Although the number of government workers with SmartPay credit cards has declined, workers spent 2% more with the cards during fiscal 2006 than they had the previous year.
Administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), SmartPay is a government-issued credit card for use by government workers. They can be used only for transactions of less than $2,500, but they can be used to buy from virtually all suppliers, not just those that have been approved with a GSA schedule.
Cardholders charged $17.758 billion on their SmartPay cards during the fiscal year ended in September. The average purchase amount was $700.72, up 4% from $672.15 in fiscal 2005.
The number of cardholders dipped slightly, to 299,564 from 301,217 the previous year. During the past few years the government has limited the number of cardholders so that the managers in each government office could better monitor spending.
“All the statistics I’ve seen over the past 20 years indicate that the average government order is 15%-20% higher than a business-to-business order,” says Mark Amtower, founder of Amtower & Co., a Highland, MD-based consultancy that helps direct marketers sell to the federal government. “These end-of-year results indicate that proactive b-to-b marketers targeting government are probably growing the noncontract business-to-government side of their business faster than most b-to-b segments.”