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Statement and Purpose

Table of Contents

This policy outlines the required and recommended practices for purchasing card use.

Certain terms in this policy are defined at the end of the policy.

Download Policy as PDF

Entities Affected By This Policy

All employees issued a purchasing card by the University.

Policy Version: 1.0

Responsible Office: Financial Affairs 
Responsible Executive:
 Assistant Vice President for Financial Affairs

Effective Date: August 24, 2018
Last Updated:
  August 24, 2018

Obtaining a Purchasing Card

Upon approval from your department manager, a confidential data application will be sent to you. Based on the information you complete on this form, an application will be submitted to the bank to obtain a card for you. The payments lead is the Seattle Pacific University purchasing card administrator and can be reached at x2527 if you have any questions about this application process.
The US Bank Visa purchasing card will be sent to the administrator, who will schedule training for you on using the purchasing card system. Once you have completed the training and signed the SPU purchasing card user agreement, the card will be given to you. Then you can purchase items for your department within the guidelines set forth in this Purchasing Card Policies and Procedures Manual.

Guidelines for Card User

The purchasing card may be used at any qualified merchant that accepts Visa.
DO NOT use your purchasing card in place of other established purchase systems, such as company letterhead and forms available through our designated supplier.
The purchasing card is intended for low-value, approved expense purchases that benefit SPU. Examples of the types of purchases your card can be used for are small equipment, parts, office supplies, subscriptions, memberships, books and, generally, any approved purchase under $5000.
The following uses are strictly prohibited: personal purchases, cash advances or cash refunds.

Consequences for Non-Compliance to P-card Guidelines

Because the purchasing card is a tool to aid in the purchasing process that has credit implications to SPU, strict program compliance is required. Non-compliance in excess of 30 days after the monthly statement date will produce the following consequences:
Permanent revocation of purchasing card privileges
Assignment of wages for repayment of discrepancies
Notification to Security and the Director of Finance and Controller to investigate the matter further
Disciplinary measures that may include termination and legal action

General Instructions (Cardholder Responsibilities)

NOTE: The cardholder is responsible for ensuring that all required steps are completed when placing an order.
Determine if the transaction value of what you want to purchase is $5000.00 or less (including taxes, freight, shipping and handling). If NO, process the transaction via a purchase order.
If YES, obtain approval (if required) from your immediate supervisor or department manager, PRIOR to making the purchase. When you need to obtain approval, include any supporting documentation (e.g., list of parts, copy of catalog page, subscription order form, or requisition form, etc.).
Contact the supplier of your choice and place the approved order.

Provide the supplier with the US Bank Visa purchasing card number and expiration date. Have the supplier ship, according to terms, and give the supplier your company name, your name, telephone number and street address. Make sure this information is included on the shipping label, if items are to be shipped.

In those cases where the supplier requests your “Customer Code” or “Transaction Code,” leave it blank. We are not using this functionality at this time, SO THERE ISN’T ONE AVAILABLE.

Request the supplier to enclose a copy of the credit card receipt and a copy of the sales slip with each shipment to confirm pricing, applicable taxes, etc.
Log the order on the log sheet to maintain a record of the purchase.
Before you finish with the supplier, check one last time to make sure that all information needed on the log sheet has been completed.
Keep a copy of the charge slip, sales receipt, or any other information related to the purchase(s) on the applicable log sheet, and file them in the envelope supplied.
The bill will be paid automatically! The statement you will receive once a month is for reconciliation and audit purposes only.
Compare the log and your file information with your purchasing card statement. Be sure you have only been charged for items and amounts shown on your log. These transactions will also appear in your “General Ledger Detail Transactions” report. Any items that do not appear should be left open, transferred to a new log sheet and compared with the next statement. Have your supervisor sign off on the log sheet, confirming review and approval.
Forward all reconciled documentation to the payments department for review within 15 days of receiving the statements. All documentation will be maintained in the payments department for a period of seven years.
The preceding general instructions are for orders placed by phone.
When orders must be picked up at the supplier’s place of business, make sure you present your card for imprint, sign the charge slip, and obtain a copy of the charge slip and the cash register receipt, or hand-written receipt, for your files.

What If the Supplier Does Not Accept Credit Cards?

You may find suppliers that do not accept credit cards when you first call them. If this happens, you have the option to:
Complete a request for payment or use the purchase order system.

Sales and Use Taxes

Cardholders should make sure vendors include sales or use taxes on all receipts, as we do not have a way to accrue taxes. If you purchase materials or services from out-of-state on the card and the supplier will not charge the sales tax, please note on the log. If you have any questions on taxes, call the purchasing card program administrator. This is critical for the payments department. WA state department of Revenue requires all purchases (regardless of location or means of payment) to have sales or use taxes paid. They enforce this regulation by auditing the buyer—SPU. It is the PD’s job to verify that all purchases meet these regulations. Your assistance in this area will make that function easier.

Credit Card Security

Keep your Visa purchasing card in a secure location and safeguard the Visa account number. You, as the cardholder, or your approved designee should be the only one(s) using the card. It should be accessible ONLY to you. DO NOT post your card number at your desk, or any other place easily accessible to others.
DO NOT share the use of your card with anyone except those approved by your manager or the purchasing card administrator.

Lost or Stolen Credit Cards

Like your personal credit cards, if your purchasing card is lost or stolen, you must contact the bank immediately by phone. You must also phone the purchasing card administrator at x2527.
The cardholder’s department is responsible for any charges made on the card prior to the card being reported as lost or stolen. Keeping track of the card and immediate notification will mitigate any potential loss.
Once you have reported your card as lost or stolen, the card will be closed and a new card will be issued and sent to the purchasing card administrator within one work week. If the old card is located at a later date, destroy it by cutting it in half and disposing of it. Do not attempt to use the old card.

What If the Cardholder Leaves the Company?

When a cardholder leaves the company, the cardholder must return the Purchasing Card to the purchasing card administrator in the SPU payments department.
The US Bank Visa purchasing card can be canceled by calling US Bank at 1-800-344-5696.

For Whom Can a Cardholder Purchase?

The cardholder whose name appears on the purchasing card may make purchases for any employee that reports to the same cost center, department, etc. as the cardholder.

What If There Is an Error on the Statement or Other Problems?

In case of discrepancies or disputed charges, the supplier should be contacted first. Most exceptions or issues can generally be resolved between the cardholder and the supplier/merchant by way of an adjustment that would appear on the next statement. If agreement cannot be reached with supplier, the next step is to contact the bank at their customer service center: 1-800-344-5696. Their staff is experienced in dealing with these problems and should be able to help. If you are unable to obtain an acceptable resolution, contact the purchasing card administrator for assistance.

Returns / Credits / Disputed Items

If a purchased item needs to be returned for any reason, make arrangements with the supplier/merchant to have the item shipped/delivered to the supplier’s place of business or warehouse. Keep a copy of any shipping documents used for this purpose and have the transportation company sign for receipt of any items being returned. Attach these documents to your log sheet for future reference.
The supplier/merchant should issue credit for any item that has been discussed and agreed to for return. Review subsequent statements to assure that this credit has been processed and posted to your account.
Some disputed items, because of their complexity, may have to be submitted in writing. Please contact the purchasing card administrator for necessary forms that would be required. All written communications must be submitted within 60 days of the date the item first appeared on your statement.
Returns, credits or disputed items are the responsibility of the cardholder. The purchasing card administrator is available for assistance if needed.

Control Mechanisms within the US Bank Visa Purchasing Card

The US Bank Visa purchasing card is a special type of charge card. For most cardholders, limitations have been hard-coded in the card to control its use in the following ways:

Maximum dollar amount per transaction$2,000
Total spending limit per month per cardholder$5,000
The type of supplier/merchant, as defined by Merchant Category Code (MCC)

It is not acceptable to split the charges into two transactions to bypass the $2,000 single purchase limit.

(As an example, all transactions will be declined on cards used at hotels, car rental agencies, airlines, and other establishments typically not supplying business-related goods and services.) Please refer to Attachment E for a list of the Merchant Category Codes where you can use your card.
For specific cardholder information, please contact the purchasing card administrator.
US Bank also generates extensive usage reports to help manage the purchase transactions and to provide assistance in understanding how SPU is using the cards.
Charges are systematically allocated by department / cost center / account, etc. Purchasing card software is designed to allocate costs to the correct department, cost center account, etc. The center number is hard-coded in the individual credit card. The software will interface with Seattle Pacific University’s financial systems, and costs will appear on the “General Ledger Detail Transactions Report” each month.


To ensure the continued success of the purchasing card program, and in order to meet SPU’s audit requirements, periodic audits of the cardholders’ transaction files will occur. The main purposes of the audit are to ensure that correct information is being captured and that the purchasing card program policies and procedures are being followed. Additionally, the bank will send a periodic report of all transaction activity to the purchasing card administrator and that information will be reviewed and made available to management.

Impact on Cardholders' Personal Credit Rating

The US Bank Visa purchasing card is a corporate liability card, not a personal liability card. Therefore, only the company’s credit rating will be affected by use of this product. Please remember, before you receive a purchasing card you will be required to sign a purchasing card user agreement and, as such, you will be responsible for any abuse or misuse of the card that has been issued to you.

Definition of Terms

Please see our Policy Glossary for definitions of terms used in this policy.

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