By Mohana Ravindranath
Consumers may one day rely less on traditional magnetic-strip credit cards as technology companies and banks introduce new, potentially more secure payment methods — such as tapping smartphones at the register to make payments, or using credit cards with embedded chips that are scanned, not swiped.
Soon, the federal government could take cues from the commercial sector as it tries to improve the way employees make official charges for hotels, airfare, car rentals, and other purchases or services.
The General Services Administration is preparing for a third generation of its SmartPay program and is asking industry about current best practices for payment and charge cards.
The program currently serves some 350 agencies and organizations in managing payment cards for purchasing office supplies, travel accommodations and fleet transactions. Agencies spent approximately $26 billion in 2014 using cards, saving $1.7 billion compared to the cost of submitting paper purchase orders.