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Purchasing Cards

Purchasing Cards

The PCard is the primary method for purchasing small-dollar items (less than $1,000).  


PCard Policy
Procedure No. 31.604



The Clarion University Purchasing Card Program is used as the primary method to pay for small dollar (less than $1,000) commodities or services and other larger dollar transactions approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration or his designee. The use of the PCard enhances efficiency from beginning to end by delegating payment responsibility to the PCard cardholder. It also allows payments to be made without the need for purchase requisitions, purchase orders and individual transaction processing by the Purchasing and Accounts Payable departments.


Internet-Based Commercial Card System

The PCard Program utilizes current technology with an internet based commercial card system that is provided by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and/or the university.


The Purchasing Card

PCards are issued to designated Clarion University employees who routinely make small-dollar purchases and are approved by their supervisor or manager to receive a PCard. A PCard is issued to a designated employee only after:

  1. The employee has signed a PCard Enrollment Form, acknowledging understanding of and commitment to follow all university policies rules and requirements associated with the use of the PCard.

The employee has completed training as determined by the Purchasing Card administrator.

The PCard is the property of PennWest Clarion and is used only for authorized PennWest Clarion procurements.


The Purchasing Card Program administrator is the director of Purchasing, Contracts and Accounts Payable or his/her designee and is responsible for:

  1. Processing all PCard user requests and issuing PCards to new users.
  2. Providing PCard policy and procedure training to new PCard users prior to issuing new PCards.
  3. Setting all PCard limits and business rules according to Clarion University policy, procedures, and guidelines.
  4. Monitoring all PCard activity for compliance with Clarion University policy and procedures.
  5. Changing or correcting PCard limits and parameters as needed.
  6. Providing notification to PCard users and their supervisors of violations of PCard policy and procedures and, when necessary, suspending or canceling cardholder privileges.
  7. Contacting the PCard provider to resolve PCard use, charge, credit, and other problems.


The Purchasing Card cardholder is responsible for:

  1. Using the PCard as the primary method for making small dollar or other approved purchases according to Clarion University PCard Program policy, procedures and guidelines.
  2. Insuring that budget funds are available for all purchases made with the PCard.
  3. Posting all PCard transactions (purchases, credits, adjustments) to the monthly PCard Purchasing log.
  4. Making sure to remind the vendor to reference the PCard transaction on all packing lists/labels.
  5. Obtaining credit card slips, cash register receipts, packing slips, or other appropriate documents to validate each transaction.
  6. Verifying current transactions posted to the PCard user's account on the Internet-based verification system prior to month-end payment for the transactions by the university.
  7. Resolving directly with the vendor any disputes concerning returns, credits, or adjustments for transactions made with the PCard.
  8. Sending PCard transaction documents (credit card slips, cash register receipts, packing slips, invoices, etc) in the order listed on the enrollment form and the PCard provider monthly transaction statement via Purchasing Card Transaction log. Transaction documentation should be sent in the Purchasing Card transaction log to Accounts Payable no later than the 15th of the following month.
  9. Adhering to all other PCard Program policies, procedures, and guidelines.


PCard Cardholder supervisors and managers are responsible for:

  1. Requesting PCards for designated employees who routinely make small dollar purchases.
  2. Monitoring their department's monthly PCard activity to ensure cards are used in accordance with Clarion University policy and procedures.
  3. Approving individual transactions over established departmental dollar limits as required.
  4. Immediately notifying the PCard Program administrator of the termination of employment of a PCard cardholder. It is the cardholder supervisor's responsibility to insure the PCard assigned to the terminated employee has been destroyed.


  Authorized Uses of the Purchasing Card

  1. Purchases costing less than $1,000 may be made with the PCard within the established limits and restrictions of each individual card
  2. All purchases made with the PCard must be for the benefit of the university, be within established budgets, and made in accordance with the university PCard Policy If a vendor does not accept the PCard, the cardholder must follow the processes outlined in PennWest Clarion Policy and Procedure 31.601 (Purchasing Policy).
  3. Any purchase costing $1,000 or more must be approved according to this policy prior to the transaction or made in accordance with the processes outlined in the PennWest Clarion Policy and Procedure 31.601 (Purchasing Policy). General PCard purchasing restrictions are identified under Unauthorized Uses of the Card section of this policy.
  4. Payments for commodities purchased from vendors that have executed contracts with the university and as approved by the vice president for Finance and Administration.


Unauthorized Uses of the Purchasing Card

  1. Personal items cannot be purchased under any circumstance, even with the intent of reimbursing the university after the purchase.
  2. Personalized business items such as portfolios and personal organizers.
  3. Gifts and prizes that are purchased strictly for the benefit of the recipient and provides no value to the university. Gifts, gift cards, and prizes that are purchased for university- or student-related programs must include a detailed explanation of the purpose of the purchase.
  4. Aspirin and other non-first aid items.
  5. Employee travel costs such as hotels, meals, car rentals, and airline fares. (A university Travel Card is available to employees for this purpose.)
  6. Telephones and cellular phones except as approved for business use by the organizational vice president.
  7. Restricted items, such as alcohol, weapons, drugs (controlled substances), and hazardous materials.
  8. Serial purchasing. The card is not to be used to make a series of small-dollar purchases in order to circumvent the requirement to make a single purchase through the university purchasing system.


Sales Taxes

When making a payment with the PCard the cardholder shall inform the vendor that the university is sales tax exempt and is NOT to be charged Pennsylvania state sales taxes. The university tax identification number (25-1474927) can be provided as the tax exempt number or the tax exempt certificate found on the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Web pages can be printed and provided to the vendor as verification of tax exempt status. The cardholder will be responsible for having sales taxes that are charged, subsequently removed or credited from his/her purchasing card account.


Purchasing Transaction Log

Each cardholder will be required to keep a PCard log to record transactions and to keep track of transaction documentation to be forwarded to Accounts Payable at the end of each month.

  1. Transaction documentation received (invoice register receipt, packing slip, credit card slip, order confirmation, etc) should be placed in a PCard log. The PCard log should have transaction documentation for each transaction posted to the commercial card online system during the month included in the log each month. Transactions included for each month can be verified with the monthly statement received at the end of the month.
  2. At the end of the month, all transactions for the month should be compared to the month-end transaction statement, have been validated/approved on the Internet commercial card system, and the PCard log with transaction documentation sent to Accounts Payable Department by the 15th of the following month.


Purchasing Card Policy and Procedure Violations

The following are PCard violations. The cardholder can lose purchasing card privileges or be held personally liable for any purchases that violate Clarion Purchasing Card and/or Purchasing Policy.

  1. Using the PCard for unauthorized purchases.
  2. Submitting the PCard log with insufficient documentation to support PCard transactions or submitting PCard logs late.
  3. Failure to properly verify PCard transactions on the Internet-based commercial card system or to submit the purchasing card log or receipts to Accounts Payable by the 15th of the following month.
  4. If a cardholder violates the PCard Policy and Procedure he/she will be given a written notice from the Purchasing Card administrator. If a cardholder violates the PCard Policy and Procedure repeatedly (more than once) his/her purchasing card privileges can be suspended by the PCard administrator. The length of a suspension of the use of the purchasing card will be based on the severity and number of violations.
  5. A PCard can be closed if it is used in an unauthorized manner as described in Unauthorized Uses of the Purchasing Card above.
  6. A cardholder who losses his/her PCard privileges as a result of unauthorized use may reapply for a new purchasing card after one year.


Lost/Stolen Purchasing Cards

  1. The cardholder must notify the PCard company immediately of a lost or stolen PCard. The purchasing card company will cancel it and issue a new card.
  2. The cardholder also must notify the PCard administrator of the card cancellation by the next business day.
  3. Any fraudulent charges against the lost or stolen PCard will be handled in accordance with the purchasing card company's policies.

Termination of Employment

Upon termination of employment, the cardholder must surrender the card to his/her supervisor. The supervisor will then destroy the terminated employee's PCard and notify the PCard administrator. The PCard administrator will immediately cancel the card.


Other Cardholder Procedures

  1. Making Purchases:
    The cardholder may make authorized university purchases via telephone, mail, fax, Internet, or in person. The cardholder must keep all purchasing card records, including receiving reports, receipts, or other documentation supporting charges against his/her purchasing card.
  2. Shipping:
    The cost of shipping heavier packages and/or routine packages via Federal Express, UPS overnight or two-day express can be very expensive. Such priority handling or expediting of shipments should only be utilized when absolutely necessary. As with all expenditures of public funds, prudence must be demonstrated and expenses justified.
  3. Returning Purchases:
    Each cardholder is responsible for any returns of purchases. All returns must be credited to the cardholder's account. Cash refunds are strictly prohibited.
  4. Sales Tax:
    All transaction should be tax exempt. Tax-exempt means that Clarion University does not pay Pennsylvania sales tax. The cardholder should remind all vendors of the university's tax-exempt status. The cardholder must review all receipts for each purchase to ensure sales tax has not been assessed. If sales tax has been charged to a purchase, the cardholder should contact the vendor for a credit.
  5. Erroneous Charges:
    If a cardholder believes that a charge has been posted incorrectly to his/her Internet account, the cardholder must notify the vendor or purchasing card company, as appropriate, as soon as possible. The cardholder also must notify the PCard administrator of any disputed charges if necessary. If the vendor and/or purchasing card company agrees that an error was made, the purchase will be credited from the account on the next monthly purchasing card memo statement. If the disputed charge remains unresolved by the due date the charge will remain on the account until the dispute is resolved.
  6. Hazardous Materials:
    Prior to the purchase of any potentially hazardous material, the Public Safety Department should be contacted to answer any questions related to the proper handling, disposal and regulatory requirements related to the purchase of such materials. Examples of these materials include but are not limited to; lead-based paint, asbestos-containing products, and chemicals identified as extremely hazardous by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and industry Worker and Community Right-to-Know regulations.


Materials regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection which include, but are not limited to pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, radioactive, and chlorofluorocarbon materials must be purchased for and handled by only those authorized university employees who hold current license and/or certifications for the use and handling of these materials. Chemical manufacturers often provide an MSDS sheet with the product when it is shipped. Any person who receives hazardous materials for the university should forward the MSDS sheet to the Safety Office. If a hazardous material is received and a sheet is not enclosed, contact the Safety Office for assistance in obtaining an MSDS sheet.



Last Updated 8/19/22