US government incorporates payment overhaul into cost-cutting strategy

white house

The Obama government has called for the General Services Administration (GSA) to modernise out-of-date remittance technology as it reviews its contracts with major financial institutions.

The consumer payment technology landscape has changed dramatically since GSA contracts were issued to Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and US Bank in 2008. According to the Washington Post, the GSA is now under pressure from the president to update its Smart Pay system, used by government officials to pay for work-related expenses.

The industry has seen many changes in the way consumers and commercial entities make payments,” said David Shea, director of the GSA’s Office of Charge Card Management, in a statement.

New approaches that are being considered include smartphone and tablet-based methods, contactless cards, cardless charge accounts, digital wallets and cryptocurrencies, says the Post. These would aim to strengthen security and anti-fraud measures, and allow the GSA to aggregate and track government payment patterns for better monitoring and transaparency.

In the longer term, it is thought that government procurement teams could use the information to build a clear picture of their outgoings and spending patterns, and so renegotiate more favourable contracts with suppliers.