If you are a government contractor, you know how important this issue of Level-3 data has become in the current market. And if by some chance you aren’t yet aware, you’ll need to learn very quickly, as collecting and passing Level-3 financial data has rapidly become a necessity in the government contracting space.

The benefits provided by Level-3 data are compelling. Level-3 data allows government contractors to save 40-50% off of their charge card processing fees. Level-3 data provides granular purchase details to government agencies, allowing for more efficient and consistent prevention of waste and abuse related to government purchasing cards. Finally, and critically, the GSA is expected to soon make the ability to process Level-3 data mandatory for all GSA schedule holders.

Let’s take a look at a specific example of how mandatory this requirement to process Level-3 data has already become. FTS was recently approached by a government contractor wishing to do business with the U.S. Army. The Army had made it clear that the contractor would need to be Level-3 compliant in order to obtain the business.

But beyond this basic mandate, the Army stipulated that the contractor DOCUMENT  its Level-3 compliance before the Army would agree to do business with the company. Subsequently, FTS was approached, and we provided a letter confirming the contractor’s Level-3 compliance, which was then presented to the U.S. Army.

Let’s explore two other current trends that highlight the direction the market is heading. As described above, the GSA is widely expected to make Level-3 data mandatory in the near future. As part of that process, they are promoting initiatives such as the PoST Pilot Program for 51V Schedule contract holders, wherein participating vendors will be required to provide Level-3 transactional data for all orders placed with the GSA SmartPay Card.

The EPA is also firmly on the Level-3 bandwagon. As part of the agency’s “greening initiative,” contractors are strongly encouraged to provide Level-3 transactional data with all purchases.

If you want to remain relevant to the expanding government market, you cannot afford to keep your head in the sand. Level-3 is a de facto requirement today; compliance is not difficult to obtain. Get your house in order now, before the requirement is officially codified by the GSA and possibly other agencies.