Skip to main content

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs) Travel Training

Travel Training

Introduction: Welcome to the Course

Welcome to the GSA SmartPay® Travel Training for Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs)

As an A/OPC, you play a critical role in your agency’s/organization’s travel program. You work with the card/account holders, the bank and other key stakeholders to ensure that all travel cards/accounts are effectively managed.

This training course is intended to teach you the basics about your roles and responsibilities as an A/OPC. The course can be used as refresher training as required by your agency. In addition, we encourage you to also learn about your agency’s specific travel program policies since they will be the foundation of your day-to-day duties.

The contractor bank also provides valuable tools to you, such as the Electronic Access System (EAS) and A/OPC Guides.

Note: The GSA SmartPay training website is an independent training system and does not connect/communicate with any other agency training systems.

Lesson 1: Travel 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 250 federal agencies/organizations and Native American tribal governments with 4.5 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 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.

Specific to travel, the GSA SmartPay program provides card/account holders with a means to pay for all travel and travel-related expenses. Additionally, the GSA SmartPay program is the primary mechanism used to purchase airline, rail, and bus tickets at significantly reduced fares under the GSA City Pair Program (CPP).

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?

Agency Refunds

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.

Worldwide Acceptance

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 solutions provide automatic point-of-sale recognition for many GSA discount programs, including Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI), the GSA City Pair Program (CPP) and more.

Other Benefits

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.

Why does the U.S. Government have a travel payment solutions program?

The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-264) [PDF, 9 pages] mandates that federal government card/account holders use the travel card/account for official government travel expenses. Additionally, the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) mandates use of the travel card/account in almost all cases (see FTR Subpart H §301-70.700 for exemptions). The travel card/account allows individual card/account holders to pay for travel expenses and receive cash advances. In many instances, use of the travel card/account eliminated the need for agencies to issue travel cash advances. Government card/account usage provides streamlined, best-practice processes that are consistent with private industry standards.

What are some types of GSA SmartPay Travel cards/accounts?

Individually Billed Accounts (IBAs)

  • Most common travel card/account.
  • Issued to an employee designated by the agency/organization in the employee’s name.
  • Used to pay for official travel and travel-related expenses.
  • Only issued to federal employees or employees of tribes or tribal organizations.
  • May be used for local travel only if authorized by written policy of the agency/organization.
  • Agencies/organizations reimburse employees only for authorized and allowable expenses.
  • Card/account holders are directly responsible for all purchases charged to the IBA account.
  • Payment may be made directly by the card/account holder, agency/organization or in the form of a split disbursement in accordance with agency/organization policy.

Centrally Billed Accounts (CBAs)

  • Established by the bank at the request of the agency/organization to pay for official travel charges and official travel-related expenses.
  • Generally used to purchase common carrier transportation tickets for employee official travel through third-party arrangements, such as the GSA E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) for civilian agencies, the Defense Travel System (DTS) for the Department of Defense or permissible equivalent travel system.
  • Agencies/organizations may also make purchases through their Travel Management Centers (TMCs), commercial travel offices and through other government contracts.
  • Agency is directly billed and is liable for making the payment.
  • Payment is made directly to the bank by the government.

Tax Advantage Travel Accounts

  • Issued to an employee designated by the agency/organization in the employee’s name.
  • Used to pay for travel and travel-related expenses.
  • Combines IBA and CBA transactions to provide tax exemption at the point of sale for rental car and lodging expenses.
  • Charges for rental cars and lodging will be automatically billed to a CBA for payment, taking advantage of the government’s CBA tax exemption status for those types of accounts.
  • Charges for other travel-related purchases, such as meals and incidentals, are billed to the IBA portion of the account and will still incur tax. The individual traveler will still be liable for payment to the bank for those charges.

How do I recognize GSA SmartPay Travel cards/accounts?

Typically, travel cards have one of these designs:

GSA SmartPay card design GSA SmartPay card design

Please note that card designs may vary.

GSA SmartPay Travel cards/accounts use the following prefixes:

BrandCard Prefix
Visa4486, 4614, 4615, 4716
Mastercard5565, 5568

For the travel business line only, the sixth digit will identify whether the account is a CBA or IBA.

Account TypeSixth DigitBilling Type
GSA SmartPay card design1, 2, 3, 4IBA
GSA SmartPay card design6, 7, 8, 9, 0CBA
GSA SmartPay card design5CBA/IBA

Why is it important to understand your travel card/account type?

Tax exemption and liability differ depending on the travel card/account type.

Tax exemption considerations

  • 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.
  • Card/account holders should review and understand the state tax policy for the state where you will be traveling to and should make sure to have all necessary forms before traveling.

Liability considerations

IBA Accounts

  • Liability for charges on the IBA rests with the individual card/account holder, not with the agency/organization.
  • If the card/account holder fails to pay his/her account on a timely basis, the bank may suspend or cancel the account and assess late charges and fees.
  • If the bank cancels an account due to delinquency, the bank may report that information to credit bureaus and the information will appear on the card/account holder’s personal credit report.
  • The bank can pursue debt collection to obtain repayment of the charges.
  • The agency/organization is never responsible or legally liable for the account.

CBA Accounts

  • Liability for charges on the CBA rests with the agency/organization, not with the individual card/account holder.

Tax Advantage Travel Accounts

  • Because the account is a combination of both CBA and IBA, the liability will be determined by the type of purchase.
  • If it is a CBA purchase, the liability rests with the government.
  • If it is an IBA purchase, the liability rests with the card/account holder.

How would someone check tax exemption status?

Here is a typical example of how to check tax exemption status:

  • Jo is planning an official government trip to the GSA SmartPay Training Forum in Orlando, Florida.
  • During the planning stages for the trip, she checks the GSA SmartPay website to find out more information about tax exemption in Florida.
  • Jo learns that IBA travel cards/accounts are tax exempt in Florida. In addition, while no form is required, Florida does allow hotels to require a “Certificate of Exemption”. She also saved the Florida Department of Revenue’s phone number in case any questions came up during her trip.
  • Jo confirms that she has a GSA SmartPay IBA travel card/account – the first four digits are “4486” and the 6th digit is a “4”.
  • Jo books the hotel room and follows up with a call to verify that the hotel is compliant with the state’s tax exemption policy. If not, she’s given herself plenty of time to find another hotel that does comply.

Lesson 2: Key Participants

Who are the key participants in the GSA SmartPay® program within my agency/organization and what are their responsibilities?

Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs)

  • Overall management and oversight of the accounts under their span of control.
  • Set up accounts and designate authorization controls.
  • Serve as a liaison between card/account holders and the bank.
  • Provide ongoing advice and assistance to card/account holders.
  • Develop agency program procedures and policies as necessary.
  • Audit accounts as required by the agency’s policy.
  • Use the bank’s Electronic Access System (EAS) to perform account management and oversight.

Approving Officials (AO)

  • Typically the card/account holder’s supervisor.
  • Assure proper use of the account.
  • Determine if purchases are necessary for accomplishing the mission of the agency.

Card/Account Holders

  • Designated by an agency/organization to receive an account.
  • Secure the payment solution.
  • Maintain records relating to transactions, as required.
  • Use the account ethically for official government purposes only.

Designated Billing Offices (DBO)

  • Serve as the focal point for receipt of official centrally billed invoices.
  • Oversee the proper processing of invoices.
  • Ensure invoices are paid within the Prompt Payment Act timeframes.

Transaction Dispute Officers (TDO)

  • Assist the agency/organization and the bank in tracking and resolving disputed transactions.

EC/EDI Offices (EO)

  • Focal point for electronic commerce/electronic data interchange (EC/EDI) for the agency/organization.
  • Oversee the proper implementation of the EC/EDI capabilities and processes.

Who are the key participants in the GSA SmartPay program that are outside of my agency/organization and what are their responsibilities?

Contractor/Issuing Banks

  • Enable merchant payments for purchase transactions.
  • Establish accounts.
  • Issue cards, if required.
  • Prepare the monthly statement for each card/account holder.
  • Issue invoices to the DBO.
  • Provide 24-hour customer service.
  • Prepare reports that assist the agency in effectively utilizing the program.
  • Examples include Citibank and U.S. Bank.


  • Financial institutions that dictate where payments can be processed.
  • Facilitate the payment process between card/account holders, merchants, and issuing financial institutions.
  • Examples include Visa and Mastercard.


  • Source for supplies or services.
  • May be a required source inside or outside the government, another government agency, or a private sector merchant.

GSA Contracting Officer

  • Administers the GSA SmartPay Master Contract on behalf of all authorized users, including your agency/organization.
  • Make changes to the GSA SmartPay Master Contract requirements.
  • Legally commit or obligate the government to the expenditure of public funds for the GSA SmartPay Master Contract.
  • Render a final decision on a dispute pertaining to the GSA SmartPay Master Contract.

Is there anyone else who will be involved with the GSA SmartPay program?

Agency Management, Inspector General (IG) and Auditors

  • Because the GSA SmartPay program is a highly visible program and receives a lot of interest both within and outside your agency/organization, these parties will likely be interested in the performance of the travel program.
  • Many agencies/organizations will have periodic audits of the travel program and you will likely be a key player in those audits.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress

  • OMB and Congress may also take an interest in the performance of your program.
  • Your management and policy office will provide you with more information on handling audits, investigations and external inquiries.

Lesson 3: Travel Card/Account Use and Payment Solutions

What is the appropriate use of the GSA SmartPay® Travel card/account?

The GSA SmartPay Travel cards/accounts may be used ONLY for authorized official travel and travel-related expenses. Official travel expenses are broadly categorized as transportation, lodging, meals and incidentals.

The travel card/account must not be used for personal expenses unrelated to official government travel. This is considered to be misuse of the account or use of a federal payment solution by an authorized user for other than the official government purpose(s) for which it is intended.

To help prevent misuse, the travel card/account may be electronically coded to be rejected at merchant locations that your agency has determined are not necessary for conducting official government business.

Some agencies allow the GSA SmartPay Travel card/account to be used for local travel.

Here’s an example of local travel use:

Sarah is traveling to a training class in Washington, D.C., which is located within the vicinity of her regular duty station. To attend the event, she must either take a taxi or public transportation. Official government travel authorization is not provided or necessary for this class. However, Sarah is able to use her GSA SmartPay Travel card/account because her agency policy has authorized employees to use their IBA travel card for local travel and related expenses.

How does the GSA SmartPay Tax Advantage Travel card/account work?

The Tax Advantage Travel card/account is issued to an employee designated by the agency/organization in the employee’s name.

Agency/organization program coordinators (A/OPCs) will work with their contractor bank to identify Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for rental cars and lodging to be excluded from taxes.

Accounts will be established using IBA procedures, to include credit checks or other creditworthiness assessments.

When the card/account is used, invoices will be sent to the employee and the agency/organization for payment via split disbursement.

The CBA portion of the charges will be paid by the agency and the IBA portion of the charges will be the responsibility of the employee.

Agencies/organizations must specify invoice elements in their task order level requirements.

Here’s an example of Tax Advantage Travel account use:

Andrew is on official government travel and is checking into the hotel using his Tax Advantage Travel card/account. The process does not change from how hotel merchants run the card and verify tax exemption status today. The hotel will need to verify (through use of the 6th digit and the BIN) that the payment is being directly provided by the government through the CBA function. Once verified, Andrew will provide any required CBA forms to the hotel. Required forms vary from state to state and can be found on the GSA SmartPay website. Even if the state does not exempt taxes for the IBA transactions today, it is still required to exempt all of the CBA transactions. At the end of the month, when Andrew receives his invoice from the bank, the hotel should already be paid for through his agency’s CBA process. He will just need to pay for his meals and incidentals.

What are some of the strategic payment solutions offered under GSA SmartPay 3?

Strategic payment solutions provide agencies/organizations with increased payment flexibilities and strategies for making payments.

Strategic payment solutions offered under the GSA SmartPay 3 Master Contract include:


  • Replaces the accounts payables process such that electronic transactions take place directly between the government and the supplier.
  • Typically used with merchants who are traditionally paid by convenience check or electronic funds transfer (EFT) and do not accept charge card payments.
  • Examples include straight-through processing, buyer-initiated payments, supplier-initiated payments, procure to pay and other card-not-present solutions.

Mobile Application

  • Provides the ability to access the Electronic Access System (EAS), pay invoices, receive text/email alerts and view statement and payment information over a mobile device.
  • Upon request, your contractor bank provides mobile application capabilities at no additional cost.

Mobile Payments

  • Your contractor bank provides the ability for card/account holders to make secure payments using a mobile device at the point-of-sale (POS).

Net Billing

  • The process of ensuring that merchant discounts or refunds offered are deducted at the POS and guaranteeing such discount arrangements.
  • The contractor bank ensures that discount information is identified on the invoice and passed to the agency/organization, when available.
  • For example: An airline ticket costs $250 and the merchant offers rebates of $50 off the ticket price to the agency/organization based on existing agreements. The contractor bank shall net bill the agency/organization $200 for the transaction.

Single-Use Account (SUAs)

  • Leverages a single virtual account number for each payment.
  • The limit on each account is set to the specific payment amount.
  • Internal controls such as Merchant Category Code (MCC) blocks, spend limits, timeframes and account expiration dates can be used for increased control.
  • Agencies also have the ability to append accounting data for seamless reconciliation.
  • Examples of use include invoice and contract payments, which help to ensure that merchants are not able to charge more than approved amounts.
  • Benefits include:
    • Accounts can be activated in real time.
    • Controls can be placed on account allowing for increased oversight of spend
    • Disposable, one-time use account numbers reduce the risk of fraud.
    • Seamless reconciliation.
    • Reduces the necessity for using convenience checks.


  • Use of a secure, unique “token” in place of a 16-digit account number to provide extra security for transactions.

Virtual Cards

  • One-time use account numbers that may be used during a limited time, for a limited amount and possibly for a specific merchant.

Declining Balance Cards

  • Can be applied for a specific purpose, a finite balance or for a specified time period.
  • Credit limits can either be reset as needed or the card becomes inactive once the balance is used.
  • Easily loaded and distributed to employees in case of emergency or disaster situations.
  • Benefits may include:
    • Financial flexibility and security.
    • Reduction of agency/organization administrative fees.
    • A flexible option for applicants who cannot be issued a traditional card/account.
    • Safe and excellent alternative to cash and paper checks.

Ghost Cards

  • For agencies who frequently do business with one merchant and have recurring payments.
  • An account number can be assigned to the merchant and authorized agency personnel transactions occur without having to use multiple cards or accounts.
  • Many agencies use this product for purchases such as airline tickets.
  • Benefits may include:
    • Reduced number of open accounts (payment processing and oversight easier).
    • Allows for multiple users.
    • Allows for a high level of control.
    • Reduces the risk of lost or stolen cards.

Are there exceptions to using the GSA SmartPay Travel card/account while on official travel?

Yes, exceptions to using the GSA SmartPay Travel card/account include:

  • The vendor does not accept the payment solution.
  • The GSA Administrator granted an exemption (FTR Subpart H §301-70.700).
  • Your agency head granted an exemption.

The GSA SmartPay Travel card/account may be used for authorized official travel and authorized travel-related expenses ONLY. Official travel expenses include transportation, lodging, meals and incidentals. The travel card/account will be printed in the cardholder’s name and must not be used by any other person. The cardholder is personally liable for all charges made on their travel card/account. They should not use their government travel card/account for any personal expenses.

What is Section 889 and how does it apply to purchases?

Section 889 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (P.L. 115-232 [PDF, 789 pages]) and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Case 2018-017 prohibit the purchase of covered telecommunications equipment and services from merchants who sell products containing spyware. These devices could pose a threat to U.S. security by spying on or disrupting communications within the U.S. Therefore, GSA SmartPay card/account holders should follow their agency’s policy regarding Section 889 compliance.

Lesson 4: Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) Responsibilities

What are some A/OPC responsibilities?


  • Oversees the travel program for your agency/organization to best support your mission.
  • Develops agency program procedures and policies as necessary.
  • Serves as the liaison between the card/account holder, the contractor bank, your management and the GSA Center for Charge Card Management (CCCM).
  • Please note that the lead A/OPC may be supported by regional or field A/OPCs with distinct responsibilities.

Managing Card/Account Holders

  • Maintains a current list of account names, account numbers, contact information of all current card/account holders and accounts.
  • Maintains a current list of agency/organization points of contact for Designated Billing Offices (DBOs), Transaction Dispute Offices (TDOs) and Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data Interchange Offices (EOs), as applicable.
  • Ensures card/account holders use the travel program correctly.
  • Monitors account activity and manages delinquencies.
  • Ensures that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate suspension or cancellation actions.


  • Receives training before appointment and participates in refresher training a minimum of every three years (or less depending on agency/organization policies) in accordance with OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B [PDF, 71 pages].
  • Participates in annual training forums and disseminates information and lessons learned to other A/OPCs, account managers and card/account holders.
  • Ensures that card/account holders are trained prior to receiving their travel account and that they take refresher training at a minimum every three years (or more often if required by your agency).

Master Contract/Task Order Compliance

  • Oversees the business line for your agency/organization and establishes agency/organization guidelines.
  • Directs the contractor bank to establish accounts.
  • Serves as liaison between the card/account holder and the contractor bank.
  • Provides on-going program guidance.
  • Audits accounts as required.
  • Keeps necessary account information current for the agency/organization.
  • Please note that the terms and conditions of the GSA SmartPay® Master Contract can only be modified by the GSA SmartPay Contracting Officer. The A/OPC does not provide supervisory guidance to the contractor bank’s personnel.

Card/Account Holder Hierarchies

  • Establishes card/account holder hierarchies, which are often associated with billing and organizational structures.
  • Please note that hierarchy structures may vary from agency to agency due to each agency’s unique requirements. This includes the number of card/account holders managed by each A/OPC and the level of problem resolution. Once your agency determines the structure and requirements needed, the contractor bank will be able to assist with establishing your agency hierarchy levels.


  • Keeps the lines of communication open with all key program participants, including senior management/leadership.
  • Stays in touch with travel program participants by networking, asking questions and sharing policy changes, program information and/or other travel card/account information.
  • Please note that A/OPCs should try to establish relationships with the card/account holders within your span of control. The better you understand each travel card/account holder’s travel history and needs, the more effective you can be in managing the program and preventing or detecting misuse and fraud.

How do I set up travel cards/accounts?

As the A/OPC, you are responsible for setting up and maintaining centrally billed accounts (CBAs) and individually billed accounts (IBAs). Refer to your contractor bank’s A/OPC Guide, Cardholder Guide and EAS Manual for detailed instructions on how to set up cards/accounts.

Typically, A/OPCs complete the following steps when setting up a new travel card/account:

Verify Creditworthiness Score

Agencies have to complete a credit check by using a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and follow the guidelines outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These procedures must be followed when issuing a travel card/account to a new card/account holder. A satisfactory creditworthiness score must be obtained in order to issue a travel card/account to a new card/account holder.

Obtain Training Certificate

Each card/account holder must complete training prior to appointment and must take refresher training at a minimum of every three years. Card/account holders should understand their responsibilities and duties associated with having a GSA SmartPay Travel card/account. In addition, A/OPCs must ensure that the card/account holder is in compliance with agency-specific policy regarding card/account holder training.

Receive Completed Card/Account Application

Each prospective card/account holder must complete a card/account application. Once the card/account application has been approved, the card/account will be issued and can be registered in the EAS.

Set Authorization Controls

At the time of account setup within the EAS, the A/OPC will set authorization controls. A/OPCs can change authorization controls at any time in case you determine that some are too restrictive (or not restrictive enough). Use authorization controls as a tool to prevent fraud and misuse.

Here are some typical authorization controls:

  • Single purchase limit - Restricting the dollar limit for an individual transaction.
  • Monthly purchase limit - Restricting the cumulative dollar limit for purchases in one month. The monthly purchase limit may be set to any dollar amount equal to or greater than the single purchase limit.
  • Number of transactions limit - Restricting the number of transactions per day and/or per month on each card/account.
  • Merchant Category Code (MCC) restrictions - Purchases are restricted depending on the type of merchant (identified by the MCC). For fleet, instead of MCC, include the Product Number/Code.

Are credit checks required for travel card/account holders?

Yes, credit checks are required for travel card/account holders.

According to Public Law 112-194 (Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012) [PDF, 7 pages]: “Each executive agency has policies to ensure its contractual arrangement with each travel charge card issuing contractor contains a requirement that the credit- worthiness of an individual be evaluated before the individual is issued a travel charge card, and that no individual be issued a travel charge card if that individual is found not creditworthy as a result of the evaluation…”.

Agencies have to complete this evaluation by using a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and follow the guidelines outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These procedures must be followed when issuing a travel card/account to a new card/account holder. The result of the creditworthiness check will determine whether or not you can issue a travel card/account to a new card/account holder.

A card/account holder that does not have a history of credit or has an unsatisfactory history of credit may not receive a travel card/account. These card/account holders, however, may still receive a restricted charge card in accordance with agency policies and procedures. OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B [PDF, 71 pages] also addresses this topic in detail.

What is the process for renewing IBA travel cards/accounts?

For renewing IBA travel cards/accounts:

  • At least 90 calendar days prior to the expiration of each IBA card/account, the contractor bank shall submit a listing of each expiring card/account to the A/OPC.
  • The list format shall be determined by the agency/organization.
  • The listing shall contain all information necessary for the agency/organization to renew the card/account.
  • Cards/accounts shall automatically renew unless otherwise directed by the A/OPC.
  • Per OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B, a creditworthiness assessment shall be conducted for restricted card/account holders before the card/account holder is issued a renewed card/account.
  • If cards/accounts are not to be renewed, the A/OPC will notify the contractor bank, in writing, 45 calendar days prior to card/account expiration date.

There are four steps to closing or terminating cards/accounts:

  • Immediately notify the bank when a card/account holder leaves the agency/organization, is terminated from employment or no longer requires a travel card/account.
  • Follow the card/account close out procedures from your contractor bank.
  • Instruct the card/account holder to destroy/dispose of the card by cutting it into pieces.
  • Review the master file/account holder listing to ensure the card/account is closed.

Are A/OPCs able to suspend or cancel a card/account?

Yes, A/OPCs are able to suspend or cancel a card/account.

Suspension is the process by which an account is deactivated due to delinquency or multiple pre-suspension actions. An account is considered past due if payment for undisputed principal amounts has not been received within 45 calendar days from the billing date.

An account can be canceled if an undisputed balance remains unpaid for the prescribed number of calendar days from the billing date. An account may also be canceled for numerous suspensions.

A reason must be documented for suspension or cancellation. Accounts may be canceled through your bank’s Electronic Access System (EAS) or through the bank’s customer service office. Under certain conditions, an A/OPC may request the contractor bank to delay or accelerate action for suspending or canceling an account.

In summary, please refer to the chart below:

Number Calendar DaysAccount Status/Action
46 days from the billing datePre-Suspension
61 days from the billing dateSuspension/Pre-Cancellation
126 days from the billing dateCancellation
180 days from the billing dateCharge-Off/Write-Off

*Please refer to your agency policy for specific delinquency stages as they may differ.

For more details on suspension/cancellation procedures, see the GSA SmartPay Master Contract, Section C.3.3.11 Suspension Procedures and Section C.3.3.12 Cancellation Procedures.

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. Once an account has been canceled, the contractor bank is under no obligation to reinstate the account.

Please note that the liability for CBA transactions rests with the agency/organization, while liability for IBA transactions rests with the individual card/account holder.

What is a write-off or credit loss?

A write-off is a canceled account with an unpaid balance determined to be uncollectible by the contractor bank.

What happens if a travel card/account is lost or stolen?

It is the card/account holder’s responsibility to immediately report the lost or stolen travel card/account to:

  • The contractor bank.
  • You, the A/OPC.
  • Their supervisor.

Once a card/account has been reported as lost or stolen, the contractor bank immediately blocks that account from further usage and a new account number will be issued to the card/account holder.

Reporting the card/account as stolen does not relieve the card/account holder or the government of payment for any transactions that were made by the card/account holder prior to reporting it stolen. If you do not recognize a transaction appearing on your statement, you are responsible for notifying the contractor bank within 90 calendar days from the transaction date to initiate a dispute, unless otherwise specified by the agency/organization. This notification of transaction dispute may occur via the EAS, by telephone or other electronic means like email.

Please note that card/account holders relinquish their right to recover a disputed amount after 90 calendar days from the date that the transaction was processed.

How does the bank support the A/OPC?

The contractor bank can provide you with tools to assist in successful management of your agency’s travel program, including:

  • Establishing and maintaining accounts.
  • Providing an Electronic Access System (EAS).
  • Providing data mining tools and assistance to help detect potential fraud/misuse.
  • Providing forms and reports.
  • Resolving disputes.

Lesson 5: Reporting Tools

A/OPCs can access electronic reports to monitor and track delinquency through the contractor bank’s Electronic Access System (EAS). To access reports, contact your bank representative to obtain a user ID and password.

What type of information is available through the EAS and when it is available?

Each bank has a slightly different suite of reports available, so review the contractor bank’s A/OPC Guide or go online to learn about the specific reports offered. Please note that:

  • Most electronic reports are updated within two to three days after a transaction. However, some reports are only updated at the end of the billing cycle.
  • A/OPCs have access to monitor card/account holder transactions at any time. By searching by card/account holder name, account number or social security number, you can track card/account holder transactions (such as transactions, payments and disputes), as well as view card/account holder monthly statements. You may also contact the bank’s customer service at any time to request information on a specific account.
  • You may refer to GSA SmartPay Master Contract, Section C.7.1 Electronic Access System (EAS) for a full list of the EAS requirements.

Which reports provide general account information?

Account Activity Report

  • Consists of summary totals for the reporting period, the FY to-date, categorized by account and agency/organization.
  • Used by the A/OPCs to obtain and manipulate program data.
  • Shows complete account activity, both active and inactive.
  • Includes an agency/organization hierarchy roll-up section.
  • Covers current and past FY account activity.
  • Segregates charges and credits by individual or agency/organization accounts with current period totals of the data elements identified.
  • Includes merchant information such as name, address and Merchant Category Code (MCC) (as applicable).

Account Change Report

  • Lists any changes made to the master file information.
  • Identifies what and when elements were changed.
  • Generally used by A/OPCs to manage programmatic data as well as to flag/verify changes.

Current Accounts Report

  • Shows all accounts in alphabetical order.
  • Includes all information necessary to identify and contact the card/account holder.
  • Generally used by A/OPCs as an easy reference for card/account holder identification.

Exception Report

  • Identifies high risk transactions such as lost, stolen, invalid or canceled accounts, declined transactions and unusual spending activity and details such transaction activity.
  • Includes current and past due balances.
  • Generally used by A/OPCs and the Designated Billing Office (DBO) to monitor card/account holder activity, track misuse and/or identify training needs of a card/account holder.

Master File Report

  • Contains master file information on all accounts (such as account number, card/account holder information, account expiration date, etc.).

Renewal Report

  • Lists accounts due to expire and identifies account name, account number, expiration date and any other information required to determine renewal status. Generally used by the A/OPC to flag expiring accounts.

Which reports provide information on transactions, payments and disputes?

Detailed Electronic Transaction File

  • Lists each card/account holder’s detailed transactions for the reporting period and contains all transaction data.
  • This file is used by the agency/organization in processing transactions through their financial systems and for reporting purposes.

Invoice Status Report

  • Identifies payment status on each outstanding invoice and includes all transaction data, including the original invoice number and other references required to identify the charge.
  • Generally used by the DBO to manage payments and disputes.

Transaction Dispute Report

  • Lists all outstanding and resolved transaction disputes.
  • Includes all information necessary to identify, track, balance and obtain status on the dispute from the original charge through resolution.
  • Generally used by the Transaction Dispute Office (TDO) to manage disputes.

Which reports provide information on account delinquency?

Delinquency Report

  • Lists account status for each 30-120+ day time frame (such as 30, 60, 90, 120 or more days).

Exception Report

  • Identifies high risk transactions such as lost, stolen, invalid or canceled accounts, declined transactions and unusual spending activity and details such transaction activity.
  • Includes current and past due balances.
  • Generally used by A/OPCs and DBO to monitor card/account holder activity, track misuse and/or identify training needs of a card/account holder.

Pre-Suspension/Pre-Cancellation Report

  • Lists accounts eligible for suspension or cancellation as defined in the Master Contract, Section C.3.3.11 Suspension Procedures and C.3.3.12 Cancellation Procedures.
  • Identifies account name, account number, status, balance past due, number of days past due and interest penalty for centrally billed accounts (CBAs).

Suspension/Cancellation Report

  • Lists accounts that have been suspended or canceled as defined in the Master Contract, Section C.3.3.11 Suspension Procedures and C.3.3.12 Cancellation Procedures.
  • Identifies account name, account number, status (suspended or canceled), date of status, balance past due, number of days past due and interest penalty.

Write-off Report

  • Lists the amount of the write-off and date written off.
  • Used by the agency/organization to identify problem areas to better manage delinquencies in the future, to analyze and project programmatic data for the future and to verify and balance delinquent data in contract reports.

Which reports provide statistical or summary information?

1057 Report

  • Contains summary merchant demographic information (minority, women-owned business) on a quarterly and cumulative fiscal year basis.
  • Includes the amount of purchase, merchant name, merchant address, merchant demographic information, North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code and size standard.
  • Generally used by the agency/organization in fulfilling its small business and small disadvantaged business goals.

OMB Report

  • Provides transaction data required by Chapter 5 – Performance Metrics and Data Requirements of OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B.
  • Includes a program type identifier (like purchase, travel, fleet and integrated).
  • Examples of this transaction data includes, but is not limited to, the number of cards and the number of active accounts.

Payment Performance and Refund Report

  • Lists the payment performance (average payment time) and any refunds paid to the agency/organization level.
  • Includes total net charge volume, payment performance, refund amount, payment method and transaction type (such as ePayables and large ticket items).
  • Used by the agency/organization to analyze payment performance and refunds as well as for audit purposes.
  • Includes daily accrual figures and the percentage of potential refunds earned by the agency/organization along with an explanation of how this figure was derived.

Statistical Summary Report

  • Provides program summary information such as dollar volume, ATM volume, number of transactions, active card/account holders, total accounts, new accounts, miscellaneous fees, transaction type (like convenience check, ATM, large ticket, etc.) and identification of fees (like fees for customized services, fees for convenience checks, fees for value-added product and service offerings, etc.) on a current and FY basis.

Summary Quarterly Merchant Report

  • Lists by FY quarter, summary spending information by MCCs and Product Number/Code.
  • Reports MCC description, number of transactions per MCC, total dollar amount per MCC and average dollar amount per MCC.
  • Used to summarize supplier categories where the agency/organization dollars are spent and trend analysis.
  • Shows which MCCs are listed in each template.

What are ad hoc reports?

Ad hoc reports provide the ability for GSA and the agency/organization community to access all data elements of the approving official (AO), card/account holder and transaction records at any time to by allowing GSA and/or agencies/organizations to create reports in HTML, Excel, text (ASCII) formats, and/or others as defined by the agency/organization at the task order level. The contractor bank provides the capability for GSA to utilize the EAS’ ad hoc reporting functionality for any additional future reporting needs that are not listed.

What are the A/OPC’s responsibilities for printing and storing reports?

You should save copies of all electronic reports you generate, particularly statistical or summary reports. Due to the volume of information available, the bank will furnish information for a limited period of time (generally, 18 months or less) before archiving the data. Reports containing sensitive information (such as account numbers, card/account holder information, etc.) should be maintained in a secure location. Review and follow your agency/organization policy for instructions on printing and safeguarding reports.

Lesson 6: Delinquency

What is delinquency?

Delinquency is an undisputed account balance that is unpaid for the prescribed number of calendar days or more past the statement due date. The statement due date will generally be 25 to 30 days after the closing date on the statement, depending on the contractor bank. The closing date is often referred to as the billing cycle date and is assigned by the contractor bank for your accounts and will generally be the same each month for all accounts under your control.

For an IBA account, liability for all charges rests with the individual card/account holder. If the card/account holder fails to pay his/her account on a timely basis, it will be considered delinquent and the contractor bank may suspend or cancel the account and assess late charges and fees. The agency/organization is never responsible or legally liable for the account.

It is important to remember that under the terms of the GSA SmartPay® Master Contract, an account is considered past due if payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received within 45 calendar days from the billing date in which the charge appeared.

  • Suspending an account: The bank may suspend the account, unless otherwise directed by the A/OPC, if the payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received 61 calendar days from the billing date in which the charge appeared.
  • Canceling an account: If payment for the undisputed principal amount has not been received 126 calendar days from the billing date in which the charge appeared, the contractor bank may cancel the account, unless otherwise directed by the A/OPC.

How do I notify card/account holders regarding past due accounts?

Notify a card/account holder regarding past due accounts by:

  • Email.
  • Letter/correspondence/memorandum.
  • Personal visit.
  • Phone.

Always document your contacts with card/account holders regarding their delinquent accounts. It is important to keep your documentation so that there are records in the event of an audit, investigation, or later inquiry into a specific account.

For example, if you contact the card/account holder by telephone or personal visit, make a note of the date and time of the call/visit, the results of the call/visit and any follow-up you or the card/account holder agreed to. Or, if you contact the card/account holder by email, be sure to save the email. Keep a file copy of all written correspondence.

Please note that your agency/organization may have additional policies requiring notifying the card/account holder’s supervisor, your human resources office and/or your finance office by sending a list of delinquent travel cards/accounts. Be sure to always comply with your agency’s policy.

How is action initiated on delinquent accounts?

You should become familiar with the policies and standards of conduct applicable to card/account holders at your agency. Your agency may have developed guidance that addresses the range of actions that may be taken in the event that the card/account holder violates agency policy. You may be responsible for advising the appropriate personnel (such as the card/account holder’s supervisor, Human Resources, the IG and the agency/organization ethics official) when a card/account holder has misused their account. Generally, you will not initiate the personnel action, but you may be called upon to provide supporting documentation.

How do I inform delinquent card/account holders about disciplinary actions?

If you are required to do so by your agency/organization, inform card/account holders who are delinquent that disciplinary actions may be taken by the agency/organization if payments for delinquent accounts are not received in a timely manner. You may be required to cite or provide a copy of the relevant agency policy pertaining to disciplinary actions. Although travel card/account delinquency policies vary from agency to agency, you may be expected or required to remind card/account holders of the consequences for repeated delinquencies and/or misuse of their travel card/account. You are also encouraged to work with your Human Resources office, your legal office and anyone else who may need to be involved in the disciplinary action process.

Disciplinary actions that may occur, depending on the severity of the problem, include:

  • Counseling/informal admonishment.
  • Oral and/or written reprimand.
  • Suspension without pay.
  • Removal from federal service employment.

In addition, in accordance with agency-specific policy, it is important to notify card/account holders with canceled IBAs that the delinquency may be:

  • Reported to credit bureaus or similar entities by the contractor bank.
  • Referred to an outside collection agency by the contractor bank.
  • Subject to late fees for which will not be reimbursed.

Please note that agencies/organizations may elect to allow the contractor bank to charge their standard commercial late fee in accordance with standard commercial practice; however, inclusion of standard commercial late fees at the task order level is contingent upon the agency’s/organization’s successful negotiations with union officials, as appropriate and at the sole discretion of the agency/organization. For more information, see the GSA SmartPay Master Contract, Section C.

Why should my agency/organization care about delinquency?

Liability for an IBA is the card/account holder’s responsibility, not the government’s responsibility. So, why should the government care whether an employee is delinquent in paying the amount owed on time?

There are a number of reasons why it is important to manage delinquency, such as:

  • Federal employees must abide by the Standards of Official Conduct and agency ethics rules. See the Office of Government Ethics.
  • Federal agencies are responsible for ensuring that employees follow the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) for DoD.
  • As participants in the GSA SmartPay program, all agencies/organizations are responsible for following the terms of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract, including the requirements to ensure that card/account holders use the account correctly, monitor account activity, manage delinquency, and mitigate suspension/cancellation of accounts.

How can I track a card/account holder’s delinquency?

Use the contractor bank’s EAS to pull and review the exception and delinquency reports.

What is salary offset?

The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-264) [PDF, 9 pages] mandates the use of the government contractor-issued travel card/account for all employees on official government business. The Act allows an agency to collect from an employee’s disposable pay any undisputed delinquent amounts that are owed to a contractor bank, upon written request from the contractor bank. This is known as salary offset.

Each agency must follow the due process requirements of the Act as presented in the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) before collecting undisputed delinquent amounts on behalf of the contractor bank. Each agency must reach agreement with its bank on the process to be used for submission of the request and handling of the request internally.

Specific issues to be addressed by the agency include:

  • Determining whether the individual is still employed by the agency.
  • Determining whether the employee has been reimbursed for travel expenses.
  • Determining the amount of disposable pay available for collection. Salary may be subject to other garnishments, etc.
  • Payroll’s ability to process the request and provide a payment to the bank.
  • Legal compliance with the terms of the Act.
  • Union notification, if applicable.

A multifunctional team will be required to implement this process. Depending on your organization’s structure, this team would include the A/OPC and representatives from travel policy, payroll, human resources, labor relations and Office of the General Counsel. It is suggested that you work closely with your bank to establish a process that works for all parties.

What is split disbursement?

Split disbursement provides for payments to be made by the agency on behalf of the card/account holders. At the card/account holder’s direction and in accordance with agency policy, disbursement is split. The bank receives a direct payment by the agency of the card/account holder specified/claimed amount. The rest of the payment is disbursed to a card/account holder account or directly to the card/account holder. Large ticket items such as common carrier, hotel and rental car charges are commonly paid directly to the contractor bank on behalf of the card/account holder while other disbursements are paid to the employee.

Split disbursement is an effective tool to reduce delinquency and improve refunds paid to the agency. It will require coordination with the bank to ensure proper payments are made by the government and properly posted to a card/account holder’s account.

Lesson 7: Misuse/Abuse and Fraud

What ethical standards apply to travel card/account holders?

Executive branch card/account holders are subject to the Standards of Official Conduct. These standards require that: Public service is a trust, requiring card/account holders to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain. Card/account holders shall not use public office for private gain. Card/account holders shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those such as federal, state and local taxes, that are imposed by law.

What are some examples of misuse/abuse?

Misuse/abuse of the GSA SmartPay® travel card/account can take many different forms, but here are some of the most common examples:

  • Personal use.
  • Use of the travel card/account for someone other than the specific card/account holder.
  • Use while not on official government travel.
  • Purchases from an unauthorized merchant.
  • Excessive ATM withdrawals.
  • Failure to pay undisputed amounts on time.

What are some consequences of misuse/abuse?

Consequences for misuse/abuse may include:

  • Reprimand.
  • Travel card/account cancellation.
  • Counseling.
  • Suspension of employment.
  • Termination of employment.
  • Criminal prosecution.

Please note that it is up to your agency to provide agency-specific penalties and consequences for misuse/abuse of the travel card/account.

What should I do if I suspect misuse/abuse of the travel account?

A key responsibility for most A/OPCs is to detect and report suspected misuse. If you are required to report suspected misuse, make sure you have all the information necessary to assist with a formal inquiry or investigation. Contact the card/account holder to obtain any information that could explain questionable charges. If the card/account holder provides documentation or an explanation regarding the charges and you still have questions or concerns about it, compile all the information (such as a statement, exception report, documented contacts between you and the card/account holder, copies of receipts, etc.) before you report it. Your agency/organization may ask you to report suspected misuse to one or more of the following personnel:

  • The card/account holder’s supervisor.
  • The Human Resources Office.
  • The Approving Official.
  • The Finance Officer.
  • The Office of Inspector General or the Office of Special Investigations.

Always follow your agency’s policies and procedures when handling cases of suspected misuse.

Under the United States Code Title 18 Section 287, misuse of the travel card/account could result in fines or imprisonment or both. Military members who misuse the travel card/account may be subject to court martial under United States Code Title 10 Section 932 - Art 132.

What is fraud?

Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced with the motive of securing unfair or unlawful gain. Fraud can be an attempt to cheat the federal government and corrupt its agents by using GSA SmartPay payment solutions for transactions that are not part of official government business. Like any deception, fraud has its fair share of victims.

Some of the different types of fraud include:


Occurs when a card/account holder’s data is stolen at the fuel pump, ATM or point-of-sale (POS) terminal.

Counterfeit Cards

Criminals make fake cards by using the newest technology to “skim” information contained on the magnetic stripes of cards.

Lost or Stolen Cards/Accounts

Often physical cards are stolen from a workplace, gym or unattended vehicle.

Card-Not-Present (CNP) Fraud

Internet fraud occurs whenever card/account information is stolen and used to make online purchases. Usually, a merchant will ask for the Card Verification Code (CVC) (located on the back of the card itself) to help prevent this type of fraud.


Phishing occurs whenever a card/account holder receives a fake email directing him or her to enter sensitive personal information on a phony website. The false website enables the criminal to steal information from the card/account holder.

Non-Receipt Fraud

Occurs whenever new or replacement cards are mailed and then stolen while in transit.

Identity Theft Fraud

Whenever a criminal applies for a card/account using another person’s identity and information.

What should you inform your card/account holders about fraud?

Card/account holders should be on alert to the indicators of fraud (including false charges/transactions, mischarging, bribes, gratuities and kickbacks). They should also make sure to report suspected fraud immediately through the proper channels at your agency (AO, A/OPC, Finance Officer, Office of the Inspector General or Office of Special Investigations, etc.).

Furthermore, card/account holders should understand that any intentional use of the GSA SmartPay Travel card/account for other than official government business is considered an attempt to commit fraud against the U.S. Government and may be cause for disciplinary actions. The IBA card/account holder is held personally liable to the government for the amount of any non-government transaction.

Lesson 8: Risk Mitigation

How can Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs) and contractor banks help to minimize the risk of misuse/abuse and fraud?

A/OPCs should work to minimize the risk of misuse/abuse and fraud in your GSA SmartPay® travel program. The most important thing you can do is to be aware of what activity is occurring on the accounts under your purview. Do not be afraid to ask card/account holders questions if you identify unusual or suspicious transactions or behavior.

Risk mitigation controls, policies and practices are critical tools for ensuring the efficiency and integrity of payment solution programs by eliminating payment delinquencies, payment solution fraud, misuse, waste and abuse.

Public Law 112-194 (Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012) [PDF, 7 pages] and OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B [PDF, 71 pages] place a great deal of emphasis on risk management.

Contractor banks shall support goals to manage risk by:

  • Developing an efficient approach to risk identification, analysis and mitigation.
  • Suggesting and sharing industry leading practices.
  • Developing and suggesting internal controls.
  • Assisting in the development of risk mitigation policies.
  • Providing agencies/organizations with exception reports that flag high risk transactions.
  • Assisting agencies/organizations and GSA in the communication of policies to card/account holders.

What control mechanisms do A/OPCs have to assist in managing the GSA SmartPay program?

A/OPCs may proactively implement controls to prevent or minimize the occurrence of delinquency. Controls are used to ensure proper use of the card/account and reduce risk to all parties (the card/account holder, the agency/organization and the contractor bank). These controls are often referred to as authorization controls and include:

Default Limit

Standard commercial default limits suggested by the contractor bank during card/account setup that may be changed by an agency/organization.

Dollars Per Transaction Limit

Restricting the dollars per single transaction that can be spent on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.

Dollars Per Month Limit

Restricting the dollars per month that can be spent on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.

Transactions Per Day Limit

Restricting the number of transactions per day on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.

Transactions Per Month Limit

Restricting the number of transactions per month on each card/account as set by the A/OPC.

Merchant Category Code (MCC)

Restricting the types of purchases made by each card/account as set by the A/OPC. Purchases are restricted depending on the type of merchant (identified by the MCC).

Preferred Supplier Listing

Each card/account may be restricted from making purchases at certain merchants; straight-through processing (STP) or virtual accounts may have established relationships with a specific supplier.

Preferred Supplier Listing Threshold

Each card/account may be restricted to certain dollar thresholds and preferred suppliers.

Automatic Controls

Controls that flag and deny invalid cards/accounts (such as lost, stolen, suspended and canceled cards/accounts).

Mass Changes

The ability for the A/OPC to make changes on a large number of cards/accounts (to meet contingency operations such as natural disasters).

Information Adjustments

The ability for the A/OPC to adjust card/account information based upon hierarchy levels.

Activation/Deactivation On-Demand

The ability for the A/OPC to activate/deactivate multiple cards/accounts upon demand or activate/deactivate automatically based upon established business rules provided by the agency/organization at the task order level. No transactions shall be authorized on a deactivated card/account.

User Account Recognition

The ability to uniquely identify and authenticate an account user before processing card-not-present transactions. The transaction processing shall support a two factor authentication where one of the factors is provided by a device separate from the computer gaining access. The concept to tie the financial authorization process with an online authentication.

Card-Not-Present Notifications

The ability to notify the agency/organization on card-not-present transactions.

When appropriate authorization controls are combined with effective oversight and consistent enforcement of agency policies/procedures, the result is a well-managed program. While there can be a cost to implement certain controls, the costs should be balanced against the benefits received by reducing delinquency and misuse.

What program management tools are available to assist agencies in minimizing instances of misuse/abuse and fraud?

Credit Limits

  • Credit limits restrict single travel, daily, weekly or monthly expenditures by the card/account holder.
  • In accordance with agency/organization policy, an A/OPC may set the limits which best meet the agency’s needs.
  • Setting limits that are realistic, but not excessive, will deter card/account holder misuse.
  • By reviewing card/account holder spending patterns, you may be able to lower limits without disrupting the agency’s mission.
  • A/OPCs also have the authority to raise limits at any time in response to emergency or unforeseen situations.

MCC Blocks

  • MCCs are established by the associations or contractor banks to identify different types of businesses.
  • Merchants select the codes best describing their business.
  • You may limit the types of businesses where the account will be accepted by limiting the MCCs available to the card/account holder.
  • The contractor bank has established sample templates that may assist you in determining which MCCs should be restricted.
  • In the event that a card/account holder needs to make a purchase outside of his/her restricted MCCs, A/OPCs are authorized to override the restriction for a transaction by contacting the contractor bank’s Customer Service Representative.
  • Agency/organization policy should specify who is authorized to perform overrides.

Online Reports

  • A/OPCs have access to many standard and ad hoc reports online through the contractor bank’s EAS. See Lesson 5 of this training.

Account Deactivation

  • In those instances when the travel card/account is not needed on a continuous basis, deactivation of the account may serve as a deterrent to fraud and/or misuse.
  • You may deactivate the card/account when a card/account holder is not using or is not planning to use the travel card/account.
  • By understanding the card/account holder’s need and use of the account, you can work with the card/account holder to establish deactivation guidelines.
  • Deactivation and reactivation can be completed through the bank’s EAS or by calling the bank’s customer service phone number.


  • The banks have developed written guides for A/OPCs and card/account holders.
  • A/OPC Guide: This guide addresses issues of concern to the A/OPC, including responsibilities of program participants, account setup and maintenance, account suspension/cancellation, disputes, reports and invoicing procedures. The guide is available from the banks in hard copy and/or electronically.
  • Card/Account Holder Guide: This guide addresses authorized uses of the travel card/account, disputes, and billing.

GSA Provided Resources

  • GSA developed and hosts an online training course for travel card/account holders that discusses the proper use of travel card/account.
  • The annual GSA SmartPay Training Forum for A/OPCs provides training on the bank’s EAS, best practices and program management.
  • Free online resources from the GSA SmartPay website to assist travel A/OPCs in detecting and preventing misuse and fraud.
  • Printable resources such as Helpful Hints for Travel Account Use [PDF, 14 pages] is a card-sized brochure that provides information on the travel card/account. This brochure can be ordered online and can be passed out to card/account holders when they receive their travel cards/accounts.

How do program management tools make it easier to audit and manage the use of travel cards/accounts?

Program management tools such as online reports make it easier to identify questionable transactions from proper transactions. Online reports provide auditors and A/OPCs with immediate access to information such as the merchant name, the type of merchant, the dollar amount of the transaction and the date of the transaction. In some instances, merchants also provide line item detail for transactions, including quantities, prices and product descriptions. GSA continues to work with the associations to increase the availability of line item detail.

Lesson 9: Resources

How do I reach out to my agency’s contractor bank directly?

In order to effectively manage the GSA SmartPay® travel program for your agency/organization, it is important to know your contractor bank’s information. It will be helpful to get to know your bank’s Customer Service Representatives and Account Managers. They can provide a wealth of information and are ready and able to answer questions to help you manage your program. Many of your responsibilities as an agency/organization program coordinator (A/OPC) involve a working relationship with the contractor bank.

Here is a listing of the contractor bank’s websites and phone numbers. Ask questions and get involved. They are available to give you the technical assistance you need.


  • 800-790-7206 (within United States)
  • 904-954-7850 (collect calls from outside United States)
  • Citibank Online Account Access (self register, commercial site).

U.S. Bank

  • 888-994-6722 (within United States)
    Note: To speak with a live person, do not press any buttons.
  • 701-461-2232 (collect calls from outside United States)
  • U.S. Bank Online Account Access (self register, commercial site).

Where am I able to access the GSA SmartPay Master Contract?

Understanding the terms and conditions of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract is important to performing your role as an A/OPC. The terms and conditions of the Master Contract identify specific contractual requirements that the GSA SmartPay program has with the contracting banks.

The GSA SmartPay Master Contract can be viewed on the GSA SmartPay website. Download a copy and review relevant clauses and sections that pertain to the GSA SmartPay Travel program, as well as to the GSA SmartPay program in general.

An official website of the General Services Administration

Looking for U.S. government information and services?