Travel cards to require credit checks

Federal employees applying for a government-issued credit card to use for travel will be subject to a credit check before receiving a card and disciplinary action if they abuse the card, according to a revised federal travel card policy.

The General Services Administration issued a Dec. 12 bulletin to department and agency executives to remind them that internal agency regulations, procedures and training materials must be updated to reflect the revised policy.

The revised travel card policy, which took effect on Oct. 1, should help reduce the risk of fraud, misuse and late payments, according to the GSA bulletin.

The bulletin referred agency executives to an Office of Management and Budget circular for further details on the revised travel card policy. The OMB document states that an employee’s credit score must be at least 660 to receive a federal credit card. If a score is between 500 and 660, the employee will be subject to restricted card privileges, such as a reduced spending limit.

The revised OMB circular requires agencies to suspend or cancel the accounts of employees who abuse their travel card privileges and impose further penalties, if the agency deems it necessary.

For delinquent payments, agencies may suspend privileges and collect payments. In the case of fraud, agencies should report the incident to the Justice Department for investigation.

To avoid such incidents, agencies must ensure that employees applying for a credit card are adequately informed, according to the bulletin. “Training for the travel card holders must provide general information on traveling for the government and [a] review of how to use the travel card,” it states.

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