Using the University Procurement Card
Responsible University Officer: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
Policy Owner: Director of Purchasing Services
Policy Contact: See Contacts Section


The University provides a procurement card program which allows authorized employees (on payroll) to make business-related purchases for goods and standard (not professional) services up to $2,500 on sponsored and non-sponsored accounts. Department heads or designees determine who should be a cardholder. A cardholder should be an employee that performs the purchasing function(s) on behalf of a department or unit.

Cardholders and approvers must ensure that purchases made through this program comply with:

  • University Purchasing policies and procedures.
  • Special requirements of projects supported by sponsored funds.
  • Cardholder department policies and procedures.

Cardholders may not use the cards for personal purchases or loan their card to another individual.

Effective internal controls are essential and required at every level. The same employee is not permitted to be a cardholder and the approver for the same card. An authorized approver of University business transactions cannot approve their own transactions.

An independent person at an appropriate authority level must review and authorize documents presented for approval. This is required to ensure that transactions are approved without any influence and to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The procurement card does not replace the use of purchase orders. Purchases should be made in accordance with Appendices: Examples of Allowable and Unallowable Purchases and Blocked Supplier Types of this policy and Appendix: Non Purchase Order Related Payments of Administrative Policy: Purchasing Goods and Services.

Failure to comply with this policy and all associated procedures may result in card cancellation and disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.


The purpose of this policy is to provide University employees guidance and direction regarding the proper use of the procurement card.

Policy & Procedure Questions
University Financial Helpline
Card Application
University Financial Helpline
Provider Bank
US Bank
Sales Tax Exemption
Tax Director
Other Purchasing Options
Purchasing Services
Financial System Inquiries
University Financial Helpline
Imaging/Document Retrieval
Admin Specialist
Hotel/Conference Room Rental
Real Estate Office
Sponsored Projects
Sponsored Financial Reporting


Individual assigned by department who is responsible for approving, or returning (denying) transaction. The approver ensures transactions are in compliance with department and University policies and procedures, accurate and properly accounted for.
Billing Cycle
The monthly period used by the bank to report and bill procurement card activity. Our current cycle, includes purchase transactions beginning on the twenty fifth day of the month, and ending with purchases made through the twenty fourth day of the following month.
Capital Equipment
An item with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more, that is moveable and has a useful life in excess of two years. Contact Inventory Services for details.
An employee authorized by a Dean, Department Head or Designee to have a Procurement Card for the purposes of making business purchases on behalf of the department or unit.
Certified Approver
A department or collegiate staff person who has been given authority by the Vice President for Research to review and approve financial transactions involving sponsored funds.
Contract Suppliers
Suppliers that have a contract with the University which ensures preferred pricing/rates and service levels.
Department Card Administrator (DCA)
A person who acts as coordinator for procurement card activity in their department. Typically will be designated by the RRC Manager or designee.
Principal Investigator (PI)
The primary individual in charge of a research grant, cooperative agreement, training or public service project, contract, or other sponsored project.
Program Administrator
An employee of Purchasing Services who has overall responsibility for the University's Procurement Card Program.
Provider Bank
The bank selected by the University to provide banking services required for the program.
Procurement Card
A University approved charge card used by employees to pay for authorized purchases.
Enterprise Financial System, (EFS) role.
Individual assigned by department who is responsible for reconciling procurement card transactions, notifying approver, and ensuring purchases are consistent with department and University policies and procedures. The cardholder may be the reconciler.
Cardholder department review of procurement card activity to: ensure legitimate charges, assign appropriate chart field account distribution, add justification for each purchase to explain why and how the item will be used, process a dispute or contact a merchant directly regarding unidentified items, provide required signatures, and submit report with original receipts for imaging. Note: Full documentation must be included for hospitality expenses to include, business purpose, names of attendees and business relationships.
Sponsored Funds
Granted to support a sponsored project. A sponsored project is an externally funded activity that is governed by specific terms and conditions. Sponsored projects must be separately budgeted and accounted for subject to terms of the sponsoring organization. Sponsored projects may include grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for research, training, and other public service activities.


Approver - EFS Role
Approvers are determined by cardholder department, based on delegation of authority. (A cardholder may NOT be their own approver).
  • Review and take appropriate action on procurement card activity (Purchase Detail Report).
  • Ensure documents are consistent with department and University policy and procedures.
  • Determine the transactions' propriety, accuracy, and compliance.
  • Ensure transactions are distributed to the appropriate chart field account.
  • Work with the reconciler to ensure the Purchase Detail Report for the entire billing cycle is printed and submitted with receipts for Imaging by the end of the month following the activity.
  • Transaction Limits (changing limits is very restricted, as a result, all requests will not be approved).
  • Must complete online training and PCard application.
  • Activate and maintain the card in a secure manner.
  • Know contract suppliers and obtain contract rates.
  • Ensure purchases are allowable according to University of Minnesota Financial Policy, department policies and procedures and if on sponsored funds, sponsoring agency guidelines.
  • Obtain sales tax exemption.
  • Obtain detailed receipt from merchant/supplier, retain and submit original with reconciliation.
  • On an exception basis only, provide a separate signed statement for transactions with missing receipts using the Statement in Lieu of Receipt.
  • Take action to resolve disputed items (within 60 days of transaction date) or returns in a timely manner. Ensure the credit or resolution has occurred.
  • Report immediately any lost or stolen cards to bank (1-800-344-5696) and Program Administrator.
  • Return procurement card to DCA upon termination of employment or transfer to another department.
Certified Approver
Dean or Department Head or Designee
  • Authorize University employees to use the procurement card.
Department Card Administrator (DCA)
  • Develop department procedures regarding card program and provide assistance within department.
  • Act as liaison between Program Administrator and cardholder.
    • Receive and distribute replacement cards
    • Help ensure Purchase Detail Reports and supporting documentation are imaged.
    • Are the main contact for communications from the PCard office regarding missing PDRs, Audit Compliance memos, etc.
  • Notify Program Administrator in writing or e-mail of employee name or address changes, card cancelations, or lost or stolen cards.
  • Maintain current knowledge of University of Minnesota Procurement Card Policies and Procedures.
Maintain a list of authorized signers/approvers on file in their unit.
Disbursement Services Imaging Department
  • Image and archive Purchase Report and support documentation received from departments.
  • Respond to document requests (copies) from departments.
Office of Investments and Banking
  • Negotiate and manage University-wide credit limit.
Provider Bank / Card Company
  • Produce procurement cards.
  • Generate University billing.
  • Replace lost/stolen cards.
  • Monitor and follow up on activity for fraud.
Purchasing Services
  • Identify opportunities to negotiate University discounts through supplier reports.
  • Reconcilers are assigned by the department based on the job function. (The cardholder may be the reconciler). Assign the appropriate chartfield and provide the description/justification for each transaction.
  • Prepare Purchase Detail Report
  • Ensure transactions are consistent with department and University policy and procedures.
  • Notify approver of verified transactions to review.
  • Work with the approver to ensure the Purchase Detail Report for the entire billing cycle is printed and submitted with receipts for Imaging by the end of the month following the activity.
Resource Responsibility Center Manager
  • Provide oversight for program in cardholder unit.
University Procurement Card Program Administrator
  • Manage the procurement card program for the University of Minnesota.
  • Act as program liaison between provider bank and University departments.
  • Act as program liaison between the Office of Information Technology (OIT), Office of Investments and Banking, and Purchasing Services.
  • Represent the program to University community and outside agencies.
  • Have detailed knowledge about associated University of Minnesota Financial Policies.
  • Promote procurement card program awareness and appropriate utilization.
  • Develop and maintain University financial policy and procedures.
  • Develop and maintain procurement card policy and procedures.
  • Ensures cardholder completes training before card is issued.
  • Ensure monitoring and follow through of reconciled statements and support documentation.
  • House the software that supports card program.
  • Reconcile and submit monthly payment to provider bank.


May 2014 - Minor revisions due to Procurement Card Provider change.
June 2009 - Minor language improvements and updates.
July 2008 - Updates made to address Enterprise Financial System rollout. Significant revisions in Definitions, Responsibilities, Procedures and Appendices. Title changed from Using the University Purchasing Card to Using the University Procurement Card. All references to Purchasing Card changed to Procurement Card.
April 2007 - "Ensure the credit or resolution has occurred" added to cardholder responsibilities.
April 2005 - Responsibilities section clarified to make it explicit that the Cardholder cannot also serve as approver or authorized signer, and that cardholder can also serve as preparer.
September 2004 - In contacts section, the "Filming & Record Retention" changed to "Imaging/Document Retrieval" and phone number updated. Added additional material to FAQ.
April 2004 - Purchasing Card procedures can now be found as a part of the Purchase & Pay for Goods & Services process within the Financial One Stop. Financial Onestop also added to related information.
January 2004 - Added FFN Approvers Tutorial to Related Information
October 2003 - Responsibilities section updated for Cardholder and Authorized Signer.
June 2003 - Added new form - Statement in Lieu of Receipt.
April 2003 - Transaction limit for both sponsored and non-sponsored accounts is now $2,499.99. Updated Certified Approver role and responsibilities.
January 2003 - Procedures updated to use the Financial Onestop. Link in Related Information changed from ECAR Processing Calendar to ECAR/CAR Processing Calendar
July 2002 - Updated new IX policy information. All purchasing card activity must be moved out of the default object code 7370 to appropriate object code by cardholder department. (Previously this was done by Disbursement Services). Language clarified in policy statement and reason. Updated definitions, responsibilites, FAQ, procedures and appendix B: Examples of possible card purchases.
March 2002 - Added Appendix E: Purchasing Card Activity Reports ECAR (electronic) and CAR (paper) Processing Job Aid.
September 2001 - Added link to ECAR Processing Calender in related information and appendices.
July 2001 - Airfare can now be charged to purchasing card. Billing period changed. Clarified CAR and ECAR reconciliation procedures.
July 2000 - Updated limit for nonsponsored purchases from $2000.00 to $2,499.00 per item.
April 2000 - Policy amended to accommodate program enhancement, (on-line) Electronic Card Activity Report. Updated transaction limit on sponsored accounts to $999.
May 1999 - Clarified FAQ section and updated Related Information.
February 1999 - Updated Dispute/Resolution and Lost/Stolen card forms so they are interactive.
January 1999 - Updated references to transaction limit in policy statement, definitions, FAQ, Procedure and Online Purchasing Card Application/Update Form. The transaction limit was increased to $2,000 for non-sponsored funds.
June 1997 - Updated phone numbers in Contacts section. Clarified Rates, Definitions, Responsibilities, and Frequently Asked Questions sections. Clarified all procedures. Updated Purchasing Card Application, Dispute/ Resolution, and Lost Card forms.
February 1997
March 1996
Document Feedback
Date Revised
August 2009
Date Effective
March 1996