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What is Glass Commerce and why is it different from PASSPort?

What is Glass Commerce and why is it different from PASSPort?

In 2017, New York City's digital Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal (PASSPort) was launched as a seamless end-to-end procurement system for New York City’s contracting activities. The platform, developed and maintained by the Mayor's Office of Contract Services (MOCS), facilitates every step of the procurement process between city agencies, oversight agencies, and vendors.

NYC government agencies use different procedures depending on the dollar amount of the purchases and the types of goods and services they buy, based on the Procurement Policy Board (PPB) Rules. These purchasing methods include:

Government Procurement Card (P-Card) purchases or micro-purchases: For procurements of goods and all services under $35,000 dollars no competition is required, except for construction ($20,000 dollars or less) and for procurements of construction ($35,000 dollars or less). For these purchases, NYC government agencies usually use Government Purchasing Cards (P-Cards) which they can swipe at their own discretion in most cases.

Small purchases: For procurements of goods and all services up $35,000 and under $100,000 dollars, or under $500,000 dollars when it’s about M/WBE Noncompetitive Small Purchases, NYC government agencies have to request at least 5 quotes from different suppliers to guarantee competition.

Formal solicitations (bids and RFPs): Purchases that exceed $100,000 must be conducted through a formal Request For Proposal (RFSP). 

We can discern the main difference between Glass Commerce and PASSPort: NYC government agencies can utilize Glass Commerce for their micro and small purchases, whereas they are obligated to use PASSPort for formal solicitations (bids and RFPs).

In Fiscal Year 2021 alone, the city made a total of 95,148 purchases, out of which 83,312 were micro-purchases, M/WBE Noncompetitive small purchases, and small purchases, representing more than 80% of the City's purchases.

While PASSPort is the official public procurement system of NYC and is mandatory for all formal solicitations, purchases that fall below the thresholds and requirements set forth in the PPB Rules can be made through other channels. Government Procurement Card holders have the flexibility to choose their preferred vendors. This may include large national or international retailers, locally-owned office supply stores, or small and minority-owned businesses. As long as purchases comply with the thresholds and established rules, there are no other requirements.

Do we fully grasp the sheer force that lies behind micro-purchases, M/WBE non-competitive small purchases, and small purchases, as well as the significant influence that Government Procurement Card holders' purchasing decisions can wield on the local economy? 

Just imagine the kind of impact on the city's economy if all of those 83,312 purchases would have been directed towards small, locally-owned businesses, or even towards minority- or women-owned businesses within the city!

Glass Commerce isn't designed to replace PASSPort, as both systems serve different purposes, despite both being utilized for government purchases. Rather, it's intended to be a valuable addition to NYC public procurement system. Positioned as an e-commerce platform, Glass Commerce offers numerous advantages for vendors who are looking to create their first online government stores and sell their goods, services, and rentals to NYC government agencies. Similarly, it provides government buyers with an efficient and compliant method to make their micro-purchases, M/WBE non-competitive small purchases, and small purchases, while simultaneously making a positive socio-economic impact.

We recommend checking out the official NYC government website to get an in-depth understanding of PASSPort and its scope, and to visit to learn more about the e-commerce that has the potential to revolutionize the way NYC government agencies make their small purchases!


This blog was written by Gisela Montes, GovTech Community Lead at Glass.


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