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Travel Card Do’s and Don’ts

With the privilege of a government travel card also comes the responsibility for its proper use. Use the following lists to ensure that you are using the travel charge card properly.

credit card and plane tickets atop a computer keyboard.

Your government travel card is a tool that assists you in the performance of your duties. How you use the travel card will reflect directly upon you as an employee and as an individual.

Federal employees may only use the travel charge card to pay for expenses listed on the travel authorization.

You must use the card only for authorized expenses incurred in connection with official travel orders that are approved in the agency travel management system. Possession of the card does not exempt you from the use of HHS Travel Management Centers (TMC) or government contract carriers when required.

Use of the card does not relieve you of the responsibility to employ prudent travel practices and to observe the travel rules and regulations set forth in the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) travel policy manual, and any operating division-specific directives.

Proper use of the HHS travel card and its privileges are outlined below:


  • Do use your travel card to pay for authorized expenses on official travel orders.
  • Do remember your travel card has a charge limit for food and automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawals.
  • Do obtain cash advances for official travel through an ATM only when authorized.
  • Do be aware that your operating division and your immediate supervisor may monitor card use and may recommend disciplinary action when misuse or abuse has occurred.
  • Do be aware that vendors report to the Department when the card is used for non-travel related expenses.
  • Do submit payment in full for the travel card bill before the statement due date.
  • Do respond in a timely manner to your operating division and bank on receipt of a delinquency notice. A mutual agreement can be reached to rectify any problem immediately.
  • Do contact the bank customer service number in a timely manner if you have questions about your monthly bill.
  • Do follow your bank’s dispute process for incorrect or erroneous charges.
  • Do retain your receipts while on travel so you have accurate information to file a travel claim and to reconcile your monthly statement.
  • Do file your travel Voucher within five (5) business days after trip completion.
  • Do use Split Disbursement.
  • Do safeguard your card and assure it is not lost or stolen. If this does occur, report your lost or stolen travel card to the bank and your agency/organization program coordinator (A/OPC) or travel coordinator immediately.
  • Do surrender your travel card to your supervisor upon separation from HHS. Advise your A/OPC if you have transferred or notify the bank if you have changed your mailing address.
  • Do become familiar with the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) and your operating division’s travel guidelines. Read the HHS Travel Policy Manual or visit GSA travel card policy for more information.


  • Don’t use your travel card for personal expenditures that are not authorized or reimbursable on the travel voucher.
  • Don’t use your travel card when you are not on official travel status.
  • Don’t allow others to charge purchases on your travel card.
  • Don’t put other employees’ travel expenses on your card, including group food or drinks.
  • Don’t charge office supplies, training, conference fees, photocopies, postal services, equipment, or bottled water for groups on the travel card. Use the purchase card or other acquisition procedures to procure non-travel services and products.
  • Don’t forget to file your travel claim within 5 business days after trip completion, or once every 30 days if you are on extended temporary duty (TDY) travel.
  • Don’t use your travel voucher reimbursement for personal gain. Failure to pay the bank can result in termination of charge card privileges and/or salary offset.
  • Don’t allow your travel card account to become delinquent. Delinquency occurs on the first day after the due date.
  • Don’t obtain cash advances that exceed the authorized travel meals and incidentals (M&IE) per diem for the trip (Example: $35 M&IE per diem x 5 days = $175 is the authorized amount).
  • Don’t wait to report a lost or stolen travel card to the bank and to your agency/organization program coordinator (A/OPC) or travel coordinator.
  • Don’t forget to take the travel card refresher training course, as required by HHS and the OMB Circular A-123 Appendix B.

Still have questions?

Contact your agency/organizational program coordinator (A/OPC) , who is the primary liaison between you and the bank for travel card questions, or contact the PSC Travel Card Office via email at, or by phone at (301) 492-4843.