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Policies and Procedures

Policy 1252 – Small Order Purchase via Purchasing Card

January 10, 2000
Last Updated
January 3, 2018
Last Reviewed
December 14, 2017
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Purchasing Services

Policy Statement

Purchasing Services administers the University's Purchasing Card (P-Card) program according to the regulations established by the State of North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract. The P-Card can be used to procure goods or services allowable under the Small Order Policy, and provides an efficient means of acquiring and paying for these goods and services.

P-Cards are issued at the request of department heads who set a dollar limit per billing period at the lowest level consistent with expected usage. The P-Card is assigned to a specific cardholder and becomes the cardholder's responsibility. Before using a P-Card, both the cardholder and the card reconciler (who cannot be the same person) must attend a mandatory training session. The P-Card cardholder is the only person authorized to make purchases with the card. Items purchased using the P-Card are delivered directly to the department and not to Central Receiving or to a personal residence. The cardholder must obtain and retain a receipt for all P-Card purchases for five years (see Policy 103 - Retention of Financial Records).


Reason for Policy

The policy explains the regulations governing the issuance and use of the Purchasing Card.


The P-Card cannot be used for the following:

  • Orders in excess of $5,000
  • "Splitting" transactions to avoid purchasing threshholds
  • Travel expenses
  • Consultant or Professional Services
  • Radioactive materials
  • Items carried in University storerooms
  • Items otherwise available from an ePro Vendor Catalog

Special Situations



  • 1252.1 – Obtaining a Purchasing Card
  • 1252.2 – Using a Purchasing Card
  • 1252.3 – Reconciling a Purchasing Card

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May University employees use the P-card in place of existing purchasing methods?
A: Yes, if the cost of the purchase is less than $5,000 and the item is not on the exclusions list provided in the P-Card Handbook.

Q: Is the P-Card the same as a personal credit card?
A: The card is like a personal credit card but differs in that it is the property of the University and may only be used for University-related purchases.

Q: Who pays for P-Card charges?
A: Charges are paid by the University and charged to the department's account on a monthly basis.

Q: Since the P-Card is in my name, am I personally liable and will it affect my personal credit history?
A: No. The cardholder's personal credit is not affected. However, it is the cardholder's responsibility to ensure that the P-Card is used within the guidelines of the P-Card procedures as well as University administrative procedures relating to the expenditure of University funds.

Q: May I obtain an exception to my P-Card's single purchase transaction limit for an emergency purchase?
A: No. Your card's single purchase transaction limit is the maximum allowable. However, if your limit is less than $5,000 then your limit can be raised to the $5,000 maximum by submitting an appropriate request to the P-Card administrator.

Q: May a coworker borrow my P-Card to purchase items they need quickly?
A: No. The bank requires that only the cardholder utilize his/her P-Card to purchase goods.

Q: May I reconcile my P-Card charges?
A: No, self-reconciliation is not allowed.

Q. Who should I contact if there is a suspicious transaction posted to my P-Card account?
A. You must call P-Card Office and Bank of America fraud department at 1-866-500-8262 as soon as possible.

Related Data


P-Card Purchases Purchasing
– Goods
919-962-3774 919-962-0636
Suspicious Transactions Bank of America
fraud department


January 3, 2018: Added info on policy record retention and revised fine details on language.
January 31, 2013: Added Procedures.
January 10, 2013: Added contact for suspicious transactions; changed exclusions list; added question to Frequently Asked Questions section.
June 29, 2010
February 17, 2004