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Purchasing Card Manual


Purchasing Card: a credit card issued to an authorized State employee through the Department of Administration, State Bureau of Procurement’s Purchasing Card Contract

Cardholder: a specific State employee who has been issued a Purchasing Card

Agency Purchasing Card Administrator: the individual appointed by the agency head to manage, coordinate and control Purchasing Cards within the agency

Supervisor: the individual to whom the cardholder reports and submits the purchasing card log and receipts for view; the individual who signs the log or statement to acknowledge that the purchases made are reasonably work related for the cardholder before forwarding to the Agency Purchasing Card Administrator

Original Receipt: the customer copy of the Purchasing Card receipt signed by the cardholder at the time of purchase

  • in the case of phone orders, “original receipt” means the copy of the receipt sent by the supplying vendor to the purchaser with the good purchased
  • this “original receipt” should be annotated by the cardholder to indicate that the order was placed by phone or fax
  • a credit card charge slip with only the total does NOT qualify as an “original receipt” — a receipt needs to include an original record of what was purchases (any exceptions must be documented)

Statement: the statement of charges that is sent to the cardholder by the purchasing card vendor

What is a Purchasing Card?

The Purchasing Card is a tool for agency employees to make low-dollar purchases for official agency business needs. It allows the agency head to delegate the authority to purchase low-dollar items directly to you, the designated cardholder, enabling you to purchase supplies faster and more easily than before. You will no longer have to create a purchase requisition prior to buying qualifying items. Instead, you may purchase these low-dollar items where the total transaction amount is less than $3,000 with a Visa credit card issued in your name.

The Visa Purchasing Card payment station is an individual bill/central payment system. You, the cardholder, receive biweekly account statements for information and reconciliation purposes providing there has been activity against your Visa account during the biweekly cycle. An electronic billing file is sent centrally to the accounting system, together with a summary of all charges with supporting detail. Accounting makes one payment to US Bank on behalf of all cardholders. Expenditure transactions are processed through the agency’s accounting systems and posted to the various accounting code combinations. All documents related to the purchasing card may be fully disclosed as a public record to the extent provided by the Open Records Law.

In brief, a Purchasing Card is:
  • Delegated Purchasing Authority granted by the Purchasing Department to Individual State UW employees
  • Authorized for official business use only
  • Authorized for individual purchases under $5000
  • Authorized for use with only certain categories of vendors and commodities
A Purchasing Card is NOT:
  • For cardholder personal purchases or identification, under any circumstances
  • A means to avoid appropriate procurement or payment procedures
  • A card to access cash or credit
  • A travel card (except for conference registrations)
  • A right of employment
  • For reimbursable meal costs. Individual meals are not allowed to be charged on the purchasing card
  • For tax (1099) reportable services — generally, services performed by other than a corporation are subject to 1099 reporting
What are the benefits of a Purchasing Card?

The Purchasing Card enables cardholders, purchasing and accounting staff to perform more effectively and focus on the value-added aspects of your jobs by:

  • reducing time needed to purchase and receive supplies
  • reducing the number of requisitions and purchase orders
  • reducing reimbursements from petty cash
  • reducing invoicing problems
  • reducing the number of checks issued
Who are likely cardholders?

In addition to purchasing staff, other staff will benefit from being cardholders, such as:

  • field staff, who may need emergency parts or supplies
  • librarians/others who routinely buy subscriptions and books
  • program support staff who buy supplies
How do I obtain a Purchasing Card?
  1. Contact your Agency Purchasing Card Administrator
  2. Complete the Purchasing Card Account Setup Form found on the Purchasing Office website and forward to the Purchasing Office. A card will be issued within 5-7 business days of submission of all paperwork.
  3. Attend a training session (either group or individual session)
  4. When you receive your card(s) complete the Purchasing Card Application/Use Agreement form. Your participation must be approved by management level which grants purchasing approval up to $3,000 per transaction.
  5. A copy of the Purchasing Card Application/Use Agreement should be kept by you and the original sent to the Agency Purchasing Card Administrator.
Personal Liability and Your Credit Rating

The use of the Purchasing Card results in agency liability, NOT a personal liability for the cardholder.  Your credit rating will not be affected.  However, remember that you signed an agreement with your agency prior to receiving the card and as such you are responsible for any misuse of the card as outlined in this manual.

Guidelines for Card Use

The Purchasing Card is intended for best judgment purchases (< $5000).  Purchases made with this card must comply with the Department of Administration and the UW Oshkosh Purchasing procurement policies and procedures. The Purchasing Card is to be used to purchase low-dollar value items with the total amount of any purchase not to exceed $3,000.   Certain exceptions to use of the Purchasing Card apply.

General Instructions for Card Use

1. If the transaction value is greater than $3,000, use traditional purchasing procedures and follow your agency-established process.

2. If the transaction value is $3,000 or less:
• Using best judgment, determine an appropriate vendor for the materials desired.

• Give the vendor your Purchasing Card number and expiration date or present the card at the point of sale.

• Inform the vendor that the State is exempt from State sales taxes.

NOTE: the Sales Tax Exemption Number is imprinted on the card.
If the material will be shipped or delivered, ask the vendor to enclose a copy of the receipt/invoice with each shipment.  The vendor can fax or mail a copy of the receipt. Have the vendor mark it “paid” to avoid duplicate payments.  Shipments are to be addressed as follows:

VISA/”Your Name”
UW Oshkosh
Receiving Dept.
645 Dempsey Trail
Oshkosh, WI    54902

Also, ask the vendor to put the following code on the shipping label where there would normally be a purchase order number: the letters “VISA”.  This will provide a means whereby receiving personnel will be notified that the shipment is related to a Purchasing Card transaction.

There are occasions when goods will be shipped directly to specific loading docks on campus rather than to the campus’ central receiving area.  These locations are:

Blackhawk Loading Dock Nursing/Ed Loading Dock
Dempsey Loading Dock Polk Library Loading Dock
Halsey Loading Dock Reeve Union – two locations
Kolf Sport Center Res Life Loading Dock
If the material is picked up, obtain the itemized receipt that shows pricing detail.

Credit Card Security

Your Purchasing Card should be treated with the same level of care you use with your personal credit cards.

• The card should not be loaned to another person.  The only person authorized to use the Purchasing Card is the person whose name is on the front of the card or the person who has been authorized to be a “Designated User” to the card.  A Designated User Agreement form must be filled out for all individuals who have designated authority to a specific cardholder.  A copy of the completed form must be sent to the Agency Purchasing Card Administrator.

• Your Purchasing Card account number should be guarded carefully.  Do not post or write it in any location that is accessible to others.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Cards

Unlike personal credit cards where cardholders are responsible for paying the first $50 if the card is stolen or misused, the Purchasing Card program holds the agency responsible for paying all charges resulting from stolen or misused cards until US Bank has been notified.  The US Bank/VISA Purchasing Card Program provides liability protection to the State once notification of any loss, theft, or fraudulent use is made.  However, the same level of liability protection does not apply to cards that are made available to multiple users.  Therefore, each purchasing card must be used only by the person whose name appears on the card.

Therefore, you must notify US Bank Cardholder Customer Service and the campus Purchasing Card Administrator immediately when you discover your card is lost or stolen.

US Bank Cardholder Customer Service
Available 24 hours a day, including weekends
Phone:  (800) 344-5696

Random Audits

Your agency purchasing and accounting offices, as well as the State Bureau of Procurement and the State Controller’s Office, will conduct random audits of Purchasing Card use.  The primary purpose of these audits is to ensure the Purchasing Card program procedures are being followed and that:

•   Purchase volume appears reasonable
•   The card is being used for appropriate transactions
•   Documentation is complete

Consequence of Failure to Comply with Program Guidelines

Any misuse of the card or other failure to comply with these procedures will result in the following cardholder consequences:

• Revocation of Card
• Disciplinary measures, if appropriate

What if I leave the agency or transfer to another unit?

If you leave your agency or transfer to another unit within the agency, you must return your Purchasing Card(s) to the campus Purchasing Card Administrator, who will cancel the card(s).   Returned Purchasing Cards are not reissued to other employees for use.  Before sending a card through campus mail to be canceled be sure to cut the card in half.

Cardholder Responsibilities

The following sections are the minimum requirements for the responsibilities of the cardholder.

Each cardholder is responsible for the following activities:

• Cards must not be loaned to others for two important reasons:  1) If the card is used inappropriately, the cardholder is responsible for all inappropriate charges, and 2) The State loses the liability protection from the credit card company if the card is loaned.

• The card must not be used for personal transactions.  If personal transactions occur, the item must be returned to the merchant for full credit or the employee must repay the State including any applicable state, county or city sales taxes.  Even if the merchant does not charge these taxes, the agency must remit the taxes to the Department of Revenue.

• Record each purchase on the green Log Envelope, a similar log spreadsheet or be sure the receipt clearly states what was purchased.  A brief business purpose statement is required for each purchase. Include sufficient information that supervisors and auditors will clearly understand how the expense benefits UW Oshkosh.

• Keep receipts for documentation and forward to supervisor for review as described later.  A credit card charge slip with only the total is not sufficient documentation.  A receipt needs to include an original record of what was purchased.  Any exceptions must be documented.

What qualifies as source documentation:

Phone/Fax Orders : Original invoice or packing slip providing the packing slip shows what was purchased and pricing.

Registration Fees:  Attach the registration form.  The form must show who the registration is for, the registration amount and what was included in the registration fee.

Internet Orders:  Print and attach a copy of the order screen or confirmation screen that shows what was purchased and the dollar amount.

Pick Up Orders:  Attach the cash register receipt.  If the itemized detail is not on the receipt, write it on by hand.

Documentation Not Available:  If unable to obtain any type of documentation, write the receipt up by hand.  Include the date of the purchase, vendor, items and price.  Also attach a brief explanation as to why the original receipt is not attached.   Every effort should be made to obtain a receipt, especially from newspaper companies.

• Receive statement from card company.

• Verify cardholder statement agrees with record of purchase and receipts.  For every transaction listed on the bank statement there should be an itemized receipt stapled to the back of the bank statement.

When the purchase card log envelope method is used to document the business purchase, then cardholders and superviors signatures are required when the log is filled completely out.

If the receipt or spreadsheet method is used to document the business purpose, then cardholders and supervisors signatures are required every billing cycle on the purchase card statement.
• Forward the signed records with original receipts to your supervisor for review.   Cardholder’s and supervisor’s signatures on the statement, log or spreadsheet simply states all transactions have been reviewed, reconciled and agree that all charges are for UW Oshkosh business purposes only.

A  campus Purchasing Card  Administrator will notify you when an audit is to be performed.  This is normally done after three months for new cardholders and then thereafter on a yearly basis.  It is important that the log envelopes are signed and dated by you and your supervisor, either when they are full or an audit is requested.

• All completed log envelopes are to be kept by the office/dept for six years-use the most current dated bank statement in the log envelope to determine the destroy date for the entire Log Envelope.

• Cardholder is responsible for resolving disputes with vendors as described below.


Returns, Credits or Disputed Items

You are responsible for following up with the merchant or bank on any erroneous charges, disputed items or returns as soon as possible.  Disputed billings can result from failure to receive the goods charged, defective merchandise, incorrect amounts, duplicate charges, credit not processed, as well as fraud and misuse.

If you have a problem with a purchased item or a billing resulting from use of the VISA Purchasing Card, you should first try to reach a resolution with the supplier that provided the item.  In most cases disputes can be resolved directly between the cardholder and the supplier.

Referring to your receipt, request from the merchant that a credit be placed on your card account.  If the item was shipped, refer to the shipping form you kept with your Purchase Log.

A credit should be issued for any item that the supplier has approved for return.  The credit will appear on a subsequent statement.  Any item purchased with the VISA Purchasing Card that is returned must be returned for credit.  Do not accept a refund in cash or check format.  Make sure you keep documentation of credits, returns and exchanges on the log envelope.

Disputed Items
If you have a disputed charge and cannot reach resolution with the supplier, complete the VISA Dispute Form, located on the Purchasing Web Page,and fax to the number provided on the form. The written dispute notice must be received by the bank within 30 days of the date of the affected bank statement.

What if the supplier does not accept credit cards?

Not all suppliers accept Purchasing Cards, if this happens:

• Choose another supplier or:
• Complete the transaction using traditional purchasing procedures, then:
• Ask the supplier if they are interested in accepting VISA.  If yes, refer them to the Agency Purchasing Card Coordinator for information about signing up as a VISA merchant.


Supervisor Responsibilities

The following sections are the minimum requirements for the responsibilities of the supervisor.

The following items should be performed by the cardholder's supervisor:

–The cardholder’s supervisor should be trained regarding what is required of the cardholder and the supervisor.

• Review information submitted by cardholder.  The amount of review will depend on a number of factors but the supervisor should, at a minimum, compare receipts to the purchase record submitted by the cardholder.

• Verify purchases are for use in state business and a brief business purpose clearly stating how the expense benefits UW Oshkosh.  Sign the cardholder’s Log Envelope to certify that purchases were for state business purposes and comply with appropriate rules and regulations.

• The card must not be used for personal transactions.  If personal transactions occur, the item must be returned to the merchant for full credit or the employee must repay the State including any applicable state, county, or city sales taxes.  Even if the merchant does not charge these taxes, the agency must remit the taxes to the Dept. of Revenue.

• If it is determined that personal or other unauthorized charges are occurring on the card, then appropriate steps, up to and including dismissal, will be taken to resolve the misuse/abuse of the card.

Key Contacts

The following resource persons are available to provide assistance, answer questions or help solve any problems that arise:

Agency Purchasing Card Administrator

Bree Oliver, (920) 424-0405

  • To apply for a Purchasing Card.
  • For questions about policies and procedures.
  • To replace damaged cards.
  • For assistance with suppliers.
  • For account inquiries.
  •  For billing information.
  • If you didn’t receive your statement.
  • To report a lost or stolen card.
US Bank Cardholder Customer Service

(800) 393-3526

  • To report lost or stolen cards.
  • For questions about your statement.
Statewide Purchasing Card Program Manager

State Bureau of Procurement
Andrew Struebel

Phone: (608) 263-6973


• To initiate agency purchasing card program
• For assistance with purchasing card statewide procurement policies and procedures

Records Retention

Cardholders/Depts are required to keep bank statements, receipts and log envelopes for a period of six (6) years plus current fiscal year.


There are new guidelines for the retention and disposition of VISA Purchasing Card records (i.e., Log envelopes, bank statements and receipts).

All PCard records need to be kept for 6 years.  What I have started doing when I perform audits is put a “DESTROY DATE” – IN RED LETTERS IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE LOG ENVELOPE.  The DESTROY DATE is based on the last bank statement date in the log envelope (for example:  If the last bank statement date is 9/23/2006 – then I write:

DESTROY 9/23/2012

Once your Log Envelope is full please put a “DESTROY DATE” on the envelope.  Once the date has been met then shred all documents