Washington State University

Revised 9-14
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 Administration

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


Users may contact the purchasing card program administrator or coordinator by telephone at 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.

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.

The card reconciler must complete both the cardholder and reconciler training courses. See below regarding training resources.

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 has completed training and understands the card reconciler responsibilities below.

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

A delegated user is authorized by the cardholder to use the purchasing card for an individual transaction. See below.

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 Employee Training and Development section of the Human Resource Services website, at:



The purchasing card is a method of payment. Approving officials are responsible for the allowability of all purchases made with a purchasing card. Users of purchasing cards are subject to the following restrictions (see below).

Spending Limits

Single Purchase

Each purchasing card has a maximum single purchase limit (also referred to as single amount limit or the transaction limit).

Users of purchasing cards may not circumvent the direct buy limit of $10,000 by splitting orders into multiple transactions from the same vendor.

On each Purchasing Card Application (see 70.08.21-23), the applicable approving official designates a single purchase limit that is appropriate to the business needs of cardholder. Standard limits are $3,500, $5,000 and $10,000.


In rare cases, Purchasing may approve a single purchase limit (transaction limit) over the $10,000 maximum. The approving official must include a justification for such a request with the Purchasing Card Application.

The approving official must provide an explanation with the application to request a transaction limit less than $3,500.

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 70.08.21-23.

The approving official may be required to provide a justification with the application to request a monthly credit limit of $30,000 or more.

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 70.08.25) 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

The purchasing card method of payment is prohibited for the following goods and services (see below):





Restricted Materials

Restricted Payments


Equipment and Furnishings



Internal Purchases


Purchasing Services may grant an exception to a cardholder to allow a purchasing card purchase prohibited on the list above.

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 70.08.21-23. The application must be signed by:

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

Roles and Responsibilities

With Application

The cardholder, card reconciler, and approving official must read and indicate agreement with the roles and responsibilities listed on the application. (See also above.) Complete and/or print the form master page 70.08.21-23 to obtain copies of the application.

New Reconciler or Approving Official

When a new card reconciler or approving official is assigned to the purchasing card account, the department submits a Purchasing Card Change Request to Purchasing Services. Complete and/or print the form master page 70.08.25 to obtain copies of the change request and agreement.


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

The reconciler must complete both the cardholder and reconciler training.


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.

Cardholders are discouraged from using a single merchant account for personal and University purchases. The WSU purchasing card should not be saved as a payment method in any personal account, e.g., an Amazon.com or PayPal account.

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.

Request that the vendor send an e-mailed invoice showing zero balance due.

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

NOTE: The billing address is not the statement address. The issuing bank sends monthly statements to the department address.

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. E-mail confirmation is acceptable.)

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 by e-mail 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 70.08.28 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 check out the purchasing card for an individual transaction by completing the following steps. NOTE: This procedure is not required for orders placed online, or by telephone or fax.

Train the Delegate

The cardholder trains the delegate in the appropriate use of the purchasing card, including all delegated user responsibilities. See below.

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

Delegated User Responsibilities

The delegated user is responsible for:

Documenting the Delegation

Temporary Delegation Form

The cardholder completes a Purchasing Card Temporary Delegation form prior to each delegated purchase. See the form master on 70.08.26. Both the cardholder and the delegate must sign the delegation form.

The delegate presents the signed delegation form to the vendor at the time of purchase. The cardholder returns the delegation form to the reconciler with the itemized documentation of the transaction.

Check-Out Log Sheet

The cardholder records the checkout and return of the purchasing card on the Purchasing Card Check-Out Log Sheet. Print the form master on 70.08.27 to obtain copies of the check-out sheet.

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

Obtaining Purchase Documentation

At time of return, the cardholder obtains the supporting documentation from the delegate for the purchase, including merchant name, date of transaction, unit prices, and item descriptions.


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 card reconciler routinely logs into the issuing bank's website to check for posted transactions. The card reconciler then promptly:

Guidelines for using the bank's online reconciliation system are available at:


Food and Light Refreshments

The card reconciler is to code light refreshment purchases to accounts that allow food purchases. The card reconciler must calculate allowable per diem rates for food purchases and charge any costs over the allowable per diem rates to 17A funds. See 95.19 for links to the allowable per diem rate tables.

The card reconciler is to enter the supporting information indicated below under Transaction Notes:

See 70.33 and 70.31.

Small 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 EB for laptop computers costing less than $5000.

See 20.50 for inventory procedures.

Sales Tax

When reviewing a transaction, the card reconciler determines whether or not sales tax has been charged. If any sales tax is specified on the vendor's itemized documentation of purchase, the card reconciler enters the sales 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 delivery location field, even if the expenditure is tax exempt.

Guidelines for documenting tax information in the issuing bank's online reconciliation system are available on the Purchasing Services website at:



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

For instructions, see the Purchasing Services website at:


Split Coding

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.

For instructions, see the Purchasing Services website at:


Charge Processing

After the card reconciler marks the charge as Approved, 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 may often be 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 middle six digits of the Transaction ID as indicated in the bank's online application with the first four digits and last three digits removed. (Example: AIS Payment Reference #U123456 = bank application's Transaction ID #0000123456001). The Payment Reference Number correlates to the Doc. No. in the AIS BALANCES system.

Charges Not Reviewed

Within 30 days of month end, 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: The Purchasing Card Administrator may contact card reconcilers 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.

The approving official is notified if a reconciler has aging, unreviewed transactions in the online system.

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 mails a monthly statement of expenditures for each card. The responsible card reconciler:


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 70.08.25. 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 70.08.25.

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:
70.08.21-23: Purchasing Card Application
70.08.24: Departmental Monthly Log Sheet
70.08.25: Purchasing Card Change Request
70.08.26: Purchasing Card Temporary Delegation
70.08.27: Purchasing Card Check-Out Log Sheet
70.08.28: Missing Document Affidavit (P-Card Transaction)
Complete and/or print as needed.