Purchasing Card (P-Card)
The Purchasing Card (P-Card) Program is intended to provide a simple, efficient and cost-effective means of purchasing non-repetitive, low-dollar items.
The P-Card is a Wells Fargo commercial card. It can be used for buying goods and services on behalf of Brandeis University and travel expenses when traveling on official Brandeis business.
This guide outlines the benefits of the program as well as the benefits to you and the university. It also provides you with the information you need to use the card.
To the Cardholder
- Eliminate the need for Purchase Orders for small purchases.
- Allows you to purchase items much faster and easier than traditional purchase/payment methods.
- Eliminates the need to obtain a Vendor ID for every purchase.
- Eliminates the hassle of using your personal credit card and getting reimbursed.
To the University
- Enables staff to be more productive on more value added activities
- Reduces the number of Requisitions/Purchase Orders, invoices and checks.
The P-Card simplifies the procurement process by facilitating point-of-demand purchases. Procurement authority is delegated to the authorized cardholder to place orders directly with suppliers.
When making a purchase, the Visa system validates the transaction against spending limits and security profiles set for each cardholder. All transactions are approved or declined based on those restrictions.
As a default, P-Card limits are $5,000 for a single purchase limit and $10,000 for a monthly limit. In some circumstances, exceptions will be made for individual cardholders upon Procurement Services review.
Security profiles have been established the university and Wells Fargo. These profiles help determine what type of vendors are approved or restricted for each cardholder. The type of purchasing you will do and the type of position you hold will determine the security profiles to which you have access. For example, if you regularly travel on Brandeis business, you will have access to the travel profile. If you book travel for others, you would have a department administrator profile.
The university has made an effort to ensure that the vendors/suppliers used during the normal course of business are not restricted. For any questions with security profiles, or if your card is declined at a merchant you feel it should be accepted at, contact the program administrator.
Follow the instructions on your Wells Fargo P-Card to activate. Wells Fargo will ask you for a unique identification. The program administrator will provide you with that information.
The P-Card is designed to be used for purchases related to university business only. Use of the card for purchasing personal items is strictly prohibited.
The P-Card is a purchasing tool, but it does not warrant a change in purchasing policy. Cardholders must agree to follow Brandeis University policies for procurement, travel and business expenses (pdf). Cardholders will strive to obtain the best value for the university and therefore will use Brandeis preferred suppliers and Brandeis contracts. If goods and/or services cardholders wish to obtain are available by a contracted supplier, the cardholder agrees to purchase items from those suppliers. For information on university contracts or preferred suppliers, contact Procurement Services at 781-736-4500.
Expenditures made under grants must comply with all of the requirements of the granting agency. For example, federal grants require compliance with 2 CFR Part 220 — Cost Principles For Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21). Principal investigators should familiarize themselves with these requirements in advance of any expenditure. All items purchased under grants are under the ownership or stewardship of Brandeis University, which delegates responsibility for the care and operation of the equipment to the principal investigator.
The process for placing an order using the P-Card is very similar to those used when making a purchase with any commercial credit card. Follow these steps:
Confirm that the purchase is appropriate for the P-card by referring to the list of restricted items.
Confirm that the total cost (including shipping and handling) does not exceed current transaction limits.
Confirm that you have the correct security profiles for the type of purchase you are trying to make. For questions about security profiles, contact the program administrator.
Make sure you are obtaining the best possible price. Any cardholder can contact Purchasing to ask if there is preferred/contracted supplier to use. (See Contract Compliance section.)
Brandeis University is a non-profit organization and therefore tax exempt. (See Tax Exemption section.)
Record the name of the person taking the order and the order/confirmation number, should subsequent problems/issues arise.
Upon receipt of the item, retain copies of the charge slip, sales receipt, statement and/or packing slip. Receipts must be readily available for audit. Improper documentation may result in loss of the P-card. (See Cardholder Record Management.)
The following commodities may not be purchased with a P-Card, unless otherwise authorized by Procurement.
Construction and renovation services
Controlled substances as determined by the Office of Research Administration
Financial or consulting services
Hazardous and radioactive materials
Lease or lease-to-purchase
P-Card purchases for maintenance and repair services are currently not restricted, but will be after an upcoming policy update.
Brandeis University is a tax-exempt organization; the tax-exempt number appears on the P-Card. This number must be given to all vendors by the cardholder at the time of the purchase to exempt payment of state sales tax. Cardholders have permission to use the Brandeis University tax exemption for Brandeis University purchases only. If a vendor requires a Certificate of Tax Exemption, contact Pcard@brandeis.edu.
If asked for the billing address when using a P-Card, cardholders should use:
415 South St.
Waltham, MA 02453
Do not use a mailstop or provide additional information as it may result in the P-Card being declined by certain vendors.
Vendors should know that the address label/packing slip must contain the following information:
415 South St.
Cardholder's name, building name and room number
Waltham, MA 02453
Unlike personal credit cards, the Wells Fargo commercial card is handled as a corporate liability. Your personal credit history is not taken into account when a card is issued in your name. Accounts Payable is responsible for paying the P-Card invoice each billing cycle.
The cardholder is responsible for ensuring receipt of goods and follow-up with the vendor to resolve any delivery problems, discrepancies or damaged goods.
Item(s) should be returned to the vendor by whichever means the vendor requires. The cardholder is responsible for ensuring that proper credit is applied to the card account for any returned item(s) and that evidence of the return is maintained.
If there is a discrepancy between your transaction receipts and your statement, it is imperative that the issue is addressed immediately. Depending on the type of discrepancy, you will need to contact the merchant or complete the online dispute form to resolve the disputed transaction.
If you believe the merchant has charged you incorrectly or there is an outstanding quality or service issue, you must first contact the merchant and try to resolve the error or problem. If you are able to resolve the matter directly with the merchant and the error involved an overcharge, a credit adjustment should be requested and appear on your next statement.
If the merchant disagrees that an adjustment is necessary, you must complete the online dispute form. The details of the disputed transaction will be entered online and followed up by Wells Fargo Bank.
Wells Fargo Bank must receive any charge dispute within 60 days of the transaction date. While pending resolution, Wells Fargo Bank will credit the company's account for the amount of the disputed transaction. Although Wells Fargo Bank acts as the arbitrator in any dispute, you should never assume that a dispute will be resolved in your favor.
Any fraudulent charge (i.e., not authorized by you) must be reported immediately to your program administrator. Prompt reporting of any such charge will help prevent the company from being held responsible.
It is a requirement of the program that you keep all receipts for all expenses over $25. (Maintaining receipts for less than $25 is also encouraged for ease of reporting.) For orders placed via phone, fax, mail or online, you must request that a receipt detailing merchandise price, freight, etc. be included with the goods mailed/shipped. (A merchant should not reject this request, as it is a Visa policy.) It is extremely important to request and retain purchase receipts.
The following are examples of supporting documentation:
Itemized packing slips.
Itemized sales receipts.
Itemized copies of vendor order forms or applications.
Itemized cash register receipts.
Itemized emails/order forms detailing internet orders.
All records must be matched to the statement and attached to the transaction expense report within MarketPlace+.
The current and six previous years will be kept and available for viewing.
A few things to note about supporting documentation:
Original receipts or invoices should be submitted.
Expenses for food/meals should include a detailed receipt as well as the charge receipt detailing tip amount.
If detailed receipt is not available, a certification stating whether alcohol was purchased must be included.
Meals including alcohol must be split to charge alcohol cost to specific alcohol spend category.
Expenses for food/meals must include purpose and a list of attendees if there are 10 or fewer attendees, or the number of attendees if there are more than 10.
If documentation is missing, an explanation must be submitted to document that the transaction is valid.
As P-Cards will be audited from time to time. It is essential to adhere to the above recordkeeping guidelines.
Cardholders are responsible for the following:
Retaining all receipts for items purchased with the P-Card. (See Cardholder Record Management section.)
Ensuring all transactions posted are legitimate purchases made by you on behalf of the university.
Ensuring that you adhere to all budgetary restrictions.
Reclassifying all transactions to the proper account, chartstring and, if applicable, project or grant.*
Listing a reasonable description of the purchase.*
Scanning all receipts/documentation and attaching to the transaction as it posts in MarketPlace+.
* These functions are done in MarketPlace+, in the expense module. For questions on how to use the expense module, contact Procurement Services.
It is the cardholder's responsibility to safeguard the P-Card and account number to the same degree that a cardholder safeguards his/her personal credit card.
The cardholder must not allow any unauthorized individuals to use the P-card or its number. A violation of this trust may result in the cardholder having his/her card withdrawn and/or disciplinary action for the cardholder and/or the unauthorized individual.
If a P-Card is lost or stolen, the cardholder must immediately notify the bank by calling 800-932-0036. Representatives are available 24 hours a day. The cardholder must advise the representative that it is a university P-Card. The program administrator must also be notified at ext. 6-4266 or by email at Pcard@brandeis.edu.
A new P-Card will be promptly issued by the program administrator to the cardholder after the reported loss or theft.
Should a cardholder terminate employment with the university or transfer between departments, the cardholder's department has the specific obligation to reclaim the P-Card, notify Procurement of the termination, and return the P-Card to Procurement. The P-Card must be cut in two before it is sent to Procurement. The cardholder may request a written receipt for the card, which may be in the form of a memorandum from the individual accepting return of the card.
It is the responsibility of the university to monitor P-Card usage, to ensure that cardholders are in compliance with the policies and procedures outlined in the User Guide and that P-Card records are maintained accordingly. Cardholder records will be reviewed on a monthly basis to check for adherence to internal controls and to the policies and procedures outlined in the guide. Cardholder records are also subject to review by various other internal and external auditors.
Overview of Oversight Process
Noncompliance with P-Card policy may result in a reduction in the cardholder's transaction limits or in the cancellation of the P-Card. Examples of issues of noncompliance include:
Use of the P-Card for the purchases of restricted commodities.
Use of the P-Card for the purchase of items that are available under university contract and are purchased from a vendor other than an appropriate contract.
Use of the P-Card by an unauthorized individual (someone other than the "official" cardholder);
Use of the P-Card in excess of assigned cardholder limits or available budget, after the expiration of a grant, or for purchase(s) that are inappropriate for the account/object code charged.
"Splitting" or dividing a purchase that totals more than the transactional limit.
In extreme cases (instances where it is proven that fraud has occurred or that the cardholder has used the card for personal purchases that do not benefit the university), disciplinary action and possible legal action, up to and including termination of employment and repayment to the university of any improper charges, may be required based upon an extensive investigation by university administration and any other parties that are deemed appropriate. Suspected instances of fraud will be turned over to the area's vice president immediately for their review and possible action.
Should a cardholder disagree with an audit finding, the cardholder may dispute the findings. The cardholder should include a complete and clear written explanation of the cardholder's reason for the dispute.