Lesson 1: Fleet Program Overview
What is the GSA SmartPay® program?
Established in 1998, the GSA SmartPay program is the world’s largest government charge card and commercial payment solutions program, providing services to more than 560 federal agencies/organizations and Native American tribal governments with 6.5 million total accounts. GSA SmartPay payment solutions enable authorized government employees to make purchases on behalf of the federal government in support of their agency’s mission. The GSA SmartPay program includes the following business lines:
- GSA SmartPay Purchase.
- GSA SmartPay Travel.
- GSA SmartPay Fleet.
- GSA SmartPay Tax Advantage Travel.
- GSA SmartPay Integrated.
Through the Master Contract with multiple banks, the GSA SmartPay program enables agencies/organizations across the federal government to obtain payment solutions to support mission needs. The Master Contract, administered by GSA, is a fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract. The maximum base period for the initial order is four years with three, three-year options.
Agencies/organizations issue a task order under the GSA SmartPay 3 Master Contract to one of the GSA SmartPay contractor banks – Citibank or U.S. Bank. Then, the awarded bank provides payment solutions to the agency.
Through the task order, your agency/organization program coordinator (A/OPC) sets up accounts for the card/account holders, manages the accounts using the bank’s Electronic Access System (EAS) and resolves issues or questions by working directly with a bank representative.
What are the benefits to using the GSA SmartPay Master Contract for obtaining payment services?
The GSA SmartPay program has continued to grow through increased adoption as agencies/organizations realize benefits afforded under the program.
Utilizing the GSA SmartPay Master Contract means:
- A faster contract acquisition process and reduced risk of protest, as compared with a full and open competitive procurement.
- Favorable negotiating platform and contract terms.
- Awards to contractor banks based on a competitive bidding process.
- Established relationships with contractor banks.
- A broad range of flexible products and services for agencies/organizations as well as the flexibility to add products and services.
- Ongoing support for your agency/organization.
What are some of the overall benefits to using the GSA SmartPay program?
Cost Savings Realized
Customers have the opportunity to realize administrative cost savings through payment efficiencies. In FY22 alone, the estimated administrative savings for the purchase card was $1.34 billion per year ($70 per transaction) when used in place of a written purchase order. In addition, agencies pay no direct fees to use GSA SmartPay solutions.
Agencies have the opportunity to earn refunds based on the dollar volume of transactions and the speed of payment.
Safety and Transparency
The GSA SmartPay program provides secure solutions for efficient payment transactions. Customers also have access to tools that provide increased transparency to spend and performance data.
Electronic Access to Data
Through the GSA SmartPay contractor bank’s electronic access system (EAS), account managers and card/account holders have immediate access to complete transaction-level data, helping to mitigate fraud, waste and abuse.
Through the use of commercial payment infrastructure, customers are able to use GSA SmartPay solutions anywhere in the world where merchants accept cards.
Identification for Discount Programs
GSA SmartPay payment solutions provide other less tangible benefits including travel insurance and eliminating the need for imprest funds or petty cash at the agency.
What is a GSA SmartPay Fleet card/account?
To obtain GSA SmartPay Fleet cards/accounts, your agency awarded a task order to one of the GSA SmartPay contractor banks (Citibank or U.S. Bank), then selected a specific fleet card/account issuer such as Wright Express (WEX) or Voyager. Another option was to award to one of the GSA SmartPay contractor banks, then select Visa or Mastercard branded cards. Whichever award path your agency chose, it is through the task order that fleet cards/accounts are set-up by the A/OPC.
The federal government or other authorized employees are permitted to use the fleet cards/account to make authorized purchases as determined by the agency/organization. Typically, fleet cards/accounts are used to purchase fuel, maintenance and repair of government owned/operated vehicles such as:
- Aviation (including airports, airbuses and associated services).
- Small marine vessels and large marine vessels (including ocean going ships, barges, tugs, dredges and other marine conveyances that are not required to utilize Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy as the required integrated material manager for bunker fuel and associated services).
A/OPCs and fleet managers assign fleet cards/accounts to vehicles (not to individuals). An employee’s personal credit history is not required to receive a GSA SmartPay Fleet card/account. Furthermore, use of the fleet card/account will not affect an employee’s personal credit history.
What are some benefits of using the GSA SmartPay Fleet card/account?
Access to Fuel and Maintenance Services
Fuel and maintenance service locations across the globe are available to fleet card/account holders.
Fraud Monitoring Using Level 3 Data
Level 3 data is detailed, providing specific information for transactions, which allows for better fraud monitoring. For example, when a purchase is made at a local gas station using a GSA SmartPay Fleet card/account, the Level 3 data shows what exact products/services were purchased, rather than just a high level dollar total.
Replacement Cards Shipped to Agencies
There is decreased vehicle downtime by having lost, stolen or broken cards shipped directly to the agency.
Real Time Authorization Data
If there is a problem with the card/account, the contractor bank can immediately determine what the problem is and how to complete the transaction.
The fleet card/account is a CBA; therefore, it is tax exempt. However, sometimes the tax exemption does not take place at the point of sale (as it should). Because detailed Level 3 data is associated with the transaction, taxes may be recovered after the fact, which leads to savings for the government.
What policies apply to federal motor vehicle management?
Advisory bulletins, Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, Executive Orders, OMB Circulars, Office of General Counsel (OGC) guidance, laws, regulations and agency-specific policies provide direction on the operation and management of federal vehicles.
Here are a few policy examples related to federal motor vehicle management:
Motor Vehicle Management Regulation (§102-34.5)
This regulation “governs the economical and efficient management and control of motor vehicles that the Government owns, leases commercially or leases through GSA Fleet. Agencies will incorporate appropriate provisions of this part into contracts offering Government-furnished equipment in order to ensure adequate control over the use of motor vehicles.”
GSA Bulletin FMR B-53 - Use of Government-issued Fleet Charge Cards
This bulletin [PDF, 4 pages] “provides Government-issued fleet charge card guidance for agency action with regards to Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 (Pub. L. 115-232).”
What is a Centrally Billed Account (CBA) and an Individually Billed Account (IBA) and why is it important to know the difference?
- Agency is invoiced for purchases.
- Payments are made directly to the contractor banks by the federal government.
- Examples include purchase, fleet and some travel cards/accounts.
- Card/account holder is invoiced directly.
- Payment is the responsibility of the card/account holder, who is then reimbursed by the agency/organization.
- Most common travel cards/accounts.
Tax exemption and liability differ depending on the card/account type.
- All GSA SmartPay CBAs should be exempt from state taxes.
- Federal government travelers using the GSA SmartPay IBAs may be exempt from state taxes in select states.
- Agencies/organizations accept liability for CBA transactions.
- Full liability for IBA transactions rests with the individual card/account holder.
How do I recognize GSA SmartPay Fleet cards/accounts?
Fleet cards/accounts may have two different designs:
GSA SmartPay Fleet Account Prefixes
|Mastercard||5563, 5565, 5568|
|WEX||5565, 6900, 7071|