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P-Card Guidelines

The Purchasing Card is for University business only and must not be used for any personal transactions.

Questions concerning permissibility of a particular purchase, when not clear, should be directed to your Financial Service Center (FSC) representative.

The Card Contract Administrators for the Purchasing Card program are the Manager and Assistant Manager of the Financial Services Center.


These procedures apply to qualified University employees who have:

  • Obtained permission to participate in the purchasing card program
  • Completed the required program application
  • Met all applicable requirements as set forth by the University. 


Purchasing card transactions must adhere to the University’s purchasing and business expense policies and procedures.


The Financial Services Center staff and the card contract administrators are responsible for program development, implementation, administration, cardholder customer service, bank relations, training, monitoring, and enforcement of the University’s purchasing card program policies and procedures. The Purchasing Office is responsible for the Purchasing Card Program compliance auditing. The Business Office is responsible for the coordination of payment to JP Morgan Chase.

While it is the respective vice-president, chair, or director who has the overall responsibility for ensuring the University’s interest is best served; the cardholder or the designated departmental card administrator is responsible for monitoring the activity of the purchasing card issued to the department/office staff members. For the purpose of this document, the departmental card administrator is defined as the individual within the department responsible for departmental expenditures.

Purchasing card policies and procedures must be strictly adhered to and failure to comply may result in the suspension of purchasing card privileges and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination. A cardholder who makes an unauthorized purchase or carelessly uses the purchasing card may be liable to the University for the dollar amount of the unauthorized purchase plus any administrative fees or legal fees incurred in connection with misuse.

What Is the Purchasing Card?

The purchasing card is a corporate liability card issued to an individual but the University is responsible for paying the bill. The card is a fast and convenient way for departments to spend monies directly from their designated budget.

What Are the Benefits of the Purchasing Card?

The purchasing card delegates low dollar value purchasing authority to the end-user. The end-user gets exactly what they want, when they want it, faster and with minimal paperwork. The purchasing card allows the end-user to buy over the telephone, fax, and by internet.  Cardholders may make University- related travel and entertainment expenditures including airline reservations and conference registrations over the telephone, fax, or by Internet.

What Can Be Purchased With the Purchasing Card?

  • General goods and services
  • Airline reservations
  • Registration fees
  • Travel related expenses (If allowed by department/office)

In general, the Cardholder may purchase goods and services EXCEPT:

  • Capital equipment (which includes furniture) 
  • Cash advances
  • Travelers checks/securities 
  • Pay fines/penalties
  • Firearms/ammunition/explosives*
  • Make gifts/contributions
  • Pay for loans
  • Material prohibited by local, state or federal law
  • Narcotics/all drugs*
  • Personal purchases
  • Radioactive materials
  • Orders over $5000
  • Splitting purchases to circumvent the $5000 limit is prohibited. 

*Exceptions to these will be handled on an individual basis and must be approved by a purchasing card contract administrator prior to incurring the expenditure.

Authorized Purchasing Card Use:

The purchasing card will be issued with the cardholder’s name embossed on it and can only be used by the named cardholder.

Safeguarding the Purchasing Card:

It is the cardholder’s responsibility to safeguard the purchasing card to the same degree an individual would safeguard their own personal credit cards or cash.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Purchasing Cards:

The cardholder must immediately notify JP Morgan Chase customer service and report a lost or stolen purchasing Card.  JP Morgan Chase representatives are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week including holidays.


The cardholder must also notify the Financial Services Center within one (1) workday after discovering the purchasing card missing.


When applying for the purchasing card, the department’s vice-president must establish the single purchase transaction control limit for each cardholder (Default: $1,000, or $2,500). Other control limits applicable to all cards include the following, and are determined by the contract administrators:

  • Monthly credit limit: the total amount you can spend in a given month.
  • Monthly Transaction Limit: the total number of transactions allowed in a given month.
  • Daily Amount Limit: the total amount you can spend in a given day.
  • Daily Transaction Limit: the number of transactions allowed in a day.

Note: A transaction is any purchase or adjustment posted to the cardholder’s account.

If control limits are violated, the transaction will be declined. The purchasing card contract administrator in the Financial Services Center has the capability to customize and set specific limits for each purchasing card issued. If you have questions or run into an issue where your card is declined, please contact the contract administrator in the Financial Services Center.

University’ Billing Cycle:

The billing cycle is defined as the monthly period ending on the same day each month. The University’s billing cycle will be the last day of each month.  All transactions will post to the departmental budget report for the month.

Activating the Purchasing Card:

In order to provide a measure of security, the purchasing card requires activation. When the purchasing card is received, a sticker prompts the cardholder to call JP Morgan Chase for purchasing card activation. The cardholder’s identity is verified using the information provided on the application (the last 4 digits of your TU ID number). Once activated, the purchasing card is ready for use. Activation is required only once for each purchasing card received.

Making a Purchase:

When making a purchase the cardholder must check as many sources as reasonable to assure best price, quality, and delivery.

In Person:

Verify that the vendor accepts VISA. Select the merchandise making sure the total amount of the order is within your transaction limits or JP Morgan Chase will decline the charge. When ready to check out, inform the cashier that Trinity University is tax-exempt. Keep all receipts for month end reconciliation.

Phone/Fax Orders:

You may call or fax an order. The supplier will request your card number and expiration date. If you are buying from a local vendor, advice the supplier that the University is tax exempt. Request that the supplier include an authorization slip, paid invoice, and/or delivery slip with the order. If the supplier intends to mail the transaction documentation, you must ensure the documentation is mailed to your University mailing address. Submit all purchasing card transaction documentation to the Financial Services Center throughout the month as you incur charges.

Internet Orders:

You may use the internet to place an order.  You must submit all purchasing card transaction documentation to the Financial Services Center throughout the month as you incur charges. E-mail order confirmations and receipts may be forwarded to your designated Financial Services Center representative, be sure to include account information and description of the transaction in the body of the e-mail.


Rebates, Refunds, and Promotional Items:

Any rebates, refunds, and promotional items received as a result of a purchasing card transaction becomes the property of Trinity University and must be deposited into the applicable department account.


All shipments must be shipped to the following address:

(Your Name and Department)
Trinity University 607 Kings CT
San Antonio TX 78212

Delivery to Your Department by Central Receiving

Central Receiving will accept delivery of all purchasing card orders placed by fax, phone or Internet. A Central Receiving driver will deliver all packages, unopened, to the requesting department. The cardholder is responsible for opening and inspecting all packages to determine if the order is correct. Any discrepancies must be brought to the attention of the supplier. The cardholder must make sure they receive all documentation to submit to the Financial Services Center.

Documentation, Record Keeping and Record Submission:

The cardholder and the departmental card administrator are responsible for purchasing card transactions, obtaining accurate documentation, and submission of all purchasing card transaction documentation.   Submitting accurate and thorough documentation is crucial for audit substantiation. Please keep in mind that documentation submitted for each transaction must include the cardholder name and account number(s) to charge. Receipts should be itemized; undetailed receipts need descriptions of items purchased attached. For entertainment/meal purchases, documentation of the business purpose, attendee names, and their affiliation with TU is required. For travel expenses, write the control number of the trip on the receipt.

For each purchasing card transaction, you must ensure that an original sales document (packing slip, invoice, cash register receipt, etc.) is received. All transactions must be substantiated with receipts and /or invoices which should be submitted to the Financial Services Center as charges are incurred. The Financial Services Center reconciles each statement for each monthly cycle.

All purchasing card documentation is due in the Financial Services Center by the last work day of the new month (at the very latest). For example: June documentation is due July 31 (or last workday). The recommended best practice is to submit documentation throughout the month as you incur charges so that the Financial Services Center can most efficiently process it and avoid budget errors.

Statement, Review and Reconciliation:

The cardholder and the departmental card administrator are the first line of defense in determining if all charges are accurate. It is recommended that the cardholder review their on-line account at least weekly to ensure all postings are legitimate. The cardholder will have two (2) workdays after the close of the billing cycle to review and communicate any needed account changes to the Financial Services Center. Transactions that post to a p-card but are to be applied to an account other than the default account for that card is why it is important to submit documentation to the Financial Services Center as soon as possible, as accounts are locked in after the second workday of the new month and would require a Journal Entry to change after that point (see expense transfer procedures section below). Please note: Paymentnet usually posts transactions two (2) days after the transaction date so if you charge the last two or three days the month this charge will not appear until the following month. At the end of each billing cycle the Financial Services Center will receive all p-card statements and attempt to reconcile. Cardholders and departmental card administrators will be notified if there are any outstanding receipts or documentation.

Lack of Supporting Documentation:

It is the responsibility of the cardholder and the card administrator to ensure each purchasing card transaction is substantiated with the proper documentation. Should supporting documentation be lacking, the cardholder and/or departmental card administrator must resolve any deficiency. The cardholder may obtain copies of missing sales documentation from the supplier.

Purchasing Card Transactions and Posting to the University’s Financial System:

Each purchasing card is assigned a default department account number. Purchasing card transactions post to the University’s financial system (Ellucian Colleague-Datatel) and will be listed on the monthly Detail Budget Status Report.

Expense Transfer Procedures:

If necessary, the Financial Services Center can re-distribute expenses from the default account and/or object code to another account and/or object code by going to the PaymentNet web site and making the change(s) on-line. This must be done before the end of the second (2) workday of the new month. If the transaction is to be funded from a different budget account and/or object code, it is the responsibility of the cardholder to submit all sales documentation to the Financial Services Center as soon as possible. Changes not made prior to month-end close require a journal entry to make the correction. If a substantial number of journal entries are required due to cardholder or departmental card administrator’s lack of timeliness, the cardholder will be placed on probationary status in the p-card program with possible card suspension or termination.

Payment of Cycle Statement:

Accounts Payable will process payment to JP Morgan Chase once every cycle.

Resolving Returns, Credits, Errors and Disputes:

In the event problems with a supplier are experienced (failure to receive goods, fraud, altered charges,defective merchandise, incorrect quantity or incorrect merchandise, duplicate charges, credits not processed or discounts not received), the cardholder must contact the supplier to resolve any concerns. Responsible suppliers will resolve any legitimate concerns. In the event the cardholder cannot resolve a difficulty with a supplier, contact a contract administrator in the Financial Services Center for guidance in initiating the dispute resolution process.

JP Morgan Chase will review and investigate the items questioned. During this investigation, the cardholder’s account will be credited for the amount in question. During the process, the cardholder may or may not be contacted for additional information. When JP Morgan Chase has completed the investigation, the cardholder will be notified of the results. If the dispute is not settled in the cardholder’s favor, the cardholder’s account will be charged for the disputed amount. During the dispute investigation process, the cardholder and/or JP Morgan Chase may need to obtain copies of sales documents.  JP Morgan Chase may charge a fee for each copy. The dispute resolution process is not much different than how an individual resolves a personal credit card problem. Contact the supplier first, then the bank/credit card company.

Changing the Information On The Purchasing Card:

The cardholder and/or departmental card administrator may change information on the cardholder’s purchasing card account by sending an email to the contract administrator.

Cancel or Close the Purchasing Card Account:

When a cardholder transfers to another department or leaves employment at Trinity, the cardholder must surrender the purchasing card to the contract administrator. IF THE PURCHASING CARD IS NOT SURRENDERED, IT WILL BE REPORTED AS STOLEN.

Changes to the Card Administrator:

Any changes in the status of an existing departmental card administrator must be communicated to the contract administrator by the department or office chair or director.

End of Fiscal Year Procedure:

Goods and services must be expensed in the year they are received. When the purchasing card is used, the supplier may hold the transaction posting for several days. This event could create an accounting problem at the end of our fiscal year (May 31st). The cardholder must notify the Financial Services Center of any transactions made the last week of May.


The use of the purchasing card is allowed for approved travel related expenses. All travel must be considered travel at the University’s expense, regardless of the funding source and must be subject to University travel policies and procedures. The appropriate official, regardless of funding source, must approve all travel in advance.

Policies and procedures outlined in the Trinity University Finance and Administration Policies and Procedures for travel must be strictly adhered to. For the most current version of the University’s travel policy please refer to

What Travel Items Can Be Purchased With the Purchasing Card?

Cardholders may purchase the following approved travel related items:



•Any legitimate travel expenses allowed by the department

Procedures for Using the Purchasing Card for Travel: 

P-Cards can be used for travel only for approved travel. To receive approval he cardholder must submit a travel authorization form and obtain the appropriate approval.

The same documentation, record keeping, retention, and reconciliation process applies.