?

No. The "double" or "triple" coupon promotions offered by commercial stores involve doubling, tripling (or otherwise increasing) the face value of a coupon. Commercial stores who offer these types of promotions get paid by the coupon issuer only for the face value of a coupon, and have to absorb the costs of "doubling" or "tripling" coupon face value in their pricing and profit structure.

Because commissaries are required by law to sell goods at prices set only high enough to cover the cost of those goods, commissaries make no profit from which to pay the costs associated with "double" coupon promotions.

Additionally, DeCA cannot use funds provided for the operation of commissaries to support such promotions, because law strictly prescribes the uses of these funds, and "promotional support" is not among the allowable uses of these funds.

Commissaries do occasionally offer a different type of "double coupon" promotion than described above. For these promotions, manufacturers or other coupon issuers agree that commissaries may accept more than one coupon on the purchase of an item, and usually supply large numbers of coupons to patrons in the commissary in support of such promotions. These "double coupon" promotions involve doubling the number of coupons accepted on the purchase of an item, but DO NOT involve doubling (or otherwise increasing) the face value of a coupon.

I have several coupons with the same dot scan bar code or PIN printed on them. Will the commissary accept them?

Internet coupons may have, but are not required to have, a dot scan bar code or Product Identification Number (PIN). If an Internet coupon has a dot scan bar code or PIN, it must be unique for each coupon. Commissaries are not able to accept coupons with duplicate dot scan bar code numbers or duplicate PINs.

If the coupon "overage" I receive on my transaction exceeds the balance I owe, will I receive cash back?

If coupon "overage" results in a negative balance to you, the commissary will issue you DeCA gift cards in $25 and $50 increments, until the remaining balance owed to you is $24.99 or less, which you will receive in cash.

May I use coupons in combination on the purchase of an item in a commissary?

No, customers may use only one coupon per item in DeCA commissaries. Even coupons without exclusionary language, such as "NOT TO BE USED WITH ANY OTHER COUPON, " "NOT TO BE USED WITH ANY OTHER OFFER," "ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE," etc. , may not be used in combination on the purchase of an item. This policy is in line with the policies of other DoD resale activities and our commercial counterparts.

My coupon's face value is greater than the selling price of the item. Will the commissary give me the full value of the coupon?

Valid coupons are generally entered at the value stated on the coupon. If the face value of a valid coupon exceeds the cost of the product (frequently referred to as "overage"), the commissary will give you the full face value of the coupon unless the manufacturer's terms and conditions printed on the coupon prohibit it. If the coupon's terms and conditions prohibit this, the coupon might require that the price of the item be written on the coupon, up to a maximum value, or may contain other restrictive language, such as "no cash back" or "no cash back if coupon value exceeds retail price."

Where can I find a copy of DeCA's coupon policy?

DeCA's coupon policy is located in Chapter 7 of DeCA Directive 40-6, our customer service policy.

Quick Coupon Info

Policy Changes for DeCAD 40-6:

Why did DeCA change its policy on giving cash back on coupon "overages"?

Commissaries are providers of a benefit that sell groceries at cost, and using the gift cards to cover certain refunds and coupon 'overages' discourages practices contrary to DeCA's mission.

Why don't commissaries allow both a manufacturer and a military coupon to be used on the same item?

Customers may only use one coupon per purchase in DeCA commissaries. (A "purchase" is the item or set of items a customer must buy to meet the purchase requirements listed on the coupon.) This policy complies with the terms and conditions set by manufacturers for coupon use, and manufacturers only reimburse DeCA for coupons when commissaries follow these terms and conditions.

When retail stores allow customers to use both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same item, they are still limiting customers to one manufacturer coupon per purchase because store coupons are provided by the retailer and funded by their profits. This practice is not possible in the commissary system, because by law the commissary sells at cost and cannot make a profit, so DeCA does not issue "store" coupons or coupons of any kind. However, DeCA allows manufacturers to make their coupons available to patrons: All coupons found in commissaries (including those marked "military" or "commissary") are issued by the manufacturers.

Will the commissary accept a coupon that has a GS1 Data Bar on it, but no UPC-A bar code?

Yes. UPC-A bar codes are being phased out, and many manufacturers are putting only GS1 Data Bars on coupons now. Coupons with only a GS1 Data Bar are expected to be the norm for all coupons in the near future, including coupons printed from the Internet.

Credit/Debit Cards

How do I use an EMV card to make a purchase?

Just like magnetic-stripe cards, chip cards are processed for payment in two steps: card reading and transaction verification. However, chip cards are read in a different way.

Instead of swiping your card, you will insert it into a slot on the bottom front of the pin pad and wait for it to process.

It takes a little longer for a chip-card transaction to happen. If you pull the card out before the payment is complete, the transaction will not complete and you will have to start the payment process again.

Just insert your chip card and follow the prompts on the terminal screen to complete the payment. Once the payment is complete, remove your card so the receipt can print.

How soon are the funds released?

It varies. Banks and credit unions operate differently, some react faster than others. Our customer service team has tools available to validate the transaction. If our research shows that DeCA actually received payment for the initial transaction, we can process a reversal immediately. If the agency was not paid, you have to work directly with your bank or credit union. In that case, you should file a dispute as soon as possible.

I swiped my debit card and the transaction was denied at the cash register. I then paid for my purchase with a credit card. I checked my bank account afterward and saw that the debit transaction was posted to my account. How do I get it resolved?

Your first action should always be to contact the toll free number on the back of your card. You may have to file a dispute with your financial institution. Afterward, contact the credit card customer service team toll free 1–800–522–0780 or email CreditCardProgram@deca.mil.

What is EMV (Chip Card), and why is it important to commissary patrons?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. It is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, U.S. card issuers are migrating to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud.

Between March and July of 2016, DeCA will be incrementally rolling out EMV capabilities at commissaries worldwide, allowing patrons to make more secure transactions with chip-enabled cards.

As stores become chip-enabled, patrons will see notices at the registers and self-checkouts with instructions on how to use the chip card to complete a purchase.

Who can I call at the Defense Commissary Agency if I have questions on my credit or debit card purchase?

Questions about credit or debit card purchases can be addressed to the agency's customer service team toll free 1–800–522–0780 or email CreditCardProgram@deca.mil. (For security reasons, do not cite a card number in the email; include your name and phone number. We will call you to get additional information.) You may contact the customer service team between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. If you're not able to make contact via the toll free number you can call (804) 765–2900 or (804) 765–2945/2946.

Why would the debit card purchase show on my checking account if I was told it was denied?

Most likely, the data transmission was somehow interrupted and generated a denial code at store level. The transaction will show on your account as "pending." A second transmission has to be sent to confirm your card purchase. When no confirmation is received, the pending transaction should be released and funds returned for your access. 
Our customer service team is available to research the transaction for you and provide assistance for a quick resolution.

Will DeCA still accept my magnetic-stripe credit or debit card?

Yes, as long as your card issuer has not already replaced it with a chip-enabled card. DeCA will accept your magnetic stripe card as long as it is still valid with the card issuer; you will swipe it through the card reader the same way you've done in the past.

Will I still have to sign or enter a PIN for my card transaction?

It generally depends on the verification method tied to your chip card. Currently, there aren't many credit card issuers requiring a PIN; most are chip-and-signature cards.

When making a chip-and-signature card transaction, you sign on the point-of-sale terminal to take responsibility for the payment.

DeCA is equipped for chip-and-signature credit transactions; however using a debit card will require you to enter a pin.

DeCA Construction

Where can I find information on how DeCA construction decisions are made?

The pamphlet "Planning and Programming Facility Investments" provides information and answers many questions on this topic.

Disabled Patron Services

Does DeCA offer any special services to assist disabled patrons during commissary shopping visits?

Yes. A disabled patron may enter any commissary to start shopping up to a half-hour before the time that a commissary opens. Also, a disabled patron who chooses to do so may exercise "head of line" privileges when checking out.

Because there are some differences in how these procedures work from commissary to commissary, if you wish to use these services, we recommend that you contact management at your commissary directly, either while you're in the commissary, or by e-mail or telephone.

While at commissaries.com, you can find e-mail and phone contact information for any commissary by clicking on "Locations," then clicking on a commissary name on a map or alphabetical list, and then clicking on "Location/Phones" on the commissary web page.

Donating Commissary Goods

How can I send a care package to a service member?

You can find useful links and other information about sending care packages here.

I'm planning to hold a fund-raising event for a very worthy cause.   Can the commissary donate some food items to support this event?

Commissaries are prohibited by law and regulation from donating any Government–owned property or money to any individual or organization with one exception: food that would otherwise be destroyed as unusable, unmarketable, and unsellable, but has been certified as edible by an appropriate food inspection technician may be donated to charitable entities as designated by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Health and Human Services; a chapter or other local unit of a recognized national veterans organization that provides services to persons without adequate shelter and is designated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or a not–for–profit organization that provides care for homeless veterans and is designated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

EMV (Chip Card)

How do I use an EMV card to make a purchase?

Just like magnetic-stripe cards, chip cards are processed for payment in two steps: card reading and transaction verification. However, chip cards are read in a different way.

Instead of swiping your card, you will 'dip' your card, which means inserting it into a slot on the bottom front of the pinpad and waiting for it to process.

It takes a little longer for a 'dipping' transaction to happen. If you pull the card out before the payment is complete, the transaction will not complete and you will have to start the payment process again.

Just insert your chip card and follow the prompts on the terminal screen to complete the payment. Once the payment is complete, remove your card so that the receipt will print!

What is EMV (Chip Card), and why is it important to Commissary patrons?

EMV – which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, U.S. card issuers are migrating to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud.

Between March and July of 2016, DeCA will be incrementally rolling out EMV capabilities at Commissaries worldwide, allowing patrons to make more secure transactions with chip enabled cards.

As stores become chip enabled, patrons will see notices at the registers and SCOs with instructions on how to use the chip card to complete a purchase.

Will DeCA still accept my magnetic-stripe credit or debit card?

Yes, if your card issuer has not yet replaced it with a chip enabled card, DeCA will accept your magnetic stripe card as long as it is still valid with the card issuer. You will swipe it through the card reader the same way you have done in the past.

Will I still have to sign or enter a PIN for my card transaction?

It generally depends on the verification method tied to your chip card. There aren't currently many credit card issuers requiring a PIN, most are currently chip-and-signature cards.

As with a magnetic-stripe credit card, you sign on the point-of-sale terminal to take responsibility for the payment when making a chip-and-signature card transaction.

DeCA is equipped for chip-and-signature credit transactions; however using a debit card will require you to enter a pin.

Establishing a New Commissary

How can we get a commissary established in our area?

The Defense Commissary Agency does not have the authority to establish commissaries. The appropriate military department must endorse the establishment of a commissary. The establishment request goes to the Commissary Operating Board for review and recommendation to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), who makes the final decision.

Department of Defense establishment criteria states that, as a general rule, commissaries are established on military installations that have an active mission and a minimum of 100 active duty personnel assigned to the base or on closed installations where active personnel remain in the immediate area.

Although the current criteria considers "total force" for continuance of commissaries on closed installations, only full time active duty are considered for establishment of a commissary where one has not previously existed. Total force is considered when building a new store and in closure decisions.

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (FF&V)

Do the new FF&V contracts save appropriated funds? If so, how much?

The U.S. government was paying $48 million annually to ship $25 million worth of produce to the Pacific. Under this business model, DeCA now saves about $38 million in transportation costs each year.

How did DeCA provide fresh produce to commissaries in the Pacific before 2015?

Before November 2015, the contract required the supplier to ship product to the designated port of embarkation (PoE) on the U.S. West Coast. The U.S. government assumed ownership of the product at the point of embarkation along with the costs to ship the product across the ocean to its final destination. This Pacific business model was unique in that at all other commissary locations, including those in Europe, fresh fruits and vegetable (FF&V) products are acquired free on board (FOB) destination, which means all provider costs are incorporated into the cost of the end product.

How does DeCA currently obtain fresh produce for its overseas commissaries in the Pacific?

Under the business model put in place Nov. 1, 2015, in South Korea, Japan and Guam, the contractor is responsible for the produce and for delivering it to the individual commissaries, rather than to a U.S. port, where the government would assume ownership of the product and then have to ship the produce to the stores. This plan doesn't limit contractors to supplying only locally acquired produce. It does, however, encourage them to acquire as much of the produce as possible locally. This is not new; DeCA has been successfully using this business model in Europe since 2007.

The contracts to support Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawaii, though remotely located, use the very same business model. All products are acquired FOB Destination, which incorporates all FF&V provider costs into the cost of the end product. The end result is high quality and fresh products for our patrons comparable to current commissary prices.

How does DeCA monitor the performance of the supplier and ensure the best possible produce at the best possible price is being provided at commissaries in the Pacific?

We closely monitor our suppliers to ensure our customers receive the freshest, highest-quality produce at the lowest practical price.

Due in part to recurring problems with produce quality and pricing under contracts awarded in November 2015, DeCA changed the sources of supply in 2017. The new contracted source for South Korea is a firm which has offices in Seoul. Their contract started in April 2017, and we have already seen improvements in produce quality. The new contracted source for Japan/ Okinawa is a firm whose home office is on mainland Japan. Their contract started in September 2017, and DeCA is expecting an expansion of the offering of locally sourced products from both contractors.

DeCA continues to work closely with the suppliers. In January/February 2018, DeCA sent Headquarters representatives to both South Korea and Japan/Okinawa to observe and discuss produce operations with both the supplier and DeCA’s field team. These representatives included the agency director, the produce category manager, and a contracting representative. Their findings and observations resulted in more concentrated efforts focused on improving product availability, quality and pricing.

DeCA is sending an oversight team back to South Korea and Japan/Okinawa by March 31, 2018, to collaborate with the contractor to 1) institute operational changes to achieve more favorable pricing for our patrons, 2) provide additional training and merchandising support to the commissaries, and 3) meet with patrons to gain a first-hand perspective of their perceptions. The agency director will be closely monitoring this program on a regular basis.

How is DeCA ensuring the food safety of produce under this new model?

The new contract stipulates that the fresh fruits and vegetables must meet or exceed U.S. Standards for Produce Grade #1 USDA Fresh Market Vegetable and Fruit Standards. All produce is inspected by the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Medical Food Inspectors. This includes products sourced locally and products sourced from the U.S. and shipped to our stores in the Pacific.

Where does the contractor obtain the produce?

Produce available to our patrons will come from local, stateside and other countries, and the mix will fluctuate depending on availability, seasonality, quality and price.

Why did DeCA make the change?

DeCA is committed to providing its patrons the best produce possible at a price that maximizes their savings. The commercial grocery industry as a whole favors acquiring locally grown products due to the tendency for these products to be fresher than those procured and shipped from distant locations. Prior to the solicitation of a new contract, DeCA employees noticed that some of the produce available in local markets throughout Northeast Asia was fresher and less expensive than the produce offered in our stores. However, recognizing the seasonality of many fresh fruit and vegetable products, the DeCA business model ensures that the responsibility for the product remains with the fresh fruits and vegetables provider - regardless of its origin. This encourages the provider to ensure that the product remains fresh and suitable for resale all the way to the back dock of the store - which is a commercial standard.

Why do prices go up on certain produce items?

Prices for some fresh fruits and vegetables can fluctuate weekly depending on weather conditions, gaps in growing regions, and supply and demand. Take berries, for example, during the summer months berries are plentiful from growers in the United States. However, during the fall and winter months, berries must be secured from countries such as New Zealand, where the cost to ship increases exponentially.

Despite price fluctuations, DeCA’s produce suppliers are required to maintain an average percentage of patron savings for a group of high volume core items as compared to common items found in local commercial retailers.

The supplier is responsible to provide average patron savings for the core items of approximately 40 percent in Guam and 34 percent for South Korea and 30 percent for Japan/Okinawa. Examples of core items include: apples, bananas, red and green grapes, grapefruit, potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. We closely monitor our suppliers to ensure our customers receive the freshest, highest-quality produce at the lowest practical price.

Why does produce in local markets seem to cost less than that sold in commissaries?

We are not as competitive with “farmers markets” pricing where quantities and assortments are sporadic, and the off-post establishments are not subject to the same health inspections as the DeCA sources.

While all produce on post may not be lower than the produce off post, we have verified that we are providing significant savings on the core items, and we are typically even saving patrons money on certain “non-core” items when compared to comparable stores outside the gate.

How did DeCA provide fresh produce to commissaries in the Pacific before Nov. 1, 2015?

The previous contract required the contractor to ship product to the designated port of embarkation (PoE) on the U.S. West Coast. The U.S. government assumed ownership of the product at the point of embarkation along with the costs to ship the product across the ocean to its final destination. This Pacific business model was unique in that at all other commissary locations, including those in Europe, fresh fruits and vegetable (FF&V) products are acquired free on board (FOB) destination, which means all provider costs are incorporated into the cost of the end product.

Gift Cards

Can I receive cash back when I make a purchase with a gift card or redeem my gift card for cash?

No. Cash back is not an option, nor can gift cards be redeemed for cash. Gift cards have a declining balance. In other words, the amount available on the card is reduced each time it's used, until the card shows a zero balance.

Can the commissary refuse to accept my gift card?

The commissary has the right not to accept any gift card that appears to be altered, copied or reproduced. The commissary may also refuse to accept your gift card if it does not scan on the register and the card number is illegible or missing.

Do gift cards have an expiration date?

Yes, they expire five years after purchase or as prescribed by law.

How can I check my gift card’s balance?

A cashier can look up your balance at any manned register. You can also find it here then clicking “Check your balance,” or by calling 1-877-988-4438.

How does the 5 percent surcharge affect my grocery purchase when I use a gift card?

By law, the surcharge applies to any grocery purchase in the commissary. If the purchase total, including surcharge, exceeds the total amount of the remaining balance on your gift card(s), you must pay the difference, using another method of payment.

How much do gift cards cost?

Gift cards are available in denominations of $25 and $50. No other fees are charged for gift cards purchased in our stores. For gift cards purchased online, a shipping and handling fee is added to the purchase price.

Is the gift card exempt from the monthly Korean Rations control?

The purchase of a gift card does not count against your monthly rations. However, all items purchased at commissaries in South Korea are considered part of the monthly ration regardless of the method of payment used.

Is there a limit on the number of gift cards I can purchase?

No. There are no restrictions on the number of gift cards you can buy.

Where can DeCA gift cards be used?

You can use DeCA gift cards at any commissary operated by the Defense Commissary Agency. Check our list of locations. 

Where can I purchase commissary gift cards?

Gift cards are available at all commissary full-service checkouts and customer service areas and can be ordered online here.

Who can use DeCA gift cards?

Anyone can purchase commissary gift cards, but only authorized commissary customers can redeem them.

Who should I contact if I have a question, comment or concern about a gift card?

Customer service help is available by calling the toll-free number, 1-877-988-4438, which is found on the back of the gift card.

Will DeCA replace my gift card if it is lost, stolen, damaged or defaced?

No. DeCA is not responsible for lost, stolen, destroyed or mutilated gift cards.

Guard/Reserve On-Site Sales

Am I allowed to use coupons for products purchased online?

We are not able to accept coupons online at this time.

How do I pay for products ordered online?

You can pay for online orders using Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.

How does the Guard and Reserve On-Site Sale Program work?

The Defense Commissary Agency implemented the Guard and Reserve On-Site Sales Program to provide the commissary benefit to deserving Guard and Reserve members and their families who live in areas that are not close to an existing commissary. These sales provide patrons the same level of savings enjoyed by active duty military and their families who regularly shop brick and mortar commissaries. The host commissary works with Guard and Reserve units that have at least 150 troops assigned to them and selects items to offer for sale to these individuals during the event. On-site Sale customers will sometimes have the option at selected locations to pre-order and pre-pay for groceries online. Guard and Reserve sales where pre-orders are available can be found at www.commissaries.com. Credit payments are completed online and the items are picked up at the designated on-site locations.

What if I find the product is damaged or outdated once I return home?

If you find a damaged item in your order at the sales event, locate a sales representative at the sale and your order will be adjusted. If you do not find the damage until you have returned home, you can contact the commissary that sponsored the sale.

What if I want to change order quantities or delete an order that I submitted online?

If you realize before the order window closes that you don't want the order, you can contact the store to have the order deleted. If, after the order has been finalized, you decide you don't want part of or the entire PO/PP order, the store will keep the merchandise and verify your contact information. Once the staff returns to the store, they will process the return with the aid and assistance of the credit card team. They will contact the credit card team to let them know exactly how much is to be refunded to your card. They will also give you the 800 number for the credit card team so you can follow-up with them (Judy Blair) as well.

When can I expect a true online shopping/payment/delivery service from the commissary?

The Defense Commissary Agency has been exploring just such an option. Because DeCA sells products to patrons at cost, there is no profit margin to fund the many costs that would be associated with providing an online shopping service. First and foremost, DeCA must ensure that product costs are affordable for its customers through an online service, and then the required additional labor costs and delivery charges must be weighed to determine if the service is providing a true benefit.

Why won't the system authorize me to enter the Guard and Reserve On-Site Sale System?

DeCA's DeCA's online order portal connects to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to determine and authorize shopper eligibility. If you entered your information correctly on the log-in screen (retry using the exact format shown), you may need to visit the nearest Uniformed Services ID card facility to update your records. You can locate the nearest ID card facility, by visiting Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) RAPIDS at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/appj/site?execution=e2s1. Call ahead for hours of operation and instructions.

Hours of Operation

Why can't the commissary be open 24-7?

Overhead and salaries are paid with appropriated funds from a finite budget, so extending hours requires careful study by management to ensure a strong business case and prudent use of taxpayers' money. Commissaries also adjust their hours from time to time in response to changing customer preferences and practices, such as opening later in the morning in order to stay open later in the evening. Commissary expenditures undergo intense scrutiny to ensure prudent use of government funds.

ID Card Scanning

How can DeCA ensure my personal information is secure?

The only information that will be collected at the register is the ID card barcode value, which is not your Social Security or DoD ID number and does not personally identify individual customers; specific, personal data about a customer will not be collected. This information, and the basic demographic information that we obtain from DEERS, will be stored behind DeCA's "firewall," which has physical, administrative and technical controls in place, as required by DoD regulations and the Privacy Act.

What if my card does not have a barcode or my installation commander has designated me as an agent for an authorized customer?

While there are a small number of older ID cards without barcodes, we have procedures in place to accommodate these customers as well as designated agents. Our customer service personnel are trained on these procedures and are ready to serve you at checkout!

What information does DeCA obtain?

When we cross-reference the ID card barcode with DEERS, DeCA will obtain basic demographic information, strictly limited to ID number, rank, military status (active duty/retired/dependent), branch of service, age, household size and zip codes of residence and duty station.

Which commissaries will be using ID card scanning procedures?

ID card scanning is in effect at all commissaries worldwide.

Who is collecting this information? Where is the data stored?

Only the Defense Commissary Agency – and not a third party – is collecting this information. The data we obtain will be secured in an encrypted database at DeCA Headquarters; it will not be stored at any of our commissaries or visible to store-level employees.

Why do I have to both show my ID card and scan it at the register?

When you present your ID card at the register, the cashier must conduct visual verification to confirm that you are the cardholder by looking at the photograph on your card. In addition, DoD Instruction 1330.17 grants installation commanders the discretion to institute 100% ID checks at commissary entrances for security purposes. Because these are separate requirements, your card must be shown and scanned at the register, even if it was also shown at the entrance; we regret any inconvenience this may cause you.

Privacy Act Statement

Principal Purposes: To determine if an individual is authorized commissary privileges in accordance with DoD Directive 1330.17, Military Commissaries, and DoD 1330.17-R, Armed Services Commissary Regulations (ASCR).

Authority: The Social Security number is the primary means of identifying individuals' eligibility to use this service through the DEERS system. Please reference The System of Records Notice (SORN) for the DEERS system page. That system includes the Social Security number and has as its purpose "to provide a database for determining the eligibility to DoD entitlements and privileges..." Among the various authorities allowing for the collection of personal information cited in the DEERS SORN is 10 U.S.C Chapter 54, Commissary and Exchange Benefits.

Mandatory or Voluntary: Voluntary. However, if you fail to provide the requested information, DEERS will not be able to verify your identity. If your identity is not verified, you will be unable to gain access to the website.

Why does DeCA need this information?

As explained above, ID card scanning verifies that an individual is authorized to shop in the commissary. In addition, the basic demographic information we obtain will enable us to provide products and services directly related to the entire patron base – not individuals – at specific commissary locations and allow more accurate reporting on commissary usage to the military services.

Why does the cashier still need to scan my Commissary Rewards Card after scanning my DoD ID?

These two cards are independent of each other and serve different purposes. We do not collect specific, personal information about you when we scan your ID card, and we cannot link it to your Commissary Rewards Card.

Why is DeCA scanning Department of Defense ID Cards?

Due to the increased availability of secure technology, DeCA will be able to fulfill its requirement under DoD Instruction 1330.17 to positively identify authorized customers at the point of purchase by scanning your card's barcode at the register and comparing it to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility System (DEERS), the official repository showing eligibility for military benefits.

Why is ID card scanning mandatory?

Since only authorized patrons may use the commissary, and ID card scanning will be the means of verification, no patrons may opt out from these procedures. This practice is consistent with other DoD endeavors to use technology to verify an individual's status, such as scanning ID cards at the entrances of military installations.

Will customers with expired ID cards still be allowed to purchase their groceries?

Customers must present valid ID cards in order for commissaries to positively identify them as authorized customers, as required by DoD Instruction 1330.17. Unfortunately, this means that customers with expired cards will not be permitted to make commissary purchases until they renew their ID cards at a local military Pass & ID office. You can use the RAPIDS site locator on the Defense Manpower and Data Center’s (DMDC) website at www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/ to find a military Pass & ID office near you.

Will the ID card be scanned before the transaction begins? Will a customer scan his or her own card at the register?

Yes; your card will be scanned before checkout begins. If you’re using a self-checkout, you will hand your card to the attendant, who will conduct visual verification, then hand the card back to you so you can scan it and proceed with checkout. If you’re using one of our other registers, the cashier will scan the card when you present it for visual verification.

Items Stocked in Commissaries

How can I suggest an item I would like to see added to my commissary's product assortment?

Commissary product assortments are determined by our Sales Directorate, which manages contracts with manufacturers at DeCA's headquarters. You can submit requests directly to the Sales Directorate by filling out a "Your Action Line" customer comment card in stores, or you can use our online Customer Comment Form

Another option is to bring your suggestion to the attention of store management, who will then work with the Sales Directorate to research and respond to your request. You may request to speak to a manager during a commissary visit, or contact commissary management by phone or e-mail at your convenience. You can find contact information for any commissary by using the list of locations and viewing the "Store Information" section of your commissary's individual page.

When requesting a product, please provide the name and the Universal Product Code (UPC) of the item, as this will expedite the research process and help our Sales Directorate respond to your request. The UPC can be found below the bar code imprinted on a product's label or package, and helps our Sales Directorate identify the exact product you are requesting.

Please note that new items must first be added to DeCA's Catalog Master File (CMF) before they can be picked up in overseas commissaries. Additionally, overseas packing, shipping and shelf life requirements sometimes make it impossible for us to offer some products overseas. DeCA welcomes feedback from its customers, and we give all product requests due consideration.

How do commissaries make decisions about what items to stock?

One of the greatest challenges for our category managers and buyers is to decide which items to stock regularly on commissary shelves. There are tens of thousands of items available in the marketplace, but limited shelf space available to display these items in our stores.

DeCA's Sales Directorate periodically conducts category reviews in order to reassess commissary product assortments. Brand, quality, sales performance, price, variety and shelf space available are among the many factors reviewed in order to build the best possible product assortments for our customers. Commissaries are coded based on the linear feet of shelving available in each store (K1A being the smallest and K5 being the largest), and optimal product assortments are designed to meet the needs of customers at each size store.

Why was an item deleted from the commissary's stock assortment when it seems to sell well at my store?

Some items may sell well in select communities, but have little demand nationally. In order to provide all of our customers the best possible product assortment at the best possible prices, DeCA's Sales Directorate must analyze overall sales data both within the commissary system and in retail stores to make stocking decisions.

Also, even if a product appears to be in high demand at your commissary, this may not be the case. If a product's supply is low or frequently missing from the shelves, it may be due to distribution issues rather than sales. When this happens, if the distribution issues cannot be resolved, DeCA's Sales Directorate has a responsibility to our customers to delete the item so we can use that shelf space to make a replacement product available to our customers.

Limiting Purchase Quantities

I recently noticed signs posted in the commissary indicating a purchase limit on certain products. The commissary is my benefit, why can't I purchase as much as I want of any product sold in the commissary?

As a matter of DeCA policy, sales restrictions limiting amount per purchase may be activated by DeCA Headquarters due to product alerts generated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Defense, or command channels. Accordingly, violations of these restrictions will be perceived as potential abuse of commissary privileges and shall provide a basis for suspension of commissary privileges or permanent revocation of commissary privileges.

Method of Payment

How does DeCA's new electronic check processing system work?

Checks account for less than 20 percent of all commissary customer transactions, and with DeCA's new checkout system that electronically processes checks, customers get to keep the checks they write.

Here's how it works. A customer fills out the payment information on a check and signs it. For those who need assistance, cashiers are ready to assist; however, the customer must sign the check. The cashier runs the check through a scanner and printer on the checkout that prints additional processing information on the check and captures front and back images of the check. The processed check is handed back to the customer for their records.

In the interest of checkout efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the checkout system does not print the amount of the transaction for the customer. That service was deemed too costly and would require an additional pass through the scanner, which would slow down the checkout process.

As quick as the process is, the check-processing procedures comply with rigorous U.S. Treasury requirements that ensure customer transactions are completed securely and efficiently. The system uses the check images to serve as an extra measure of ensuring the transactions are properly done.

If I pay for my commissary purchases with a personal check, do I have to have my Social Security number imprinted or written on my check?

No. Your Social Security number (SSN) does not have to be on your check.

However, the cashier will ask that you provide your SSN at the time of purchase, so that the cashier can enter your SSN into a secure database. This provides a link between your check and you in the event that commissary personnel have to contact you.

What methods of payment do commissaries accept for commissary purchases?

Commissaries accept cash, personal checks, travelers checks, money orders, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA credit cards, debit cards, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) EBT cash assistance, Food Stamps, either as coupons or Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) payment instruments (issued as checks, drafts, vouchers, warrants, or EBT by different states), American Red Cross Disbursing Orders and Commissary Gift Certificates.

Commissaries also accept coupons (see "Coupon Use in Commissaries" FAQ) , and Manufacturer rebate/refund checks.

MILITARY STAR card

Can customers use their gold MILITARY STAR card at the commissary?

Yes. However, if a customer is using a gold MILITARY STAR card, they could be missing out their rewards. Please ask them to visit their local exchange or call the Exchange Credit Program Customer Contact Center at 1-877-891-7827 to request a replacement card.

Are there any exclusions to what can be purchased on MILITARY STAR at the commissaries?

No. All Commissary purchases made with MILITARY STAR will earn two points per dollar.

Can customers apply for MILITARY STAR at the commissaries?

No. Customers may visit their local exchange to apply for MILITARY STAR, or they can apply online at MyECP.com.

Can customers make payments on their MILITARY STAR accounts at the commissaries?

No. Customers may visit their local exchange or make a payment online at MyECP.com.

Can customers use their MILITARY STAR Rewards Cards at the commissaries?

No. Rewards cards can be redeemed anywhere exchange gift cards are accepted, including any exchange location and online at shopmyexchange.com and myNavyExchange.com. Commissaries do not accept exchange gift cards or reward cards at this time.

Does the 10% first-day purchase discount apply to DeCA purchases?

Yes. Any purchase made with MILITARY STAR the first day will receive the 10% discount.

When is the rollout schedule for the MILITARY STAR card?

The Fort Lee Commissary, Virginia, began accepting the MILITARY STAR card on Oct. 3 in the first pilot phase of the roll out. Acceptance will be subsequently expanded throughout DeCA with 25 additional commissaries accepting the MILITARY STAR card in two subsequent pilot phases. The card will transition to the remaining DeCA’s stores in stages until the rollout is complete on Nov. 9. Go to the rollout schedule page for specific dates and stores.

Whom should customers contact with questions?

Customers can call the Customer Contact Center at 1-877-891-7827.

Will customers earn MILITARY STAR rewards points at the commissaries?

Yes! Just like at exchange facilities, customers will earn two points for every dollar spent at the commissaries when using MILITARY STAR.

MRE (Meals Ready to Eat)

Does the commissary sell MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat)?

Commissaries can order MREs from the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia/Defense Logistics Agency. Please contact your store director to ask about placing a special order for these products.

Natural & Organic Products

How are organic products overseen?

According to the USDA, the National Organic Program regulates all organic crops, livestock and agricultural products certified to USDA organic standards. Organic certification agencies inspect and verify that organic farmers, ranchers, distributors, processors and traders are complying with USDA organic regulations. USDA conducts audits and ensures the more than 90 organic certification agencies operating around the world are properly certifying organic products. In addition, USDA conducts investigations and enforcement activities to ensure all products labeled as organic meet the USDA organic regulations. To sell, label or represent their products as organic, operations must follow all of the specifications set out by USDA organic regulations.

How do I know if my food is organic?

Look at the label. If you see the USDA organic seal, the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content. For multi-ingredient products such as bread or soup, if the label claims it is made with specified organic ingredients, you can be confident that those specific ingredients have been certified organic.

What are natural foods?

The term "natural" is not regulated by the USDA except for meat and poultry. As required by the USDA, meat, poultry and egg products labeled as "natural" must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs. Visit USDA's National Organic site for more information.

What are organic foods?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic is a labeling term that indicates the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering may not be used. Visit USDA's National Organic site for more information.

Why have natural and organic products been segregated and located together in specially designated sections of the commissary when they aren't the same?

These products have been placed together in sections designated by green shelf blades as a convenience to make it easier for customers to find them. Those who purchase them have strong preferences for them and appreciate their segregation from other products. While there are key distinctions between natural and organic products, customers who buy these products are generally aware of those distinctions and make their purchases according to their preferences.

No-Profit Operation

How does DeCA use all the profit that it makes on commissary sales?

Although commissaries collectively realize sales of about $5 billion per year, there is no profit generated on these sales.

By law, commissaries are required to sell goods at prices that are set at a level to recover the cost of goods, with no profit built into these prices. There are also very stringent legal controls on the ways that DeCA can use taxpayer monies that Congress provides to operate commissaries.

Because commissaries are prohibited by law from making profit on goods sold, and because of the stringent controls on use of funds provided for commissary operation, commissaries cannot use a lot of merchandising practices that commercial stores use routinely.

For instance, commissaries cannot "double" (or otherwise increase) the face value of coupons, commissaries cannot sell goods below cost to create a low price "image," commissaries cannot pay a "rebate" to patrons who return bags for reuse, or who use non-disposable cloth bags, and commissaries cannot donate money or products to an individual or organization, however worthy.

Nutrition Guide Program

How does NGP work?

The NGP evaluates categories of food items regardless of manufacturer, brand or price. Products meeting minimum criteria are evaluated further to determine the top one to three nutrition attributes. These products are then identified with the appropriate color-coded shelf tags. The colors are: identify what they mean for each of the six classifications.

  • Light Blue – Low Fat
  • Dark Blue – Low Sodium
  • Sand – Good Source of Fiber
  • Ruby – No Sugar Added
  • Brown – Whole Grain
  • Green – Organic

How does one follow a healthy meal pattern?

Fill your cart with mostly:

  • Fresh produce
  • Lean meats and eggs
  • Heart healthy fats from fish, nuts and seeds, olive and canola oil and avocados, etc.
  • Packaged items that have the Green Thumbs-Up
  • Include a few indulgences and treats and use the nutrition attributes to guide you.

Is NGP meant to replace reading a product's Nutrition Facts panel?

No. The NGP tags point out certain key nutrition attributes of products and does not include all the information of the Nutrition Facts panel. Patrons, and especially those with food allergies or specific nutritional needs, still need to read the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredients list to more fully determine if a product suits them

What are the featured attributes?

  • Low Fat – Individual item: Contains 3g or less of total fat per serving; for Meals/Main Dishes: 3g or less total fat per 100g of product.
  • Good Source of Fiber – Items with at least 10% or more of the daily value for fiber per serving and the Regular Amount Commonly Consumed for food types (RACC). The serving size listed on the package may not equal the RACC and are low in fat.
  • No Sugar Added – "No Added Sugars" and "Without Added Sugars" are allowed if no sugar or sugar-containing ingredient is added during processing
  • Low Sodium – Contains140mg or less per serving and RACC.
  • Organic – Items that have been certified as "USDA Organic."
  • Whole Grain – Items that are made with whole grain and contain at least 8g of whole grain.

What categories are excluded from the NGP?

  • Pet food
  • Dessert toppings
  • Spices and seasonings (except for organic)
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Water
  • Drink mixes (margarita, etc)
  • Fresh produce
  • Fresh meat
  • Fresh seafood
  • Coffee and Tea

What categories are included in the program?

The following categories are included in the program:

  • Baby food (Organic Only)
  • Chilled meats
  • Baking goods
  • Condiments
  • Beverages (no water)
  • Bread
  • Frozen Foods
  • Candy (Organic only)
  • Canned goods
  • Grains, pasta and side dishes
  • Cereal & breakfast foods
  • Snacks
  • Soups
  • Cake Mixes (Only Whole Grain)

What does the thumbs up symbol mean?

Packaged food items and dairy products that have a thumbs-up symbol have been approved as meeting high nutritional quality criteria agreed upon by Department of Defense (DoD) and military service dietitians. They are nutrient dense and are a great choice in building a healthy eating pattern to promote optimal health and performance. These items align closely with the criteria for Go for Green® and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Go for Green® is a DoD health promotion and nutrition education effort that's used in military dining facilities and galleys to help diners identify food and beverage choices to optimize performance, health and readiness. When shopping your commissary think of the thumps-up symbol as high nutrition, high performance food as, "Dietitian Approved! We did the work for you."

What is DeCA's Nutrition Guide Program (NGP)?

NGP is a point-of -purchase nutrition identification program that makes it easier for shoppers to find products based on nutrition attributes many customers look for. These products are identified by color-coded shelf tags that indicate attributes such as organic, low fat, good source of fiber, low sodium, whole grain or no sugar added.

What is the source of the criteria for identifying items with a nutrition attribute?

NGP is based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specific requirements for nutrient content and health claims. All NGP tags for manufactured products are based on the food manufacturer's labeling, including the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredients.

Why did DeCA implement a NGP?

Shoppers have always valued their time, and DeCA's NGP helps them easily identify products based on nutrition attributes such as organic, low sodium, high fiber or low sugar. This service comes at a time when eating healthier has become a major consumer focus in line with the growing awareness of health and well-being in our nation. Shoppers are looking for healthier choices and NGP helps ease their search.

Patron Savings

How does DeCA measure savings?

DeCA monitors and calculates savings on a regional basis, in different geographic areas, at different levels of specificity. The savings figures specific to each geographic area indicate how much, on average, a patron could expect to save on grocery purchases in comparison with local grocers in that area. DeCA measures savings for a region so it can better monitor how much customers actually save in the geographic area where they shop. DeCA also periodically checks local prices near the installation at major retailers to ensure our pricing compares favorably and our customers are getting a good deal when they shop their commissary. 

Although market forces will always cause prices to fluctuate, Congress has mandated that DeCA protect overall levels of savings. These savings vary since cost-of-living factors, inclusive of groceries, are influenced by geographic economic factors. When all customer savings computations are complete, the savings baselines per each commissary savings region are as follows:

  • Area: number of commissaries, savings percentage*
  • New England: 36, 21.4%
  • South Atlantic: 30, 19.9%
  • South Central: 33, 18.1%
  • Pacific, 31, 20.9%
  • Mountain: 20, 17.6%
  • North Central: 18, 20.2%
  • Alaska / Hawaii: 9, 32.6%
  • US Average: 177, 20.2%
  • Overseas: 61, 44.2%
  • Global Average: 237, 23.7%

*Calculation includes applicable taxes in commercial grocery store prices and surcharge in commissary prices; without these, savings would be US (22.3%); Overseas (45.6%); Global (25.7%). Thirty-five States (70%) do not have sales tax on food items.

Prices & Savings

Do commissaries raise prices for payday?

Stateside commissaries change prices twice a month, as opposed to the private sector, where prices are changed weekly or more frequently. Commissary prices are changed on the 1st and 16th of each month and are usually in effect for 30 to 45 days. These price changes are generally about a 50-50 mix, with some prices being lowered as items go on a special promotion or sale and some raised as items come off a special promotion or sale. The number of price changes will vary, according to the size of the store, but prices throughout the store will always – and only – reflect the cost of the items to DeCA. Commissaries are required by law to sell products at cost plus surcharge, so we never make a profit on the products we sell.

You may see a product that was on a special promotion or sale revert to its regular commissary price on the 1st or 16th of the month, giving the impression that the price was raised for payday; however, this is not the case. All of our business systems and future price changes are geared toward these price-change dates, and our manufacturers have worked these dates into their pricing schedule as well, months in advance. DeCA has been a model for fiscal efficiency and accountability within the Department of Defense, delivering more than $2 in savings to customers for every taxpayer dollar used to support the system. Adjusting the dates of price changes in our business systems would require a substantial outlay of funds for DeCA, as well as our manufacturers and distributors, and would not result in greater savings to customers.

How can I view promotional prices for my commissary?

Our customers who live in the continental United States may view promotional prices for their commissaries by hovering over the above "Shopping" tab and selecting "Savings Aisle", then clicking the "Login" link on the following page. Please note that customers may view the percentage of savings for sale items without needing to log in. Customers are only required to log in to view prices. Promotional prices for commissaries in Alaska and Hawaii, as well as stores overseas, are not available on Savings Aisle at this time, but we hope to add this capability in the future.

What's DeCA policy if - during checkout - I notice that an item scans at a higher price than the price for the item posted on a shelf or display?

DeCA personnel will honor the posted price. If an incorrect lower price is displayed, the patron pays only the displayed price.

Why am I required to enter the last four digits of my Social Security Number, date of birth and name to log into the Savings Aisle?

We are required by DoD Instruction 1330.17 to assure we only share our prices with authorized customers. Therefore, we must use the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, database to verify your status as an authorized customer and grant you access to our promotional prices. This process requires customers to provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number, date of birth, first and last name. However, we do not store the information we collect, and we only use it to verify your privilege. When you submit your login information, it is encrypted via Secure Sockets Layer, commonly known as SSL, for security purposes. Rest assured that the Defense Commissary Agency is dedicated to protecting you and your privacy and that your communications on www.commissaries.com are secure.

Why can I find prices on items in commercial stores that are lower than the commissary price? How can this be?

You may find selected items at lower prices in commercial stores for several reasons.

One reason is that commercial stores often sell items as "loss leaders" at prices below their cost prices to attract customers who they hope will buy other high-profit items during their shopping trip to get the low price "loss leaders."

Because commissaries are currently required by law to sell items at cost – neither higher nor lower – we can't offer "loss leaders."

Another reason is that commercial firms may buy into "deals" offered by suppliers that are currently not available to DeCA, or because DeCA does not buy into some "deals." Although our buyers negotiate vigorously to get the best possible price on every item sold in commissaries, there are times when our buyers cannot develop a good business case for accepting certain "deals" offered by suppliers.

However, although you may find selected items at lower prices in commercial stores, our price surveys provide convincing evidence that-if you shop regularly in a commissary for all or virtually all of your grocery needs--you will enjoy significant savings on your grocery bill vs. what you would pay shopping regularly in a commercial store for the same array of items.

Reserved Parking

I am not happy with the types of reserved parking spaces that are provided in my commissary parking lot. Who can I address my complaints to?

Commissaries are tenant organizations on each base or installation and the commander authorizes the parking facilities and designates reserved parking spaces.

Return Policy

Can I return products to a different commissary from the one where I originally purchased it?

Products purchased at one of DeCA's commissaries may be returned to another commissary if the item is in that store's computer system.

Do I have to have my receipt to make a return?

A receipt is only required to return tobacco products or baby formula; if the customer does not have a receipt for these items, they may be exchanged, but only for another tobacco product or baby formula, respectively.

If I return products with a receipt showing I purchased them with a DeCA gift card, how will I receive my refund?

If you return products with a receipt showing you purchased those products with a DeCA gift card, the commissary will issue your refund in DeCA gift cards in $25 and $50 increments, until the remaining balance owed to you is $24.99 or less, which you will receive in cash.

If I return products with a receipt showing I purchased them with another method of payment, how will I receive my refund?

Merchandise purchased with cash, debit card, check, traveler's check or money order will be refunded in cash. Merchandise purchased with a credit card will be refunded to that credit card.

If I return products without a receipt, how will I receive my refund?

If you return products without a receipt, the commissary will issue your refund in DeCA gift cards in $25 and $50 increments, until the remaining balance owed to you is $24.99 or less, which you will receive in cash.

What is the commissary's return policy?

If, for any reason, a patron is not satisfied with merchandise paid for and removed from the commissary, the merchandise may be returned for a refund or exchanged for another of the same item.

What is the commissary's return policy?

If, for any reason, a patron is not satisfied with merchandise paid for and removed from the commissary, the merchandise may be returned for a refund or exchanged for another of the same item.

Why did DeCA change its policy on giving cash back for refunds without a receipt?

DeCA made this decision in order to move its policies in line with standard industry practices and help protect your commissary benefit.

Returned Checks

Can I pay for a returned check at the commissary?

No. Payment for returned checks cannot be accepted by the commissary.

Can I pay for a returned check at the commissary?

No. Payment for returned checks cannot be accepted by the commissary.

How can I tell if I am on the bad check list?

DeCA uses the term "negative check file." Simply ask the commissary's customer service department to make an inquiry into the system, or call the RCM toll-free number, 1-866-893-5015.

How quickly will funds be deducted from my account for a check or ACH transaction?

Transfer of funds from your checking account will occur within 24 hours. Therefore, you should ensure you have sufficient funds in your account to process the transaction.

If my bank causes the error, how do I recover the $25.00 administrative fee and get off of the negative check list?

In the event of a bank error, DeCA will follow the standard commercial banking practice, which requires you, the customer, to recover the $25.00 administrative fee from your bank. In the event of a documented bank error, DeCA HQ /RCM will remove your Social Security number from the negative check database upon receiving bank notification. It is your responsibility to obtain and provide the bank notification, which must contain your name, full account number, bank routing number and check number. The information can be faxed to DeCA HQ/RCM at (804) 734-8009, ext. 72798; or sent by email to RCMProgram@deca.mil.

What are the penalties for dishonored checks?

Check writing and check cashing privileges will be suspended as follows:

First Offense: Privilege is suspended for 45 days from the day the check is first returned as dishonored. Checks not paid during this 45-day period will be forwarded to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for collection and will remain in the negative check database indefinitely. Suspension begins from time of first presentment.

Second Offense:Privileges will be suspended for one year.

Third Offense:Privileges will be suspended indefinitely. After privileges have been suspended for one year, the accounting director may approve restoration of privileges. However, all returned checks and associated fees must be paid before privileges are restored.

What happens if I don't have enough money in my account to cover the check?

If your check or ACH transaction does not clear because of insufficient funds, the transaction will be presented to your bank again, up to two more times, on consecutive military paydays. Because of this process, it may take up to 45 days for a check to clear. However, penalties are involved as well.

What happens if I write a check on a closed account or have to stop payment on a check?

Checks returned due to a closed account or stop payment notice will be forwarded to DFAS-Columbus for collection. DFAS will then attempt to collect the face value of the check, plus a $25.00 DeCA administrative fee and a $15.00 DFAS fee. Questions may be addressed to the customer service liaison at 1-866-893-5015. Check writing privileges are suspended until collection is resolved.

What if my account does not have sufficient funds to cover the check on the first collection attempt?

If the first electronic collection attempt on military payday fails, a second attempt will occur on the next military payday. Presentation dates cannot be altered. If the second attempt fails, DFAS-Columbus (Ohio), will start collection action. Check writing privileges are suspended until collection is resolved.

Who can I call at the Defense Commissary Agency if I have questions on the status of my account?

Questions about the program and the collection process for returned checks should be addressed to DeCA's Customer Service Liaison Team. You can reach the team by telephone, toll-free, at 1-866-893-5015; or by email at RCMProgram@deca.mil. The hours for DeCA HQ/RCM are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (ET), Monday – Friday.   

If you received a letter from DFAS or need information concerning a check deduction on your leave and earnings statement, contact DFAS directly at 
1-800-635-6045.

Special Orders

Do commissaries accept special orders?

Yes. Every department or section in a commissary will accept special orders. If you need a special cut of meat, a custom-decorated cake, a party tray, or want to get a case of 24 cans of dog food instead of pulling 24 cans off the shelf, you can place a special order to get what you want.

Commissaries can fill some special orders almost instantly-other special orders require some advance notice. Thus, it's best to check a bit in advance of your need to find out how quickly a commissary can get what you want to order.

It's also often possible for a commissary to special order items-usually in case lots only--that the commissary does not carry as part of everyday stockage. Such items might be available at another commissary located close by, or generally authorized for commissary stockage and available from a commissary's commercial supplier. In overseas commissaries, special orders can come only from within the overseas stocking list. A personal, special order cannot be made from stateside (i.e. one case of something from America to a small Commissary in Europe). If you shop at a small commissary in Europe and desire a product which is carried at a larger commissary in Europe, that item may be delivered direct to your store. To find out about special order availability and procedures at your commissary, contact commissary management during a commissary visit, or by e-mail or phone.

While at commissaries.com, you can find the location of any commissary by using the Locations page, then clicking on a commissary name on a map or alphabetical list, and then clicking on "Location/Phones" on the commissary web page.

Does the commissary sell MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat)?

Commissaries can order MREs from the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia/Defense Logistics Agency. Please contact your store director to ask about placing a special order for these products.

Surcharge

I've compared the amount of surcharge applied to my last commissary purchase to the bottom line total shown on my commissary sales receipt, and the surcharge appears to be higher than 5 percent.

I used a lot of coupons to reduce my bottom line cost, and think that I paid too much surcharge.

Surcharge is applied to the total value of your order BEFORE coupon values are deducted.

For example, if the total value of your order BEFORE coupon deductions is $100, surcharge is applied to this $100 total ($100 x .05 = $5). If you use $50 worth of coupons, your bottom line total will be $100+$5 surcharge=$105 - $50 coupon value=$55.

Surcharge is applied to the total value of a commissary purchase BEFORE coupon deductions to comply with the legal requirement to apply surcharge to the total cost of all goods sold in commissaries.

Why does DeCA make me pay surcharge on my commissary purchases?

  • Surcharge is applied to the total value of each commissary purchase because the Congress has mandated collection of surcharge (currently 5 percent) to pay for commissary construction, equipment and maintenance.
  • All surcharge dollars collected are returned to commissary patrons in the form of continually improved commissary facilities. The amount of surcharge applied to a commissary sale transaction is shown as "SCG" on your sales receipt.

UPromise

Will my commissary participate in the UPromise program?

DeCA has explored UPromise and other similar services and each time we have found there is a cost we cannot incur.  DeCA is a non-profit Department of Defense agency that sells at cost and does not have the ability to generate funds that can be used to support the cost of installation of the program used for this worthwhile service.  With the exception of commissary equipment and construction, which is funded with the 5% surcharge collected from the patrons, all other operational costs are funded with appropriated funds.  Even the contributions to the Scholarships for Military Children program, which is sponsored by commissary manufacturers, must have clear humanitarian intentions, and not increase prices to commissary patrons.

Other retailers that offer this program are using profits made off the sale of the products to fund this service and the manufacturers are making a great deal more money off the purchase price of their products in the retail sector. 

Variable Pricing

What is variable pricing?

Variable pricing is a way to set item prices independently of their cost. Previously, DeCA sold items at the price DeCA paid for the item and added a flat 5-percent surcharge. This pricing method led to inconsistent savings across the store and across geographic regions. Variable pricing allows DeCA to feature great prices regardless of our cost. In addition, it allows commissaries to be more reflective of pricing practices that favor items most important to patrons and better compete with off-installation commercial grocery stores. Most importantly, variable pricing does not change your customer savings. Prices on individual items may move up or down, but the net effect is no change to the overall market basket savings you gain when shopping your commissary. Variable pricing also allows DeCA to run the business efficiently and be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. 

Scroll To Top