Recovery Act Charge Card Utilization Plan


INTRODUCTION: This Agriculture Acquisition Regulation (AGAR) Advisory supersedes AGAR Advisory 92, dated February 17, 2009. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is implementing supplemental charge card guidance in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Recovery Act”) of 2009. The second installment of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance issued April 3, 2009 supplements, amends, and clarifies the initial guidance issued by OMB on February 18, 2009. 


SUMMARY:  The purpose of this advisory prescribes procedures for the use of government charge cards (both purchase and fleet) with funds appropriated by the Recovery Act.  GSA SmartPay® charge cards (both purchase and fleet) can be used for official purchases in support of the Recovery Act, consistent with OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B.  This advisory will be updated as new requirements are determined.


ACTION:  Each agency shall document and maintain internal procedures for issuing, managing, reporting, and monitoring charge card usage with Recovery Act funds.


Agencies shall instruct their Agency Organization Program Coordinators/Agency Fleet Program Coordinators (AOPC/AFPC) to coordinate a request to US Bank for new cards that are to be dedicated solely for Recovery Act transactions for tracking and oversight purposes.  


The AOPC/AFPC may choose to dedicate certain already-existing cards to Recovery Act purchases.  Once this decision has been made, the cardholders and Local Agency Program Coordinators/ Local Fleet Program Coordinators (LAPC/LFPC) shall refrain from using the Recovery Act card for any purchases or transactions that are not in support of the Recovery Act. 


Within one week of a Recovery Act card set-up, the AOPC/AFPC shall submit card account information to the Charge Card Service Center (CCSC) at specifying the cardholder name/LAPC name or Fleet Tag Number/LFPC Name; the card account number; the date that the card was opened; or, in the case of an existing card, the date that the card was reassigned for Recovery Act usage.  The subject line of the email should read: “Recovery Act Charge Card”.


We ask that the agencies exercise caution in setting up these Recovery Act cards to ensure that: 


·      The total number of charge cards issued/reassigned remains manageable

·      Appropriate AOPC/AFPC oversight is maintained

·      Internal controls are consistent with OMB Circular A-123, Appendix B


These “dedicated” cards should only be established in circumstances where agencies anticipate a high volume of Recovery Act-related transaction activity.   When the Recovery Act funding has been expended completely, the Recovery Act card should be closed.  When the card has been closed, the AOPC/AFPC should alert the CCSC at within one week.  The subject line of the email should read: “Recovery Act Charge Card”.  The submission should include the cardholder name/LAPC name, the Fleet Tag Number/LFPC Name, the card account number, and the date that the account was closed in Access Online. 


REPORTING:  Consistent with the reporting requirement in OMB Memo M-09-15, dated April 3, 2009, any purchases below the micro-purchase threshold using the GSA SmartPay® charge card will be recorded in Access Online (AXOL), US Bank’s Electronic Access System that USDA uses to manage its card program. 


All reporting requirements can be found within OMB Memo M-09-15, dated April 3, 2009.

CONTACT INFORMATION:  Any questions regarding this Recovery Act Charge Card Utilization Plan should be directed to the USDA’s CCSC at  For more information please refer to the OMB guidance at

AGAR Advisories are posted on the USDA World Wide Web site at the following URL: If you have questions or comments on this Advisory, please contact Todd Repass by phone (202-690-1060) or email ( or


EFFECTIVE DATE:  Effective upon issue date until cancelled