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GSA SmartPay

Businesses and Vendors

Accepting the GSA SmartPay payment solutions maximizes your ability to capture federal government sales. Find out how your business can benefit.

SmartPay Program

The GSA SmartPay program is the world’s largest commercial payment solution program, servicing more than 560 federal agencies, organizations, and Native American tribal governments. Accepting the GSA SmartPay payment solutions allows your company to maximize government sales.

Government account holders utilize the program to pay for:

  • Commercial goods and services
  • Travel and travel related expenses
  • Fleet expenses

Overview

The GSA SmartPay program provides payment solutions to the Federal Government for conducting official business.

If you currently accept Visa, MasterCard, Voyager, and/or Wright Express (WEX), you are already set up to accept GSA SmartPay accounts. If your business does not currently accept charge cards, please reach out to your financial institution to discuss accepting charge cards. The transaction fees you negotiated with your bank to accept cards from the private sector will also apply to government purchases. 

The program consists of three business lines:

  • Purchase:  Used for supplies and services for government agencies;
  • Travel: Used for official government travel and related expenses; and
  • Fleet: Used for government vehicle fuel and maintenance requirements.

There are three account types within the GSA SmartPay Program:

Centrally Billed Account (CBA): Expenses are directly paid by the Federal Government and should not be charged state taxes.
Individually Billed Account (IBA): Expenses are paid by the account holder and, depending on the state, may be eligible for state tax exemption.
Tax Advantage Account: Combines an IBA and CBA. Rental car and lodging expenses are billed as a CBA and should not be charged state taxes. All other expenses (e.g., meals) are billed as an IBA and may be eligible for state taxation.

Note: Integrated combines two or more business lines within the same solution. 

 

Accepting the GSA SmartPay Payment Solution

Businesses and vendors that wish to obtain a schedule contract to do business with the Federal Government are required to accept the GSA SmartPay payment solutions as a method of payment for micro-purchases. The rules and requirements for accepting payment solutions are defined by the associations.

GSA SmartPay account holders may carry the following brands: VISA, MasterCard, Voyager, and Wright Express. Voyager and Wright Express cards may only be used for fleet related purchases. 

If you already accept these forms of payment from the commercial sector, you have no additional work to do as GSA SmartPay operates just like any other corporate payment solution.  The transaction fees you negotiated with your bank from the private sector will apply to government sales as well.

If you do not currently accept one or more of these brands and would like to participate, the cost of acceptance is negotiated between you and your selected financial institution. Contact any financial institution or one of the GSA SmartPay contractors to establish a merchant account.

 

Card Driven Strategic Sourcing

The Office of Charge Card Management (OCCM) has started an education campaign throughout the vendor and customer agency communities to promote the values added by the many SmartPay features. In order to maximize the valuable features of our payment solutions, it is important that the personnel involved in the process understand their responsibilities. OCCM's involvement in the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative has opened new avenues within our messaging campaign, we call this effort - "Card-Driven Strategic Sourcing".  Amongst the elements we would like to promote are:

  1. Processing cost-reduction value to the vendor community when they provide complete Level 3 data to the Card Network stream;
  2. GSA SmartPay BIN Recognition by the vendors as a trigger to apply the appropriate schedule, BPA or discounted price on the products and services acquired by our customer agencies and;
  3. Increased refunds to our customer agencies.

Any questions, clarifications or Card-Driven Strategic Sourcing, can be addressed to Milton Vazquez at 703-605-9475, or via email (milton.vazquez@gsa.gov).

Recognizing the GSA SmartPay Card

As a business, it is important to recognize what type of account (either IBA or CBA) is involved in the transaction and how taxes are treated in your state.  

GSA SmartPay Travel Account

What is the GSA SmartPay Travel Account?

The GSA SmartPay Travel Account can be used for official government travel and travel-related expenses.

Travel, Tax Advantage and Integrated Accounts:

  • Accounts may be either VISA or MasterCard.
  • Visa brand accounts will begin with 4486, 4614, 4615, or 4716. MasterCard brand accounts will begin with 5568 or 5565.  
  • Accounts may be issued by Citibank or U.S. Bank. 

Travel cards may have three different designs:

 Travel Card Designs     

Federal government travelers using IBA Travel Accounts will be exempt from state taxes only in select states and a state tax exemption form may be required.  To determine whether the GSA SmartPay account is a CBA or an IBA, refer to the 6th digit of the account number:

Prefix (1st four digits) Sixth Digit Issuing Bank Billing Type

4486, 4614 (Visa)

5565, 5568 (MasterCard)

1,2,3,4 Citibank/ 
US Bank

Individually Billed (IBA Travel)

4486, 4614 (Visa)

5565, 5568 (MasterCard)

6,7,8,9,0 Citibank/ 
​US Bank

Centrally Billed (CBA Travel)

4486, 4615, 4716 (Visa)

5565, 5568 (MasterCard)

5 Citibank/ 
​US Bank
CBA/IBA (Tax Advantage Travel Account)
  • Centrally Billed Accounts (CBA): CBAs are GSA SmartPay accounts where payment is made directly to the bank by the Government.  
  • Individually Billed Accounts (IBA): IBAs are GSA SmartPay accounts where payment is made directly to the bank by the individual. 
  • Tax Advantage Travel Account: A combination of CBA and IBA. Charges for rental cars and lodging will be automatically billed to a CBA for payment.  Charges for other travel-related purchases such as meals and incidentals are billed to the IBA portion of the account.

GSA SmartPay Purchase Account

What is the GSA SmartPay Purchase Account?

In accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the GSA SmartPay Purchase Account is the preferred method of payment for micro-purchases (FAR Part 13.201).  For purchases above the micro-purchase threshold, the purchase solution may be used as an ordering and payment mechanism. 

  • Accounts may be either a VISA or a MasterCard. Visa accounts will begin with 4614, 4715 or 4716. MasterCard accounts will begin with 5568 or 5565.
  • Accounts may be issued by Citibank or U.S. Bank.

Purchase cards can have two different card designs:

Purchase and Integrated Cards    

All GSA SmartPay Purchase Accounts are centrally billed (CBA) and should be exempt from state taxes.

Best practices for assessing taxes include:

  • Verifying that the customer is a federal employee through the card logo, the BIN, or the employee’s government ID card.  Note: The sixth digit of a GSA SmartPay Purchase Account does not need to be analyzed, because the accounts are identified by the BIN.
  • Visiting  https://smartpay.gsa.gov/smarttax for specific tax information for your state including points of contact if you have questions.
Prefix (1st four digits) Issuing Bank Billing Type

4614, 4715, 4716 (Visa)

5565, 5568 (MasterCard)

Citibank/ 
US Bank
Centrally Billed (CBA Purchase Account)

GSA SmartPay Fleet Account

What is the GSA SmartPay Fleet Account?

Use of the GSA SmartPay Fleet Account enables agencies/organizations to conveniently obtain fuel and maintenance for vehicles and equipment, as well as manage tax recovery efforts and collect detailed fleet management data.

  • Accounts may be Voyager, WEX, Visa or MasterCard.
  • Accounts may be issued by Citibank or U.S. Bank.

Fleet cards may have two different designs:

Fleet Card Designs    

All GSA SmartPay Fleet accounts are centrally billed (CBA) and should be exempt from state taxes.

Prefix Issuing Bank Billing Type

4486, 4614 (Visa)

5563,5565, 5568 (MasterCard)

5565, 6900, 7071 (WEX)

7088 (Voyager)

Citibank/ 
US Bank
Centrally Billed (CBA Fleet Account)

 

Common Questions

1. How do I accept a GSA SmartPay Account?

GSA SmartPay Accounts operate just like the commercial market. For example, if you already accept these forms of payment for non-Government purchases, you can accept the GSA SmartPay payment solutions.  The same previously negotiated transaction fees apply to GSA SmartPay transactions. 

GSA SmartPay account holders may carry the following brands: Visa, MasterCard, WEX and Voyager. 

If you do not currently accept a particular form of payment, contact any financial institution to learn more about establishing a merchant account and maximizing your ability to capture government sales. 

2. Is the GSA SmartPay Account tax exempt?

In some cases, when using certain types of accounts, government account holders are exempt from taxes on their purchases.  Please visit the SmartTax section of the website for more information on taxes.  

  • Centrally Billed Account (CBA): Expenses are directly paid by the Federal Government and should not be charged state taxes.

  • Individually Billed Account (IBA): Expenses are paid by the account holder and, depending on the state, may be eligible for state tax exemption.

  • Tax Advantage Account: Combines an IBA and CBA. Rental car and lodging expenses are billed as a CBA and should not be charged state taxes. All other expenses (e.g., meals) are billed as an IBA and may be eligible for state taxation.

3. How do I identify GSA SmartPay Accounts?

Most GSA SmartPay Accounts will use government specific designs will display the GSA SmartPay logo, including the phrase “United States Government” or “For Official Use Only.”

The 5 standard card designs are displayed below:

    All Card Designs

4. What if I am unable to accept a GSA SmartPay Account?

A business that has trouble accepting a GSA SmartPay account may be classified under a blocked Merchant Category Code (MCC). Businesses are required to label themselves by selecting a MCC that describes the products or services provided. Certain MCCs are blocked by agencies to prevent fraud and misuse.

If a company is experiencing problems accepting GSA SmartPay accounts, it may be because the business is classified under an MCC that is blocked by that agency. To remedy this problem, merchants should talk to their financial institution to confirm that their MCC classification is accurate.

5. Do I have to accept GSA SmartPay Account?

Merchants and vendors that wish to obtain a schedule contract to do business with the Government are required to accept GSA SmartPay payment solutions as a method of payment for micro-purchases.  The rules and requirements for accepting payment solutions are defined by the card associations.

6. How can I promote the use of the GSA SmartPay program at my business?

To promote the use of the GSA SmartPay payment solutions at their establishments, merchants can:

  • Provide Point of Sale Discounts – Offering a point of sale discount to government account holders is a great way to differentiate a business from others, and to increase the amount of government purchases.
  • Provide Level 3 Transaction Data – Merchants that provide Level 3 transaction data are more attractive to government agencies because the data enables agencies to keep track of their purchases more accurately. Merchants who wish to learn more about Level 3 data should contact their financial institution for more information.

7. Can account holders use their account to fund alternative payment mechanisms, such as PayPal?

Third Party Payment processors (e.g., PayPal, iBill, etc.) offer e-commerce/internet payment solutions for commercial transactions. The processors own merchant accounts that allow them to accept and process orders on behalf of other companies. Many vendors choose to utilize third party payment processors in order to accept online payments without having to establish a merchant account through a bank. Some vendors find that this is a more cost effective option, especially if they do not process enough transactions to establish their own merchant account to accept charge cards. Vendors pay third party processors a transaction fee for these services rather than processing transactions through a merchant bank.

Internet transactions that are made using third party payment platforms are considered to be high-risk transactions and it is recommended to GSA SmartPay account holders that alternative methods of payment should be considered. Although there are not any existing government-wide policies or procedures outlining the use of third party payment processors, several agencies have developed internal policies related to this issue. These policies range from the complete restriction of third party payment processors to less restrictive policies which allow for transactions to be made when a workaround cannot be identified.

8. Where can I find the VISA and MasterCard rules and regulations?

The VISA and MasterCard rules and operating regulations can be found by clicking on the following links: 

9. Is a merchant allowed to photocopy a GSA SmartPay Charge Card?

Both VISA and MasterCard state in their guidelines that a merchant is allowed to make/store a photocopy of a charge card provided they do NOT record or copy the PIN and/or CVC data in any manner or for any purpose.

VISA guidelines state:  A merchant must not require a cardholder to provide any supplementary cardholder information as a condition of honoring the card including photocopying the card, unless it is required or permitted elsewhere in the US Regional Operating Regulations.

MasterCard guidelines state:  The merchant must absolutely not copy the back of the card because the merchant is not allowed to record the CVC data.  Although there is no rule prohibiting making a copy of the card front, there are standards regarding storing and destroying account data, which would include a copy of the card front. 

Note:  According to US Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 33, 701, it is illegal for a merchant to photocopy your Government ID. 

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