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GSA SmartPay

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Travel

The GSA SmartPay program provides a means to pay for all travel and travel related expenses. Discover tips to success by learning about policies, training opportunities, and innovative solutions here! 

Account Holders/ AOs

Travel Program Overview

What is the GSA SmartPay Travel Account?

The GSA SmartPay travel program provides account holders a means to pay for all travel and travel related expenses. Additionally, the GSA SmartPay program is the primary mechanism used to purchase airline, rail and bus tickets at significantly reduced fares under the GSA City Pairs Program (CPP). For more information on the City Pairs Program, click here.

The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-264) mandates Federal Government account holders to use the travel account for official government travel expenses. The travel account allows individual account holders to pay for travel expenses and receive cash advances. In many instances, use of the account has eliminated the need for agencies to issue travel cash advances. Government account usage provides streamlined, best-practice processes that are consistent with private industry standards.

The GSA SmartPay Program has continued to grow through increased adoption as agencies/organizations realize benefits afforded under the program.

Benefits include:

  • Universal Acceptance: Because GSA SmartPay travel accounts are either VISA or MasterCard brands, they can be used at any merchant that already accepts these types of payment.
  • Safety and Convenience: GSA SmartPay travel accounts significantly reduce or eliminate the need for agency imprest funds or cash. Account holders do not need to worry about carrying large amounts of cash with them when they travel, thus making the GSA SmartPay payment solutions more secure as well as more convenient for the traveler.
  • Refunds: Agencies receive monetary payments provided by the contractor based on the dollar or spend volume during a specified time period, which result in millions of dollars back per year for the agency.
  • Electronic Access to Data: The GSA SmartPay contractor banks all provide an Electronic Access Systems (EAS), which provides account access and a variety of reports for A/OPCs to assist in the effective management of the program.

Exceptions to using the GSA SmartPay travel account include:

  • The vendor does not accept the payment solution;
  • The administrator of GSA has granted an exemption (see FTR Section 301-70.704); or
  • Your agency head has granted an exemption.

 

Types of GSA SmartPay Travel Accounts

New to GSA SmartPay 3: GSA SmartPay Tax Advantage Travel Card Accounts are new product offerings that combine an Individually Billed Account (IBA) and Centrally Billed Account (CBA), providing a means to obtain tax exemption automatically at the point of sale for rental cars and lodging charges.

Travel Individually Billed Accounts (IBAs) are the most common travel account, issued directly to the employees by the customer agency/ organization to be used to pay for official travel and travel-related expenses. IBAs may only be issued to federal employees or employees of Tribes or Tribal Organizations. IBAs may be used for local travel only if authorized by written policy of the agency/ organization. Agencies/ organizations reimburse employees only for authorized and allowable expenses. Account holders are directly responsible for all purchases charged to the IBA account. Payment may be made directly by the account holder, agency/ organization, or in the form of a split disbursement in accordance with agency/ organization policy

Travel Centrally Billed Accounts (CBAs) are established by agencies/organizations for official travel charges and official travel-related expenses. Agencies/organizations generally use the Travel CBA to purchase common carrier transportation tickets for employee official travel through third-party arrangements, such as the GSA E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) for civilian agencies, the Defense Travel System (DTS) for the Department of Defense or permissible equivalent travel system. Agencies/organizations may also make purchases through travel management centers, commercial travel offices, and through other government contracts

When using the new Tax Advantage Travel Card Account, charges for rental cars and lodging will be automatically billed to a CBA for payment, taking advantage of the Government’s CBA tax exemption status for those types of accounts. Charges for other travel-related purchases such as meals and incidentals are billed to the IBA portion of the account, will still incur tax, and the individual traveler will still be liable for payment to the bank for those charges.

 

Account Holder Responsibilities

Do's

In addition to your agency's travel policy, you should comply with the following guidelines:

  • Do use your government travel account to pay for official travel expenses.
  • Do obtain travel advances for official travel through an ATM if authorized by your agency.
  • Do track your expenses and keep receipts while on travel so you have accurate information for filing your travel claim.
  • Do file your travel claim within five working days after you complete your trip or every 30 days if you are on continuous travel.
  • Do submit payment in full for each monthly bill.
  • Do follow your bank's dispute process for charges which are incorrect.
  • Do contact your bank's customer service number if you have questions about your monthly bill.
  • Do be aware that misuse of the travel account could result in disciplinary actions by your agency.
  • Do be aware that failure to pay your bill in a timely manner can result in suspension or cancelation of your account.
  • Do destroy your travel charge card if you leave your agency or retire.
  • Do immediately report your lost or stolen account to your A/OPC and the issuing bank.
  • Do destroy any lost or stolen cards that are recovered.
  • Do be aware of identity theft schemes attempting to gain access to financial information.
Dont's
  • Don’t use your travel account for personal use.
  • Don’t obtain travel advances through the ATM which exceed your expected out of pocket expenditures for a trip.
  • Don’t obtain travel advances through the ATM unless you are on travel or will be on travel shortly.
  • Don’t allow your monthly bill to become overdue because this could result in suspension or cancelation of your account.
  • Don’t wait for receipt of your monthly billing statement to file your travel claim.
  • Don’t forget that the account is issued in your name and liability for payment is your responsibility.
  • Don’t write your personal identification number (PIN) down or carry your PIN in your wallet.

Approving Official (AO) and Certifying Official

What is an Approving Official?

Specific to the purchase programs, the Approving Official is an individual (typically a supervisor) responsible for ensuring that the purchase account is used properly by the agency. The Approving Official also authorizes account holder purchases (for official use only) and ensures that the statements are reconciled and submitted to the Designated Billing Office (DBO) in a timely manner.

What is a Certifying Official?

A Certifying Official is an individual who has been charged with the responsibility of authorizing certified vouchers for payment and ensuring that funds are available for obligation before payment. The Certifying Official is held accountable for public funds in civilian agencies.

Note: OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B and the GSA SmartPay Master Contract language utilize the terms Approving Official and Certifying Official synonymously. In the case of many agencies/organizations, the individual that holds the title of Approving Official also holds the title of Certifying Official. However, the roles of Approving Official and Certifying Official may be separate functions in some agencies/organizations.

What is my role as an Approving Official?

There are many important responsibilities entrusted to the Approving Official, including:

  • The Approving Official is responsible for ensuring that all purchases made by the account holder(s) within his/her span of control are appropriate and the charges are accurate. Purchases should not only be legal and proper, but also should be considered “mission essential”. In order to ensure proper purchases, the Approving Official must review and approve account holder statements belonging to all account holders within their purview. The Approving Official’s review should include looking at all required receipts and account holder logs.
  • The Approving Official is responsible for counseling account holders within his/her span of control regarding regulations, misuse, and delinquency.
  • The Approving Official is responsible for resolving all questionable purchases with the account holder. Upon review of receipts and account holder logs, if the Approving Official finds a questionable purchase, the Approving Official must work with the account holder to receive more information regarding the purchase in order to determine the legitimacy of the purchase.
  • The Approving Official is responsible for elevating unresolved questionable purchases to the Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC). In the event an unauthorized purchase is detected or there is a purchase that is still in question after review of supporting account holder documentation, the Approving Official must notify the A/OPC as well as any other appropriate personnel in accordance with agency policy. This may include notifying the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for further investigation relating to potential misuse.
  • The Approving Official is responsible for ensuring monthly billing account accuracy. The Approving Official signs the account statement and maintains documentation regarding the account in accordance with agency procedures.
  • The Approving Official is responsible for conducting informal compliance reviews for all account holders under their span of control. These reviews should be completed in accordance with the agency’s specific policies (i.e. frequency, format).
  • The Approving Official is responsible for ensuring that account holders follow the mandatory source requirements established in Part 8 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), otherwise known as the Required Sources of Supplies and Services.
  • Assist A/OPCs and account holders with their responsibility to obtain, maintain and retain complete documentation of all purchases, particularly when pre-approval is required. This can be done by ensuring the proper documentation is sent and received through the approval chain. Tools, logs, and templates for the AO can be found on the GSA SmartPay website at: https://smartpay.gsa.gov/content/resources#sa864

Note: Approving Officials may be held financially responsible for payments made on accounts because of failure to ensure billing account accuracy.

Remember, it is important to review your agency’s specific policy regarding reimbursement and disciplinary actions.

OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B provides multiple recommendations with regard to the Approving Official function. OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B recommends:

  • Compliance reviews, or agency audits of account holder files, should be conducted at a minimum on an annual basis.
  • The span of control, or number of account holders assigned to each Approving Official, is no greater than between 1:5 or 1:10 (i.e. each Approving Official is responsible for between 5 and 10 account holders).
  • An Approving Official is able to act independently. For example, an employee should not be the Approving Official for a supervisor. This type of arrangement may put the employee in a compromising position and jeopardize their role as an Approving Official.

In addition to the above recommendations provided in OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B, many agencies may provide additional responsibilities for the Approving Official within their agency’s policies. It is important that the Approving Official reviews the agency’s specific policies before beginning their official duties.

What is my role as a Certifying Official?

United States Code Title 31 Section 3528, states the roles and responsibilities of a Certifying Official. These roles and responsibilities include:

  • Certifying a voucher is responsible for the information contained in that voucher and the supporting records.
  • The Certifying Official is responsible for the computation of the certified voucher.

The Certifying Official must ensure that all line items contained in the voucher and the total amount for payment has been computed correctly and that there are no mathematical errors in the voucher.

  • The Certifying Official is responsible for the legality of the proposed payment under the appropriation or fund involved in the payment. In other words, the Certifying Official must make sure that the line of accounting that is utilized to pay the voucher aligns with the type of items purchased.

In the case of the purchase program, the Certifying Official will most often rely on other members of the Government Purchase Team to review the supporting records (i.e. the account holder and the Approving Official). However, the Certifying Official still has a responsibility to assess the accuracy of the data while performing the certification process and to report suspect transactions to the A/OPC and appropriate investigative office.

  • The Certifying Official is financially responsible for repaying a payment if the payment was certified and was illegal, improper, or incorrect due to negligence on the part of the Certifying Official or was not paid out of the correct appropriation due to negligence on the part of the Certifying Official.

See United States Code 31, Section 3528 for a full explanation of the financial responsibilities of a Certifying Official.

In addition to the roles and responsibilities stated above, many agencies may provide additional responsibilities for the Certifying Official within their agency’s policies. It is important that the Certifying Official reviews the agency’s specific policies.

Additional Resources

Additional resources including tools, logs, and templates for the AO can be found on the GSA SmartPay website at: https://smartpay.gsa.gov/content/resources#sa864

Signing Up for a GSA SmartPay Travel Account

New Applicants

The account holder, or also known as cardholder, is the individual or agency/organization component designated by an agency/organization to receive an account. The account holder is responsible for:

  • Securing the account;
  • Maintaining records relating to all travel transactions; and
  • Using the account ethically and appropriately.

A creditworthiness assessment is used as an internal control to ensure that account holders are financially responsible. If you are a new travel account applicant, then your agency is required to assess your creditworthiness in accordance with P.L. 112-194 before an account is issued.

In some cases, a restricted account may be issued if the applicant has a low creditworthiness score or refuses a credit check. A restricted card includes constraints such as:

  • Reducing the limit on individual transaction amounts;
  • Limiting the types of transactions allowed;
  • Issuing a declining balance card that automatically restricts dollar amount and transaction types;
  • Limiting the dollar amount of transactions that can be applied to the card within a particular time period;
  • Limiting the length of time a card remains active, such as for the length of time the account holder is in official travel status; and/or
  • Restricting use at ATMs.

To apply for a GSA SmartPay travel account, please follow these steps:

  • Contact the travel program coordinator (A/OPC) at your agency to obtain an application and submit the necessary information for the GSA SmartPay travel account.
    • Provide an address (typically your home address) where your GSA SmartPay travel account is to be mailed.
    • Provide an identifier to activate your travel account (and remember it!).
    • Inquire about ATM access from your A/OPC.
  • Know and understand your responsibilities in accepting a GSA SmartPay travel account. Be aware that:
    • You are personally liable and responsible for all charges whether or not you are reimbursed by your agency;
    • Your credit rating may be affected if the account is cancelled;
    • You may be subject to disciplinary action and/or salary offset for late payment.
  • Sign and submit the application 
Receiving Your GSA SmartPay Travel Account

New applicants should receive their GSA SmartPay travel account from the contractor bank to the address provided in your application within 10-14 calendar days from the time the application is submitted by your A/OPC. Replacements for lost, stolen, broken, or otherwise unusable cards will be sent within 48 hours of the agency/organization request.

In the case of an emergency, such as response to a natural disaster, threat to national security and military mobilization, the contractor bank will send the GSA SmartPay travel account within 24 hours of the request.

If you have ATM authorization, the contractor bank will mail your ATM PIN separately. You should receive your PIN within a few days of receiving your travel account; however, you may receive your PIN before you receive the travel account.

When you receive your GSA SmartPay travel account:

  • Read the Account Holder Agreement.
  • Sign the back of your GSA SmartPay travel charge card, if applicable.
  • Activate your GSA SmartPay travel account.
  • Secure your GSA SmartPay travel account until you are ready to travel.
  • Read and understand your agency specific travel policy and procedures.
  • Find out what documents or receipts you will need to keep.
  • Become familiar with Federal travel policy:
    • Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) - for civilian employees (41 CFR., Chapters 301-304).
    • Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) - for DoD civilian employees
    • Foreign Affairs Manual, Volume 4, Chapter 460 (4 FAM 460) and Foreign Affairs Manual, Volume 14, Chapter 500 (14 FAM 500) for members of the Foreign Service, U.S. Department of State

 

Extended Benefits

Government travel account holders, under the GSA SmartPay Program, are eligible to receive extended benefits coverage. They are covered when the account holder initiates and pays for the entire travel related transaction with their government account.

Any/All benefit are agency specific. This means that some agencies may have more benefits due to differences in the task order.

Additional restrictions, limitations, and exclusions may apply to the terms and conditions of the insurance provisions. Dollar limitations on services provided may vary depending upon the contractor. For details, please contact your issuing bank’s customer service center.

These benefits are provided, free of charge, through the following contractors:

  • JPMorganChase
  • Citibank
  • US Bank
Travel Emergency Assistance
  • Lost or Stolen Account Report
  • Emergency Medical Referral Assistance
  • Prescription Assistance
  • Emergency Legal Referral Assistance
  • Valuable Document Delivery
  • Emergency Transportation Assistance
  • Emergency Ticket Replacement
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Lost Luggage Assistance
  • Emergency Message Service
  • Emergency Translation Service
  • Pre-Trip Assistance
Auto Rental Insurance (ARI)

For auto/rental insurance (ARI) information, please refer to your Visa/ MasterCard benefits document.

Planning for Travel

Travel Authorization (TA) and Cost Estimating

The first step to planning for official government travel, or travel performed at the direction of a Federal agency under an official travel authorization, is to determine:

  • The purpose of the trip,
  • Length of time you will be on travel,
  • Destination(s),
  • Dates of departure and return, and
  • Whether a vehicle is needed while at your destination.

Note: Account holders traveling locally and not under an official travel authorization may use their GSA SmartPay Travel Account for local travel expenses only when expressly authorized by agency/organization-level policy.

Next, fill out a Travel Authorization (TA), the official authorization to take the trip.

The TA will need to be signed by your supervisor and routed for other necessary approvals. In order to complete the TA, you will need:

  • Transportation Fares
  • Lodging Expenses
  • Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)
  • Actual Expenses
  • Training and Conference Attendance Fees

Transportation Fares for air, privately-owned vehicles or train transportation:

  • Airline: GSA negotiates special reduced rates with airline companies called the GSA City Pair Program (CPP). Rates and schedules are listed at www.gsa.gov/citypair
  • Privately-Owned Vehicles (POVs): Mileage rates for using POVs are listed at www.gsa.gov/mileage
  • Train Transportation: Check with your Travel Management Company (TMC) for train transportation fares and information.

Lodging Expenses :

  • Lodging rates vary by time of year and location. To find out the per diem rate for the area you will be traveling, go to https:// www.gsa.gov/perdiem.
  • State Tax Exemption: Depending on the type of account you are using and the state where you are traveling, you may be tax exempt. If you are traveling to a state which does not grant tax exemptions for your type of account, taxes are reimbursable by your agency. Before leaving for travel, visit the GSA SmartPay website or contact the state directly for information about tax exemption and to obtain any state tax exemption forms (if required) and other related state tax information.

Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE):

Actual Expenses: In situations where normal per diem rates are not sufficient to cover costs, actual expenses are allowable. This method of reimbursement must be approved ahead of time on your TA. (For additional information, refer to FTR 301-11.303, Actual Expense).

Training Events/ Forum Attendance: Special rates may apply for federal government attendance at training events/ forums. All fees must be indicated on your TA and approved ahead of time. Advance payment of a forum or training registration fee may be reimbursed as soon as your TA has been approved and after you have submitted the proper travel claim/voucher for the expenses incurred. Refer to FTR 301-74 Conference Planning for more information.

Making Reservations

Using the Travel Management System/ Commercial Travel Office for Airline, Lodging and Car Rental

As a federal government traveler on official travel, you are required to use the Travel Management System selected by your agency for all common carrier, lodging, and car rental arrangements. Only the head of your agency or his/her designee may exempt certain types of travel arrangements from the mandatory use of the Travel Management System. At most agencies, you will make travel reservations through your agency Travel Management Center (TMC), or Commercial Travel Office (CTO) if you work at the Department of Defense. The TMC/CTO may charge your agency a fee for processing the transaction. If there are several transactions, such as transportation and lodging reservations, the fee may be lower if you make all arrangements at the same time. Generally, the TMC/CTO pays for airline tickets using your agency's travel CBA, so these charges will not appear on your GSA SmartPay Travel Account. However, agency policy may require you to pay for airline tickets using your GSA SmartPay Travel IBA.

What are the benefits of the TMO/ CTO?

There are several benefits to having the TMC/ CTO make your reservations:

  • Compliance with the Fly America Act, Government-wide travel policies, contract city pair fares, electronic ticketing, and ticket delivery.
  • Compliance with the Hotel/Motel Fire Safety Act.
  • FedRooms consideration and benefits:
    • FedRooms provides Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), FEMA and ADA compliant hotel rooms for federal government travelers on official business.
    • Customers receive benefits such as best price/value (at or below per diem), policy compliant hotels, flexibility when cancelling, a variety of booking channels, and quality lodging worldwide.
    • FedRooms hotels are educated in state tax exempt policy and procedures.

For lodging reservations placed outside of FedRooms, it is particularly important to ask:

  • Is the facility is on the FEMA list of fire safe lodging?
  • What is the hotel’s cancellation policy? Be sure to cancel within the appropriate times if you will not be using the room. Most hotels charge for last minute cancellations or no-shows.
  • What is the late arrival policy?
  • When does the hotel charge your GSA SmartPay travel account? This is important because it will affect your ability to receive timely reimbursement from your agency.
  • Does the hotel honor the state tax exemption policy? Some states tax exempt for GSA SmartPay IBAs. If you are traveling to a state which does not grant tax exemptions, taxes are reimbursable. Before leaving for travel, make sure you know the tax exempt policy for your destination by checking the GSA SmartPay Website.

For airline reservations: Use of City Pair fares is mandatory unless a valid exception as listed in the FTR at 301-10.107 exists. FTR requires that the more highly discounted "CA" fare be considered first and chosen if available and meets mission requirements. In order to obtain a refund for unused or partially used tickets, the traveler is responsible for contacting the travel agent, the Commercial Travel Office (CTO) or airline (if tickets were purchased directly from the airline).

Before, During, and After the Trip

Before the Trip

Can I receive a cash advance?

In accordance with agency policy, you may obtain cash to cover all anticipated out-of-pocket cash expenses for the trip before you leave. The preferred and most efficient method to obtain a cash advance is by using your government travel account to withdraw cash from an ATM machine. As a reminder, do not withdraw cash for personal use.

How do I get my airline tickets?

Most TMCs/ CTOs use e-ticketing and will send your itinerary and ticket confirmation through email. With e-ticketing, you will not get a physical ticket, only information about the reservation. If your TMC/CTO mails airline tickets, pick up your ticket as close to the date of departure as possible.

Note: Federal employees may retain, for personal use, frequent flyer miles earned while on official government travel.

Travel Checklist

When packing for your trip, don’t forget:

  • Your Government issued picture ID card/ badge or driver's license.
  • A copy of your travel authorization.
  • Your GSA SmartPay travel account to pay for official travel expenses.
  • Personal cash or personal credit cards to pay for personal expenses.
  • Lodging tax exempt forms; if required.
  • A record of expenses - write them down and save receipts. Lodging receipts are required by all agencies. Follow agency policy with regard to other receipts.

Below is a quick snapshot of what is and is not reimbursable while on your trip:

 Is Reimbursable

 Is NOT Reimbursable

Airfare and baggage fees

Business or First Class air fares without prior written approval

Maximum lodging amount allowed for the per diem locality excluding lodging tax

Amount in excess of lodging amount allowed for the per diem locality unless previously approved

Meals (up to the rate for the per diem locality)

Meal costs over the rate for the per diem locality

Personal calls (per agency policy)

Personal calls (per agency policy)

Work related telephone calls and faxing

Gifts and souvenirs

Laundry and dry cleaning (at the TDY location and only after consecutive nights lodging on official domestic travel)

Postcards and postage

Car rental (approved)

Personal Expenses

Shuttle, taxi, and tips

 

ATM fees if allowed by your agency (cash advances for official travel only)

 
During the Trip

Remember, ONLY use your travel account for authorized official travel expenses.

What happens if my GSA SmartPay account doesn't work?

If your GSA SmartPay travel account does not work, there may be several possible reasons this may occur including:

  • The transaction may be denied due to an authorization control such as a Merchant Category Code, or MCC block. An MCC is a four-digit code used to identify the type of business a merchant conducts (gas stations, restaurant, airlines, etc). The merchant chooses their MCC with their bank. Program coordinators use MCCs to control what purchases are allowable. If your account does not work due to an MCC block, contact your program coordinator for advice or to get the block lifted. Note: The bank cannot unblock a merchant category code or raise your credit limit without approval from your program coordinator.
  • Your travel account may be suspended or cancelled due to delinquent payment. If you recently paid the bill, it may not have posted yet, or there may be other payment problems. Call the bank's customer service for advice:

Citibank:

U.S. Bank:

When should I use the ATM while on travel?

Use the ATM feature of your GSA SmartPay travel account to obtain cash for official travel expenses authorized on your travel authorization. If you need assistance finding the nearest ATM, contact the bank's customer service at the number on the back of your GSA SmartPay travel account. If you lose or forget the PIN, you must apply for a new one and it will be mailed to the address provided in the application. Bank personnel are not able to look up the PIN for you. Your agency limits ATM use to a maximum dollar transaction over a specified period of time. Contact your agency program coordinator to find out your ATM limits.

What are ATM fees?

  • The contractor bank may charge a minimal fee for ATM use. The amount of the fee is listed in your Account Holder Agreement and is reimbursable.
  • The ATM machine you use may charge an additional fee. It will be posted on the receipt and is also reimbursable, if allowed by your agency.

Remember: Do not use the ATM from your GSA SmartPay travel account to obtain cash for personal expenses.

Can I use the GSA SmartPay Travel Account internationally?

Yes, your travel account may be used for official government international travel at any merchant who accepts VISA or MasterCard.

  • You may obtain foreign currency from a bank or an ATM using the GSA SmartPay travel account.
  • Foreign currency transactions will be converted to U.S. dollars using a favorable conversion rate in existence at the time the transaction is processed. Processing may or may not take place on the date of the transaction, and the rate may differ from day to day. The contractor bank shall not assess foreign currency conversion fees on purchases made in foreign currencies under the GSA SmartPay Program and will identify the conversion rate and any other third party fees related to foreign purchases charged on the statement.

Some agencies offer Foreign Currency Accounts to account holders, where payment solutions are offered in foreign currencies. All administrative functions, including billing and settlement, shall occur in the foreign currency desired by the agency/organization.

Returning from theTrip

When you return from your trip, you will have to fill out a Travel Voucher (TV) or a similar form at your agency to present your travel claim for expenses.

Here are few key tips to remember:

  • Within 5 working days of your return from official travel, complete and submit the travel claim/voucher.
  • Provide all necessary information from your trip including receipts as required by your agency.
  • Understand the sign-off process at your agency and follow-up to help speed your claim through the approval process.
  • Set up direct deposit to your bank account ahead of time to speed up the reimbursement process. This way you will not have to wait for a check to be mailed.
  • Use the amount reimbursed by your agency to pay the statement in full by the payment due date. If you do not pay the balance on your travel account bill, it will become delinquent.

 

How do I pay my GSA SmartPay Travel Account bill?

You will receive a statement notification, either electronically or through the mail, from the contractor bank once a month for your GSA SmartPay travel account. The bill will be issued for all travelers in your office on the same date each month, called the billing cycle date. When you receive the statement, verify all of the charges listed. The full amount of undisputed transactions is due to the contractor bank by the payment due date indicated on the statement, whether or not you have been reimbursed by your agency.

Important Note: The GSA SmartPay travel accounts are charge card accounts, not credit card accounts. Therefore, no minimum payment can be made to keep the account from becoming delinquent. You must pay the full amount listed on the statement by the payment due date. If payment is not received in a timely manner, you may lose your charging privileges and adversely affect your ability to perform your job responsibilities.

You can pay your bill electronically, through the mail, or by phone/ mobile app.

  • For electronic bill paying services: Make sure your account is set up with the correct account number, and make sure you know how many days the payment will take to reach the bank. Some networks send a check, so knowing the time frame is important to avoid delinquency. If your travel account number changes for any reason, don't forget to update the bill paying service with your new account number.
  • For mailing payments: Use the envelope provided by the issuing bank to mail your check and include the tear-off portion of the statement so that the amount you send will be posted to the correct account. Do not send checks to GSA. If your check bounces, the bank will charge a returned check fee, which is not reimbursable. If you have multiple returned checks, your travel account may be cancelled.
  • For mobile application payments: check with your agency program coordinator to see if this option is available for your agency and for instructions on how to download the mobile app.

Note: If you have no outstanding transactions at the billing cycle date, you will not receive an invoice. When all outstanding charges are paid, you will receive a statement the next month to reflect the payment.

When is the payment due date?

Payment for all undisputed charges must be made in full by the payment due date, which is 25 to 30 days after the closing date on the statement, depending on the contractor bank. The payment due date is printed on each bill.

When is my account considered past due?

An account is considered past due if payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received within 45 calendar days from the payment due date.

Consequences of late payment include:

  • Bank representatives will notify you.
  • Your program coordinator is notified that the amount is past due.
  • Your supervisor may also be notified.

Can my account be suspended if I don’t pay the bill?

Yes, an account may be suspended if payment of the full amount of undisputed charges is not received and posted by the contractor bank 61 calendar days from the payment due date.

Consequences of suspension include:

  • You will be unable to use the travel account.
  • Bank representatives will notify you.
  • Your program coordinator is notified that the account has been suspended.
  • In many agencies, higher level officials are notified.
  • The suspension will count towards the two suspensions, which will result in cancellation of the travel account when it becomes delinquent a third time.

When is my account cancelled?

An account may be cancelled if:

  • It has been suspended two times during a 12-month period for undisputed amounts and is past due again; or
  • There is misuse on the travel account and the program coordinator has approved the cancellation; or
  • It is past due for undisputed amounts at 126 calendar days past the closing date on the statement of account in which the charge appeared. At day 120, the contractor bank will notify the account holder and A/OPC electronically and in writing that the account will be canceled if payment is not received in full by the close of the fifth calendar day after the notification. At day 126, the account will be canceled unless otherwise directed by the A/OPC.

The program coordinator and/or GSA SmartPay Contracting Officer reserves the right to cancel an individually billed account (IBA) under his/her purview and shall document the reasons for the cancellation.

Consequences of cancellation include:

  • You will be unable to use your travel account, and it will not be reinstated.
  • Your ability to do your job may be affected if you are not able to travel and obtain government discounts.
  • The cancellation may be reported to your manager/supervisor and to your human resources officer.
  • The cancellation may result in a personnel action such as a notice or letter being placed in your official personnel record.
  • The cancellation may be reported to credit bureaus and your personal credit rating may suffer.
  • A late fee may be imposed on the uncollected balance.
  • The contractor bank may begin collection actions.
  • You will be liable for fees related to collection actions.
  • The contractor bank may request salary offset from your agency.
  • At 180 days past due, the bank writes off the account as a bad debt, and credit bureaus are again notified.

In summary,

Calendar Days Past the Payment Due Date

Account Status/Action

45 Days Past Due

Pre-Suspension

61 Days Past Due

Suspension/Pre-Cancellation

126 Days Past Due

Cancellation

180 Days Past Due

Charge Off/Write Off

Green Travel

When traveling, be aware of your impact on both the physical and social environment.  Whenever possible, try to minimize negative environmental impacts and make positive contributions by choosing eco-friendly options, conserving plants, wildlife and other resources, and respecting local cultures and communities.

Travelers have opportunities to preserve and protect the environment of the place they are visiting.  Look for green lodging options and earth-friendly transportation such as biking, walking and taking public transit. 

The Government has made environmental sustainability a priority.  FedRooms is working with its hotels to promote properties that have sustainable practices in place - look for the FedRooms “green” icon when searching for hotels. 

Some tips to think about before traveling include: 

  • Choose hotels that are locally owned or staffed by local employees.
  • Choose hotels that have recycling programs and options for reusing towels and sheets instead of having them changed each day.
  • Research if the hotel offers energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers, or if they take advantage of alternative energy sources.
  • Select a hotel close to public transportation and or near the places you are going to visit.
  • When flying, book electronic tickets.
  • Minimize air travel and choose to stay longer in a destination instead of making many short trips.
  • For shorter trips, take the train, take the bus, or drive.
  • When renting a car, choose a small hybrid car.
  • Share the ride with fellow employees.  Ride sharing can include either cabs or shuttle services between airports, hotels, and conferences or meetings.
  • Pack lightly.  Reducing the weight of luggage can significantly cut green house gas emissions and reduce the weight of your individual carbon footprint.
  • Before leaving home, unplug any unnecessary appliances and set the thermostat and water heater at low settings.

During your trip, try to:

  • Minimize water usage when showering or brushing your teeth.
  • Turn off air conditioning and other electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and toiletries.
  • Tell the hotel how important eco-friendly options are to you.
  • Walk: Agencies should raise the awareness of the environmental and health benefits of walking or bicycling between lodging and meetings at the temporary duty site when practical.
  • Use public transportation: You as a traveler should be familiar with subway/trains and bus routes that are available between meetings, lodging, and other locations at which business is to be conducted.
  • Grab only the maps and brochures that you will actually use.
  • Eat local: Visit a farmer’s market, shop at a locally owned grocery store and choose locally owned restaurants that buy local.
  • Whenever possible, utilize options that do not require batteries.  Buy rechargeable batteries for your essential travel items (cameras, razors, and flash lights).
  • Check out electronically.  Most hotels allow travelers to view and approve their bill electronically rather than relying on paper documents.

After your trip, eliminate the use of paper by signing up for online or paperless statements and payments.

Questionable Charges

How do I handle questionable charges on the bill?

As an account holder, you are responsible for reviewing all charges on your statement. One of the first signs of fraud is at least one “mystery expense” showing up on your statement. Verify your statement by:

  • Looking for transactions or account withdrawals you do not recall making; and
  • Checking for unknown vendors.

If you do notice a questionable charge, act promptly so that you will have the necessary information before payment is due.

  1. Contact the merchant for clarification on the charge. If you need help identifying the merchant, call the contractor bank's customer service number listed on the back of your GSA SmartPay travel account. If the charge is erroneous, generally the merchant will reverse it, and it will appear as a credit on your next statement. Be sure to follow up and make sure the credit was posted to your account and deduct the credited amount from your payment. If the credit is not posted in a reasonable amount of time, dispute the charge with the bank. If the merchant says it is a legitimate charge to your account, ask for proof, such as a signed receipt. If, after receiving the additional information from the merchant, you do not agree that it is a legitimate charge, dispute the charge with the bank.
  2. Disputable charges include double billings and charges to your account that belong to another account. Non-disputable charges include sales tax, shipping, and returned or unused airline tickets. Usually, airline tickets are purchased by the TMC using the centrally billed account and the amount will never appear on your travel account. In the instance when you purchase airline tickets using your own individually billed account and you return the tickets, the airline will issue a credit against your account. You, the account holder, are responsible for notifying the contractor bank of any items in dispute and shall have 90 calendar days from the transaction date to initiate a dispute, unless otherwise specified by the agency/organization.
  3. Payment of the undisputed charges must be made by the payment due date. Once you have submitted the dispute to the bank, delinquency of the disputed amount will be held in abeyance until the matter is resolved.

Note: You relinquish your right to recover a disputed amount if you do not dispute it before 90 calendar days from the transaction date .

Contractor Bank Support

Customer Service

Account holders who have questions related to their specific account, must contact their agency’s contractor bank directly. This number can be found on the GSA SmartPay website or listed on the back of your travel charge card. You can contact the bank with issues related to payment, delinquency, address/ personal information change, confusion about your bill, disputed items, how to use the bank’s online account access website, or other questions related to specific account information. Customer service representatives are accessible to both domestic and international account holders through a dedicated email address and toll-free numbers, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

If you need help contacting the banks or dealing with specific issues, your agency’s program coordinator (A/OPC) can assist you.

Citibank:

U.S. Bank:

The GSA SmartPay banks offer a secure web-based electronic access system (EAS) on which you can view your account electronically at any time. In addition, many agencies allow for mobile application capabilities including the ability to access EAS, pay invoices, receive text/email alerts, and view statement and payment information over a mobile device. You should request electronic access, along with a login and password, when you apply for a travel account.

How do I report a lost/ stolen account?

Report a lost or stolen travel account promptly to:

  1. The contractor bank;
  2. Your program coordinator (A/OPC); and
  3. Your supervisor.

Once an account has been reported as lost or stolen, the contractor bank immediately blocks that account from further usage and a new account number will be issued to the account holder.

Reporting the account as stolen does not relieve the account holder or the Government of payment for any transactions that were made by the account holder prior to reporting it stolen. If you do not recognize a transaction appearing on your statement, you are responsible for notifying the contractor bank within 90 calendar days from the transaction date to initiate a dispute, unless otherwise specified by the agency/organization. This notification of transaction dispute may occur via the electronic access system, by telephone, or other electronic means (e.g. email).

Note: You relinquish your right to recover a disputed amount after 90 calendar days from the date that the transaction was processed. It is your responsibility to dispute questionable charges. If you don’t, you will be held personally liable for the amount of the questionable charge.

What happens if my address changes?

If you change your address, please be sure to contact the bank immediately with your new information by:

  • Calling the toll free contractor bank number listed on the back of your account;
  • Using the bank's electronic access system; or
  • Asking your program coordinator to submit the change electronically.

Note: Make sure you file a change of address form at your local post office so mail will be forwarded.

Common Questions

Click here for commonly asked questions.

Program Coordinators

As a program coordinator, the success of your travel program depends on your basic understanding of GSA SmartPay, as well as your active participation and understanding of program policies and procedures set forth by your agency/organization.  GSA SmartPay offers a large variety of payment solutions that can be utilized to advance agency mission in many different ways. Find out more here!

Travel Program Overview

The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-264) mandates Federal Government account holders to use the contractor-issued travel account for official government travel expenses and to receive cash advances unless:

  1. A vendor does not accept the travel account;
  2. The Administrator of GSA has granted an exemption (see FTR Section 301-70.704); or
  3. Your agency head or his/her designee has granted an exemption.

Government travel accounts are VISA or MasterCard branded and can be used at any location that accepts VISA or MasterCard, including internationally.  The GSA SmartPay travel account may be used only for authorized official travel and authorized travel related expenses. Official travel expenses are transportation, lodging, meals, and incidentals. The travel account may NOT be used for personal expenses or used by any other person.

Why does the U.S. Government have a travel payment solutions program?

The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-264) mandates Federal Government account holders to use the travel account for official government travel expenses. The travel account allows individual account holders to pay for travel expenses and receive cash advances. In many instances, use of the account has eliminated the need for agencies to issue travel cash advances. Government account usage provides streamlined, best-practice processes that are consistent with private industry standards.

The GSA SmartPay Program has continued to grow through increased adoption as agencies/organizations realize benefits afforded under the program.

Benefits include:

  • Universal Acceptance: Because GSA SmartPay travel accounts are either VISA or MasterCard brands, they can be used at any merchant that already accepts these types of payment.
  • Safety and Convenience: GSA SmartPay travel accounts significantly reduce or eliminate the need for agency imprest funds or cash. Account holders do not need to worry about carrying large amounts of cash with them when they travel, thus making the GSA SmartPay payment solutions more secure as well as more convenient for the traveler.
  • Refunds: Agencies receive monetary payments provided by the contractor based on the dollar or spend volume during a specified time period, which result in millions of dollars back per year for the agency.
  • Electronic Access to Data: The GSA SmartPay contractor banks all provide an Electronic Access Systems (EAS), which provides account access and a variety of reports to assist in the effective management of the program.
What types of travel accounts are there in the GSA SmartPay program?

There are three types of travel accounts: Centrally Billed (CBA), Individually Billed (IBA), and Tax Advantage Accounts. These accounts are often identified by their physical appearance as well as account numbers.

 

 

 

 

If the 6th digit of the card = 1-4, the card is a GSA Smartpay IBA

Travel Individually Billed Accounts (IBAs) are issued directly to the employees of the customer agency/ organization to be used to pay for official travel and travel-related expenses. IBAs may only be issued to federal employees or employees of Tribes or Tribal Organizations. IBAs may be used for local travel only if authorized by written policy of the agency/ organization. Agencies/ organizations reimburse employees only for authorized and allowable expenses. Account holders are directly responsible for all purchases charged to the IBA account. Payment may be made directly by the account holder, agency/ organization, or in the form of a split disbursement in accordance with agency/ organization policy.

 

If the 6th digit of the card = 6-9, the card is a GSA Smartpay CBA

Travel Centrally Billed Accounts (CBAs) are established by agencies/organizations for official travel charges and official travel-related expenses. Agencies/organizations generally use the Travel CBA to purchase common carrier transportation tickets for employee official travel through third-party arrangements, such as the GSA E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) for civilian agencies, the Defense Travel System (DTS) for the Department of Defense or permissible equivalent travel system. Agencies/organizations may also make purchases through travel management centers, commercial travel offices, and through other government contracts.

If the 6th digit of the card = 0, the card is a GSA Smartpay Tax Advantage Account

GSA SmartPay Tax Advantage Travel Card Accounts are new product offerings that combine an Individually Billed Account (IBA) and Centrally Billed Account (CBA), providing a means to obtain tax exemption automatically at the point of sale for rental cars and lodging charges. Agencies / Organizations not eligible to receive IBAs may not utilize Tax Advantage Travel Card Accounts. The combined features of CBAs and IBAs are a key characteristic of this product.

When using the Tax Advantage Travel Card Account, charges for rental cars and lodging will be automatically billed to a CBA for payment, taking advantage of the Government’s tax exemption status for those types of accounts. Charges for other travel-related purchases such as meals and incidentals are billed to the IBA portion of the account, will still incur tax, and the individual traveler will still be liable for payment to the bank for those charges.

 

How does the GSA SmartPay Tax Advantage Travel Card Account Work?

The Tax Advantage Travel Card Account is issued to an employee designated by the agency/organization in the employee’s name. Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs) will work with their GSA SmartPay 3 Contractor to identify Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for rental cars and lodging to be excluded from taxes. Accounts will be established using IBA procedures, to include credit checks or other creditworthiness assessments. When the card is used, invoices will be sent to the employee and the agency/organization for payment via split disbursement. The CBA portion of the charges will be paid by the agency and the IBA portion of the charges will be the responsibility of the employee. Agencies/Organizations must specify invoice elements in their task order level requirements.

 

Who is liable for charges?

  • IBA Accounts: The GSA SmartPay Master Contract stipulates that liability for all charges rests with the individual account holder. If the account holder fails to pay his/her account on a timely basis, the bank may suspend or cancel the account and assess late charges and fees. If the bank cancels an account due to delinquency, the bank may report that information to credit bureaus and the information will appear on the account holder’s personal credit report. Also, the bank can pursue debt collection to obtain repayment of the charges. The agency/organization is never responsible or legally liable for the account.
  • CBA Accounts: The Federal Government accepts liability only for those proper charges made by an authorized centrally billed account holder using the account, but is not liable for any unauthorized use. Unauthorized use means the use of an account by a person, other than the account holder, who does not have actual, implied or apparent authority for such use and from which the account holder receives no benefit. When the centrally billed account has been used by an authorized account holder to make an unauthorized purchase, the Government is liable for the charge and the agency is responsible for taking appropriate action against the account holder.
  • Tax Advantage: Because the Tax Advantage Travel Account is a combination of both IBA and CBA, the liability will be determined by the type of purchase. If the purchase is an IBA, then the liability falls on the account holder (see IBA accounts). If the purchase is a CBA, then the liability falls on the Government (see CBA accounts).
What is the appropriate use of the GSA SmartPay travel account?

The GSA SmartPay Travel Accounts may be used ONLY for authorized official travel and travel-related expenses. Official travel expenses are broadly categorized as transportation, lodging, meals and incidentals.

The travel account must not be used for personal expenses unrelated to official Government travel. This is considered to be misuse of the account, or use of a Federal payment solution by an authorized user for other than the official government purpose(s) for which it is intended.

To help prevent misuse, the travel account may be electronically coded to be rejected at merchant locations that your agency has determined are not necessary for conducting official Government business.

Some Agencies Allow the GSA SmartPay Account to be used for local travel.

Program Coordinator Responsibilities

As the GSA SmartPay Travel A/OPC, you play a diverse role in the management of your agency’s travel program. Your main responsibility is to oversee the travel program for your agency/organization to best support your mission. In general, the A/OPC serves as the liaison between the account holder, the Contractor, an agency’s management and the GSA’s Center for Charge Card Management. The agency lead A/OPC may be supported by regional or field A/OPCs with distinct responsibilities.

Responsibilities include:

Managing Account Holders:

  • Maintain a current list of account names, account numbers, contact information of all current account holders and accounts.
  • Maintain a current list of agency/organization points of contact for Designated Billing Offices (DBOs), Transaction Dispute Offices (TDOs), and Electronic Commerce/ Electronic Data Interchange Offices (EOs), as applicable.
  • Ensure account holders use the travel program correctly.
  • Monitor account activity and manage delinquencies.
  • Ensure that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate suspension or cancellation actions.

Training:

  • Receive training before appointment and participate in refresher training a minimum of every three years (or less depending on agency/organization policies) in accordance with OMB Circular A-123 Appendix B
  • Participate in annual training forums and disseminate information and lessons learned to other A/OPCs, account managers and account holders.
  • Ensure that account holders are trained prior to receiving their travel account and that they take refresher training at a minimum every 3 years (or more often if required by your agency).

Master Contract/ Task Order Compliance:

  • Oversee the business line for your agency/organization and establish agency/organization guidelines.
  • Direct the Contractor to establish accounts.
  • Serve as liaison between the account holder and the Contractor,
  • Provide on-going program guidance.
  • Audit accounts as required.
  • Keep necessary account information current for the agency/organization.

Note: The terms and conditions of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract can only be modified by the GSA SmartPay Contracting Officer. The A/OPC does not provide supervisory guidance to the Contractor’s personnel.

The Contractor can provide you with tools to assist in successful management of your agency’s travel program by:

  • Establishing and maintaining accounts;
  • Providing an electronic access system (EAS);
  • Providing data mining tools and assistance to help detect potential fraud/misuse;
  • Providing forms and reports; and
  • Resolving disputes.

As the A/OPC, you may also be responsible for establishing account holder hierarchies. Account holder hierarchies are determined by the agency and are often associated with billing and organizational structures. Because agencies have unique requirements, hierarchy structures may vary from agency to agency. This includes the number of account holders each A/OPC may manage and the level of problem resolution. Once your agency determines the structure and requirement needed, the Contractor will be able to assist with establishing your agency hierarchy levels.

Importance of Communication

Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with all key program participants. The key to an effective travel program is to ensure that all participants, including senior management/ leadership, are aware of what is going on in the program. Stay in touch with your agency/ organization's travel program participants by networking, asking questions and sharing agency/ organization policy changes, program information, and/or other travel account information.

In addition, you should try to establish relationships with the account holders within your span of control. The better you understand each travel account holder's travel history and needs, the more effective you can be in managing the program and preventing or detecting misuse and fraud.

How do I set up travel accounts?

As the A/OPC, you are responsible for the setting up and maintenance of centrally and individually billed accounts. Refer to your Contractor’s A/OPC guide and EAS Manual for instructions on how to set up accounts.

In cases where there is an emergency, the agency program coordinator can request that the Contractor process and send emergency and/or expedited account cards within 24 hours, including international requests. These requests include, but are not limited to, responses to natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes), threats to national security, and military mobilization. The emergency accounts will arrive via overnight delivery at the Contractor’s expense.

How are accounts closed/terminated and what are the recommended exit procedures?

There are four steps to closing or terminating an account, as follows:

  • Immediately notify the bank when an account holder leaves the agency/ organization, is terminated from employment, or no longer requires a travel account.
  • Follow the account close out procedures from your contractor bank.
  • Instruct the account holder to destroy/dispose of the card by cutting it into pieces.
  • Review the master file/ account holder listing to ensure the account is closed.

What is my responsibility in the suspension/ cancellation of a travel account?

Suspension is the process by which an account is deactivated due to delinquency or multiple pre-suspension actions. An account is considered past due if payment for undisputed principal amounts has not been received within 45 calendar days from the billing date.

An account can be canceled if an undisputed balance remaining unpaid for the prescribed number of calendar days after the date of the statement of account on which the charge first appeared. An account may also be canceled for numerous suspensions.

Can I, as an A/OPC, suspend or cancel an account? 

Yes. A reason must be documented for suspension or cancellation. Accounts may be cancelled through your bank’s electronic access system or through the bank’s customer service office.

Under certain conditions, an A/OPC may request the contractor bank to delay or accelerate action for suspending or canceling an account.

The following chart may be used as a guide for determining the status of an account.

Calendar Days Past the Closing Date Account Status/Action
45 Days Past Due Pre-Suspension
61 Days Past Due Suspension/Pre-Cancellation
126 Days Past Due Cancellation
180 Days Past Due Charge Off/Write Off

*Please refer to your agency policy for specific delinquency stages.

(For more details on Suspension/ Cancellation Procedures, see the GSA SmartPay 3 Master Contract, Section C.3.3.11 Suspension Procedures and Section C.3.3.12 Cancellation Procedures)

The bank is required to automatically reinstate suspended accounts upon payment of the undisputed principal amount unless otherwise specified by you. You may also notify the bank of any mission-related, extenuating circumstances for which the account should not be suspended within the notification timeframes mentioned previously. Once an account has been cancelled, the contractor bank is under no obligation to reinstate the account.

Note: The Government accepts no liability for charges made against the individually billed account.

Refunds

The Federal Government saves on processing costs and generates revenue through refunds.  

Performance-based refunds for agencies/organizations, established in the master contract, are a single rate that takes into consideration both volume of spend and speed of pay historically found under the GSA SmartPay Program government-wide. The amount of refund your agency receives is calculated during task order negotiation.  

Agencies must verify their own refunds.  You can do this by comparing the base points in the task order with the quarterly refund report received from your bank.  If you need a copy of the quarterly report, contact the point of contact at the bank.  

Reporting Tools

How do I access reports related to the GSA SmartPay travel program?

Program coordinators can access electronic reports to monitor and track delinquency through the contractor bank's Electronic Access System (EAS). To access reports, contact your bank representative to obtain a User ID and password.

Each bank has a slightly different suite of reports available, so review the contractor bank's A/OPC guide or get online to learn about the specific reports offered. Most electronic reports are updated within two to three days after a transaction. However, some reports are only updated at the end of the billing cycle.

Program coordinators will also have access through the EAS to monitor account holder transactions at any time. By searching by account holder name, account number or SSN, you can track account holder transactions (e.g., transactions, payments, disputes), as well as view account holder monthly statements. You may also contact the bank’s customer service at any time to request information on a specific account.

Note: See the GSA SmartPay 3 Master Contract, Section C.7.1 Electronic Access System for a full list of the EAS requirements.

Which reports provide general account information?

The Account Activity Report consists of summary totals for the reporting period, the FY to-date, categorized by account and agency/organization. This report is used by the A/OPCs to obtain and manipulate program data. It includes

Complete account activity, both active and inactive,

  • An agency/organization hierarchy roll-up section,
  • Current and past FY account activity,
  • Segregates charges and credits by individual or agency/organization accounts with current period totals of the data elements identified, and
  • Merchant information such as name, address, and MCC (as applicable).

The Account Change Report lists any changes made to the master file information and identifies what and when elements were changed. This report is generally used by A/OPCs to manage programmatic data as well as to flag/verify changes.

The Current Accounts Report shows all accounts in alphabetical order and includes all information necessary to identify and contact the account holder. This report is generally used by A/OPCs as an easy reference for account holder identification.

The Exception Report identifies high risk transactions such as lost, stolen, invalid or cancelled accounts, declined transactions and unusual spending activity, and details such transaction activity. This report includes current and past due balances. It is generally used by A/OPCs and the Designated Billing Office (DBO) to monitor account holder activity, track misuse and/or identify training needs of an account holder.

The Master File Report contains master file information on all accounts (e.g., account number, cardholder information, account expiration date, etc.).

The Renewal Report lists accounts due to expire and identifies account name, account number, expiration date, and any other information required to determine renewal status. This report is generally used by the A/OPC to flag expiring accounts.

Which reports are available on transactions, payments, and disputes?

The Detailed Electronic Transaction File lists each account holder’s detailed transactions for the reporting period and contains all transaction data. This file is used by the agency/ organization in processing transactions through their financial systems and for reporting purposes.

The Invoice Status Report identifies payment status on each outstanding invoice and includes all transaction data, including the original invoice number and other references required to identify the charge. This report is generally used by the DBO to manage payments and disputes.

The Transaction Dispute Report lists all outstanding and resolved transaction disputes and includes all information necessary to identify, track, balance, and obtain status on the dispute from the original charge through resolution. It is generally used by the Transaction Dispute Office (TDO) to manage disputes.

 

Which reports provide information on account delinquency?

The Pre-suspension/Pre-cancellation Report lists accounts eligible for suspension or cancellation as defined in the Master Contract, Section C.3.3.11 Suspension Procedures and C.3.3.12 Cancellation Procedures. It identifies account name, account number, status, balance past due, number of days past due, and interest penalty for CBAs.

The Suspension/Cancellation Report lists accounts that have been suspended or canceled as defined in the Master Contract, Section C.3.3.11 Suspension Procedures and C.3.3.12 Cancellation Procedures. It identifies account name, account number, status (suspended or canceled), date of status, balance past due, number of days past due, and interest penalty.

The Delinquency Report lists account status for each 30-120+ day time frame (e.g., 30, 60, 90, 120 or more days).

The Write-off Report lists the amount of the write-off and date written off. This report is used by the agency/organization to identify problem areas to better manage delinquencies in the future, to analyze and project programmatic data for the future, and to verify and balance delinquent data in contract reports.

Exception Reports identify high risk transactions, as identified by the agency/organization such as declined authorizations, Merchant Category Code (MCC) reports for questionable expenditures that do not appear to be related to official travel, ATM withdrawals, high volume accounts, etc.

Which reports provide statistical or summary information?

The 1057 Report contains summary merchant demographic information (minority, women-owned business) on a quarterly and cumulative fiscal year basis. It includes the amount of purchase, merchant name, merchant address, merchant demographic information, North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code and size standard. This report is generally used by the agency/organization in fulfilling its small business and small disadvantaged business goals.

The 1099 Report shows that in accordance with Section 6050W of the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 Information Reporting for Payments Made in Settlement of Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, the Contractor bank is responsible for reporting payment card transaction information through a 1099-K Merchant Card and Third Party Payments form to the IRS. Reporting shall include all payment card transactions at all dollar thresholds. The Contractor shall provide agencies/organizations with documentation confirming the completion of the 1099 Report Information. Contractors are not required to complete 1099 reporting on convenience check information. For further information see https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099k.pdf.

The Payment Performance and Refund Report lists the payment performance (average payment time) and any refunds paid to the agency/organization level. It includes total net charge volume, payment performance, refund amount, payment method and transaction type (e.g., ePayables, large ticket items). This report is used by the agency/organization to analyze payment performance and refunds as well as for audit purposes. This report includes daily accrual figures and the percentage of potential refunds earned by the agency/ organization along with an explanation of how this figure was derived.

The Statistical Summary Report provides program summary information such as dollar volume, ATM volume, number of transactions, active account holders, total accounts, new accounts, miscellaneous fees, transaction type (e.g. convenience check, ATM, large ticket) and identification of fees (e.g., fees for customized services, fees for convenience checks, fees for value-added product and service offerings) on a current and FY basis.

The Summary Quarterly Merchant Report lists, by FY Quarter, summary spending information by merchant category codes (MCCs) and Product Number/Code. It reports MCC description, number of transactions per MCC, total dollar amount per MCC, and average dollar amount per MCC. This report is used by the agency/organization to summarize supplier categories where the agency/organization dollars are spent, and trend analysis. This report shall also show which MCCs are listed in each template.

The Summary Quarterly Purchase Report provides a summary of purchases under the micro-purchase threshold as described in FAR Part 2.101 Definitions. It also provides a summary of purchases over the micro-purchase threshold. It includes number of transactions, the dollar volume and comparative percentages for the current reporting period and FY activity.

What are my responsibilities for printing and storing reports?

You should save copies of all electronic reports you generate, particularly statistical or summary reports. Due to the volume of information available, the bank will furnish information for a limited period of time (generally, 18 months or less) before archiving the data. Reports containing sensitive information (e.g., account numbers, account holder information, etc.) should be maintained in a secure location. Review and follow your agency/ organization policy for instructions on printing and safeguarding reports.

What are Ad Hoc Reports?

Ad Hoc Reports provide the ability for GSA and the agency/organization community to access all data elements of the AO, account holder, and transaction records at any time to by allowing GSA and/or agencies/organizations to create reports in html, Excel, text (ASCII) formats, and/or others as defined by the agency/organization at the task order level. The contractor bank provides the capability for GSA to utilize the ad-hoc reporting functionality of the EAS Systems for any additional future reporting needs that are not listed.

Billing and Payment

For Individually Billed Accounts (IBA): Account holders must make payment for all undisputed charges on their travel charge card bill IN FULL by the statement billing due date printed on the bill (25 to 30 days after the closing date on the billing statement).  Failure to pay the monthly bill in a timely manner may result in the loss of their charging privileges. If the account is suspended, the account holder will be unable to use it until the bank receives payment. If the account is cancelled due to non-payment, the delinquency maybe reported to credit bureaus, be referred to collection agencies, or lead to other collection actions and the account holder may not be eligible to receive a new account.  The agency/organization is never responsible or legally liable for the account.

For Centrally Billed Accounts (CBA):  The Federal Government accepts liability only for those proper charges made by an authorized centrally billed account holder using the account, but is not liable for any unauthorized use. Unauthorized use means the use of an account by a person, other than the account holder, who does not have actual, implied, or apparent authority for such use and from which the account holder receives no benefit. When the centrally billed account has been used by an authorized account holder to make an unauthorized purchase, the centrally billed account participant is liable for the charge.

Risk Mitigation

What control mechanisms do program coordinators have to assist in managing the GSA SmartPay program?

Risk mitigation controls, policies, and practices are critical tools for ensuring the efficiency and integrity of payment solution programs by eliminating payment delinquencies, payment solution fraud, misuse, waste, and abuse. P.L. 112-194 and OMB Circular A-123 Appendix B places a great deal of emphasis on risk management, and the contractor bank shall support goals to manage risk, which include:

  • Developing an efficient approach to risk identification, analysis, and mitigation;
  • Suggesting and sharing industry leading practices;
  • Developing and suggesting internal controls;
  • Assisting in the development of risk mitigation policies;
  • Providing agencies/organizations with exception reports that flag high risk transactions; and
  • Assisting agencies/organizations and GSA in the communication of policies to account holders.

Program coordinators may proactively implement controls to prevent or minimize the occurrence of delinquency. Controls are used to ensure proper use of the card and reduce risk to all parties (the account holder, the agency/organization and the contractor bank). These controls are often referred to as authorization controls.

Authorization Controls include:

  • Default Limit: Standard commercial default limits suggested by the Contractor during card/account set-up that may be changed by an agency/organization.
  • Dollars per Transaction Limit: Restricting the dollars per single transaction that can be spent on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.
  • Dollars per Month Limit: Restricting the dollars per month that can be spent on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.
  • Transactions per Day Limit: Restricting the number of transactions per day on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.
  • Transactions per Month Limit: Restricting the number of transactions per month on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.
  • Merchant Category Code (MCC): Restricting the types of purchases made by each card/account as set by the A/OPC. Purchases are restricted depending on the type of merchant (identified by the merchant category code).
  • Preferred Supplier Listing: Each account may be restricted from making purchases at certain merchants; straight-through processing (STP) or virtual accounts may have established relationships with a specific supplier.
  • Preferred Supplier Listing Threshold: Each account may be restricted to certain dollar thresholds and preferred suppliers.
  • Automatic Controls: Controls that flag and deny invalid cards (e.g. lost, stolen, suspended, canceled).
  • Mass Changes: The ability for the A/OPC to make changes on a large number of accounts (to meet contingency operations such as natural disasters).
  • Information Adjustments: The ability for the A/OPC to adjust account information based upon hierarchy levels.
  • Activation/Deactivation on Demand: The ability for the A/OPC to activate/deactivate multiple accounts upon demand or activate/deactivate automatically based upon established business rules provided by the agency/organization at the task order level. No transactions shall be authorized on a deactivated account.
  • User Account Recognition: The ability to uniquely identify and authenticate an account user before processing card-not-present transactions. The transaction processing shall support a two factor authentication where one of the factors is provided by a device separate from the computer gaining access. The concept to tie the financial authorization process with an online authentication.
  • Card-Not-Present Notifications: The ability to notify the agency/organization on card-not present transactions.

When appropriate authorization controls are combined with effective oversight and consistent enforcement of agency policies/procedures, the result is a well-managed program. While there can be a cost to implement certain controls, the costs should be balanced against the benefits received by reducing delinquency and misuse.

What tools are available to assist agencies in minimizing instances of misuse and fraud?

Program management tools include:

  • Credit limits - Credit limits restrict single travel, daily, weekly, or monthly expenditures by the account holder. In accordance with agency/organization policy, an A/OPC may set the limits which best meet the agency's needs. Setting limits that are realistic, but not excessive, will deter account holder misuse. By reviewing account holder spending patterns, you may be able to lower limits without disrupting the agency's mission. A/OPCs also have the authority to raise limits at any time in response to emergency or unforeseen situations.
  • Merchant Category Code (MCC) Blocks - Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) are established by the associations or contractor banks to identify different types of businesses. Merchants select the codes best describing their business. You may limit the types of businesses where the account will be accepted by limiting the MCCs available to the account holder. The contractor bank has established sample templates that may assist you in determining which MCCs should be restricted. In the event that an account holder needs to make a travel purchase outside of his/her restricted MCCs, A/OPCs are authorized to override the restriction for a transaction by contacting the contractor bank's Customer Service Representative. Agency/organization policy should specify who is authorized to perform overrides.
  • Online Reports - A/OPCs have access to many standard and ad hoc reports online through the contractor bank’s EAS.
  • Account Deactivation - In those instances when the travel account is not needed on a continuous basis, deactivation of the account may serve as a deterrent to fraud and/or misuse. You may deactivate the account when an account holder is not using or is not planning to use the travel account. By understanding the account holder's need and use of the account, you can work with the account holder to establish deactivation guidelines. Deactivation and reactivation can be completed through the bank's EAS or by calling the bank's customer service phone number.
  • Guides - The banks have developed written guides for A/OPCs and account holders, as follows:
    • A/OPC Guide - This guide addresses issues of concern to the A/OPC, including responsibilities of program participants, account setup and maintenance, account suspension/cancellation, disputes, reports and invoicing procedures. The guide is available from the banks in hard copy and/or electronically.
    • Account Holder Guide - This guide addresses authorized uses of the travel account, disputes and billing.
How do these tools make it easier to audit and manage the use of travel accounts?

By providing electronic reports and transaction files, auditors and agency/organization program managers have immediate access to information such as merchant name, type of merchant, dollar amount of transaction, and date of transaction. These tools make it easier to identify questionable transactions and follow through to ensure that the transactions were proper. In some instances, merchants also provide line item detail of transactions, including quantities, prices and product descriptions. GSA continues to work with the associations to increase availability of line item detail.

Are credit checks required for account holders?

According to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2010, specifically Section 738 of the Act, states that “each executive department and agency shall evaluate the creditworthiness of an individual before issuing the individual a government travel charge card.” Agencies have to complete this evaluation by using a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and follow the guidelines outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These procedures must be followed when issuing a travel account to a new account holder. The result of the creditworthiness check will determine whether or not you can issue a travel account to a new account holder. An account holder that does not have a history of credit or has an unsatisfactory history of credit may not receive a travel account. These account holders, however, may still receive a restricted charge in accordance with agency policies and procedures.

Section 738 also requires that executive departments and agencies develop guidelines and procedures for disciplinary actions to be taken against agency personnel for improper, fraudulent, or abusive use of government accounts.

What are the consequences of account holder misuse or fraud?

Misuse/ Abuse is the use of a travel account for activities other than official Federal Government travel and travel-related expenses.

In most instances, the A/OPC is the first point of contact when misuse/abuse is suspected. Account holder activity should be monitored regularly to identify possible misuse/ abuse. Some activity may appear questionable upon initial review, but with further investigation it may be determined a valid federal government travel related expense.

Examples of misuse/abuse may include:

  • Personal use;
  • Use of the travel account for someone other than the specific account holder;
  • Use while not on official government travel;
  • Purchases from an unauthorized merchant;
  • Excessive ATM withdrawals; and
  • Failure to pay undisputed amounts on time.

Consequences for misuse/abuse may include:

  • Reprimand;
  • Travel account cancellation;
  • Counseling;
  • Suspension of employment;
  • Termination of employment; and
  • Criminal prosecution.

Please note that it is up to your agency to provide agency-specific penalties and consequences for misuse/abuse of the travel account.

What should I do if I suspect misuse of the travel account?

A key responsibility for most program coordinators is to detect and report suspected misuse. If you are required to report suspected misuse, make sure you have all the information necessary to assist with a formal inquiry or investigation. Contact the account holder to obtain any information that could explain questionable charges. If the account holder provides documentation or an explanation regarding the charges and you still have questions or concerns about it, compile all the information (e.g., statement, exception report, documented contacts between you and the cardholder, copies of receipts, etc.) before you report it. Your agency/organization may ask you to report suspected misuse to one or more of the following personnel:

  • The account holder's supervisor;
  • The Human Resources Office;
  • The Office of Inspector General OR the Office of Special Investigations

Always follow your agency's policies and procedures when handling cases of suspected misuse.

Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced with the motive of securing unfair or unlawful gain. Fraud can be an attempt to cheat the Federal Government and corrupt its agents by using GSA SmartPay payment solutions for transactions not part of official government business. Like any deception, fraud has its fair share of victims.

Some of the different types of fraud include:

  • Counterfeit Accounts — To make fake cards, criminals use the newest technology to “skim” information contained on magnetic stripes of cards, and also to pass security features (such as holograms).
  • Lost or Stolen Accounts — Often physical cards are stolen from a workplace, gym or unattended vehicle.
  • Card Not Present (CNP) Fraud — Internet fraud occurs whenever account information is stolen and used to make online purchases. Usually, a merchant will ask for the CVC code (located on the back of the card itself) to help prevent this type of fraud.
  • Phishing — Phishing occurs whenever an account holder receives a fake email directing him or her to enter sensitive personal information on a phony website. The false website enables the criminal to steal information from the account holder.
  • Non-Receipt Fraud — This occurs whenever new or replacement cards are mailed and then stolen while in transit.
  • Identity Theft Fraud — Whenever a criminal applies for an account using another person’s identity and information.
What is salary offset?

The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-264) mandates the use of the Government contractor-issued travel account for all employees on official Government business. The Act allows an agency to collect from an employee's disposable pay any undisputed delinquent amounts that are owed to a contractor bank, upon written request from the contractor. This is known as salary offset.

Each agency must follow the due process requirements of the Act as presented in the FTR before collecting undisputed delinquent amounts on behalf of the contractor bank. Each agency must reach agreement with its bank on the process to be used for submittal of the request and handling of the request internally.

Specific issues to be addressed by the agency include:

  • Determining whether the individual is still employed by the agency;
  • Determining whether the employee has been reimbursed for travel expenses;
  • Determining the amount of disposable pay available for collection. Salary may be subject to other garnishments, etc;
  • Payroll's ability to process the request and provide a payment to the bank;
  • Legal compliance with the terms of the Act;
  • Union notification, if applicable.

A multifunctional team will be required to implement this process. Depending on your organization's structure, this team would be comprised of the A/OPC and representatives from travel policy, payroll, human resources, labor relations and Office of the General Counsel. It is suggested that you work closely with your bank to establish a process that works for all parties.

What is split disbursement?

Split disbursement provides for payments to be made by the agency on behalf of the account holders. At the account holder's direction and in accordance with agency policy, disbursement is split. The bank receives a direct payment by the agency of the account holder specified/ claimed amount. The rest of the payment is disbursed to an account holder account or directly to the account holder. Large ticket items such as common carrier, hotel and rental car charges are commonly paid directly to the contractor bank on behalf of the account holder while other disbursements are paid to the employee.

Split disbursement is an effective tool to reduce delinquency and improve refunds paid to the agency. It will require coordination with the bank to ensure proper payments are made by the Government and properly posted to an account holder's account.

Dealing with Delinquency and Misuse

What is Delinquency?

Delinquency is an undisputed account balance that is unpaid for the prescribed number of calendar days or more past the statement due date. The statement due date will generally be 25 to 30 days after the closing date on the statement, depending on the contractor bank. The closing date is often referred to as the billing cycle date and is assigned by the contractor bank for your accounts and will generally be the same each month for all accounts under your control.

For an IBA Account, liability for all charges rests with the individual account holder. If the account holder fails to pay his/her account on a timely basis, it will be considered delinquent and the contractor bank may suspend or cancel the account and assess late charges and fees. The agency/organization is never responsible or legally liable for the account.

It is important to remember that under the terms of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract, an account is considered past due if payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received within 45 calendar days from the closing date on the statement of account in which the charge appeared.

  • Suspending an account: The bank may suspend the account, unless otherwise directed by the program coordinator, if the payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received 61 calendar days from the closing date on the statement of account in which the charge appeared.
  • Cancelling an account: If payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received 126 calendar days from the closing date on the statement of account in which the charge appeared, the contractor bank may cancel the account, unless otherwise directed by the program coordinator.
What is a write-off or credit loss?

A write off is a canceled account with an unpaid balance determined to be uncollectible by the contractor bank.

How do I notify account holders regarding past due accounts?

Notify an account holder regarding past due accounts by:

  • Phone
  • Letter/ correspondence/ memorandum
  • Email
  • Personal visit

Always document your contacts with account holders regarding their delinquent accounts. If you contact the account holder by telephone or personal visit, make a note of the date and time of the call/visit, the results of the call/visit, and any follow-up you or the account holder agreed to. If you contact the account holder by email, be sure to save the email. Keep a file copy of all written correspondence. It is important to keep your documentation so that there are records in the event of an audit, investigation, or later inquiry into a specific account.

Note: Your agency/organization may have additional policies requiring notifying the account holder's supervisor, your human resources office, and/or your finance office by sending a list of delinquent travel accounts. Be sure to always comply with agency policy.

How is action initiated on delinquent accounts?

You should become familiar with the policies and standards of conduct applicable to account holders at your agency. Your agency may have developed guidance that addresses the range of actions that may be taken in the event that the account holder violates agency policy. You may be responsible for advising the appropriate personnel (e.g., the account holder's supervisor, Human Resources, the Office of Inspector General, the agency/ organization Ethics Official) when an account holder has misused their account. Generally, you will not initiate the personnel action, but you may be called upon to provide supporting documentation.

How do I inform delinquent account holders about disciplinary actions?

If you are required to do so by your agency/ organization, inform account holders who are delinquent that disciplinary actions may be taken by the agency/ organization if payments for delinquent accounts are not received in a timely manner. You may be required to cite or provide a copy of the relevant agency policy pertaining to disciplinary actions. Although travel account delinquency policies vary from agency to agency, you may be expected or required to remind account holders of the consequences for repeated delinquencies and/or misuse of their travel account.

Disciplinary actions that may occur, depending on the severity of the problem, include:

  • Counseling/informal admonishment;
  • Oral and/or written reprimand;
  • Suspension without pay; and
  • Removal from federal service employment

In addition, it is important to notify account holders with cancelled IBAs, in accordance with agency specific policy, may be:

  • Reported to credit bureaus or similar entities by the contractor bank
  • Referred to an outside collection agency by the contractor bank, and
  • Subject to late fees for which will not be reimbursed.

Note: Agencies/organizations may elect to allow the Contractor to charge their standard commercial late fee in accordance with standard commercial practice; however, inclusion of standard commercial late fees at the task order level is contingent upon the agency’s/ organization’s successful negotiations with union officials, as appropriate and at the sole discretion of the agency/organization ( See the GSA SmartPay 3 Master Contract, Section C.3.3.16.1).

Why should my agency/organization care about delinquency?

Liability for an IBA is the account holder's responsibility, not the Government's. So, why should the Government even care whether an employee is delinquent in paying the amount owed on time?

There are a number of reasons why it is important to manage delinquency, such as:

  • Federal employees must abide by the Standards of Official Conduct and agency ethics rules.
  • Federal agencies are responsible for ensuring that employees follow the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) for DoD.
  • As participants in the GSA SmartPay program, all agencies/organizations are responsible for following the terms of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract, including the requirements to ensure that account holders use the account correctly, monitor account activity, manage delinquency, and mitigate suspension/cancellation of accounts.
How can I track account holder misuse and delinquency?

Use the contractor bank's EAS exception reports to track misuse and delinquency.

What ethical standards apply to travel account holders?

Executive agency account holders are subject to the Standards of Official Conduct. These standards require that:

  • Public service is a trust, requiring account holders to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.
  • Account holders shall not use public office for private gain.
  • Account holders shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those - such as federal, state, or local taxes - that are imposed by law.

Reporting a Lost or Stolen Account

What happens if a travel account is lost or stolen?

It is the account holder’s responsibility to immediately report the lost or stolen travel account to:

  • The contractor bank;
  • You, the program coordinator (A/OPC); and
  • Their supervisor.

Once an account has been reported as lost or stolen, the contractor bank immediately blocks that account from further usage and a new account number will be issued to the account holder.

Reporting the account as stolen does not relieve the account holder or the Government of payment for any transactions that were made by the account holder prior to reporting it stolen. If the account holder does not recognize a transaction appearing on their statement, they are responsible for notifying the contractor bank within 90 calendar days from the transaction date to initiate a dispute, unless otherwise specified by the agency/organization. This notification of transaction dispute may occur via the electronic access system, by telephone, or other electronic means (e.g. email).

Note: The account holder relinquishes their right to recover a disputed amount after 90 calendar days from the date that the transaction was processed. It is their responsibility to dispute questionable charges. If they don’t, they will be held personally liable for the amount of the questionable charge.

Best Practices

Best Practices for Managing Account Holders
  • Train account holders on the proper use of the travel accounts. Use ethics training as another source for instruction.
  • Develop a traveler hotline to respond to account holder questions.
  • Develop and maintain a travel-specific website for your agency.
  • Publish answers to frequently asked questions related to travel on your agency website.
  • Create an informational newsletter.
  • Send periodic reminders to account holders on agency travel policies and procedures.
  • Hold orientation sessions with new account holders.
  • Provide account holder training on how to fill out a proper travel claim/voucher.
  • Remind account holders who are on extended travel to submit interim travel claims/vouchers to ensure timely receipt of reimbursement.
  • Notify account holders that their obligation to pay their respective bank by the billing due date is not contingent upon receipt of a travel reimbursement from the agency/organization.
  • Contact account holders who appear on the Pre-Suspension/ Pre-Cancellation Report by phone, email, and/ or correspondence. Advise account holders that immediate action must be taken.
  • Use a statement insert/statement message provided by the bank to convey information to account holders.
  • Provide the GSA SmartPay card-sized brochure, Helpful Hints for Travel Card Use.
  • Send an annual letter from your agency director reminding account holders of their responsibilities.
  • Provide a travel training video for account holders.
Best Practices for Program Coordinators (A/OPCs)
  • Use online tools provided by the banks, GSA, and your agency.
  • Email updates to A/OPCs at all levels on program changes.
  • Review reports regularly and track trends in delinquency rates and charge offs/ write offs.
  • Use exception reports to detect misuse of the travel account or unusual spending patterns.
  • Use ad hoc reporting tools provided by your bank to customize and/ or develop your own agency reports.
  • Eliminate manual calculations by developing ad hoc reports that can be generated as needed.
  • Ensure that account holder information is properly secured and confidentially maintained in accordance with the security and privacy regulations of your agency, as well as with the Privacy Act.
  • Create a monthly newsletter/ memorandum to reinforce agency travel account holder policies for misuse and/or account delinquency.
  • Develop and implement an agency-established penalty guide with your agency’s human resources office outlining appropriate disciplinary action for undisputed delinquencies and non-official use of the travel account by employees.
  • Perform an annual review of all accounts to determine whether each account meets the criteria for continued participation in the Federal Government travel program.

Common Questions

Click here for commonly asked questions.

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