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Purchase Card Information

GSA Smart Pay Purchase Card

The purchase card has become the preferred method to purchase supplies and services up to the micro-purchase threshold, currently $3,000 ($2,500 for services subject to the Service Contract Act, and $2,000 for construction).

Cardholders, approving officials, and central control points shall complete purchase card training before receiving a purchase card or assuming their responsibilities under the purchase card program. Cardholders are authorized officially within the IHS through a written Delegation of Authority. The delegation specifies the spending and usage limitations unique to the cardholder. The A/OPC shall provide a delegation of authority letter to each cardholder after the required training is completed.

There are three training courses that are required to become a cardholder or Approving Official:

  • Success to GSA SmartPay Purchase Card Training (Cardholders): Take the applicable training and print the completion certificate.
  • Section 508: Take the Section 508 training titled “Micro purchase and Section 508Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  and print out a copy of the documentation of completion.
  • Green Purchasing: The Defense Acquisition University offers an online Green Procurement Course, CLC 046 - Green Procurement. It is available on DAU's continuous learning site. Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  While portions of the course are DoD specific, it provides the information and examples about green purchasing legal requirements, the FAR provisions, and the components of the Federal green purchasing program that OFEE recommends for green procurement courses.

Review the HHS Purchase Card Guide and Indian Health Manual Part 5, Chapter 23 for the use of the purchase card. If you and/or your supervisor would like for you to apply for a purchase card, print and complete the Request for Purchase Card [PDF - 151 KB] form and send it to your Area A/OPC [PDF - 38 KB].  Be sure to include copies of your training certificates and the completed Cardholder [WORD - 572 KB] and Cardholder and Approving Official Training Certification [WORD - 42 KB] form with your application.

General Rules for Cardholders

Threshold Limitations Use of the purchase card is subject to the following limitations in accordance with the terms of the HHS task order, the FAR, and the purchase card Bankcard Manual:

Cardholder single purchase limit. The maximum amount authorized for any one transaction or purchase by a cardholder. The limit will usually be at or below the micro-purchase threshold of $3,000. The purchase can be composed of single or multiple items purchased at one time with a single supplier.

Cardholder monthly spending limit. The maximum dollar amount authorized for a cardholder within a calendar month.

  • Prior to making any purchase, cardholders must obtain supervisor pre-approval and fund certification through the Office of Finance and Accounting using the Purchase Card Request Form [PDF - 2 MB]

Unauthorized Purchases The purchase card bears the cardholder's name and may be used only by that individual and only to purchase and/or pay for official government purchases in compliance with the policies and procedures governing the purchase card. Unauthorized use of the purchase card includes, but is not limited to, the purchase of the following goods and services:

  • Any goods or services intended for personal use.
  • Government travel, per diem, and telephone calls made while on travel.
  • Telephone calls, excluding cellular telephone service.
  • Computers, except for purchase by specially designated personnel.
  • Rental or lease of land or buildings, except temporary rental of conference, meeting or exhibit space.
  • Repair or service of leased vehicles when the lease provides for servicing and repairs.
  • Gift certificates under the FDA’s Reward and Recognition Program greater than $250 per person, per award.


Federal laws and regulations place restrictions on the actions of Government personnel. Intentional use of the purchase card for non approved purposes will be considered an attempt to commit fraud against the United States Government and will result in immediate cancellation of the card and immediate disciplinary action, ranging from reprimand to removal. The cardholder will be held personally liable to the Government for the amount of the non approved purchases and may be subjected to a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, or both, under 18 U.S.C. 287. Commercial laws and bank policies also apply which stipulate use of credit cards. The applicable bank under the purchase card program is within its authority to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

Convenience Checks Information

The convenience checks program supports and enhances the use of the GCPC program. Convenience checks shall be used for official Government business and only when the vendor is unable and or unequipped to accept the purchasing card. Use of a convenience check is authorized only when use of the EFT is unavailable for payment and other authorized payment mechanisms, such as the purchasing card or Treasury checks, are not possible. The use of a convenience check is considered the last alternative for payment.

Typical situations where convenience checks may be appropriate include: speakers at cultural events, seminars or conferences; transportation of IHS patients for medical treatment; and rural vendors or contractors that are not registered in the Central Contractor Registration database.

Convenience checks shall not be used for Federal salaries and wages or travel expenses for any reason.

Convenience checks shall not be used for reimbursements other than for valid procurements.

Convenience checks are subject to the same regulations and restrictions as the purchase card. Pre-approval is required to initiate the use of a convenience check. The purchase card requirement for source procedures also apply to the use of convenience checks. Purchases made with convenience checks are also exempt from sales taxes or similar state and local transaction taxes imposed on the buyer. However, see the additional requirements described below for collection and reporting of payment information for income tax purposes.

Requesting a Convenience Check

Convenience checks should be made on a P-Card request form. The form should have all authorizing signatures, including financial approval.

A Convenience Check Request should contain the following:

  1. P-Card Request number;
  2. Individual’s name;
  3. Address;
  4. Telephone number;
  5. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), which can be the EIN or Social Security number. This information is required by the finance office to prepare the IRS-required 1099-MISC forms;
  6. W-9
  7. DUNS number (if applicable);
  8. Amount to be paid;
  9. 2% convenience check fee as a separate line item and added to the total amount;
  10. A brief description of the purchase.

When to submit the requests to the Division of Acquisition Policy:

  • Supplies: as soon as you have identified the items needed, prepare the request form, get the necessary approval signatures, and submit to the Division of Acquisition Policy. The items to be purchased will be ordered by the convenience check holder.
  • Service: as soon as the individual that will provide the service is identified, prepare the request form, get the necessary approval signatures, and submit to the Division of Acquisition Policy. The convenience check holder will contact the individual to authorize the start of work.

Grants Reviewers Payment Instructions:

  • For grants reviewers' requirement, prepare the convenience check request form, get the necessary approval signatures, and submit to the Division of Acquisition Policy after you have received approval of your Objective Review Committee (ORC) package from the Chief Grants Management Officer (CGMO) and BEFORE the materials are emailed to reviewers, prior to the pre-ORC meeting.
  • Once the review is completed, submit the receiving/receipt of the service provided to the check writer for check payment issuance. Make sure to provide a copy of the W-9 along with the receipt.