Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Federal Government Shutdown

GSA SmartPay Charge Card Program

February 24, 2015

What does the GSA SmartPay 2 Master Contract say about a shutdown?
Each year, Congress must pass appropriation bills that provide legal authority to spend or obligate U.S. Treasury Funds.  The bills must then be signed into law by the President or become law through a Congressional override of a Presidential veto.  It is possible that all of the appropriation bills will not be completed in time for the start of any given fiscal year.  A continuing resolution is usually passed to allow the Government to continue to function; however, in recent years, the Government has been required to “shutdown” nonessential functions.  In the event of a government-wide shutdown, payment to the Contractor would be late for most accounts; however, all centrally billed accounts would be paid with Prompt Payment Act interest upon a budget passing.  The Contractor shall not deactivate any account in this situation unless otherwise notified by GSA or the agency/organization.  
 
Can I still use my card?
Yes; the GSA SmartPay® 2 banks will continue to function as normal when there is a Government shutdown and purchase, travel, fleet and integrated cards will continue to function normally, absent any agency-specific action to disable the cards.  Cardholders are reminded to check with their agency regarding continued use of cards due to appropriation limitations in place during shutdown.  You may not be authorized to use your card if your agency has determined you are not an excepted employee during the shutdown.  Please Note:  The Anti-Deficiency Act prohibits most agencies from incurring obligations in the absence of appropriations (unless otherwise allowed by law or for emergencies involving the safety of life or limb, the protection of property, or other excepted services).   Please coordinate with the appropriate officials in your agency to ensure only appropriate purchases are made and payments are issued in the event of a shutdown, as this issue can become quite complicated given the wide variety of agency missions, funding types, etc.
 
Will the banks’ 1-800 customer service call centers continue to operate?
Yes, if you need to reach the bank during the shutdown, please call the 1-800 number on the back of your GSA SmartPay charge card.
 
Do I still have to pay my individually billed travel card bill?
The answer to this question depends on which contractor bank services your GSA SmartPay charge card account(s).
 
CITIBANK
In the event of a Government-wide shutdown, many Agencies/Organizations and Cardholders may be unable to make payments. Citibank will ensure that during such periods accounts will not age delinquent or be suspended or cancelled.  During this time finance charges will not be assessed; however, Statements of Account will continue to be generated.
 
JP MORGAN
JP Morgan will work with individual cardholders on a case-by-case basis in the event of government-wide shutdown to address hardships caused by this event.  Standard processes, including account aging, and assessment of late fees and finance charges would remain in force unless it is determined by the bank that an individual cardholder has experienced a hardship caused by the shutdown.
 
US BANK
U.S. Bank will not deactivate any account without authorization from the GSA Contracting Officer.  U.S. Bank understands that accounts could become past due until budgetary issues are resolved.  Once the budget is approved, we will work with the Government to bring past due accounts up to date.  U.S. Bank will also work with the Government to implement risk mitigation measures to monitor fraud and unusual delinquencies in the event of a Government-wide shutdown. 
 
If I am late paying due to the shut-down, will my card become delinquent?
Please see the answers to the question above as each bank will treat delinquency differently.
 
What if my card is already delinquent; will I be given more time to pay?  
No.  Payment is due to the contractor bank per the statement due date.  If your account is delinquent prior to the shutdown, it will continue to be considered to be delinquent until full payment is made to the contractor bank.  The time elapsed after payment is due does not stop accruing in the event of a government shutdown.
 
My card is about to expire.  Will I receive my new card during a shut-down?
Yes.  In accordance with the terms of the GSA SmartPay master contract, if your card is due to expire during a government shut-down, your new card will still be mailed out. If your agency elects to have the charge cards sent directly to you (for example, an individually billed travel card) then you will receive the card at the address on file.  If on the other hand, your agency has elected to have the cards mailed to the government offices for dissemination by an Agency/Organization Program Coordinator or other government employee, then your card will be mailed by the bank but most likely be held by the distributing government office until the shut-down is over.  If you are deemed an excepted employee, your agency will most likely deliver the card to you, but confirm card delivery procedures with the appropriate officials in your management chain prior to the start of the shutdown period.
 
What if I am on travel during a shutdown?
Unless your agency takes action to disable travel cards, your card will continue to work if you are on travel during a government shut-down.  However, there are rules related to employees on travel during a shut-down, so please check with your agency regarding what actions are required while traveling during a shut-down.
 
What if I have recurring or automatic payments on my purchase card?
Please coordinate with your agency/organization finance officials and Agency/Organization Program Coordinator to ensure that these payments are properly dispositioned in the event of a shutdown. While it is likely a shutdown will be brief in duration, be advised that purchase cardholders may need to contact merchants to stop any automatic payments which may be scheduled to occur during the shutdown period.
 
 Note:  The Anti-deficiency Act prohibits most agencies from incurring obligations in the absence of appropriations (unless otherwise allowed by law or for emergencies involving the safety of life or limb, the protection of property, or other excepted services).   Again, please coordinate with the appropriate officials as needed to ensure only appropriate purchases are made and payments are issued in the event of a shutdown, as this issue can become quite complicated.  

 

How can I reach the Office of Charge Card Management during a shutdown?
Of course; please contact us through our central phone line at (703) 605-2808, or e-mail box:  gsa_smartpay@gsa.gov.
 


The GSA SmartPay® program provides charge cards to agencies/departments throughout the U.S. government, as well as tribal governments, through master contracts that are negotiated with major national banks.

SmartPay® Charge Cards are for Official U.S. Government usage only.

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T: 703.605.2808 | Email Support: gsa_smartpay@gsa.gov
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