NOTICE: The Finance Policies and Procedures Manual, along with the previous manual, is undergoing changes. These sites are continually updated to reflect changes in business processes. If you cannot find the information you are seeking in these policies, email for more information.
Policies and Procedures

Procedure 1252.2 – Using a Purchasing Card

January 1, 2000
Last Updated
January 3, 2018
Last Reviewed
December 14, 2017
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
P-Card Officer

Procedure Statement

This procedure states the scope of what the Purchasing Card can be used for to comply with state auditing rules. It details allowable and non-allowable uses of the P-Card, and defines the oversight of card use.

Reason for Policy

Allowable and non-allowable charges

The following is a sample list of allowable and non-allowable charges. If you have questions about a purchase, please contact the P-Card Officer at 919-962-2255.


  • Advertising (no contract/agreement involved)
  • Catering (if no contract required)
  • Conference Calls
  • Copying/Framing/Photo Developing (that produces a supply item)
  • Credential Verification/Background Checks
  • Medical License/DEA License/Passport Renewal
  • Newspaper/Magazine/Online Subscriptions
  • Postage/Shipping/Courier
  • Repairs from a vendor (a corporation or partnership)
  • Reprints
  • Services from a vendor (a corporation or partnership)
  • State Contract Purchases (must use contract vendor)
  • Supplies (office/shop/IT/lab)
  • Utility (power/water/gas/cable)
  • Zipcar


  • Any purchase that requires agreements or contracts.
  • Items otherwise available from ePro Vendor Catalog.
  • Note: All agreements and contracts must be submitted on a purchase requisition for review and approval by Purchasing Services.
  • Alcohol/Tobacco
  • Anything costing more than $5,000
  • Avoiding State Contracts
  • Cash Advance
  • Conference Registrations
  • Gift Certificates/Gift Cards
  • Membership Dues
  • Personal Items
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Rentals
  • Research Gases
  • Restaurants
  • Services from a Sole Proprietor (a Doing-Business-As Vendor - these are independent contractors)
  • "Splitting" of transactions to avoid purchasing thresholds
  • Travel (Including Hotel and Registration)

Blocked Vendors

The University has also blocked several Merchant Category Codes (MCC). MCC numbers are used to identify the dozens of different types of vendors served by Visa. The University has blocked many of these numbers (primarily travel, restaurants and entertainment), and your card will not be accepted if presented to one of these blocked vendors. Decisions by the University to block vendor categories are based on whether or not P-Card purchases from a category are deemed appropriate by the Purchasing department. Questions in this area should be directed to the P-Card Officer.

In addition to the restrictions on use, additional restrictions may be applicable to an individual user as determined by the individual's department. The University's P-Card Officer will explain all of the restrictions when the P-Card is issued.

When a State Term Contract is available the contracted supplier must be used. State contract information is available at the Department of Administration website, or by calling the appropriate buyer in Purchasing Services.


Oversight of P-Card Use

The University's P-Card Officer is charged with oversight of this delegation of purchasing authority to individuals. To ensure compliance with University policies and State purchasing laws and regulations, an after-purchase compliance review will be conducted on individual purchases. Using a random sample technique, the University's P-Card Officer will screen the list of purchases and select certain purchases to review. The Officer will request that the individual produce documentation to support all purchases, including an invoice. Violations of University policies and State purchasing laws and regulations will result in notification of the department head and the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Accounting and may result in disciplinary action against the individual or removal of the P-Card privilege, or both.

If the P-Card office or a reconciler finds misuse of a P-Card, they will contact the employee who allegedly misused the card by sending a copy of the P-Card Misuse/Abuse Form. This serves as an official warning of misuse and could be followed by further corrective action if more abuses occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use my P-Card to pay my cell phone that exceeds my stipend plan?
A: No.

Q: What should I do if I fail to notify a vendor about the University’s tax-exempt status and am charged sales tax?
A: Contact the vendor, provide a copy of the University’s tax-exempt number and obtain a credit for the charged tax.

Q: How long should I keep original receipts and P-Card statements?
A: Receipts and P-Card statements should be kept for five years.

Related Data

1252.1rd - P-Card Program Handbook

1252.2rd - P-Card Abuse/Misuse Form Letter

Department of Administration State Term Contract Information


January 3, 2018: Added catering and removed printing to list of what a P-card can be used for; refined language.
May 22, 2017- Added services and repairs from a vendor (corporation or partnership) under allowable items; removed vehicle repairs under allowable items, and clarified that the non-allowable services are from sole proprietors (those "doing business as" vendors or independent contractors).
November 11, 2015: Updated allowable/non-allowable list.
October 1, 2014: Updated naming of requisitions.
January 30, 2013
October 20, 2011