P-Card Policy

The following policy governs use of University Purchasing Cards (P-Cards). For quick access to common P-Card resources, visit P-Card.

Miami's Purchasing Card (P-Card) Program is designed to create a more efficient and cost effective procurement process for limited dollar purchases from vendors that accept Visa. This program is the preferred form of payment for such transactions and will allow the cardholder and authorized users to purchase approved commodities and services directly from vendors. Each P-Card is issued to a University employee who will be responsible for its proper use, including compliance with other purchasing policies. The P-Card is not tied to your personal credit records: it can neither hurt nor help your personal credit.

The policy information below governs P-Card usage. See P-Card for quick access to key resources.

Overview

The Miami P-Card is a Bank of America Visa credit card to be used for making individual small dollar purchases in accordance with policy guidelines as described herein. The P-card program is the primary method for conducting most routine purchases for departmental use, including travel. The primary goals in offering the program are as follows:

  • It is a convenient and efficient way to purchase goods and services under $1,500 per transaction.
  • It can be used to purchase goods and services in person, by phone, fax, mail, and via the internet.
  • The P-Card should be used to pay for most purchases under $1500 that are otherwise paid by purchase order or direct pay request.
  • The P-card should be used to process payment for travel, excluding meals, for University business.

As a tax exempt organization, Miami is not required to pay sales tax in Ohio and certain other states. Its assigned tax exemption number is clearly marked on the P-Card. Refer to Accounting's Tax Exemption Forms for a list of other states in which Miami is tax exempt.

The P-Card is not to be used for on campus purchases (e.g., Bookstore, Dining, Ticket Office, etc.). These purchases should be charged (via a journal entry) directly to the department by the cashier at the point of sale.

Advantages

The advantages of using the Miami P-Card are:

  • The time spent by all parties processing purchase orders and direct pay requests is greatly reduced.
  • Most transactions are insured.
  • Postage and mailing costs are reduced.
  • Card users have the opportunity for discounts on internet orders.
  • The processing of paperwork is substantially reduced.
  • Orders can be placed, filled and shipped in a timely manner.
  • Reduces the need to use personal funds for "rush" orders.
  • Ability to view and monitor transactions electronically daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • There is a financial benefit to the University.

Getting Started: Card Application and Activation

When the need for a P-Card is identified, the potential cardholder should obtain a P-Card Application.

After the application is completed and all appropriate signatures have been obtained, it should be returned to the Accounts Payable Department (107 Roudebush) or emailed (accountspayable@miamioh.edu) for processing. Once the requested card is received from the bank by Accounts Payable, the applicant will be contacted to establish a mandatory online training session for the cardholder.

During this training, individuals will learn about:

  • Card information
  • Card capabilities, limitations, restrictions and violations
  • Recordkeeping, scanning receipts and statement reconciliation
  • Sales tax exemption
  • Disputed charges
  • Card activation
  • Lost or stolen cards
  • Forms
  • Customer support contacts

After prospective cardholders complete their online training session they can pick up their P-Card in the Accounts Payable office. Upon arrival, the cardholder will have to sign a Cardholder Agreement and will be given instructions on activation.

Capabilities, Limitations, Restrictions, and Violations

Capabilities

P-Cards are issued in the name of a University employee and are to be used for departmental purchases or for University approved travel only, excluding meals.

The P-Card can be used to purchase most of the same goods and services that can be obtained using a direct pay or purchase order, provided the product is not controlled or regulated by a government entity, such as the purchase of volatile or hazardous chemicals. Purchases controlled and/or regulated by a governmental entity, or not permitted per University policy, must be made using an on-line requisition.

Cardholders may use the card to make purchases in person at a merchant site, to place orders over the phone, and to place mail, fax, and internet orders.

Limitations

Each P-Card has a single transactions limit ($1,500 default) and a monthly limit ($10,000 default). If the cardholder exceeds any of these limits, the transaction will be denied.

If an individual's usage experience indicates that limits other than the defaults listed above should be set, complete the P-Card Increase form and submit it for review.

Restrictions

Items that are not permitted on the P-Card are:

  • Capital Equipment (Capitalized exceeding $5,000.00)
  • Furniture, Furnishings, Carpet, Window Treatments
  • Desktop computers, laptops, servers, monitors/displays, printers, and network equipment (see 4.05)
  • Telecommunications equipment and devices
  • Business Cards, Letterheads, Envelopes
  • Items available in University Stores or Office Supply Room
  • Building Repair, Paintings, Renovation/Remodeling
  • Payment of Consultants, Speakers, etc.
  • Contracting for Temporary Employment Services
  • Reimbursements to or Purchases from University Employees
  • Meals during travel status which must be reimbursed via travel expense reporting, with the exception only for hosting

The Director of Purchasing may authorize one or more of the above restrictions for certain cardholders/departments/ whose duties include specifying and procuring that commodity for the University. Any such authorization must be in writing and made in advance of the transaction.

Cash advances are not permitted on the P-Card. Furthermore, cardholders cannot personally benefit through any type of rewards program associated with the P-Card (e.g., frequent flyer miles, Kroger Points).

Gifts are not permitted on the P-Card. Gifts are considered a personal purchase and must be paid with an employee's own personal funds.

If a cardholder has a legitimate transaction which cannot be made due to the restrictions, contact Accounts Payable and a determination will be made on how to proceed.

Violations (Prohibited Transactions)

The following are examples of violations of the P-Card program:

Personal Purchases

Defined as anything that is not purchased for use and ownership by the University. It is a violation of the University P-Card program to make any personal purchase or personal transaction with a University P-Card. Fraudulent use or abuse of the P-Card will result in immediate suspension of privileges and may result in corrective action up to and including termination and/or criminal action. In addition, the University will seek restitution for any inappropriate charges.

Unauthorized Purchases

Defined as purchases of goods or services with State funds that may not be used to further the legitimate government purpose of the buying entity. This is clearly a violation of State purchasing law and the violator's card will be revoked.

Cash or Cash-Type Transactions

Defined as cash, cash in addition to purchase, and cash in lieu of credit for return or exchange of a purchase. It is a violation of the University P-Card program to obtain cash or conduct cash-type transactions using the University P-Card.

Tracking Violations

The violations listed previously are tracked on a monthly basis and regularly reviewed. When needed, follow-ups are conducted with cardholders and/or card managers. Please see the chart below for the steps taken for violations.

Violation Tracking by Occurrence
Violation Occurrence Failure to Reconcile Failure to Approve
First Notification email sent to cardholder and reconciler Notification email sent to approver
Second Notification email sent to cardholder, reconciler, and cardholders manager Notification email sent to approver and approvers manager
Third Notification email sent to cardholder, reconciler, cardholders manager, and the managers manager Notification email sent to approver, approvers manager, and manager of approvers manager
Fourth Card is suspended, approval required for future use, mandatory process review Card is suspended, approval required for future use, mandatory process review
Fifth P-Card privileges are permanently suspended P-Card privileges are suspended

Travel Expenses

The P-Card is the recommended and preferred method to pay for authorized travel expenses. The following rules apply:

  • Each person should put their travel expenses on their own P-Card.
  • Airline tickets for University employees must be purchased on a P-Card.
  • Any personal charges on the hotel bill (e.g. meals, personal calls, in-room movies, spouse or accompanying guest charges) should be paid on a personal credit card or out-of-pocket at checkout.
  • Other related expenses that must be purchased on a P-Card, are conference registration fees(unless travel only card), hotel/lodging/meeting rooms for official University travel/business, car rental and refueling the rental car.

Reporting of travel expenses charged on a P-Card must be included on the individual's Travel Expense Report as a non-reimbursable item. See Travel and Expense for additional information.

Record Keeping

Issuance and use of a P-Card requires the cardholder to maintain card purchase records and individual receipts for each transaction. Records should be kept on a monthly basis coinciding with the individual card billing cycle. Individual itemized receipts must be obtained from the supplier for each purchase. Once supporting documentation is uploaded into Chrome River and attached to expense lines, hard copies of documents are no longer required to be stored for retention purposes. Electronic images of receipts and other supporting documentation stored in Chrome River are sufficient for reconciliation purposes and retention.

As public employees under the laws of the state of Ohio it is extremely important that the department cardholders obtain an itemized record of the transaction, from charge slips, cash register tapes, itemized invoice or other receipts for all purchases. In some instances, the vendor receipt does not itemize the transaction, and in such instances a more complete receipt is required. In the event that an individual charge slip and/or cash register receipt is lost, a Missing Receipt Affidavit shall be completed and certified by the purchaser and approved by the department head. For large purchases, the department may be required to obtain duplicate copies, with the costs of obtaining such paid for by the department. Repetitive incidents of lost sales slips may result in revocation of card privileges for the individual.

Reconciliation

Each P-Card holder assumes responsibility for complete, timely and accurate recording of University expenditures. Therefore, timely reconciliation of charges is critical. All transactions are to be reconciled in the Chrome River system by the cardholder or delegate by the 10th of the reconciling month and approved by the approver or approval delegate by the 15th of the reconciling month pertaining to the cycle dates. Please see the chart below for cycle dates and reconciling months that correspond.

BoA Visa FY20 Cycle Begin Date End date
July-2019 6/29/2019 7/37/2019
Aug-2019 8/1/2019 8/30/2019
Sep-2019 8/31/2019 9/30/2019
Oct-2019 10/1/2019 10/31/2019
Nov-2019 11/1/2019 11/29/2019
Dec-2019 11/30/2019 12/31/2019
Jan-2020 1/1/2020 1/31/2020
Feb-2020 2/1/2020 2/28/2020
Mar-2020 2/29/2019 3/31/2020
Apr-2020 4/1/2020 4/30/2020
May-2020 5/1/2020 5/29/2020
Jun-2020 6/1/2020 6/30/2020

Failure to reconcile by the deadline will result in a violation and possible card suspension or cancellation.

The cardholder whose name is on the card is ultimately responsible for reconciliation regardless of using delegate or not. In the event when the P-Card holder fails to reconcile their P-Card charges in a timely manner, contact will be made in accordance with the violation policy.

P-Card transactions are loaded into Chrome River from Bank of America daily. Therefore, reconciliation can be started as soon as transactions are visible in the Credit Card portion of the eWallet in Chrome River.

To reconcile in Chrome River, the P-Card holder must create an expense report (click “+New/New Expense Report” in the top right-hand corner by cardholder name). Report has to be named accordingly and data has to be entered in all required fields to classify report as a Business P-Card report or Travel P-Card report. Once the report is created, cardholder expenses can be added to the report from the Credit Card portion of the eWallet in Chrome River.

Finally, the report has to be submitted for approval. If the report was created by the cardholder delegate, it will be routed back to the cardholder for the final review and approval. After cardholder approves the report, it will be routed to the approver or approval delegate.

For cardholders with a high volume of transactions throughout the month’s cycle, it is highly encouraged to reconcile on a weekly basis or whichever time period fits your business practice most efficiently, reconciling by the deadline. For those who make fewer transactions within the cycle, it is suggested reports be created monthly or as soon as transactions appear in the Credit Card portion of the eWallet in Chrome River or whichever time period fits your business practice most efficiently, reconciling by the deadline.

If transactions are not reconciled by the established deadlines, the transaction(s) will default to the index provided by the cardholder on the P-Card application. After expenses are recorded to the default index, no changes to the index can be made in the Chrome River system. A journal voucher can be created through General Accounting if changes need to be made.

It is the responsibility of the cardholder to disclose the following business details on any and all purchase documents.

  • Who: The party who is the ultimate end user
  • What: A reasonable item description of items or services purchased
  • When: The date in which the item is purchased or the service is rendered. (I.e. conference date, or project start date)
  • Where: The location where business event or business purchase took place
  • Why: A reasonable description of the business purpose and reason for the item to be purchased or the services acquired
  • Invoice/Policy #: Include if applicable

Responsibility

The department chair/director and cardholder are responsible for the security and the appropriate use of their assigned card. The card is issued in the employee's name and it will be assumed that any purchases made against the card have been properly authorized unless the card is reported lost or stolen prior to use. Use of the card not in accordance with University policies and procedures, or failure of the cardholder or his/her designee to properly account for purchases and reconcile the statement in a timely manner each month, may result in card revocation, personal liability to the University, and/or disciplinary action.

Should a cardholder terminate employment with the University or transfer between departments, the user department has the specific obligation to reclaim the credit card and return it to Accounts Payable prior to the employee's termination date.

Tax Information

Ohio Sales Tax Miami is a tax-exempt, State-supported university. In Ohio, no sales tax should be charged on the P-Card, with the exception of Federal Excise Tax. Merchants should be informed of our tax-exempt status at the time of transaction. Merchants may request a copy of Miami's Tax Exemption Certificate for their files. See Accounting's Tax Exemption Forms to access a copy of this certificate, which may be reproduced, faxed, mailed or e-mailed as needed.

Miami is not always considered tax-exempt in other states. Certain taxes assessed by cities (tourist assessments) are legitimate and will be paid by the University. If there is uncertainty about a specific tax charges, refer to Accounting's Tax Exemption Forms or contact Accounts Payable.

If sales tax is inadvertently charged to the P-Card, it is the cardholder's responsibility to contact the vendor and have them issue a credit for the tax amount.

Disputed Charges

If any questionable transactions appear on the cardholder's account for which there is no information, or if the amount does not match receipts, contact the merchant listed regarding the disputed transaction. If the merchant agrees that an error was made, the merchant will make an adjustment which will post as a credit to the account. The cardholder must review and approve the adjustment received (credit) on the website in the same Index and account code of which it was originally charged.

If the merchant does not agree to make an adjustment, the transactions should be disputed in Works within 60 days of the post date. Bank of America will then investigate the transaction. Be aware that they may contact the cardholder for further information. If a dispute needs to be made after 60 days, the cardholder will need to contact Bank of America at 1-800-673-1044. Transactions must be disputed within 110 days of the post date. It is the responsibility of the cardholder to dispute erroneous transactions in accordance with the process described above.

Lost or Stolen Card

The P-Card is the property of Miami University and should be protected and secured just like any other credit card. If the individual transfers to a different department or has any changes in the information supplied on the original card application, they should notify Accounts Payable immediately. In most instances, a new card will be required. Departments are also responsible for notifying Accounts Payable regarding the transfer or termination of employees who are cardholders.

If a card is lost or stolen, it is the responsibility of the cardholder to contact Bank of America to report the card lost or stolen. If unauthorized purchases are made as a result of the card being lost or stolen, the cardholder will not be held responsible if the situation is reported in a timely manner.

If a card is believed to be misplaced, the cardholder should notify Bank of America Bank Card Services at 1-866-500-8262. A temporary hold can be placed on the card to prevent further transactions until the status of the card is determined. If the card is later found and a report of transactions shows that it has not been used fraudulently, the hold can easily be removed by notifying Accounts Payable. If the card is not found, Bank of America will cancel the card and issue a new one.

If the card is stolen in the evening or on the weekend, please contact Bank of America Bank Card Services at1-866-500-8262 to cancel the card and request a new card. The cardholder will be contacted when the new card arrives. It will be the responsibility of the cardholder to pick up the card in the Accounts Payable Office, 107 Roudebush Hall.