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GSA SmartPay Training

Lesson 4 of 12

Signing up for a Travel Account

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Am I required to have a creditworthiness assessment before receiving an account?

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.

Note: You can contact your Agency/ Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) for your agency's specific process for assessing creditworthiness.

How do I apply for a GSA SmartPay travel account?

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 (Note: A supervisor signature is also required at most agencies.)

When do I receive my 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

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