Overview of the campus
People walking on Lone Mountain
Negoesco soccer field at the University of San Francisco     
Golden Gate Bridge at noon  

Purchasing Card Procedures



Applying for a Purchasing Card

Employees may apply for a Purchasing Card by submitting a properly approved Purchasing Card or Declining Balance Card Application to the Purchasing Card Administrator in Accounting and Business Services. See Forms.

The application must be completed in its entirety and signed by the employee and his or her Business Manager; incomplete applications will be returned. The employee’s Business Manager must also assign the default FOAPAL number applicable to each cardholder. For cardholders who make purchases under multiple FOAPALs, all of the accounts should be included with the application so they will be available for use by the cardholder.

In addition to completing an application, employees must attend a cardholder training session before they are authorized to receive their cards. Employees will be notified of the next training date upon completion of their application form. At the conclusion of the training session, the employees will execute a Cardholder Agreement Form and receive their Purchasing Cards.

Activating a Purchasing Card

To activate a Purchasing Card, cardholders must call the following J.P. Morgan Chase toll-free customer service number included with the cards: 1-800-270-7760. The automated activation line will prompt cardholders for the credit card number, the last four digits of their social security number, and their date of birth (month and year).

Canceling a Purchasing Card

If a cardholder separates from the University, the Business Manager should collect the card and immediately notify the Purchasing Card Administrator that the account should be canceled. The Business Manager should then destroy (i.e., shred or cut-up) the card.


All Purchasing Cards are issued with an expiration date. J.P. Morgan Chase will automatically send cardholders a new Purchasing Card prior to the expiration date. When the new card is received, the employee must activate it as provided above and destroy his or her old card. If a replacement card does not arrive by the expiration date (i.e., the last day of the month indicated on the card), the employee should contact the Purchasing Card Administrator.

Lost or Stolen Cards

If a Purchasing Card is lost or stolen, the cardholder must immediately contact J.P. Morgan Chase at 1-800-270-7760. A bank customer service representative will deactivate the account and issue a new card. The cardholder should then notify his or her Business Manager and the Purchasing Card Administrator via email that the card was lost or stolen. The Administrator will contact the cardholder when the replacement card arrives.

Note: If the cardholder has any automatic payments billed to his or her Purchasing Card, it is the responsibility of the cardholder to contact the vendor and provide it with the new Purchasing Card account number.


An employee provided with a Purchasing Card is accountable for all purchases made using the card. The cardholder may not share his or her Purchasing Card or number with another person. To safeguard against the unauthorized use of a Purchasing Card, all orders placed using the card should be made only by the cardholder.

Purchasing Cards should be used whenever possible for paying business-related expenses such as conference registrations fees, subscriptions, travel expenses, cell phone bills, and similar expenses. Cardholders should refer to the applicable University policy governing the type of expenses prior to making a purchase. See Related Information.

Use of a Purchasing Card is mandatory for all small-dollar purchase under $200 unless a Purchasing Card is not an acceptable form of payment. See Payment Requests.

The Purchasing Card shall not be used to pay any charges for goods or services provided by another University department (except for the University Bookstore or Dining Services, which are managed by third-parties). Payments to a University department should be made by submitting a properly approved Request for Funds Transfer form to Accounting and Business Services. See Forms.

Merchant Category Restrictions

Cardholders may be restricted from purchasing certain items or services (e.g., automotive, furniture, jewelry, etc.). Such restrictions are set by Business Services by assigning a group of permitted Merchant Category Codes (MCC) to each cardholder, which are appropriate for University business-related expenses. Thus, based on the MCC assignment, certain card purchases may be declined at the point of sale. A list of unauthorized Purchasing Card transactions is included in Appendix A.

Splitting a Transaction (Prohibited)

Cardholders shall not “split” the dollar amount of a vendor transaction into multiple transactions in order to circumvent the per-transaction dollar limits. If the cardholder has a business reason for making purchases that exceed the transaction dollar limit, his or her Business Manager may submit a request to the Purchasing Card Administrator to increase the transaction limit(s) authorized for the card. See Purchasing Card Changes.


If a cardholder encounters problems using his or her Purchasing Card or the card is declined, he or she should contact J.P. Morgan Chase at 1-800-270-7760 for assistance. Such problems, however, frequently relate to the spending limits or MCC restrictions placed on the card. In those cases, the cardholder may need to submit a change request as provided below.

Purchasing Card Changes

Cardholders who need a change made to their Purchasing Card transactions limits or MCC restrictions should ask their Business Manager to approve a Change Request for Purchasing Card or Declining Balance Card Application and submit it to the Purchasing Card Administrator (the same information may also be sent to the Administrator in an e-mail). An increase in the transaction limit(s) may be approved as either a temporary or permanent change. A request to increase the monthly credit limit to $5,000 or more requires approval by the cardholder’s applicable Vice President. The Change Request form is also used to request a change in an employee’s name or e-mail address and to make FOAPAL changes.

Improper Use of a Purchasing Card

Employees are responsible for using their Purchasing Card in compliance with this Policy and related University policies. If a cardholder or an approver suspects a card has been misused, he or she should contact the Purchasing Card Administrator immediately.

  • Misuse of a Purchasing Card includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Use of a card by an unauthorized individual.
  • Purchasing items not authorized under this Policy or a related University policy. See Appendix A for a list of prohibited transactions.
  • Splitting transactions in order to avoid the transaction spending limits.
  • Failure to provide proper supporting documentation or to timely reconcile charges.

Any misuse of a Purchasing Card may result in an employee’s immediate loss of his or her purchasing privileges and additional sanctions. See Violations. 


If a Purchasing Card is not an acceptable form of payment for an expense (e.g., a conference registration fee), the individual, or his or her designee, must initiate a Payment Request through the Concur Reporting System. A payment will be issued by Business Services within 10 business days after it receives the properly approved Payment Request. See Forms.


Reviewing and Editing Transactions--Cardholders

Cardholders are required to review, edit, and reconcile their Purchasing Card charges recorded in the Concur Reporting System. Cardholders must complete this review by the first business day of the month following the billing cycle month. 

The cardholder must create an Expense Report in the Concur Reporting System by supplying all required information, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Enter all charges for the month and verify that amounts are correct;
  • Ensure that the correct FOAPAL is designated for each transaction;
  • Provide a description and quantity of the item(s) purchased (if the item is a business meal or business entertainment expense, the names of the individuals in attendance must be listed); and
  • Provide the business purpose for each transaction.
Original receipts supporting each transaction must be scanned or faxed for submission to the Concur Reporting System before an Expense Report can be submitted.

Disputing a Transaction

Cardholders are responsible for promptly resolving any disputed transactions directly with the merchant. If attempts to resolve the matter with the merchant are unsuccessful, the cardholder should notify Accounting and Business Services regarding the disputed item. Accounting and Business Services will provide further instructions on the steps necessary to formally dispute the transaction.

Approving Transactions—Business Managers

The Business Manager, or his or her designee, must review and approve all Purchasing Card charges appearing on the Expense Report for his or her employees by the third business day following the end of the billing cycle month. Business Managers must review transactions to ensure that:
  • Charges have been made to the correct FOAPAL,
  • Sufficient budgetary funds are available, and
  • All supporting documentation has been included with the charge, including the business purpose.
Business Managers may delegate the approval of Purchasing Card transactions to another individual in the event the Business Manager is absent. Individuals delegated such authority, however, may not approve their own transactions.


Cardholders are responsible for providing sufficient documentary evidence to support the business purpose of all charges made using the Purchasing Card. Documentation should be in the form of an original itemized receipt that includes the date of the purchase, vendor name and address, description of item(s), quantity, unit price, sales tax (if applicable), and total cost. A shipping receipt detailing this information is considered an original receipt. If this basic information is not provided, cardholders must obtain the information by contacting the vendor and include it with the Expense Report. Additional substantiation requirements apply to entertainment expenses claimed for reimbursement. See Travel and Entertainment Policy.

In some circumstances, cardholders may use their Purchasing Card to purchase an item by phone or via the Internet. In those cases, the cardholders should obtain a copy of the receipt by mail or fax or by printing it from his or her web browser.

If an original receipt is lost, and every effort has been made to obtain a copy of the receipt, the cardholder must complete a Missing Receipt Form, and submit it with the Expense Report for approval by his or her Business Manager, as provided above. See Forms.


A violation of any portion of this Policy may result in the restriction, suspension, or termination of the cardholder’s right to use the Purchasing Card. Employees may also be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and/or legal action. In addition, the cardholder will be personally liable for any Purchasing Card charges determined not to be for a University business purpose.