Washington State University

Revised 3-10
Purchasing Services

Purchasing Card

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Departments may participate in the WSU Purchasing Card Program, which provides the convenience of credit card purchasing for departmental-level purchases. The University has established a contract with an issuing bank to provide purchasing cards for such purchases.

Purchasing Services issues cards to individuals who are approved for card use by the department chair or equivalent administrator.

This section provides basic information needed for participating in the WSU Purchasing Card Program, including information regarding:

For further information or questions, contact the purchasing card program administrator or the purchasing card program coordinator at Purchasing Services; telephone 509-335-3541.

Program Participants

Program Administration

Purchasing Services administers the purchasing card program. The Purchasing Card Helpdesk e-mail address is:


Users may contact the purchasing card program administrator and/or coordinator by telephone to 509-335-3541.

Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable coordinates transaction review activities and processes payments to the issuing bank.

Issuing Bank

The issuing bank provides purchasing cards to WSU and an online software tool for the management of purchasing card transactions by University personnel.

Approving Official

The approving official has supervisory or managerial responsibility for accounting functions in a department or college.

He or she reviews and approves reconciliation of purchasing card transactions and signs and dates a transaction report on a monthly basis.

The approving official must have expenditure authority for each budget recorded on the monthly transaction report. See 70.02.

NOTE: The approving official cannot be a cardholder or card reconciler of purchasing cards for which he or she is approving official.

Approving Official Responsibilities

The approving official is responsible for the following:

Card Reconciler

The card reconciler performs the first level of transaction review.

NOTE: If the card reconciler is out of the department for an extended period of time, the approving official may appoint a substitute card reconciler. The approving official is responsible for ensuring that the substitute reconciler understands the card reconciler responsibilities below. See below regarding training resources.

Card Reconciler Responsibilities

The card reconciler is responsible for:


The cardholder is the individual responsible for card use.

The cardholder acts as a purchasing agent of the University when using the purchasing card. The cardholder is accountable for any policy violation associated with the use of his or her card account.

NOTE: The cardholder may also be the card reconciler for the assigned account.

Cardholder Responsibilities

The cardholder is responsible for:

Delegated User Responsibilities

A delegated user is authorized by the cardholder to use the purchasing card for an individual transaction. The delegated user is responsible for:

Advisory Tools

Advisory guidelines and self-assessment tools for cardholders, card reconcilers, and approving officials are available at the Purchasing Services Purchasing Card website, at:



Purchasing Services provides training on the following topics to cardholders, card reconcilers, delegated users, and approving officials:

For more information and to register for purchasing card training, see the Employees--Training and Development section of the Human Resource Services website, at:



Users of purchasing cards are subject to the following restrictions:

Spending Limits

Single Purchase

The total cost of a single purchase may not exceed the maximum single transaction limit of $3500.

Users of purchasing cards may not circumvent the maximum single transaction limit of $3500 by splitting orders into multiple transactions from the same vendor.

Monthly Credit Limit

Each purchasing card account has a monthly credit limit. The approving official assigns a monthly credit limit when completing the Purchasing Card Application. See the form on 70.08.18-19.

The approving official may request an increase or decrease to the monthly credit limit assigned to an existing card by submitting a Purchasing Card Change Request (see 70.08.23-24) to Purchasing Services or by sending an e-mail message to the Purchasing Card Administrator at:


Sponsored Projects

Principal investigators (PIs) are responsible for purchasing goods and services which are allowable under the terms of applicable grants or contracts. Cardholders are responsible for obtaining authorization from PIs before making purchases on accounts supported by grants or contracts.

Prohibited Purchases

University personnel are not to authorize payment with purchasing cards for any of the following:


Purchasing Services may grant an exception to a cardholder to allow a purchasing card purchase prohibited on the list above. NOTE: Exceptions may not be granted for purchases which are prohibited by state regulations. (SAAM 45.10.50)

Advisory guidelines for requesting exceptions to prohibited purchases are available from the Purchasing Services Purchasing Card website at:



Obtaining a purchasing card requires:


The department completes a Purchasing Card Application for each card requested.

To obtain an application, complete and/or print the form master on 70.08.18-19. The application must be signed by:

When completing the pplication form, the requesting department provides the following cardholder and department information:

The department completes both pages of the application, which includes a roles and responsibilities agreement.

Roles and Responsibilities Agreement

With Application

The cardholder, card reconciler, and approving official must read and indicate agreement with the roles and responsibilities listed on the second page of the application. (See also above.) Complete and/or print the form master page 70.08.18-19 to obtain copies of the application and agreement.

New Reconciler or Approving Official

When a new card reconciler or approving official is assigned to the purchasing card account, the department submits a new roles and responsibilities agreement with a Purchasing Card Change Request to Purchasing Services. Complete and/or print the form master page 70.08.23-24 to obtain copies of the change request and agreement.

Annual Renewal

Upon receiving the annual reminder e-mail message from Purchasing Services, the cardholder, card reconciler, and approving official must sign and submit a Roles and Responsibilities Agreement for Purchasing Card Annual Renewal. Complete and/or print the form master page 70.08.21 to obtain copies of the annual renewal agreement.


The cardholder must attend or receive training prior to receiving a purchasing card. See above.

Purchasing Cardholder Agreement

A new cardholder signs the Purchasing Cardholder Agreement after attending training and prior to taking possession of the card. See the form master on 70.08.20 to view the agreement terms and conditions.


A cardholder is accountable for purchases made.

The card is to be used only for the purchase of allowable goods and services. The cardholder must observe the single transaction limit and monthly credit limit assigned to the purchasing card account.

The card is to be used for official University business only. Personal purchases violate the terms of the cardholder agreement. See other "Restrictions" above.

Place the Order

Give the purchasing card or purchasing card number to the vendor when the order is placed. Inform the vendor that the purchase is for Washington State University and request that the vendor include applicable discounts.

Transaction Declined

If a transaction is declined, the cardholder may contact the card reconciler or the program administrator in Purchasing Services for assistance. The cardholder may also contact the purchasing card issuing bank's customer service department to determine the reason the card was declined. The customer service telephone number is located on the back of the purchasing card.

Billing Address

Provide the vendor with the following billing address for all purchasing card transactions:

Washington State University
P.O. Box 641020
Pullman, WA  99164-1020

Shipping Instructions

Encourage the vendor to ship the material in accordance with University shipping procedures and discount contracts. See 80.28.

Provide a complete shipping address, including name, department, building, and room number. Use the street location of the campus central receiving department, if available.

To WSU Pullman

For orders shipped or mailed to a WSU Pullman department, instruct the vendor to include a departmental attention name, the name of the department, and the location of the department. See the label template below for WSU Pullman:

Label (To WSU Pullman)

WSU/(Department Name)/
(Name of Recipient)/(Room Number, Building)
PULLMAN, WA 99164-1120

When departmental delivery information is not on the shipping label, Central Receiving attempts to determine the identity of the recipient. If the identity is not determined, Central Receiving may return the package to the vendor.

Receipt/Invoice/Packing Slip

Each purchase must be supported by itemized documentation of purchase, e.g., receipt, invoice, packing slip from the vendor, or web/e-mail confirmation. (Itemized documentation is to be original.)

The itemized documentation of purchase must include each of the following:

If the receipt includes the total purchase amount only, attach a detailed packing slip or detailed invoice to the receipt.

NOTE: Instruct the vendor to send the itemized documentation of purchase directly to the department and not to Accounts Payable.

Missing Documentation

If unable to obtain a receipt or invoice from the vendor, the cardholder must complete and sign a Missing Documentation Affidavit (Purchasing Card Transactions). The approving official must also sign the affidavit.

Complete and/or print the form master on 70.08.27 to obtain copies of the affidavit.

Attach the signed affidavit to the monthly statement and the monthly transaction log sheet (see below) as the documentation for the purchase.

Temporary Card Assignment or Delegated Use

The cardholder may allow another departmental employee to use the purchasing card for an individual transaction by completing the following steps:

NOTE: Purchasing Services encourages employees who are expected to be frequent purchasing card delegates to attend complete purchasing card training for cardholders and card reconcilers (see "Training" above).

The delegate presents the signed delegation form to the vendor at the time of purchase. The cardholder retains a copy of the signed delegation form with the itemized documentation of the transaction. NOTE: This step is not required for online, telephone, or fax transactions.

Either the cardholder or card reconciler keeps the checkout log for each card and records the following information:

The date and time of card checkout,
The merchant name,
The name of the delegate,
The card number, and
The date and time of card return.


Create Record of Purchases

The card reconciler must make a record of each transaction by one of the following two methods:

The card reconciler may print the PCard Reconciliation Report at intervals throughout the month, if desired. However, the official record is the final complete report of the month's activity.

Each month, attach the bank statement and supporting itemized documentation to the monthly PCard Reconciliation Report or Departmental Monthly Log Sheet for retention as a complete record set.

The department must retain all purchasing card records for six years after the end of the fiscal year in which the transactions were made. (See 90.01 for more information regarding records retention requirements.)

Review Transactions

Transactions usually appear online on the issuing bank's website within 24-72 hours after the charge is transacted by the vendor.

The issuing bank notifies the card reconciler and approving official by e-mail of each charge as it posts to the purchasing card account. The card reconciler then promptly:

Saves the transaction detail information entered into the online reconciliation system; and

Marks the transaction as Reviewed at a later time, after receipt of merchandise is confirmed.

Light Refreshments

The card reconciler is to code light refreshment purchases to accounts that allow food purchases. If using 17A funds, provide the purpose of the event and a list of the attendees under Transaction Notes. If using funds other than 17A, indicate under Transaction Notes that a Request to Serve Food form is on file. See 70.33 and 70.31.

Equipment Purchases

The card reconciler is to code as object 03 those equipment items costing less than $5000 each using the object/subobject dropdown screen. EXCEPTION: The card reconciler uses object 16 and subobject AB for laptop computers costing less than $5000.

The card reconciler uses the split coding function if the transaction is allocated to more than one budget or requires more than one object code.

See 20.50 for inventory procedures.


When reviewing a transaction, the card reconciler determines whether or not tax has been charged. If any tax is specified on the vendor's itemized documentation of purchase, the card reconciler enters the tax amount online. If the purchase is tax exempt, the card reconciler marks the "Tax Exempt" box and adds an explanation. NOTE: Do not delete data in the tax location field, even if the expenditure is tax exempt.


The card reconciler may enter the shipping cost, if it appears on the itemized documentation.

Charge Processing

After the card reconciler marks the charge as Reviewed, Accounts Payable downloads the transaction, then reviews and expenses the purchase. NOTE: The transaction amount (indicated in the bank's online application) may not match the amount expensed (indicated in the online AIS BALANCES application). The difference is the compensating tax (sales tax) amount applicable to the transaction, but not charged by the vendor. Compensating tax rates are destination-based. Rates vary depending on the delivery or pickup location.

The Payment Reference Number for the charge as listed in BALANCES is the prefix "U" followed by the Trans ID (transaction ID) as indicated in the bank's online application.

Charges Not Reviewed

On the fifth business day of each month, the card reconciler is expected to have reviewed all of the previous month's charges or to have provided transaction notes explaining any delay in online review. NOTE: Accounts Payable may contact cardholders regarding charges that are not reviewed in a timely manner.

Receipt of Shipment

The cardholder is responsible for verifying receipt of the shipment and determining whether the vendor accurately filled the order. See below for information regarding disputes/discrepancies. See 70.14 for information regarding damaged shipments and returning merchandise.


The card reconciler is responsible for interacting with the vendor and the purchasing card issuing bank to resolve disputes and discrepancies between the statement and departmental records. The cardholder or card reconciler must communicate with the issuing bank regarding a dispute within 60 days of the end of the billing statement period in which the transaction first appeared.

Disputed items are noted in the online software tool and entered onto the monthly transaction log and remain pending until processed by the issuing bank. Transactions reported as fraud are credited by the issuing bank when the problem is resolved.

Fraudulent Charge

When an unidentifiable charge appears on a purchasing card account, the cardholder or card reconciler must:

The cardholder or card reconciler notifies Purchasing Services if the issuing bank closes the account because of a fraudulent charge. The issuing bank issues a new account number to the cardholder.


If goods are to be returned, the cardholder:


The issuing bank prepares a monthly statement of expenditures for each card. The responsible card reconciler:

Verifies that the statement transactions match those listed on the Departmental Monthly Log Sheet.

If a discrepancy is found between a transaction as listed on the statement and on the PCard Reconciliation Report, the card reconciler is to notify the purchasing card administrator.


After the card reconciler completes the reconciliation, he or she routes the Departmental Monthly Log Sheet or monthly PCard Reconciliation Report, the monthly statement, and receipts to the department's approving official.

If the reconciliation is correct and the purchases are appropriate and allowable, the approving official reviews the reconciliation. He or she signs the monthly PCard Reconciliation Report or Departmental Monthly Log Sheet.

If the approving official does not have expenditure authority for all listed accounts, additional applicable expenditure authority signatures must be obtained.

Reconciling Charges in BALANCES

The authorized departmental employee is responsible for reconciling the monthly statement against the online Account Balances/Detail Application (also referred to as BALANCES) or the hard-copy Budget Statement. See 30.06, 30.07, and 85.33.

Records Retention

The department must retain the itemized transaction documentation with the monthly PCard Reconciliation Report or the Departmental Monthly Log Sheet, and the monthly statement. These documents are the University's official record of the transactions and are to be retained together and complete in the department for six years after the end of the current fiscal year. See 90.01 for retention procedures and schedules.

NOTE: Failure to properly retain all documentation is a policy violation subject to one or more of the consequences listed below.


Lock Cards

The department is responsible for keeping cards in a locked drawer or security box when not in use.

Lost, Stolen, Misplaced

In order to prevent fraudulent use and loss to the University should the card be lost, stolen, or misplaced, the cardholder or department must complete all of the following:

The card reconciler monitors charges from the missing card using the online transaction reconciliation system provided by the issuing bank. The cardholder identifies any unauthorized charges and certifies that the charges are fraudulent.


The following actions violate University policy.


The University may take any or all of the following actions for violations of University purchasing card policies:


The approving official may request changes to a purchasing card account by submitting a Purchasing Card Change Request or e-mail message to Purchasing Services. The form is available at 70.08.23-24. Process the following changes with the Purchasing Card Change Request:

Card Cancellation

The cardholder or approving official must cancel the purchasing card when:

To cancel a purchasing card, the cardholder or approving official must submit a written request to Purchasing Services. The written request may be submitted by memorandum or by using the Purchasing Card Change Request form on 70.08.23-24.

The program administrator may also cancel a purchasing card as a consequence of policy violations or other misuse of a purchasing card by the cardholder.

Purchasing Services notifies the department when the account/card has been cancelled. The department is responsible for collecting and destroying the cancelled card.


When a purchasing card reaches the expiration date, the issuing bank automatically reissues a card with a new expiration date. The bank sends the card to Purchasing Services. Purchasing Services receives the reissued card and notifies the cardholder that the card is ready for pickup. NOTE: The expiration date is the last day of the month indicated as Good Thru on the card.

The cardholder is responsible for destroying the expired card.


All transaction records are subject to review by University personnel and auditors, including:

See the PDF forms and appendix:
70.08.18-19: Purchasing Card Application
70.08.20: Purchasing Cardholder Agreement
70.08.21: Roles and Responsibilities Agreement (P-Card Annual Renewal)
70.08.22: Departmental Monthly Log Sheet
70.08.23-24: Purchasing Card Change Request
70.08.25: Purchasing Card Temporary Delegation
70.08.26: Purchasing Card Checkout Log Sheet
70.08.27: Missing Document Affidavit (P-Card Transaction)
Complete and/or print as needed

See the PDF appendix:
70.08.28-31: Appendix: Purchasing Card Reconciliation Report Instructions
Print as needed