How Hard is it to Get a Government Credit Card?

It may surprise you to learn that a great number of people employed by both federal and state governments carry a government credit card. The purpose of issuing government cards is to streamline the work performed by many employees.

This is especially a factor at the federal level where buying anything can involve purchase orders and time for processing that limits the ability of an employee to conduct his duties.

Travel is a necessity for many employees of government agencies and for private companies who provide workers for outsourced security and other positions.

If you apply for a position in the work force of the federal government you may worry about how hard it is to get a government credit card for public employees.

How Government Cards Work for Government Contractors

For purchases under $2500, no purchase order is required if you have a government card. This not only provides efficiency but also lowers costs of spending time to process small purchases.

The purchases made with government cards are automatically recorded in the database of the credit lender and thus fill the requirement for data system reporting that is required of government employees.

The General Services Administration (GSA) manages the credit card program for the federal government. The purchase cards are provided by NationsBank Visa and may be used only for work related expenses.

Other Government Cards

Many who work directly for the federal government need the ability to spend money on plane tickets, meals and other business related expenses on short notice.

Receipts and other documentation are submitted by the employee at regular intervals. For some workers, the government provides the credit card and sends a check to the employee to pay the credit bill when due.

For others, the government pays the bills directly and uses the submitted documentation for its files.

When you apply for a credit card account for personal use, you will be approved or denied based on your personal credit history.

If you are worried about your credit rating, you may worry about how hard it is to get a government credit card if you are hired for a new job. Under this credit program, the credit account is guaranteed by the government itself.

The lender is issuing credit based on the reputation of the federal government. You might not want to lend money to government – but big banks compete heavily for the government credit card business.

The Bottom Line

If you have been hired for a new position with the federal government there is no need to worry about how hard it is to get a government credit card. Your credit is checked as part of the vetting process of background checks.

If you have a history of poor money management and unpaid debt, you are unlikely to be hired.

If you are hired the decision of whether to issue a government credit card to you will be based on the needs of the job itself.

If travel is required or other expenses are part of the job, you will be issued a business credit card to use for all business related purchases and travel. Your agency or department will provide specific information on how the card may be used.

Should you be hired for a federal or state position where purchases are not a regular part of your duties, you will not be issued a government credit card. It is that simple.


If you wonder whether it is hard to obtain a government credit card, you may be worrying without cause. If your skills are needed you may be issued a credit card even with poor personal credit.

For most employees, you will not be hired for a government position involving money transfers if you have a poor record of financial management on your personal credit file.