As a Program Coordinator, how do I connect with other agency program coordinators to share ideas and best practices?
There are several ways to actively participate within the community:
- Join the Discussions with GSA SmartPay Community on Interact: A private online community allowing Program Coordinators (A/OPCs) a central location to share ideas and best practices, as well as discuss all other issues related to the GSA SmartPay program.
- Attend the Quarterly A/OPC meetings, monthly Discussions with Dave conference call, as well as other special meetings and events. Dates and location for all meetings will be posted within the Interact Community.
- Attend the GSA SmartPay Annual Training Forum: Learn about all aspects of successfully managing your charge card program, including innovative payment solutions and the latest advancements in program oversight, as well as network, collaborate and share best practices with other card managers, bank representatives and GSA personnel. Check the website for more information.
What can I do to improve my agency’s program performance?
The GSA SmartPay program office provides a number of tools and other types of assistance to support effective program management in agencies across the Government. A few tips include:
Ensure policies are being followed: Most agencies have comprehensive policies regarding the administration of their payment programs. This includes policies for account use as well as for program management. Agency program management offices should ensure that the policies are communicated to account holders and easily accessible (e.g., post the regulations on the agency's Intranet website). It is important for agencies to follow through with the implementation of their policies, including distribution and compliance monitoring.
Make sure training is a priority for all account holders and program coordinators:
- GSA offers free basic online training covering regulations and best practices for all agencies,
- A variety of free resources and guidebooks to support card management are available on our website
- Contact the bank to schedule an in person or virtual Electronic Access System (EAS) training for your program coordinators
- Attend the annual GSA SmartPay training forum provides a large variety of training for all program coordinators
Initiate an Accounts Payable File Review: An A/P File Review is a no-cost tool for agencies to help identify opportunities to leverage GSA SmartPay solutions as methods of payment to increase process efficiencies, cost savings, and refunds.
Participate in Workgroups: The GSA SmartPay program office sponsors periodic workgroups to facilitate the sharing of information between agencies, and to collect feedback on the performance of the GSA SmartPay program office and its contractor banks.
How do I go about incorporating a new payment solution into my program?
Under the GSA SmartPay program there are many options available to assist in meeting your agency’s mission critical needs. Products and related services under the GSA SmartPay program can offer customized payment solutions to help your agency achieve its goals. Under the GSA SmartPay master contract, each participating agency tags, joins a pool agreement or awards its own a task order to one of the GSA SmartPay contractor Banks. Not all products and services offered under the GSA SmartPay program may be available to your agency as each agency's task order is different and unique. For this reason, it is important to review your agency/organization's task order. Speak to those within your agency responsible for managing your agency’s task order, such as your level 1 A/OPC and/or the task order Contracting Officer, to find out how your agency/organization can take advantage of these offerings.
What policies exist regarding the use of the GSA SmartPay payment solutions?
Treasury Financial Manual for Guidance of Departments and Agencies is the Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury’s) official publication of policies, procedures, and instructions concerning financial management in the Federal Government. It is intended to promote the Government’s financial integrity and operational efficiency.
There are a number of policies that govern the use of Government payment solutions. Policies include:
- Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR);
- Federal Travel Regulations (FTR);
- Federal Management Regulations (FMR);
- OMB Circular A-123 Appendix B;
- Public Law;
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Additionally, many agencies have regulations that are specific to their program and tailored to the agency's mission and operating procedures. Contact your agency program management office for more information regarding agency-specific policies. Visit our Policies page for more on the policies listed above.
What training is available for agency program coordinators?
There is a variety of free training offered for program coordinators (A/OPCs). All upcoming training relevant information for program coordinators will be posted in Interact.
- Online program coordinator and account holder training (Available 24/7)
- Annual GSA SmartPay Training Forum
- Bank Electronic Access System (EAS) training
- Other special training events offered throughout the year
What can agencies/organizations do to help prevent misuse of cards? What tools are available to provide assistance to agencies in detecting fraud and misuse?
Mandating training that meets government wide standards for account holders and A/OPCs is the first step to preventing misuse. Currently, training varies widely among agencies, with many agencies relying on the training provided at the annual GSA SmartPay training forum and the online training courses on the GSA SmartPay website. While these training courses provide the necessary government wide rules and regulations they DO NOT reflect agency-specific requirements which are important for account holders to know.
The master contract requires a number of tools that support the Government in controlling and monitoring card spend to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. Examples of these tools are:
- Credit limits – Credit limits restrict single purchase, daily, weekly, or monthly expenditures by the account holders. In accordance with agency policy, limits are set to meet the agency needs.
- Merchant Category Code (MCC) Blocks – MCCs are established by the bankcard associations to classify different types of businesses. Merchants are assigned codes that describe their primary line of business. Agencies can limit the types of businesses where account holders can make purchases by limiting the MCCs available to the account holder.
- Reports – Agencies have access to online management reports via their bank providers Electronic Access System (EAS). The banks provide standard reports including Account Activity reports, Dispute reports, Unusual Spending Activity reports, Lost/Stolen Cards reports, as well as Ad Hoc reports.
- Guidebooks – The banks are required to provide written guides for A/OPCs that are sufficiently detailed to serve as a stand-alone reference for A/OPCs to conduct program management for the GSA SmartPay Program. Topics include procedures for account setup and maintenance, account suspension/cancellation, transaction disputes and reconciliation among other topics such as authorized use and payments requirements and options. Agencies also have access to account holder, designated billing office, and transaction dispute office guides from banks.
Other resources program specific guides are available for download or print here.
What action should I, as an A/OPC, take if an account holder does not pay their bill on time or it becomes delinquent?
Every effort should be made to assist the contractor in collecting the balance due. Ensure that your account holders are aware of their responsibilities
Can I, as an A/OPC, suspend or cancel an account?
Yes. A reason must be documented for suspension or cancellation. Accounts may be canceled through your bank’s EAS or through the bank’s customer-service office.
How do I set up accounts?
As the A/OPC, you are responsible for the establishment and maintenance of your program accounts. Refer to your contractor’s A/OPC guide and EAS manual for instructions on how to set up accounts
Why do I need to provide documentation to change my name on my IBA card?
Since banks are required to conform to Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, they must confirm the identity of every applicant and account holder. KYC requirements are driven from the Bank Secrecy Act and Patriot Act. Documentation, such as a marriage certificate, is needed to support this requirement. This also allows the banks to maintain account accuracy throughout the life of the customer relationship. Supporting documentation also decreases the chance of identify fraud and assists the banks in insuring they are in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the event an account is reported to the credit bureaus.