Travel Charge Card

What is the Travel Charge Card?
The GSA SmartPay® 3 program provides charge cards to U.S. government agencies, as well as tribal governments, through master contracts that are negotiated with major banks.

There are currently more than 560 Federal agencies, organizations and Native American tribal governments participating in the program, spending $30 Billion annually, through 100 million transactions on more than three million cards.

There are three types of travel accounts:

  • Individually billed accounts are issued to employees to pay for official travel and travel-related expenses. The government reimburses employees for authorized expenses. The employee is responsible for making payment to the bank.
  • Centrally billed accounts are established by some agencies to pay for official travel expenses. Centrally billed accounts are paid directly by the government to the bank.
  • GSA SmartPay Tax Advantage Travel accounts are new product offerings that combine an Individually Billed Account (IBA) and Centrally Billed Account (CBA), providing a means to obtain tax exemption automatically at the point of sale for rental cars and lodging charges. The combined features of CBAs and IBAs are a key characteristic of this product.
    When using the Tax Advantage Travel Account, charges for rental cars and lodging will be automatically billed to a CBA for payment. Charges for other travel-related purchases, such as meals and incidentals, are billed to the IBA portion of the account.

What is the benefit for federal agencies?
Each agency or organization using the travel charge card receives a rebate based on sales volume. The sale refund is remitted to the organization. In addition, a separate refund is provided to agencies and organizations based on improving speed of payment.

How can travel managers make it happen?
In 1988, Congress mandated that federal employees use the government travel charge card for all payments of expenses related to official government travel, with some exceptions.

Travel managers should ensure that all of their travelers use their government-issued travel charge card for all purchases of travel-related services or products such as rental cars, hotel rooms, and telephone or Internet service.

Looking for more information on SmartPay?

The GSA SmartPay program provides charge cards to U.S. government agencies/departments, as well as tribal governments, through master contracts that are negotiated with major national banks.

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