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Government Purchase Card (GPC) Program


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Government Purchase Card (GPC) Program


Alternate Definition

The Government Purchase Card (GPC) Program (also known as the GSA SmartPay®3 Program) provides charge cards to agencies/departments throughout the U.S. Government. The GPC Program is intended to streamline the small purchase and payment process, minimize paperwork, eliminate imprest fund transactions, and generally simplify the administrative effort associated with procuring goods and services under the micro-purchase threshold.

General Information

The GPC program is established using task orders negotiated with national banks (e.g., Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and U.S. Bank). Currently there are over 350 participating agencies in the program, including DoD. This program spends approximately $30 billion annually using 100 million transactions and 3 million cards. The GPC is the preferred method for purchasing and paying for goods and services under the micro-purchase threshold. The GPC is also authorized for use above the micro-purchase threshold to place task or delivery orders (FAR 13.301(c)(2)) and as a method of payment (FAR 13.301(c)(3) and 32.1108).

Key participants in the GPC Program are:


  • Component Program Manager (CPM) - The GPC lead(s) for each Defense Component.
  • Oversight Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (OA/OPCs) - Responsible for managing/overseeing other A/OPCs.
  • Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) – Responsible for day-to-day management and oversight of cardholders and the Managing Account (MA). 
  • Approving/Billing Officials (A/BOs) - Responsible for reviewing and approving GPC MA invoices and transaction supporting data for compliance 
  • Cardholders  – The individual who has been issued a GPC cardholder account.
  • Certifying Officers - Responsible for reviewing GPC MA invoices in accordance DoD Financial Management Regulation requirements.
  • Resource Manager - Responsible for providing appropriate GPC account funding.
  • Supervisor – Responsible for ensuring purchases made with GPC support the office mission.


Each organization has specific policies and procedures on use of the card, eligible purchases, receipt of purchased items, and payment. Generally speaking, the cardholder should perform the following for each purchase:


  1. Have a valid procurement/purchase request that authorizes the cardholder to purchase the particular supply or service.
  2. Ensure that proper and sufficient funding are available to procure the required supply or service.
  3. Make the purchase with the vendor at one all-inclusive price (including delivery). The price must fall within the available funding, the micro-purchase limit, and the cardholder’s single purchase and monthly limits.
  4. Document all purchase card transactions on a purchase card log. This facilitates detection of unauthorized transactions or errors on the monthly electronic statement of account (e-statement).
  5. Verify receipt of the item or service when the transaction appears on the e-statement.
  6. Maintain all documents, receipts, and packing slips, per agency procedures.


Each month the cardholder shall reallocate and submit the monthly e-statement to the A/BO within his/her agency’s required timeframe. The cardholder shall forward all transaction documentation to the A/BO for review and approval concurrent with forwarding the monthly e-statement. The A/BO then reviews and approves the e-statement within the agency’s required timeframes. All transaction documentation must be kept for three years after the statement end date.


The purchase card may be used only for official Government business. Personal use of the card is never authorized. No one other than the authorized cardholder may use the card. All purchases must be proper, legal, reasonable, and satisfy a bona fide need of the Government. Intentional misuse of the card can result in disciplinary action, including card revocation, loss of job, fines, and jail time. GPC program officials should be sure to check their specific agency’s program guidance.

1See the definition at FAR 2.101 for the current micro-purchase threshold.