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Card/Account Holders and Approving Officials Travel Training

Lesson 4: Obtaining a Travel Card/Account

How do I apply for a GSA SmartPay® Travel card/account?

To apply for a GSA SmartPay Travel card/account, prospective applicants should:

  • Contact the travel A/OPC at your agency to obtain an application and submit the necessary information for the GSA SmartPay Travel card/account.
    • Provide an address (typically your home address) where a GSA SmartPay Travel card should be mailed.
    • Keep on hand the identifier to activate your travel card/account.
    • Talk about ATM access with your A/OPC.
  • Know and understand your responsibilities in accepting a GSA SmartPay Travel card/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 card/account is canceled.
    • You may be subject to disciplinary action and/or salary offset for late payment.
  • Sign and submit the application. Most agencies also require a supervisor’s signature.

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

A creditworthiness assessment is used as an internal control to ensure that card/account holders are financially responsible. If you are a new travel card/account applicant, then your agency is required to assess your creditworthiness in accordance with Public Law 112-194 (Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012) [PDF, 7 pages] before a card/account is issued.

In some cases, a restricted card/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 card/account holder is in official travel status.
  • Restricting use at ATMs.

Please contact your agency/organization program coordinator (A/OPC) for your agency-specific process for assessing creditworthiness.

When will I receive my GSA SmartPay Travel card/account?

New applicants should receive their GSA SmartPay Travel card/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 a GSA SmartPay Travel card within 24 hours of the request.

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

When you receive your GSA SmartPay Travel card/account:

  • Read the Cardholder Agreement.
  • Sign the back of your GSA SmartPay Travel charge card, if applicable.
  • Activate your GSA SmartPay Travel card/account.
  • Secure your GSA SmartPay Travel card/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.
  • For civilians, become familiar with the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) - 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapters 300-304.
  • For DoD employees, become familiar with the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR).
  • For U.S. Department of State Foreign Service members, become familiar with the Foreign Affairs Manual (Volume 4, Chapter 460 (4 FAM 460) and Volume 14, Chapter 500 (14 FAM 500)).

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