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Purchasing Card Policy

Effective Date:  
March 16,2005

Last Updated:  April 12,2013

Responsible University Officer:
  • Vice President for Business and Finance

Policy Owner:
  • Associate Vice President for Accounting and Business Services

Policy Contact:
Policy Contents

   Policy Statement
   Reason for Policy
   Who Should Read this Policy
   Policy Text
   Related Information
   Additional Contacts
   Revision History


The University Purchasing Card Program allows authorized employees to make business-related purchases of goods and services, subject to the standard transaction limits established for the card. Employees approved to receive a Purchasing Card may make more timely and cost-effective purchases since the need to process purchase requisitions and issue checks is eliminated. All such purchases must be made for University business-related purposes; cardholders may not use the cards for personal or other unauthorized purchases or loan their card to another individual for use. See Improper Use of a Purchasing Card.

Departments may establish more restrictive procedures, if desired.


This Policy establishes the standards, internal controls, and safeguards for the use and administration of the Purchasing Card Program, including the reconciliation of cardholder transactions in the Concur Reporting System.


Any employee who makes business purchases using a University Purchasing Card; the President, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and Deans, as well as supervisors and Business Managers who supervise an employee issued a Purchasing Card.


The University Purchasing Card is a Visa-brand credit card issued by J.P. Morgan Chase, which is routinely accepted by merchants that accept major credit cards. Purchasing Cards are issued to University employees who are approved by their Business Managers to receive a card. All transactions charged to a Purchasing Card must have a University business purpose, must be substantiated, and must be approved by a Business Manager, or his or her designee, in compliance with this Policy and related University policies.

Purchasing Card transactions are billed directly to and paid for by the University; an employee is not personally liable for charges made using the card unless he or she fails to substantiate the charges in accordance with this Policy or otherwise misuses the card. See Violations.

Purchasing Card transactions are limited to a standard single transaction limit of $1,000 and a monthly limit of $2,500. In addition, the number of transactions that may be made in a single day is limited to twelve (12). Exceptions to the standard transaction limits may be granted by the Purchasing Card Administrator, if approved by an employee’s Business Manager. See Purchasing Card Changes. 





USF Conflict of Interest Policy
USF Electronic Communication Policy
USF Moving Reimbursement Policy
USF Non-Cash Gifts, Awards and Incentives Policy
USF Purchasing Policies and Procedures
USF Travel and Entertainment Policy
USF Vehicular Use Policy




Billing Cycle The calendar month (i.e., first day of the month through the last day of the same month) used to capture transactions for billing purposes.
Business Entertainment   Any activity generally considered to provide entertainment, amusement, or recreation, including the furnishing of business meals. The expense must be ordinary, necessary, and reasonable and must be either directly related to or associated with the active conduct of University business. See Travel and Entertainment Policy.
Business Expense Ordinary, necessary, and reasonable expenses incurred for goods and services in furtherance of the University’s educational and research mission.
Business Manager A University employee, designated by the President, Vice President, Vice Provost, or Dean who is the budget manager for the University account(s) funding a travel or entertainment expense. This may include the President, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, or Deans.
Cardholder A University employee, approved by the President, Vice President, Vice Provost, Dean, or Business Manager who applies for and is issued a University Purchasing Card.
Concur Reporting System The University’s on-line system for payment requests, expense reimbursements, cash advance requests, and reporting.
Conflict of Interest A conflict of interest may exist when an employee has financial, personal, or other considerations that may affect or appear to affect his or her professional judgment in decision making on behalf of the University.
Daily Transaction Number The number of transactions authorized for a cardholder in a single day. The standard limit is twelve (12) transactions per day.
FOAPAL The acronym representing each element of the University’s Charts of Accounts, i.e., Fund, Organization, Account, Program, Activity, and Location.
Merchant Category Code (MCC) The code assigned to a vendor based on the nature of its business. The MCC is used to allow or disallow transactions at the point of sale based on the code assigned to a particular vendor.
Ordinary, Necessary, and Reasonable Expense An expense is ordinary if it is normal and customary. An expense is necessary if it is essential to University business. An expense is reasonable if a prudent person would incur the expense in a similar situation.
Per Diem The daily dollar amounts authorized for the reimbursement of lodging and meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) for individuals traveling on University business. Per diems are authorized only for foreign travel and travel in non-foreign areas outside of the Continental U.S (OCONUS).
Purchasing Card A bank-issued Visa card with a standard single transaction limit of $1,000 and a monthly credit limit of $2,500. This card may be used for small dollar, business-related purchases. Cards may be used for travel and entertainment expenses when authorized by a Business Manager or supervisor.
Purchasing Card Administrator The University employee in Accounting and Business Services with overall responsibility for the operation of the Purchasing Card Program.






Accounting and Business Services Frank Wasilewski 415.422.2402  fmwasilewski@usfca.edu
Disbursement Services    Dennis Miller 415.422.2102  millerd@usfca.edu
Payment Request Emmy Moore 415.422.2706  moore@usfca.edu
Request for Fund Transfer Shirley Wing 415.422.5181  swing@usfca.edu





Purchasing Card or Declining Balance Card Application Used to apply for Purchasing Card Accounting and Business Services
Cardholder Agreement Form Used to document cardholder’s acceptance of card terms and conditions Accounting and Business Services
Change Request for Purchasing Card
or Declining Balance Card Application
Used to request a change in a cardholder’s transaction limit(s), MCC assignments, FOAPAL, etc. Accounting and Business Services
Missing Receipt Form Used when the original receipt substantiating a business expense is lost and duplicate cannot be obtained Accounting and Business Services
Payment Request Used to initiate payment request in the Concur Reporting System Accounting and Business Services
Request for Funds Transfer Used to initiate inter-department transfers of funds Accounting and Business Services


  • Uses Purchasing Card for business-related expenses in accordance with this Policy and related University policies.
  • Secures his or her Purchasing Card and ensures that no other person uses the card.
  • Completes Expense Report, including proper documentation, and submits it to the Concur Reporting System no later than the first business day of the month following the billing month. 
  • Promptly notifies the bank and his or her Business Manager in the event the card is lost or stolen or misused in any way.
  • Attends Purchasing Card training and related training as requested.
Business Manager
  • Approves Purchasing Card application for employees authorized to receive a Purchasing Card.
  • Approves requests to change spending limits and make other Purchasing Card changes. 
  • Reviews and approves Expense Reports documenting charges in the Concur Reporting System by the third business day of the month following the billing month.
  • Ensures all expenses are business-related and in compliance with University policies.
  • Periodically reviews transaction limits and makes appropriate change requests.
  • Ensures cardholders are in compliance with this Policy and other University policies governing Purchasing Card expenses.
  • Promptly notifies the Purchasing Card Administrator when a cardholder is terminated or transfers to another department and takes action to retrieve and destroy the individual’s card.
Purchasing Card Administrator 
  • Works with the University’s bank to activate Purchasing Cards for employees authorized to receive such cards.
  • Conducts cardholder training.
  • Processes requests to increase transaction limits and implement other card changes.
  • Processes Expense Reports upon receipt of documentation from cardholders.
  • Reissues lost or stolen cards; assists in resolution of disputed transactions.
  • Restricts, suspends, or terminates cardholder spending privileges, as appropriate.
  • Provides cardholders and Business Managers with ad hoc reports to improve internal controls and policy compliance.
  • Conducts random reviews to ensure compliance with this Policy and related University policies. 
President, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and Deans
  • Ensures that cardholders in his or her division are in compliance with this Policy and related University policies.
  • Reviews and approves exception requests, as appropriate.




  • 04/12/2013 - Revised to include the Concur System Reporting requirements and make other technical changes and corrections.
  • 08/29/2005 - Revised
  • 03/16/2005 - First publication of Policy