GSA announces new purchase card providers

The General Services Administration on Thursday announced awards to all four companies that bid for spots in a program to provide credit card services to federal agencies.

The contracts for GSA's SmartPay2 program to supply purchase, travel, fleet and integrated charge card services went to Citibank, GE Capital Financial, JPMorgan Chase and U.S. Bancorp. They will last until 2018 if all options are exercised, and have an estimated value of $26 billion annually. There is no cap on the value.

A spot in the program means the companies are eligible to market their services; the awardees will undergo another layer of competition as they vie to win individual agencies' business. Agencies have until November 2008 to complete the transition to new providers.

The five existing SmartPay providers handled $26.5 billion in purchases and 98.6 million transactions in fiscal 2006, according to David Shea, the program's director. Two of those providers -- Bank of America and Mellon Bank -- opted out for the next round, meaning their customer agencies will need to look elsewhere for service. But Shea noted that regardless of their current provider, agencies are expected to entertain offers from all four awardees.

Shea said GSA has trained 114 agency charge card managers on the transition process, and is scheduled to teach 60 more in the coming months.

The new cards will feature several improvements, Shea said, including a graphic design that makes them easier to identify. They also will have elements aimed at improving oversight. For instance, supervisors will receive a notification e-mail when employees use the new cards, making it easier to track what is bought and when.

But Shea emphasized that despite some highly publicized past cases of misuse, the "cards are overwhelmingly used for appropriate purposes."

Neal Fox, who managed the SmartPay program as an assistant commissioner for acquisition at GSA and now runs a consulting firm, praised the agency for retaining the strongest elements of the program while adding capabilities.

The retention of the three vendors that bid to stay in the program is not surprising, Fox said, nor is the addition of GE Capital Financial. But, he noted, the newcomer is a capital financing company rather than a traditional bank, adding a new twist.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.