This policy outlines the responsibilities and procedures required when making purchases with a University issued purchasing card. As with all expenditures, anyone making purchases with University funds is obligated to use stewardship, exercise ethical behavior, comply with government regulations, and provide proper transaction documentation and recording. Area Vice Presidents may impose additional restrictions than those outlined in this policy.
The card is a privilege granted to the employee by the University, and it is the duty of each cardholder to ensure the responsible use of University funds. The University will seek reimbursement for any inappropriate charges made to the card.
The Purchasing Card Program is designed to provide a more efficient and cost-effective method for departments to purchase small dollar, commonly used items, and to provide a means to pay for expenses incurred while travelling on University business.
The card is a VISA purchasing card that is issued by Bank of America. The monthly credit limit on the card will be determined by the departmental budget director with final approval from the area Vice President or President. In compliance with University policy, the single purchase limit will be set at $999.99. The monthly cycle for the card runs from the 28th of the month to the 27th of the following month, and the spending limit resets at the beginning of each new cycle.
The cardholder’s signature on the Purchasing Card Application and Agreement affirms that the individual understands the intent of the program and agrees to follow the established guidelines.
The applicant must submit a completed and approved Purchasing Card Application and Agreement to the Accounts Payable Office. Once received, the Accounts Payable Office will request the card from Bank of America, and then notify the cardholder by email that the card has been requested. The card usually arrives within 5-7 business days.
When the card is received, the cardholder should:
- It is recommended by Financial Institutions that instead of signing the card, write “Request Identification.” Keep a record of the card number and the bank telephone number in a safe place in the event the card is lost or stolen. Although each card is issued in the cardholder’s name, it is the property of St. Mary’s University and is only to be used for University purchases as defined in this policy.
- Activate the card by calling the number on the card. Normally an activation code is required to confirm the activation. This code will be provided in the welcome email.
Purchasing Procedures and Restrictions
The purchasing card may be used at any merchant that accepts VISA. Some merchant types are restricted, and if the card is declined because of this reason, please contact one of the Program Administrators listed below.
Allowable purchases include:
- Supplies and materials with a purchase price less than $1,000.
- Travel related expenses.
Unallowable purchases include:
- Single transaction amounts $1,000 or over. Purchases may not be divided into smaller amounts to avoid the established limit.
- Personal items.
- Cash advances.
- Payments to individuals for services. These must be processed through accounts payable to insure proper documentation for tax reporting requirements is received.
- Capital expenditures, such as furniture and computers. These purchases should follow the Policy for Procurement of Goods and Services to insure proper recording for fixed asset purposes.
- Sales Tax – cardholder should inform the merchant that the University is exempt from sales tax. The University’s sales tax number (1-74-1143128-5) is embossed on the back of the card. Some merchants may require the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate; therefore it is always a good idea to have this form with you when making purchases. If sales tax is charged, the cardholder should immediately contact the supplier to have the sales tax reversed.
WORKS is the Bank of America on-line application that cardholders use to manage their card transactions. The cardholder will receive an initial email with login and password instructions. Thereafter an email will be received whenever a transaction occurs on the purchasing card.
The WORKS application is used to review transactions to ensure they are correct, to allocate the charges to the correct budget account number, and then to sign off. Note that ‘signing off’ on a transaction does not indicate approval. See Resolving Errors and Disputes below.
The cardholder may designate on the Purchasing Card Application and Agreement another individual, such as an Administrative Assistant, to process these steps in WORKS in addition to themselves.
A Cardholder Quick Sheet is available on Gateway to provide easy instructions on how to use the application. Training is also available if needed by contacting the Program Administrators listed below.
Review and Documentation Process
Cardholders will login to Bank of America’s Payment Center and set up an account in order to print monthly statements. Instructions on how to set up the account will be emailed to the cardholder at the time the card is received, and can also be requested from the Program Administrators listed below.
The statement, along with original itemized receipts attached to the Receipt Form detailing the business purpose of each transaction, must be submitted to the Accounts Payable Office by the 15th of the following month. It must have the signature of the cardholder and departmental budget director if the cardholder is not a budget director. If the total monthly expenditures exceed $1,000 a supervisor must also approve.
For purchases of business related meals, the itemized receipt is required. The names of participants and their affiliation with the University, along with the business purpose, must be documented on the Receipt Form. “Business meeting” is not a valid business purpose, need to include general topic of discussion.
If receipts are lost, it is the cardholder’s responsibility to contact the merchant and request the missing receipt. If you cannot obtain a copy of a missing receipt where the amount is less than $75, complete the Missing Documentation Form. As required by the IRS, charges over $75 that do not have the original detailed receipt will be considered taxable income, and taxes will be withheld on the employee’s next paycheck.
Violations and Disciplinary Action
Types of Violations
- Unallowable purchases, as described above
- Inadequate documentation – Original and itemized receipts are required for all transactions along with the business purpose
- Late submission of documentation
- Splitting charges to avoid the single transaction limit
- Any other violations of the Policy for Purchasing Card Program
If documentation as described above is not received by the 15th of the following month, a reminder will be sent to the cardholder. If a second reminder is required, a copy will be sent to the cardholder’s supervisor. If the documentation is still not submitted after the second reminder, a third and final reminder will be sent with a copy to the area vice president, and the card will be de-activated, and the expenditures will be considered unsubstantiated, and therefore taxable on the cardholder’s next paycheck.
All cardholders are subject to disciplinary action which may include revocation of the purchasing card and up to dismissal of employment. If the card is used improperly, St. Mary’s University may deduct from the cardholder’s paycheck an amount equal to the total of the improper charges.
Resolving Errors and Disputes
The cardholder is responsible for resolving any errors or disputes by first contacting the merchant. Most disputes can be resolved between the cardholder and the supplier directly. If the cardholder is unable to reach an agreement with the merchant, contact Bank of America by calling the number on the back of the card.
Lost or Stolen Cards
If the card is lost or has been stolen, the cardholder should immediately contact Bank of America by calling the toll free number.
Decline of Charge by Merchant
Should the card be declined at the point of sale for any reason, please contact Bank of America Customer Service using the number on the back of the card, or call one of the Program Administrators listed below.
Request Monthly Credit Limit Increase
Cardholders may need a temporary or permanent increase in the monthly credit limit on their card. Approval for this increase must be routed through the area Vice President. In the case of a temporary increase, an email to one of the Program Administrators from the area Vice President detailing the new limit and period of time the limit should cover is acceptable.
If the increase is related to travel, and the approved pre-travel authorization & expenditure report has been received in Accounts Payable, contact the Program Administrator listed below to increase the limit. No additional approvals will be needed.
Accounting Technician 210-431-2057
Associate Controller 210-431-2178