Texas Rising - Summer 2011

Staying
in Charge

New card provider offers benefits to state and local governments

by Clint Shields

Often change is for the better. The Texas Procurement and Support Services (TPASS) Division is banking on positive results for Texas local governments that switch to the new Texas Charge Card Program.

All state agencies are transitioning their purchase and travel card programs to Citibank, and State of Texas CO-OP members are being encouraged to do the same. Texas Cooperative Purchasing Program members can purchase goods and services from state term contracts, TXMAS and managed contracts, which all meet their competitive bidding requirements. Participation in the charge card program ensures fast and efficient service of products to all customers, regardless of location or size.

Glossary: Terms Behind the Contracts

CO-OP – An acronym for the Texas Procurement and Support Services Cooperative Purchasing Program, CO-OP also identifies local governments and other organizations that are program members. CO-OP members can purchase goods and services from state term contracts, TXMAS contracts and managed contracts. Program services help members meets competitive bidding requirements, save time and money, increase competition and more. Complete details including benefits, a member list, information on joining, ordering and more are available online.

TXMASTexas multiple award schedule contracts (TXMAS) are developed from contracts awarded by the federal government or a governmental entity of another state. TXMAS contracts take advantage of pricing structures established by the General Services Administration and can, on occasion, allow an agency or local government to negotiate a lower price on goods and services. Find more information about purchasing procedures, contract categories and instructions online.

Term Contracts – These contracts are created by Texas Procurement and Support Services and, simply, are set for a specific time period, or term. A complete list of Texas term contracts and contracts that Texas government purchasers must examine when purchasing is available online.

Learn more about the Comptroller’s Strategic Sourcing Division and other purchasing initiatives.

Why a Charge Card?

For state agencies and CO-OPs alike, charge cards offer a convenient purchasing tool for a variety of products, services and travel. In addition, the Citi card program provides higher rebates, innovative reporting and cost savings using fewer administrative resources versus paper processes. Citi has decades of experience serving governments across the U.S., making this program, specifically, a good fit for participants. “Citi offers better features and rebates, based on the volume of state charge card use, than any local government could obtain on its own,” says Charlene Rendon, coordinator of the CO-OP Program.

“Citi offers better features and rebates based on the volume of state charge card use, than any local government could obtain on its own.”

Charlene Rendon,
State of Texas CO-OP Program Coordinator

The Texas Charge Card Program provides enrollees with discounted fees, spending rebates that exceed those of the previous charge card contract and other benefits, including:

  • spending rebates from the first dollar spent, up to $17,500 in rebates for every $1 million in expenditures, based on the state’s total spend;
  • rebates are sent directly to the participating local government;
  • no file transfer fee;
  • no maintenance system fee or duplicate statement fee;
  • spending tracking;
  • streamlined expense management and increased purchase control;
  • reduced paperwork; and
  • training programs that make the process even easier.

And in this age of online communication and data transfer, Citi offers a variety of Web tools that allow users to:

  • monitor cardholder activity;
  • view account statements;
  • set spending parameters for individual cards, and more.

Citi to the Cities

To help explain and promote Citi’s involvement with the Texas Charge Card Program – and to encourage participation among the attendees – Citi recently held informational forums in Austin, Dallas and Houston.

Prior to the forums, about 180 CO-OP members had agreed to transition to Citi’s program, and more than a dozen expressed interest after attending. The forums provided interested members with an opportunity to not only learn more about Citi’s program, but also to exchange information and have questions answered.

“It was great to see them excited about how they were going to use the new tools that will be available, and even sharing ideas among themselves about how they operated their charge card programs,” says David Bennett with the Comptroller’s Strategic Sourcing Division. TR

For more information on future forum dates and webinars, or to learn more about state purchasing opportunities. You can also sign up for state purchasing email alerts.