GSA Wants Agencies to Get Smarter About Charge Cards

The Federal Acquisition Service is looking for help from the financial services industry.

Perhaps plastic is not the future, after all.

The 265,000 active purchase cards used regularly across the government may give way to more efficient and economical payment tools under the “SmartPay3” program being pursued by the General Services Administration.

In a request for information published Wednesday, GSA asked financial services companies to supply information on best practices to update the SmartPay approach currently used at 350 agencies. Besides traditional plastic credit cards, SmartPay employs virtual and single-use accounts to reduce waste, fraud and abuse while tapping data, the agency said.

The program “is an extremely effective and successful payment solution that has proven to streamline the business of conducting everyday transactions for federal agencies,” said Federal Acquisition Services Commissioner Tom Sharpe. “This program has great potential to expand and improve with new innovative features and solutions delivered from the private sector. FAS is looking forward to adding even more value to the payment products and services we offer our government agency customers by working with our industry partners to evolve this program to an even higher level of performance and support."

The deadline for industry comments is Jan. 22.

The four types of cards in the program—purchase, travel, fleet and integrated charge cards—were used for some 90 million transactions valued at $26 billion in fiscal 2014, GSA reported. Use of the cards allowed agencies to receive more than $272 million in total sales refunds.

(Image via photka/

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