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Purchasing Card Policy and Procedures

POLICY: Purchasing Card Policy and Procedures


RESPONSIBLE OFFICER: Executive Vice President for Finance, Treasurer & COO

1. Program Overview

 1.1 Purpose

The Drexel University purchasing card program is designed to provide a more efficient means of making routine purchases and payments by reducing paperwork, allowing for more control and responsibility at the school or department level, and streamlining the purchasing cycle. It is a privilege accorded to the cardholder to ease their administrative burdens that is not available to all employees and it is not a right. This manual outlines the benefits of the program, describes the responsibilities of cardholders and fiscal managers, and enumerates the program's policies.

Cardholders use the purchasing card to purchase allowable goods and services but billing and settlement are centralized. All transactions are automatically loaded into the accounting system, thus reducing the need for purchase requisitions, check requests, petty cash and purchase orders. To ensure proper account information, the cardholder and department administrator need to routinely review transactions and make needed adjustments to accounting codes and descriptions using the PaymentNet application.

 1.2 Program Benefits

  • Streamline the payment processes for allowable charges.
  • Enable employees to be more efficient and focus on their core missions.
  • Allows cardholders to work directly with vendors
  • Reduce paperwork and processing time in the employee's department as well as for Procurement Services.
  • Provide cost savings through consolidated payments (one monthly payment to JPMorgan Chase versus multiple vendor payments) which guarantees faster payments to the vendor.

 1.3 Credit Card Company

The University utilizes JPMorgan Chase as the provider of the Visa purchasing card program. PaymentNet offers a web based software solution that simplifies and accelerates the reconciliation process. 

2. Purchasing Card Controls

 2.1 Purpose

Effective controls provide schools and departments with reasonable assurance that institutional objectives have been achieved through sound financial management. Procurement Services is available to assist departments with training, technical assistance and financial/operational reviews regarding the purchasing card program.

 2.2 Reason for the Policy

Responsibility for financial control and stewardship of the purchasing card program rests with each department. The department is responsible for ensuring that each cardholder is performing their purchasing duties with competence and honesty, and for monitoring the effectiveness of the accountability structure. Through effective controls, a department can:

  • Safeguard University assets.
  • Prevent, detect, and correct errors and irregularities.
  • Ensure reliability of financial information.
  • Ensure compliance with purchasing card policies and procedures.
  • Maintain appropriate records in a safe and secure location.

 2.3 Department Internal Controls

Each school or department must establish internal controls sufficient to regulate the department's purchasing card activities. The responsibility for appropriate use of the card lies not only with the cardholder, but also with the approving department. The purpose of the controls is to prevent errors or fraudulent use of the card. The department's internal controls should include:

  • Approving purchasing card applications.
  • Setting appropriate transaction limits and card usage for each requested purchasing card.
  • Reviewing all charges and receipts billed to a cardholder's card to ensure that the charges are verified, appropriate and reconciled.

 2.4 Responsibilities of Department Heads/Administrators

  • Designate approving officials and cardholders.
  • Establish monthly and transaction spending limits and card usage for each department cardholder.
  • Approve applications.
  • Ensure that employees who will be issued a purchasing card or have been delegated responsibilities under the purchasing card program meet all program requirements and have duties commensurate with the established spending limits.
  • Ensure that all employees abide by the purchasing card program policies and procedures.

 2.5 Responsibilities of Cardholders

  • Participate in University purchasing card training and sign the cardholder agreement to acknowledge the responsibilities of the use of the purchasing card.
  • Abide by all purchasing card policies and procedures when making purchases.
  • Abuse or misuse of this privilege will subject the cardholder to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University and legal action.
  • Ensure the physical security of the purchasing card and protect the account number.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen cards to JPMorgan Chase, cardholder's approving official, and .
  • In the event of a name change, cardholder will fill out the section titled 'Name Change' on the Purchasing Card Change Form. All appropriate signatures are required on the form before emailing to
  • Provide required documentation for each purchase. Forward documentation to the approving official.
  • Review and reconcile all transactions that have posted to PaymentNet.
  • Transaction Detail with Accounting Codes and Notes Report must be printed for each cardholder for a billing cycle and signed by both the cardholder and approving official. Billing Cycles run from the 21st of one month to the 20th of the next month. The exception is if the 21st falls on a weekend or holiday, the billing cycle will end on the closest business day (this will be the next business day if a holiday falls during the week). Review charges and receipts, sign, and approve the Transaction Detail with Accounting Codes and Notes Report. Submit Report by the deadline via email to . New billing cycle dates are posted on the Procurement Services websites each fiscal year. If unique circumstances occur and the approving official is unable to submit documentation by the designated due date, he/she should communicate via  prior to deadline.
  • Identify disputed items and contact merchant directly to resolve disputes.
  • Abstain from transaction splitting to circumvent delegated authority levels or using multiple methods of payment or multiple purchasing cards to minimize the total cost of the transaction.
  • All senior-most level cardholders must utilize their purchasing cards for expenses pertaining to staff business lunches, hosting retreats and/or other similar events in order to appropriately track their business expenses.
  • If the cardholder is on extended leave (Sabbatical, FMLA and personal leave) in excess of one month; notify, as the card will be placed on temporary suspend until cardholder returns.
  • Upon termination of employment or transfer to another position in the University, discontinue use of the purchasing card and return the purchasing card to the approving official. Additionally, review and reconcile all outstanding purchasing card transactions prior to termination or transfer.

 2.6 Responsibilities of Approving Officials

  • Participate in University purchasing card training.
  • Routinely monitor purchasing card activity of cardholders. Ensure compliance with purchasing card policies, procedures and timetables. Immediately report any abuse or misuse of purchasing cards to Procurement Services via .
  • Review all cardholder transactions in PaymentNet on a regular basis. Adjust cost centers as appropriate. All approving officials are required to sign the Transaction Detail with Accounting Codes and Notes Reports and receipts as verification that the cardholder's transactions were appropriate and in accordance with policies and procedures.
  • Collect all documentation and follow the University's guidelines for retention.        Record Retention Policy
  • Track disputed items to ensure proper credit is received. Any discrepancies in billing must be marked as disputed charges using the PaymentNet system. The dispute form is submitted to JP Morgan online. Disputes can be processed up to 60 days from the end of the first billing cycle. Ensure Dispute affidavits are completed within timeframe.
  • Ensure all deadlines are met per Reconciliation and Report due dates
  • In case of employee transfer or termination, ensure the cancellation of the purchasing card by submitting a Purchasing Card Change Form to the Procurement Services.

 2.7 Issuance of Purchasing Card

  • The University in coordination with JPMorgan issues the purchasing card.
  • The purchasing card will bear the name of the cardholder.
  • The Purchasing Card Application Form, including the Purchasing Card Agreement, must be completed, approved and emailed to  before the purchasing card is ordered.
  • Cardholders will be required to complete training prior to activating purchasing card. If someone other than the cardholder will be assisting with reconciliation, this person must also complete training.
  • The purchasing cards for the new cardholders will be delivered by postal mail and cannot be activated until training has been completed.
  • Cardholder must sign the back of the purchasing card.
  • Cardholder must be a Drexel University faculty or staff member
  • Cardholder's approving official or other designated person must have participated in training and have access to PaymentNet to review monthly cardholder transactions.
  • Cards expire every three years on the last day of the expiration month. The expiration month is embossed on the front of each card. Cards are automatically reissued to cardholders who have used their cards within 12 months prior to expiration. Renewal cards are sent to the university mailing address on file.  

 2.8 Purchasing Card Limits

Standard card limits are indicated in Appendix 1.  Limits may be set by individual card at any level at the discretion of Procurement Services and the department.

 2.9 Purchasing Card Security

The University purchasing card should always be protected. The card should be kept in a secure location. The only person authorized to use the purchasing card is the cardholder whose name appears on the face of the card. Under no circumstances may a cardholder allow another individual to use his or her purchasing card.

 2.10 Lost, Stolen, Misplaced Cards or Fraudulent Charges

In order to protect the University's interest, lost or stolen purchasing cards must be reported to JPMorgan (1-800-270-7760), the cardholder's approving official, and

In the case of fraudulent charges, JPMorgan often catches suspicious charges before the cardholder notices the activity on his/her card. JPMorgan will contact the cardholder directly at which time the cardholder will need to verify the charges in question. A temporary block is placed on the card until the charges have been verified by calling JPMorgan Fraud Team at 1-888-307-2990 or by calling Customer Service at 1-800-270-7760. It is the responsibility of the cardholder to work directly with JPM to resolve the issue.

2.11 Cardholder Terminations and Transfers

Cards must be canceled within 48 hours after the cardholder's final billing cycle for faculty or staff members who terminate employment, transfer to another department or assume different duties that do not require the use of the purchasing card. Cards must be canceled immediately for faculty or staff members terminated for disciplinary reasons. The approving official must collect the card at the time that the employee leaves and ensure that all reconciliation and Transaction Detail Reports have been completed as a part of the exit interview. 

A Purchasing Card Change Form must be sent to Departments must shred the terminated purchasing card.

3. Purchasing Card Policies and Procedures

 3.1 Responsible Authority

The authority to set and enforce purchasing card policies and procedures lies with Procurement Services. When a business case exists, exceptions to the purchasing card policies and procedures may be granted upon request from a department and with written approval from Procurement Services. Departments may impose stricter requirements than those stated in this policy manual.

 3.2 Allowable Purchases

The University purchasing card may be used for non-capital equipment, supplies, and services within the cardholder’s spending limits (including any applicable tax and shipping) when not prohibited.

All purchases must be made in accordance with established University policy. All purchases made with the purchasing card must be for expenses associated with official university business. Use of the purchasing card for unauthorized, inappropriate, or personal items will result in penalties as indicated in the University Purchasing Card Policy Manual, Section 4.

Note: Purchases made with grant funding are subject to the terms of the grant and supersede any University Policies. Please contact your Post Award Administrator for additional information. A list of Post Award Administrators is available at .

   Dues, memberships, licenses, application fees:

  • Conference and seminar registration fees
  • Airline, hotel, bus, rail, rental car reservations and meals for University related business travel
    • Books, publications, periodicals, subscriptions, reprints, newsletters, videos and audio recordings
    • Interlibrary loans to external libraries
    • Photo, art, shop and lab supplies
    • Miscellaneous supplies - low dollar value
    • Computer supplies and software – NOTE: Software is limited to non-network applications. If purchasing software for installation on a network, review the IRT website to determine whether or not it is compatible with existing University systems and that it can be installed and supported by IRT.
    • Recurring Charges (e.g. cell phones, etc.): if the recurring charge(s) with a vendor will be equal to or greater than $5,000.00 during a fiscal year, three bids or a competitive bid exception are required for that recurring charge, unless contract exists in Procurement Services. Note: vendors will have to be provided with updated card information when a purchasing card is lost or stolen or a cardholder is terminated

 3.3 Payment Solutions

The purchasing card is designed to be a tool for making both purchases and payments. At times there may be a benefit to the University to expand the use of the card to make purchases or payments which may require an exception to the purchasing card policies and procedures. Such exceptions must be pre-approved in writing by Procurement Services.

 3.4 Prohibited Purchases

  • Personal charges, even with the intent of reimbursing the University. Note: Should a cardholder make an accidental personal purchase on their card, they must immediately notify    
  • Traveler’s Checks, cash advances or cash withdrawals from ATM machines.
  • Gasoline (except for rental cars or University vehicles).
  • Intra-campus Purchases of any sort (e.g., Faculty Club, any Drexel run Programs, IRT Webinars, etc.) or for services that can be performed by another on-campus department, (e.g., Facilities, Copy Shop, etc.). Note: Campus bookstore is exempt from this restriction.
  • Any purchase that would require Facilities Services to deliver and/or install and/or engineer the space in which the item is going. (E.g. furniture, carpeting and electric power). Guidelines for Furniture Purchases
  • Any item that exceeds available budgets, transaction limit and/or would cause monthly limits to be exceeded. Note: Cardholders may NOT split purchases across multiple transactions, days or departmental purchasing cards in order to circumvent their single transaction limit. Nor can they request a vendor to force a transaction when their purchasing cards are declined due to their set limits. You may request a transaction limit increase for the entire invoice amount by emailing .
  • Purchases presenting significant potential risk or exposure to liability for the University such as items or services that present special health, safety, occupational, or environmental risks (e.g., radioactive material, animals, controlled substances, etc.).
  • Services of sole proprietorships, individuals, or non- incorporated businesses (e.g., catering, consulting, repairs, maintenance).  
  • Sponsorships and Donations (Policy Regarding Sponsorship of External Non-Profit Organizations)

3.5 Transactions Requiring Special Documentation or Approval

  • Alcoholic Beverages - At times there are legitimate expenditures for alcohol related to the promotion of the University's interests. Alcohol purchases must not be attempted without first obtaining prior written approval from , at least one week in advance.
  • Third Party Payment Providers - If a third party payment provider is being used (PayPal, Square, etc.) provide documentation as to what the item was and whom the actual item was purchased from in the PaymentNet system.
  • Marketing, Advertising and Promotional Items - Any item bearing one or more of the University designs, seals, trade names and symbols that have come to be associated with Drexel University may not be purchased without prior approval from the University Communications Office (Marketing, Advertising and Promotional Materials Policy)
  • Gifts and Gift Cards – Purchases must be made in compliance with the Gift Policy. The business purpose of the gift or gift card must be documented in the PaymentNet system
  • Contract Protocol- Any contract, agreement or arrangements whereby the University is required to sign any type of contract or agreement (e.g., leases, independent contractors and consultants). Contract Protocol Policy must be followed.

 3.6 Campus Specific Purchasing Card Requirements

Each campus may impose stricter requirements than those stated in this policy manual. Each campus has adopted specific requirements regarding the purchase and or payment of certain items (e.g. telecommunications, catering, software and computer supplies).

 3.7 Required Documentation

A receipt/documentation must support each purchase. All documentation must follow the Record Retention Policy.

The preferred documentation is listed below in order of preference:

  1. An original receipt from the vendor including:
    1. Supplier Name
    2. Transaction Amount
    3. Date
    4. Itemized description of item(s) purchased.
  2. Copies or facsimiles of the original receipt.
  3. A screen-print or order confirmation e-mail, when making Internet purchases.
  4. Itemized invoices must be retained for hotel, restaurant and cell phone purchases
  5. If a cardholder is unable to obtain the above listed preferred documentation, a completed Missing Receipt Form shall be completed documenting the transaction and verifying it was for official business. Missing Receipt Forms must be signed by a VP or a Dean. Missing Receipt Forms may only be utilized for transactions charged to general university funds; this form may not be used for transactions charged to a grant or sponsored project.

Transaction Detail Reports must be submitted for every cycle where there is activity.  Prior to generating the Transaction Detail Report, the following should be completed:

  1. The cycle has ended.
  2. All transactions have been reconciled with complete cost center information and notes.
  3. Every transaction must have a detailed transaction note indicating the business purpose of the purchase.
    • Reports submitted missing transaction notes will be returned unprocessed.

Reports must be emailed to by the deadline with both cardholder signature and all required approval signature(s); refer to Penalties, Section 4.3

3.8 Splitting Transactions

The splitting of purchases with the University purchasing card is prohibited. Splitting a transaction is the practice of committing multiple purchasing card transactions to circumvent delegated authority levels, bypass University competitive bidding requirements, or avoid maximum delegated authority levels.

 3.9 Sales Tax Exemption

The University is tax exempt and should not pay sales tax. The University's tax exempt number is on the front of each purchasing card. There are some states that comply with our tax exempt id.  The cardholder is responsible for ensuring that sales tax is not charged at the time of purchase. If sales tax is charged by mistake, the cardholder should contact the vendor for a refund.  Additional information can be found by contacting the Tax Office.

4. Penalties

4.1 Responsibility

Cardholders have been granted a privilege in obtaining a purchasing card. This privilege comes with the responsibilities that are indicated below.

Cardholders are responsible for and accountable to the University for all purchases made with the purchasing card and they must adhere to all University and department policies regarding its use. All purchasing card purchases should be for official University business only. Cardholders may not make non-University travel arrangements with the purchasing card. Any employee who fails to use the purchasing card properly or abuses the use of the purchasing card shall be subject to cardholder penalties listed in section 4.2 and may be subject to personnel disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. The University will seek restitution for any inappropriate purchases made with the card. All cases of misuse or abuse of the purchasing card must be documented by the department and Procurement Services Department shall be informed by emailing .

 4.2 Cardholder Penalties for Policy Violations (examples follow)

When policy violations by a particular cardholder are identified during the approving official’s review of the monthly transactions, or by Procurement Services P-Card Office, the following process shall be followed:

  • If a single abuse occurs by a particular cardholder, a warning will be issued.  Warnings issued by approvers should copy
  • In the second instance of violation, again copy and advise the cardholder’s direct supervisor.  If supervisor is same as approver, then approver’s supervisor should be informed of the 2nd violation. 
  • Third violation, the P-Card is suspended immediately and for a full cycle.


If violations continue after the card is reinstated, the card shall be terminated.

  • Depending on the severity of the violation, an approving official or Procurement Services P-Card Office can skip all of the steps and immediately suspend or terminate the P-Card.

If warnings are issued by Procurement Services P-Card Office, the cardholder and approving official will be notified. The Vice President, Dean, or Department Head will also be notified if the card is either suspended or terminated.

  • If an approving official is not the cardholder's supervisor, he/she has a responsibility to notify the cardholder's supervisor of any policy violations.

The following Policy violations will lead to purchasing card suspension and/or termination per the schedule in 4.2:

  • Intentionally splitting a purchase to circumvent signature authority or transaction limits.
  • Sharing the P-Card with someone else
  • Purchasing Prohibited Items without getting pre-approved for an exception
  • Failure to maintain original receipts and other back-up documentation
  • Failure to enter proper transaction notes
  • Failure to request Sales Tax refund for items that were covered by our Blanket Sales Tax Exemption
  • Failure to follow departmental internal controls related to use of the P-Card
  • Making intra-campus purchases
  • Other breaches of P-Card policies

4.3 Cardholder Penalties for Procedural Violations (examples follow)

It is critical that required submissions and requests for information be submitted in a timely fashion.  Delays in meeting signed statement deadlines or responding to specific requests for information from the P-Card office cause undue work on a small staff.  Failure to meet reasonable deadlines for submission of information, such as signed Statements and requests for other information, will result in a single reminder notice being sent.  This will afford the cardholder a total of 5 business days from such request to comply.  If the requested information has not been received by the P-Card office within 5 business days from the request the P-Card will be suspended until the required documents are received.

Transaction Detail Report Submission:

Fully executed reports are to be scanned and emailed to

Note to travelers:  Please ensure that your paperwork is properly submitted to avoid having your P-Card suspended while you travel.

If the cardholder’s records are not brought up to date within 45 days, the Dean/VP and Internal Audit will be notified and the P-Card will be terminated permanently. 

The following include some of the more significant Procedural violations that will lead to purchasing card suspension and/or termination per the schedule in 4.3:

  • Failure to meet deadlines for Transaction Detail Report submission
  • Failure to rectify outstanding report issues
    • Missing signatures
    • Missing transaction notes
    • Incorrect cycle date range
    • Failure to satisfy requests for documentation within 5 business days
    • Other breaches of P-Card procedures

Appendix 1

The maximum dollar limit shall not exceed $4,999 per transaction. Each department is responsible for setting the per transaction limit commensurate with the individual cardholder's responsibilities and purchasing activity.

The monthly maximum limit is $10,000. Limits over $10,000 may be requested if a business need exists. Any requests for limits over $10,000 must be submitted in writing for approval by Procurement Services. Each department is responsible for setting the monthly transaction limit commensurate with the individual cardholder's responsibilities and purchasing activity.