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GSA SmartPay, which supports federal purchases and reinvests in mission, celebrates 25 years

| GSA Blog Team
Post filed in: SmartPay

In a video message marking the 25th anniversary of the GSA SmartPay program, GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan highlights the benefits to both federal agencies and taxpayers.

GSA SmartPay, a program that supports more than $30 billion annually in federal agency transactions, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. 

Since its inception, the program has handled more than $643 billion in agency transactions and generated more than $5.6 billion in refunds (“cash back”) to agencies to reinvest in their missions.

Put simply, the program helps frontline federal employees who need to make relatively quick, inexpensive purchases as well as transactions for official travel, use of fleet vehicles and equipment, and more. It’s the world’s largest commercial government charge card (and related payment solutions) program, and it fundamentally changed how the federal government obtains a broad range of products and services, as well as how it processes payments, starting on Nov. 30, 1998. 

Today, it has grown to handle over 70 million transactions each year for more than 550 federal agencies, organizations, and Native American tribal governments. In fiscal year 2022 alone, nearly $33 billion was spent through the program, with agencies receiving over $426 million in refunds.

Over the past 25 years, the program has had numerous accomplishments, including:

  • Reducing acquisition backlogs by empowering front-line employees to directly buy products and services to support mission delivery.
  • Reducing government reliance on cash advances to make travel more efficient and secure for employees.
  • Providing automatic access to GSA discount programs for supplies and air fares.
  • Offering greater transaction flexibility and speed to help federal agencies with emergency response.
  • Introducing the concept of making payments on a contract with a charge card so agencies can earn even more in refunds.
  • Supporting federal fleet operations, allowing federal vehicles to fuel up and get maintenance throughout the country.
  • Launching a very popular website, accessed almost 1 million times per year, with features that help address key pain points for federal purchasers, travelers (eg., Section 889 compliance, state tax information, etc.), and vendors.
  • Creating simplified online tools for training federal employees on how to use GSA SmartPay.

Moving forward, the GSA SmartPay team is looking to expand usage of virtual cards, ePayables solutions, and mobile payments.

For more information on how GSA SmartPay is evolving to meet the needs of federal agencies and employees, check out the in-depth, three-part blog series on