As a program coordinator, you will have a key role in your agency's/organization's travel program. This section will address specific program coordinator responsibilities as well as other pertinent information necessary for managing the travel program.
What are my primary responsibilities as a program coordinator?
As a program coordinator for your agency/organization, you serve as the liaison between your agency/organization, the bank, and the account holder. You may also act as a liaison with the GSA Contracting Office. Your role is essential to efficiently and effectively manage the travel program.
The following list identifies specific responsibilities as outlined in the GSA SmartPay 2 Master Contract. You may be required to assume some or all of the following responsibilities:
NOTE: "Contractor(s)" referenced below refer to the issuing bank(s).
- Maintain an up-to-date list of account names, account numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, etc., of all current account holders and accounts.
- Provide to the contractor(s) any changes in your agency's organizational structure that may affect invoice/report distribution.
- Review and evaluate the contractor's technical and administrative task order performance and compliance.
- Resolve technical and operational problems between the contractor bank and account holders as required.
- Take appropriate action regarding delinquent accounts and report to internal investigative units and the GSA Contracting Officer any observed violations of applicable executive orders, laws or regulations.
- Participate in training conferences and train account holders.
- Ensure that account holders use the travel account correctly.
- Monitor account activity and manage delinquencies.
- Ensure that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate suspension or cancellation actions.
Your agency may assign you additional duties related to the management of the program.
Although it is not specifically mentioned in the GSA SmartPay 2 Master Contract, an important responsibility you have as a program coordinator is 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 or distributing agency/organization policy changes, program information, and/or other travel account information.
As a program coordinator, you should try to establish relationships with the account holders within your span of control. The better you understand each travel charge and account holder's travel history and needs, the more effective you can be in managing the program and preventing or detecting misuse and fraud.
Account Holder - The account holder 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 for official Government travel only.
Designated Billing Office (DBO) - The DBO generally serves as the focal point for receipt of official centrally billed invoices. The DBO also serves as the liaison between the agency/organization, the A/OPC and the Centrally Billed Account (CBA) account holder. The DBO oversees the proper processing of invoices and ensures invoices are paid within the Prompt Payment Act timeframes. Responsibilities typically include:
- Reconciling invoices;
- Providing feedback to the A/OPC on bank performance;
- Determining whether to pursue faster payment of official invoices in order to take advantage of productivity refunds, if in the best interest of the Government;
- Providing timely payment to the bank;
- Providing proper interest penalties for payments that exceed Prompt Payment Act timeframes; and
- Making certain that the agency/organization's task order is adequately funded.
Transaction Dispute Officer (TDO) - The TDO is an individual or office that may be designated by the ordering agency/organization to assist the agency/organization and the bank in tracking and resolving disputed transactions. The TDO oversees the proper processing of transaction disputes and works with the bank to assure their resolution.
EC/EDI Office (EO) - The EO is the focal point for electronic commerce/electronic data interchange (EC/EDI) for the agency/organization. This office also serves as the liaison between the A/OPC, EC/EDI systems staff and the bank. The EO oversees the proper implementation of the agency/organization EC/EDI capabilities and processes.
How are new accounts set up?
- Training Documentation. The account holder should understand the responsibilities and duties associated with having a Government travel account. This knowledge is usually obtained through training. Your agency/organization will likely have specific policies in regard to account holder training, and you should ensure that the account holder is in compliance with those requirements prior to creating an account.
- Account Set-Up Form. Each prospective account holder must complete and submit an accurate account set-up request form to you. You can acquire the account set-up forms from your bank's A/OPC guide, the bank's website or the bank's EAS.
Once you receive the completed account set-up form, you will review and approve/disapprove the request and set up a file to retain copies of the necessary paperwork. If you approve a request, you will then contact the bank so they can issue the account to the account holder. Your agency/organization may have different requirements that must be met before a travel account can be issued. So, be sure to familiarize yourself with those requirements and follow them at all times.
Completed account forms can be sent to the bank by fax, mail, e-mail, or through the bank's EAS. In cases where there is an emergency, a program coordinator can give verbal directions to the bank to set up an account with electronic/written confirmation to the bank within 24 hours. Written confirmation from the agency must be received 3 working days from the oral emergency request. The bank can ship the emergency card(s) overnight at the bank'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.
- Obtain an account close out form from your bank. Complete it and then return it to the 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 of a travel account?
As the program coordinator, you have the discretion to initiate suspension and/or cancellation procedures for any account. You must document the reason for suspension. The bank may suspend an account when the account becomes delinquent. An account is considered delinquent if payment for the undisputed amount has not been received within 45 days from the closing date. After 55 calendar days from the closing date on the statement, the bank shall notify the account holder and the program coordinator of suspension if payment for the principal amount is not received by the close of business on the 5th calendar day after notification. If payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received within 61 calendar days from the closing date on the statement, the account will be suspended.
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. The Government accepts no liability for charges made against the individually billed account.
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.
What is my responsibility in the cancellation of a travel account?
An account may be cancelled if:
- The account has been suspended two times during a 12-month period for undisputed amounts and is past due again. The bank shall give consideration to the time that has elapsed between the second suspension and the third occurrence for late payment and shall exercise good judgment; OR
- The account is past due for undisputed amounts for example 120 calendar days past the closing date on the statement of account in which the charge appeared; OR
- The account holder used the account for other than authorized purchases and cancellation is approved by the program coordinator; OR
- Two (2) or more checks have been returned for non-sufficient funds (NSF) within a twelve (12) month period; [However, the bank shall reinstate the account if the NSF check(s) was/were returned in error by or at the fault of the account holder's financial institution] OR
- The GSA Contracting Officer requests the cancellation of an account.
After 120 calendar days from the closing date on the statement, the bank shall send a letter to the A/OPC and the DBO or make a documented telephone call to the A/OPC and DBO requesting payment of the undisputed principal amount. If payment is not received by the close of business on the 5th calendar day after notification, the bank may cancel the account at 126 days from the closing date on the statement of account. The bank may, but is not required to, reinstate cancelled accounts upon payment of the undisputed principal amount. Remember, the Government accepts no liability for charges made against the individually billed account.
The following can be used as a guide for determining the status of an account. (Please remember to refer to your agency policy for specific delinquency stages).
|Calendar Days Past the Closing Date||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|
What happens if a travel account is lost or stolen?
It is the account holder’s responsibility to immediately report your lost or stolen travel account to:
- The contractor bank;
- Their program coordinator; and
- Their supervisor.
The bank immediately blocks accounts that have been reported lost or stolen from further usage. The bank will issue the account holder a new account with a new account number. 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 did not make the transactions appearing on the account holder statement, the account holder must submit a dispute form to the bank within 90 days. However, the account is considered delinquent if undisputed charges on the account remain unpaid for more than 61 days. Failure to submit the dispute form could result in liability the account holder or to the Government. The bank will mail the account holder a new card within one business day from the time theft or loss was reported and will assign a new number to the account.