What are ePayables and what kind of ePayables are offered under the GSA SmartPay program?

EPayables are a solution that augments or replaces the accounts payables process such that electronic transactions take place directly between the government and the supplier. EPayables solutions are typically used with merchants who are traditionally paid by check or EFT or with merchants who do not accept charge card payments (e.g., utility companies).

Examples include:

  • Straight-Through Processing,
  • Buyer-Initiated Payments,
  • Supplier-Initiated Payments,
  • Procure-to-Pay, and
  • Other card-not-present solutions.

For the purpose of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract, ePayables do not include virtual cards, single use accounts, or other products/services presently defined under business lines.

The GSA SmartPay program offers three different ePayables solutions for agencies to consider, including:

  • Supplier-Initiated Payments (SIP)
  • Straight-Through Processing (STP)
  • Buyer-Initiated Payments (BIP)

GSA SmartPay Strategic Payment Solutions Video Series #3 ePayables

The GSA SmartPay Strategic Solutions video series offers a variety of solutions that will assist agencies in completing their mission and increase refunds within the program. Learn more about how ePayables work through this short video.

Supplier-Initiated Payments (SIP)

Supplier-Initiated Payments are the process of electronically connecting suppliers (or other merchants) to the government’s supply chain and back-end payment systems. This type of ePayables allows a supplier to enroll with the GSA SmartPay contractor bank in order to connect to an agency’s supply chain and/or bank end payment system. The GSA SmartPay contractor bank prepares invoices and processes approved invoices on behalf of the agency. The contractor bank remits payment to the supplier/merchant utilizing agency payment files for disbursement against designated account(s) for specific transactions.

The steps below outlines the specific process utilized for Supplier-Initiated Payments.

  1. Supplier (merchant) enrolls through GSA SmartPay contractor bank
  2. Supplier (merchant) invoices agency/organization
  3. GSA SmartPay contractor bank prepares invoices for submission to the agency/organization
  4. Agency/organization approves invoice in their financial system
  5. Transaction is processed through the GSA SmartPay contractor bank
  6. Payment is remitted to supplier (merchant)
  7. Agency/organization is notified through the EAS
  8. Transaction is reconciled


Straight-Through Processing (STP)

Straight- Through Processing is an automated payment transaction processing service where the agency sends the payment file directly to the merchant’s acquiring institution (the financial institution or bank that they utilize for their business). The networks (Visa or MasterCard) process the payment automatically on behalf of the agency and GSA SmartPay contractor bank and deposit the funds directly into the merchant’s bank account.


Straight-Through Processing (STP) Diagram

Buyer-Initiated Payments (BIP)

Buyer- Initiated Payments are a type of transaction that requires no action by the supplier (the merchant), no point-of-sale terminals, or other hardware/software required to receive payment.

Buyer-Initiated Payment (BIP) Diagram