Purchasing Card Program


P Card Expansion Curtailed P Card FAQ's

Purchasing Card

P-Card Policies effective December 1, 2013


Pcard Holder & Manager Responsibilities Checklist



Pcard Learning Resources


  1. Overview
  2. P-Card Forms
  3. General Guidelines
  4. General Information & Definitions
  5. Issuance of Cards
  6. Card Limits
  7. Card Restrictions
  8. Cost Allocation
  9. Training Class
  10. Staff/Faculty Agreement Form
  11. Cardholder Responsibilities
  12. Keeping a Transaction Log and Receipts
  13. Reconciling P Card Monthly Statement
  14. Resolving Disputes with Suppliers
  15. Violations of Policy
  16. Approver Responsibilities
  17. Lost or Stolen P Cards
  18. Returning P Cards
  19. Payment
  20. Reporting
  21. Purchasing Review


The University of Rochester Purchasing Card, hereafter referred to as P Card, is a valuable tool for quickly and efficiently purchasing and paying for goods. This tool can be advantageous to the individual purchaser, the purchaser's department, the University, and the suppliers.

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General Guidelines

The purpose of this document is to provide instructions for the issuance and use of the P Card along with instructions for reconciliation and review of transactions.

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General Information & Definitions

  • Billing Address - The cardholder's department address. (May be requested by suppliers for phone order verification.)
  • Billing Date - Paymentech's supplier contract requires account billing upon shipment of an order.
  • Billing Phone Number - The University phone number of cardholder. (May be requested by suppliers for phone order verification.)
  • Cardholder - Employee who has been issued a P Card.
  • Card Issuer - US Bank, the bank issuing University of Rochester P Card.
  • Cycle Cutoff - The date statement is issued (last business day of each month).
  • Department Head - For purposes of these instructions refers to the VP, Dean, Director, or Department Head with budget authority for Department.
  • The Manual - Refers to this instruction booklet.
  • P Card Managers - Department representatives responsible for facilitating the Purchasing Card Program within their departments.
  • P Card Help - Customer Service (x58900) - Point of contact to assist with questions/concerns, available via phone or e-mail
  • P Card Administrator - Corporate Purchasing representative responsible for P Card process

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Issuance of Cards

  • Authorization: The Department Head or Chair must designate a P Card Manager for the department by completing the Purchasing Card Program Authorization Form. The form will indicate authorization, cardholder limits, if any, and cost allocation information. Additional names may be added to the same form if more than one person will be authorized to use the P Card. Typically, the P-Card Manager should not be allowed to be a cardholder. If a department is unable to achieve this appropriate segregation of duties (i.e., constrained by a shortage of appropriate staff members), the department head would be required to accept a higher level of responsibility for the management of the program, including an in-depth review of all card transactions; they would essentially undertake the oversight responsibilities expected of a P-Card Manager.

    In addition, cards requested for Medical Center and SMH accounts require the signature of the Divisional Finance Officer. A listing of these contacts may be found at Division Contacts (login required for out of network users)
  • Application: The Application Form requires pertinent information for any individuals authorized to use the card. This form should be completed by the P Card Manager, signed by employee, attached to the Program Authorization Form and forwarded to the P Card Program Administrator in Corporate Purchasing, 70 Goler House Box 278901 or emailed to PCardAdministrator@urmc.rochester.edu after obtaining all necessary signatures.
  • Distribution: Each card user and P Card Manager will be required to complete either a Pcard Cardholder Agreement Form or a Pcard Manager Agreement Form upon completion of training and receipt of their card.
  • Purchasing Card Change/Cancellation Notice:  Whenever there is a change in the department P Card Manager, card holder or if a card is terminated, a completed Purchasing Card Change/Cancellation Notice must be submitted to the P Card Program Administrator in Corporate Purchasing, 70 Goler House Box 278901 or emailed to PCardAdministrator@urmc.rochester.edu after obtaining all necessary signatures.

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Card Limits

  • Card: Since University of Rochester, not the individual employee, will pay for the purchases made with the P Card, additional controls have been added to the card accounts. These limits are imposed at the point of sale when the card is swiped.
  • Cardholder Spending Limits: The University's maximum limit on P Card purchases is $1,500 per transaction. The cardholder's Department Head, however, may identify lower limits. These limits should be noted on the Purchasing Card Program Authorization Form.
  • Merchant Activity Type Limits: Specific types of businesses identified by a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes are restricted on the card. If you have difficulty using your card with any particular supplier, please contact Customer Service.
  • Policy: In addition to the limits that are controlled at the point of sale by the card, University of Rochester limits the use of the card through policy. The card may be used only for purchases that are made under delegated authority. It is a violation of the program to split orders in order to remain within the transaction limit.

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Card Restrictions

  • Red Flag Items: The following items should only be purchased with a P Card when a valid business reason can be documented. Questionable transactions should be discussed with divisional or University Finance prior to purchasing these products or services.
  • Excluded Items: The following may not be purchased with the P Card. (This list may not be all-inclusive. When in doubt, contact the P Card Administrator.)
    • Alcoholic Beverages
    • Animals, Live
    • Business Cards
    • Capital Equipment (i.e., with a 2+ year useful life and unit cost greater than $300 (SMH purchases), and greater than $1,000 (University purchases)
    • Cash Advances
    • Contracting (i.e., Consultants/Independent Contractors, Maintenance Agreements)
    • Controlled Substances, Medications
    • E-bay Purchases
    • Entertainment Tickets (i.e., concerts, baseball, hockey, bowling, football, movie, etc.)
    • Equipment involving a trade-in or exchange
    • Forms
    • Furniture
    • Hazardous Substances/Materials (i.e., Gasoline, fuel, explosives, etc.)
    • Hotel/Motel (sleeping accommodations)
    • Items ,Food, Beverage for personal use or consumption
    • Lease, Rental or Demonstration of Equipment
    • Meals, Food, Beverage consumed off University premises (Use T&C)
    • Medical Supplies
    • Moving, Storage, Rigging or Transportation Service (Due to systems contract)
    • Purchases from individuals
    • Radioactive Isotopes
    • Releases on standing orders, blanket orders or multiple shipments
    • Sales Tax (University is tax exempt)
    • Services (i.e. laundry, dry cleaning, phone, television, utilities, employment and other professional services)
    • Split orders to remain within the transaction limit
    • Travel and travel related purchases or services (i.e. airline tickets, car rentals, travel agencies, gasoline, fuel - Use T&C)
    • Textbooks (Due to Contract Agreement)

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Cost Allocation

Each card issued will be assigned a default account to be charged as identified by the Department Head on the Purchasing Card Program Authorization Form. The department P Card Manager will receive a report of cardholders' previous weekly activity each Monday. All transactions requiring redistribution must be identified via e-mail to the Department P Card Manager no later than 8:00 AM the following Thursday. Changes identified after the statement reconciliation period must follow the University's cost transfer rules.

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Training Class

Department P Card Managers must attend a formal training class before cards can be issued within the department. The P Card Manager is responsible for training all cardholders in his/her department.

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Staff/Faculty Agreement Form

The final step to issuance of a card is the signing of the Cardholder Agreement Form or Pcard Manager Agreement Form by the faculty/staff member. By signing the form, the faculty/staff member acknowledges:

  • Receipt and understanding of the regulations for use and protection of card,
  • Understanding of responsibilities in reconciliation process and billing disputes,
  • Understanding and acceptance of consequences for P Card violations.

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Cardholder Responsibilities

When accepting P Card, cardholder becomes an authorized purchaser for the University with specific responsibilities for expending University funds as follows:

  • Obtain Best Value
    • Cardholder must utilize lowest price based on requirements, quality, and availability to obtain the maximum value of each dollar expended
    • The card is limited to purchases totaling $1,500 or less. The transaction limit of $1,500 includes shipping costs.
  • Protection of Card
      • Cardholder must protect the security of his/her P Card and P Card number.
      • Sharing of the card with other employees is unacceptable. The bank assumes no liability on a card if it is used by anyone other than the cardholder. If a card is used by others in the department, then the department is responsible for any fraudulent use on the card.
      • Store the card in a secure location accessible only to the cardholder.
      • Card number should be secured (i.e. not posted at a desk or any other location).
      • Cardholder must notify Card Issuer immediately by calling 1-800-344-5696 when card is lost or stolen. Cardholder must confirm notification in writing or facsimile to his/her department P Card Manager. Manager has the responsibility of communicating information to P Card Administrator.
  • Limitations on Suppliers
    • Ensure that purchases are not made from any vendors on the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Vendor Exclusion list (see Helpful Links, then click on “Debarred and Suspended Suppliers”). If the supplier is listed, you should not do business with that supplier.
    • Cardholder must not make P Card purchases from friends or relatives where cardholder has a financial interest.
    • Cardholder must not accept any gift or gratuity from any source when it is offered, or appears to be offered, to influence your decision-making regarding P Card Purchases.
  • Limitations on What Can Be Purchased
    Cardholder accepts responsibility to ensure that items prohibited from purchase with P Card are not procured. Refer to “Excluded Items
  • Special Requirements for Sponsored Projects
    • Use of the Purchasing Card continues to operate under any of the standard sponsored project compliance or accounting requirements. All costs incurred on a sponsored project must be reasonable, necessary, allowable and appropriate to the specific account charged. Costs may not be incurred on a sponsored project for preplanned transfer or redistribution to another account; Card purchases can be charged to a sponsored project account through the re-allocation process only. If an incorrect account or subcode is used, correction shall be required and accomplished through a subsequent cost transfer.
    • If any charge is disallowed by the University or Auditor, the charge will go back to the default account.
    • All receipts and statements supporting P Card transactions for the current and past fiscal years will be kept at the department level (in accordance with official records retention policy).
    • Submit Transaction Log with supporting documentation to department P Card Manager within prescribed deadlines. The transaction log should be a detailed log of a sponsored project purchase, which clearly documents the individual items purchased.
      For example: A receipt may say "miscellaneous merchandise" with a total of $334.50. This will be insufficient for Audit purposes or cost transfers. A complete summary of the items should be attached to the receipt. (e.g., $334.50 receipt for 1 Labnet Pipetter @ $160, 1 CS Salt Solution @ $90 and 2 DNA Polymerase @ $42.50 each.
    • The "received date" must be noted on the Transaction Log Form;direct benefit must be shown for all card purchases made against a sponsored project account.
    • The P Card can not be used for charging departmental costs to a sponsored project account.
    • Sponsored project purchases must be made in accordance with the restrictions terms and conditions of the sponsored project.
    • The sponsored project account cannot be used as a clearing account for card purchases.
    • FRS account and subcode assigned to the purchase must be appropriate.
    • Any questions should be directed to the Office of Research & Project Administration and/or Sponsored Program Accounting.
  • Maintaining Purchase Log/Receipts, and Reconciling Statement
    The cardholder accepts the responsibilities included in departmental P Card process. It is the cardholder's responsibility to provide the Department P Card Manager with necessary documentation including transaction logs (as required by the P Card Manager), original receipts and statements. All supporting documentation for transactions must be filed centrally in the respective department. As further documentation of review and reconciliation, the cardholder (reviewer) should sign/initial the statement. The Department P Card Manager is ultimately responsible for tracking departmental purchases and providing the backup to the auditors on request. In the event that a cardholder loses or does not obtain a receipt for a P Card transaction, he/she will be required to complete a University of Rochester P Card Missing Receipt Form. This form must be signed by the Department Head.
  • Providing Feedback
    It is the responsibility of the P Card Manager to complete periodic surveys to rate the effectiveness of the P Card process and suggest areas for additional improvement.
  • Allowable Purchases
    • Cardholders may use the P Card to procure small dollar operating supplies of less than $1,500
    • Subscriptions, reprints, pamphlets, manuals, books (excluding textbooks)
    • Food and Beverages for on-site University of Rochester business purpose. Document business purpose and list of attendees, or if the attendance is quite large, reference the group and business purpose (i.e., "Chemistry, Retreat" or "Simon School staff meeting")
    • One-Time Repair or Service
    • Advance registration fees for a workshop, seminar, convention or conference, which an employee is authorized to attend, may be charged on the P Card:
      • Fees for optional activities such as sightseeing, field trip, or banquets are not allowable.
      • Any part of a registration fee applicable to meals or lodging and identifiable as such, shall be charged to your American Express Corporate Card.
  • Using the P Card—Making the Purchase
    The P Card can be used to make purchases over the counter, by mail, by fax, by telephone, or by WWW. The following procedure should be followed for all P Card purchases.
  • Decision to Buy
    When making the decision to buy, the employee should:
    • Utilize University contracted suppliers whenever possible using the appropriate order form or process.
    • Ensure the transaction is appropriate and in accordance with all University rules and regulations.
    • Vary non-contract suppliers to give fair treatment to all suppliers and to assure that the price obtained is reasonable. Transactions you make may be on behalf of Federal sponsors. Corporate Purchasing on behalf of the government clients requires special sensitivity on the part of the purchaser to obtaining fair and reasonable prices, spreading purchases among many suppliers including small, small-disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses, and adhering to strict ethical conduct.
    • Ensure that the price is fair and reasonable; review the cardholder responsibility section Cardholder Responsibilities and Obtain Best Value
  • Making the Purchase—Over the Counter
    • Verify that supplier accepts the Visa.
    • Provide the P Card for payment.
    • Inform the clerk that the purchase is exempt from state and local sales tax. The P Card states sales tax exemption, but cardholder should verify that clerk does not charge sales tax.
    • Verify the dollar amount is correct and no sales tax has been included, then sign the sales draft.
    • Retain your copy of the sales draft and receipt. If copy does not provide description of item(s) being purchased, this should be written on sales draft or receipt.
    • Follow P Card transaction/documentation process established in Department.
  • Making Purchase—Mail, Fax, Telephone, or WWW orders
    • Provide supplier with requested card information.
    • Inform supplier that the purchase is exempt from state and local sales tax.
    • If copy of exemption certificate is required, contact Customer Service at x5-2002 (with online purchases, cardholders may find it impossible to pass sales tax exemption information to the supplier. In this case, cardholders must follow up immediately with the supplier via phone or fax to ensure that the University receives a tax waiver).
    • Order the desired goods or services and confirm the total cost, including shipping and handling.
    • Give supplier detailed shipping instructions as provided by your P Card Manager. The second line of the address should identify department, cardholder and room number. Since there is not a purchase order number for the supplier to reference, this line creates University of Rochester 's delivery information. Tell the supplier that the Purchasing Card number should not be displayed anywhere on the outside of the package.
    • Cardholders should purchase only from websites that start with "https", rather than "http". This is entered on the web "Address" line. When "https" is used, a padlock appears at the bottom of the browser window. This indicates that the website and the user information provided therein are protected by SSL (Secured Sockets Layer).
    • Do not give the address of Accounts Payable. Remind the supplier that this is a VISA purchase and to send a receipt for the purchase to you at your department mailing address.
    • Retain documentation for purchase. This may be copy of order form, copy of catalog page showing cost.
  • Returning Purchases Made With P Card
    If you determine that the material is defective or incorrect, notify the supplier that the item needs to be returned and request an address to ship to and a return authorization number. Request that the supplier process a credit transaction through Card. Document that goods have been returned for credit and communicate information through proper channels within department. Ensure that the credit appears on the next monthly statement. If not, process charge as disputed item.

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Keeping a Transaction Log and Receipts

Documentation of purchases should be kept either manually or in spreadsheet format. This documentation will identify appropriate information as required by department and University purchasing procedures including:

  • Date of Purchase
  • Supplier Name
  • Description of Materials/Service
  • Quantity Ordered
  • Unit cost of each item purchased
  • Freight
  • Total Amount of Transaction
  • Business purpose
  • Receiving Status
  • Billing Status
  • Redistribution Account #

The cardholder is responsible for obtaining receipts, packing slips, or other documentation. The original receipts (not copies) are required for permanent audit documentation of purchase. For purchases made over the counter, documentation would be the actual sales receipt. For other purchases, cardholder should request that a receipt be included in the delivery package and/or make a copy of the catalog page or computer screen information which indicates items purchased and price. These should be attached to any packing slip information received upon delivery.

The transaction cutoff cycle with card provider is the morning after the 25th of each month. Purchases made after the 25th should be included on the next month's records to facilitate the reconciliation process.

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Reconciling P Card Monthly Statement

Cardholder transaction documentation should be reconciled with the monthly statement. Individual who reconciles statement should verify that items billed are indicated on documentation as received and are billed at correct amount. If items on statement do not match, one of the following should be done:

  • If item billed is disputed, follow instructions in Resolving Disputes with Suppliers. To the left of item on statement, write "D" to indicate disputed item. If item on statement was ordered, but not received determine the shipping date. VISA's supplier contract requires billing upon shipment of order. If cardholder has adequate information that shipment has been made, but not received, cardholder can mark item as billed on transaction log and check item on statement. If cardholder determines that shipment has not been made, procedures for disputed item in "Resolving Disputes with Suppliers" should be followed. To the left of item on statement, write "D" to indicate disputed item.
  • If there are any open items on the transaction log or statement, a copy should be made and attached to the following month's transaction packet. An open item would be a disputed item, item listed on log but not billed, or items billed but not received. Making the copy and including with the following month's log will facilitate follow up and reconciliation process for that month.

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Resolving Disputes with Suppliers

  • If cardholder is charged for an item incorrectly, they should contact the supplier and attempt to resolve the problem. Any communications should be documented on statement (or attachment) and include dates, the persons involved, and a brief description of the problem.
  • If the cardholder is unable to resolve the dispute with the supplier, the Department P Card Manager should be notified and the dispute may be recorded on line. The Department P Card Manager will resolve the issue with the Card Issuer and assure proper application of credit. The P Card Administrator may be contacted if additional assistance is required.
  • Cardholder should record that transaction as "dispute" on statement by placing "D" to left of item.
  • Cardholder should ensure that the next monthly statement reflects a correction and "DC"; noted to left of item to indicate dispute cleared.

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Violations of Policy

Violations of rules governing use of P Card can be classified as minor or major. The action taken is dependent upon the nature and frequency of the violation.

  • Minor Violations: Minor violations include allowable purchases from University funds, but those which are not allowed on the P Card, or not adhering to P Card policies/procedures (i.e. splitting orders to avoid cardholder's transaction limit, or missing reconciliation deadline). A cardholder will receive two warnings for minor violations. A third violation will result in loss of card privileges.
  • Major Violations: These violations indicate a willful intent to disregard rules (i.e., knowingly making personal purchases). The circumstances of the violations will determine the appropriate action, which could include termination of employment.

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Approver Responsibilities

Department P Card Manager is responsible for review and approval of reconciled statements.

Said manager is responsible for ensuring that the reconciliation of the monthly statement is completed for each of their cardholders each month. Cardholder must submit cost redistribution to the Department P Card Manager weekly, or in accordance with department procedures. The department P Card Manager is responsible for statement review including the following:

  • Review log to verify appropriateness of items being purchased and funds being utilized.
  • Validate that cardholder has verified that purchases are not made from any vendors on the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Vendor Exclusion list, per the instructions outlined in cardholder responsibilities.
  • Identify service suppliers.
  • Assess the appropriateness of the procurement tool given the transaction.
  • Investigate all "unusual item" purchases.
  • Identify any minor violations as noted in Section 15 and discuss with cardholder to provide additional instruction. Discussion should be documented and attached to log. If major violations are noted, situation should be documented and attached to log, and a decision made on the action to take.
  • Responsible for facilitating the reconciliation and approval process. Assure that there is supporting documentation for each transaction (including original documentation for evidence of receipt of goods, credits, logs, statements and records of disputed transactions). The documentation should adequately support the charges, and the business nature of the transaction must be documented and appropriate.
  • Provide supporting documentation for any P Card transaction upon request.
  • The P-card manager should document his/her reconciliation/review by signing/initialing the statement.

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Lost or Stolen P Cards

Cardholder must immediately contact Card Issuer if P Card has been lost or stolen by calling 1-800-344-5696. Cardholder should confirm notification in writing or facsimile and copy University's P Card Administrator.

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Returning P Cards

The P Card is the property of the University of Rochester. Upon termination or retirement, the card must be surrendered to the P Card Manager. The P Card Manager should cut card in half, destroy half and return other half to University's P Card Administrator.

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The departmental P Card Manager will review transactions and adjust any accounts on a weekly basis. The morning after the last business day of each month, Accounts Payable will download and post charges to adjusted accounts. Accounts Payable will receive one monthly statement for all University departments. Payment will be made on the due date.

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Corporate Purchasing will review transaction data from AccessOnline and will summarize transaction activity into reports for administrative purposes.

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Purchasing Review

Corporate Purchasing will observe compliance with program guidelines by randomly selecting and reviewing a few transactions each month. The P Card Manager is responsible for providing supporting documentation for any P Card transaction upon request.

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