Fiscal Operations Manual
Section 400: Expenditures
Effective: 01/01/2003
Revised: 03/11/2016


Oregon State University contracts with a commercial third party vendor to provide the Purchasing card (PCard), the Corporate (Travel and Entertainment) card (corporate Card), and the Student/Team Group Travel card programs.

The PCard is a quick and convenient way for units to obtain many of the items needed for day-to-day operations.  However, their usage requires management and oversight.

PCards may be used only to purchase goods and some services for the University. Such purchases must comply with OSU policies governing purchasing and credit card usage. There is a $4,999 dollar limit per transaction. Purchases should not be fragmented to avoid threshold limits. Note: Procurement and Contract Services must be contacted for approval and signature(s), if a credit application or other contract type document is requested.

As stated in OSU Fiscal Policy Manual, Section 70.100 Purchasing-Procurement Card, the PCard is designed to promote purchasing efficiency, flexibility, and convenience.
The following are typical uses for the OSU PCard:

  • Office supplies
  • Software
  • Teaching and research supplies
  • Materials for minor repairs
  • Conference or Seminar Registrations
  • Prepayment of Faculty or Staff Lodging (room and tax only)
  • Subscriptions to newspapers, journals and periodicals
  • Furniture
  • Reference materials such as books, particularly those purchased from another country due to exchange considerations
  • Laboratory supplies
  • Housekeeping and maintenance supplies
  • Computer supplies
  • Minor equipment and appliances
  • Publications and reprints

PCard transactions should be redistributed to the appropriate account codes monthly via the Pcard Module.

All Budget Authorities, Card Custodians, Banner Account Managers, Banner Business Managers, Program Administrators, and Card Users are required to read the Purchasing-Procurement Card Policy 70.100 and pass the online Procurement Card Policy Knowledge Test. Users are defined as OSU employees (faculty and classified staff employed at least 0.5 FTE) or Graduate assistants appointed at .49 FTE.

As a rule, travel and entertainment expenses are not allowable on PCards. Prepayment for faculty and staff lodging (room and tax only) is allowed as an exception. The business traveler must use their own credit card or cash for incidentals some of which might be appropriate for reimbursement. For lodging associated with conference or seminar registrations, it is preferred that the payment be to the same vendor as the conference registration in a single transaction. Conference lodging is an allowable expense on the PCard when the following three criteria are met:

  • It is for conference lodging room and tax only.  (It needs to be redistributed to the appropriate 39xxx Account Code and you will receive a Restricted Use message from Banner)
  • The conference information is included in the commodity description or in FOATEXT on the “Z” Invoice document –(which must be added when you receive the Restricted Use message)
  • The conference registration fee and lodging fee matches the posted rates advertised by the conference.

Immediate Revocation of the PCard will result if:

  1. Unauthorized users were allowed access to the PCard
  2. Airfare purchases appear on any statement
  3. Travel related expenses such as vehicle rental, transportation fares, meals, entertainment or hosting groups & guests appear on any statement - OSU Employees have access to an OSU Corporate Card for such purchases.
  4. Alcoholic Beverage(s) charges appear on any statement - special handling of such purchases is required. Contact your Business Center for instructions.
  5. Capital Equipment is purchased with the card - Equipment purchases over $5,000 need to go through a purchase order process.  See PaCS 303: Purchase Orders or your Business Center for more information.

Revocation of the OSU Purchasing Card will result after the third recorded violation of:  

  1. Purchase of prohibited item(s) – a complete list of prohibited uses is available on the Business Affairs website.
  2. Failure to distribute monthly charges timely
  3. Failure to provide monthly statement to Business Center
  4. Failure to provide signature of Budget Authority on monthly statement
  5. Failure to provide current Purchasing Card User Agreement

Important Note: The use of PCards for personal charges can result in sanctions, up to and including termination. This policy also does not govern fraudulent or other intentionally improper uses of the P-card.

Additional information on the PCard along with restricted uses, training and documentation can be found at on the Business Affairs website.

A misused PCard or Student Group/Team Travel Card may be cancelled at the bank.  Unit management in consultation with Human Resources, if appropriate, is responsible for taking disciplinary action consistent with applicable personnel policies.

Disputed charges must be resolved with the merchant or bank as appropriate by the Card Custodian within 60 days. Any refund obtained from a vendor will be credited to the department via the PCard.

If a PCard or Student Group/Team Travel card is lost or stolen, the person who had custody of the card at the time of the loss is responsible for reporting the loss immediately to the Bank, the Card Custodian, the Department Budget Authority, and the Program Administrator.

Corporate Cards

Corporate Cards are issued to OSU eligible employees (faculty and classified staff employed at .50 FTE or more) to pay for reimbursable travel expenses incurred while on official University business, including lodging, meals, car rentals, and other miscellaneous travel and entertainment related expenses.  Corporate Cards are issued to the individual employee in their name through a credit application process.  Contact Business Affairs to apply for a Corporate Card.

Employees should not allow another person to use the Corporate Travel Card for any purpose.  All cardholders should understand they are financially responsible and solely liable for charges to the account. The full amount of the employee’s statement is due in full within 30 days of billing and payment to the bank is the cardholder’s responsibility. A Corporate Travel Card is valid only while the individual is an employee of Oregon State University.  Upon retirement or termination, the employee must notify Business Affairs so the Corporate Travel Card can be deactivated.

Student Group Travel/Team Travel Cards

Student Group/Team Travel Cards are for student group travel expenses only and are issued separately from PCards.  Forms and requirements are similar to PCards with a specific Merchant Category Classification (MCC) code assigned to the card to accommodate open group travel activities.

1.      The Student Group/Team travel card is not for personal use. The card is for Student Group/Team travel activities only.

2.      When possible, department staff will make advance payment arrangements for student groups.

3.      Costs (such as group lodging) greater than $5,000 require a purchase order or contract approval by the appropriate authority.

4.      Authorized Student Group/Team or team travel card expenses include:

  1. Lodging and lodging tax
  2. Ground transportation
  3. Parking
  4. Group meals (itemized receipts required)
  5. Pre-approved program/activity fees (admission fees for educational activities/attractions/programs such as museums, tourist theme parks, etc.)

5.      Average meal costs cannot exceed the approved OSU per diem rate. Student group meals that exceed OSU meal per diem rate require written justification and approval from the department head or budget authority.  Gratuity of up to 15% may be reimbursed for actual meal expenses when supported with receipts.

6.      Itemized receipts are the responsibility of the team leader. S/He must insist on itemized receipts. No tear-tags or summary credit card receipts will be accepted.  A lost receipt affidavit will not be accepted.

7.      The team leader will be personally responsible to reimburse the University for expenses incurred where the receipts supporting the expenditure are lost or are not itemized.

8.      Only OSU employees (faculty and classified staff employed at least 0.5 FTE) or Graduate assistants appointed at .49 FTE may check out Student Group/Team Travel Cards.

9.      No alcohol charges are allowed. On occasion, an event, usually for members of the public or a targeted audience not specifically for OSU students, includes alcohol expenses as part of the registration fee. Under these circumstances, the group travel card may be used to pay for the event as long as it is pre-authorized by the department. In no way does this authorize the consumption of alcohol as part of a University-led event.

10.  The Student Group/Team Travel Card MUST be returned to the department immediately after the trip is completed.

11.  All receipts are to be submitted to the department within ten (10) business days after the trip is completed.

12.  The event itinerary should match the charges placed on the Student Group/Team Travel Card.

13.  The Budget Authority and/or Card Administrator may refuse or terminate use of the Student Group/Team Travel Card by the team leader.


Purchasing Cards

Units are required to complete a Purchasing Card Application/Change Form and Purchasing Card Departmental Agreement form for a new card whenever there is a change in the Budget Authority or Custodian position. A Departmental Agreement form is required at the beginning of each calendar year and must be updated and submitted with a Purchasing Card Application/Change Form when there is any change in Budget Authority, Custodian, Account Manager, or Business Manager.

All users of a Departmental OSU Purchasing Card must sign a Purchasing Card User Agreement. By signing the agreement, users recognize that inappropriate usage will result in the revocation or suspension of the Departmental OSU Purchasing Card. Departments must obtain signature(s) on the Purchasing Card User Agreement for all authorized user(s) and return the form to Business Affairs by the last business day of January for each calendar year and whenever there are changes in card users.  This form will be imaged and archived.

A bank file will be loaded into the Banner Purchasing Card module daily.  Re-allocation of purchasing card transactions will be moved from the Banner Purchasing Card module into the Banner Financial Information System (FIS) daily.

A Visa Purchasing Card Activity Log is required to record the purpose and the amount of each card use plus ensure that the physical card is monitored.

Each Budget Authority must sign the monthly statement; verify the accuracy, completeness, and appropriateness of the transactions; and ensure compliance with this policy. Signed monthly statements will be imaged and archived under the card number in the imaging system.

Business Affairs will review monthly statements and will contact units regarding inappropriate usage. Violations will be logged. The recording of such violations may be clarified or appealed by contacting the OSU PCard Administrator.

Student Group/Team Travel Cards                           

Use the same forms and requirements as shown for Purchasing Cards and complete the Purchasing Card Application Form. Be sure to note on the application that this is for a Student Group/Team Travel Card.  The Purchasing Card Departmental and User Agreements must also be completed and submitted to Business Affairs.  An application will need the approval of the Assistant Vice President and Controller in Business Affairs.

When the card is to be checked out, the Faculty/Team Leader Responsibility Agreement must be signed and kept on file in the department.  In addition, a Student Group/Team Travel Card Activity Log must be used.

Student Group/Team travel expenses will be reconciled by the unit and sent to Business Affairs for review of compliance with travel policies by the third week after statement closing.  Business Affairs will process a journal voucher to reallocate expenses paid to the bank at the end of the billing cycle.

Responsibility and Role Definitions

Department Budget Authority - Dean, Director or Chair is responsible for authorizing the use of the Purchasing or Student Group/Team Travel Card for use by members of their unit, for authorizing the credit limit, assigning the Card Custodian, reviewing all charges placed against the Purchasing or Student Group/Team Travel Card, and signing the monthly bank statement.

Card Custodian - Departmental person who may be assigned the responsibility of safekeeping the Departmental Purchasing or Student Group/Team Travel Card and signing it out to authorized users (unless card is retained by Budget Authority for safekeeping).  Other responsibilities include: validating all charges on activity log and ensuring that proper supporting documentation is obtained; verifying that authorized card users have read and signed the Purchasing Card User Agreement Form and that they have an understanding of policy in regard to allowable use of the Purchasing or Student Group/Team Travel Card; and monitoring card activity for appropriate use or possible fraud; and reporting fraud or questionable transactions immediately to the Budget Authority and the Program Administrator.

Banner Account Manager - The Business Center staff is responsible for reviewing and distributing the transactions in the Banner Purchasing Card Module FAAINVT. The Business Center is responsible for making any necessary corrections to posted transactions by Journal Voucher.  They are responsible for reconciling the monthly transactions to the monthly bank statements and ensuring that bank statements signed by the Department Budget Authority are submitted to Business Centers timely for review and upload into Nolij on a monthly basis.  This person will receive the Banner emails notifying them of transactions to be distributed, Z invoice numbers posted, and restricted account code usage.  This person will also be responsible for the reconciliation of Student Group/Team Travel expense receipts to the monthly statement, and submitting them to  Business Affairs for review and redistribution.

Banner Business Manager (Optional) - The Business Center staff person is the back-up for the Banner Account Manager. They will have the same responsibilities as the Banner Account Manager and will also receive the Banner emails notifying them of transactions to be distributed, Z invoice numbers posted and restricted account code usage.

Program Administrator - The Program Administrator is the liaison between card holders, the bank, and OSU Business Affairs.  The position implements and maintains a procurement card program policy, provides training, periodically monitors card use for appropriateness, identifies and minimizes fraudulent activities.

Additional Information

PaCS 306-004 Prohibited Procurement Mechanisms - commercial credit cards are prohibited.