PCard Guidelines

INTRODUCTION

Youngstown State University provides a Visa product to its employees to efficiently execute small-dollar, non-inventory, non-capital purchases.  The Purchasing Card, or PCard, is a convenient supplemental purchase method for certain types of low-risk or emergency purchases. University contracted vendors in eCUBE, accessed through the Penguin Portal, is the primary method to purchase most routine goods and services for the university.

As a public institution, the university must ensure that all expense decisions are consistent with the university’s mission, policies and procedures, applicable laws, and ethical practices.  Therefore, all PCard transactions are subject to audit and non-compliance reporting.

It is the responsibility of each cardholder, delegate, and approver to read, understand, and comply with these guidelines. Non-compliance may result in personal financial liability, suspension or cancellation of cardholder privileges, and/or personnel actions. 


PCARD PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR

Lisa Mudryk is the PCard Program Administrator and is located in Room 2034A, Procurement Services, Jones Hall.  Lisa can be reached at extension 3166 or at ljmudryk@ysu.edu

Lisa can assist cardholders with the following:

  • PCard training
  • Questions regarding the PCard Guidelines
  • Issuing new cards
  • Problems encountered with card use
  • Questions regarding PCard in Concur

OBTAINING A PCARD

Eligibility/Application

Current employees of YSU who have purchasing responsibilities within their department qualify for a PCard. 

Requests for cards are made by the financial manager of the department FOAP to be charged by sending a completed Application: PCard and Travel Card* to the PCard Program Administrator.

Employees must have authorization to use Concur before receiving a PCard. Use the Concur Authorization Form - Faculty/Staff* to obtain access to Concur. 

Training/Cardholder Agreement

The Program Administrator will notify the applicant when the card arrives and a training session will be scheduled. Applicants must bring photo identification to training to receive their card.  After completing training, applicants will sign the PCard Cardholder Agreementverifying that they understand and agree to comply with the PCard Guidelines.

Financial Managers/supervisors and delegates are also required to obtain training.

Card Activation

To activate a new card, the cardholder must call the Activation Line, at 1-888-233-8855. For security purposes, the cardholder will be asked for a verification ID (provided by Procurement Services) and their office phone number. As part of the activation process, the cardholder will be asked to set up a PIN. The PIN may be required for identification purposes at the point of sale.


SPENDING LIMITS

Each cardholder is assigned a monthly limit and a transaction limit at the time the account is opened. Current initial spending limits are $15,000 per month and $1,500 per transaction. The daily limit per merchant is the same as the transaction limit.

The Request for Exception* form is used by the financial manager/supervisor to request a temporary or permanent increase/decrease in the spending limits of a cardholder. 


CARDHOLDER RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Read, understand, and follow the PCard Guidelines.
  • Follow all applicable University Policies.
  • Determine if using a PCard is the best purchasing method by reviewing the Purchasing Guidelines*.
  • Ensure sales tax is not paid or is refunded whenever possible.
  • Reconcile transactions by assigning the appropriate account code to each transactions. Refer to Operating Expense Account Code Descriptions*.
  • Allocate transactions to a fund/org/program other than the default, when appropriate.
  • Scan and upload receipts and other supporting documentation to PCard statements.
  • Submit PCard statements to financial managers/supervisors as soon as possible, to allow time to review, return for correction, and approve on or before the published deadline date each month.
  • Respond promptly when PCard statements are returned by the approver for corrections.
  • Ensure that PCard statements are approved by the financial manager/supervisor on or before the published deadline date each month.
  • Monitor credits due from returns.
  • Comply with audit requests by specified due dates.
  • Safeguard the PCard and the PCard account number.
  • Do not share the PCard.
  • Report a lost or stolen PCard immediately.
  • Turn in the PCard when transferring departments or leaving the employment of the university.

APPROVER (FINANCIAL MANAGER) RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Read, understand, and follow the PCard Guidelines
  • Follow all applicable University Policies.
  • Approve only individuals who are responsible and capable of performing the duties of a cardholder as outlined in these guidelines.
  • Request cards for individuals by sending a completed Application: PCard and Travel Card* to the PCard Program Administrator.
  • Communication changes to the PCard Program Administrator regarding a cardholder's employment status, a name change, or a change in a cardholder’s default  fund, org, program. 
  • Review transactions, documentation, and expense reconciliation/allocation before approving PCard statements in Concur.
  • Return PCard statements to cardholders for corrections, when necessary.
  • Approve PCard statements on or before the published deadline date each month. 

EXCEPTIONS TO THE PCARD GUIDELINES

An exception to the PCard Guidelines is requested by submitting a completed Request for Exception* form to the PCard Program Administrator. This form must be signed by the financial manager/supervisor. The Director of Procurement Services and the Manager of Accounts Payable & Travel Services will either approve or deny the Request for Exception.

Exceptions must be approved prior to purchase or you will be considered to be in non-compliance. Use of the PCard without prior approval may subject the cardholder to personal financial liability and suspension of PCard.

The approved form should be included as support for the transaction(s) in Concur.

Blanket exceptions may be granted, if warranted, but will need to be included with each PCard statement as the exceptions occur.

Contact the PCard Program Administrator for questions regarding exceptions. 


ORDERING PROCESS

The PCard may be used to purchase goods or services with a merchant by phone, mail, internet, or in person. If orders are being placed via the internet, cardholders are cautioned to use only reputable merchants. Cardholders should obtain online confirmation for all internet purchases.

When placing the order, cardholders should identify themselves by name and indicate that they are a Youngstown State University employee and provide the merchant with the following:

  • Tax-exempt number shown on the face of the card
  • If the merchant requests, the YSU Blanket Certificate of Exemption* can be printed and emailed or faxed
  • Individual PCard number
  • Expiration date of PCard
  • CVV shown on back of card
  • Description of goods or services to be ordered
  • Cardholder's contact information
  • Complete YSU delivery address as shown below
Youngstown State University
Room #, Department, Building
One University Plaza  
Youngstown, OH  44555
 
In order to avoid duplicate payments, cardholders should not pay invoices on their PCard for goods or services ordered through eCUBE or send invoices that have already been paid on a PCard to Accounts Payable.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

Receipts

Itemized receipts are required for all transactions.  Acceptable receipt documentation can include invoices, sales slips, sales receipts, packing slips, cash register tapes or confirmations for internet purchases, provided the document contains the following four elements:

  • Name of merchant
  • Date of transaction
  • Description of the item(s) purchased
  • Transaction amount

Each receipt amount should correspond to the amount listed on the statement. If discrepancies exist, cardholders should provide an explanation in a comment within the statement or a written note on a scanned receipt.

Under no circumstances may alcoholic beverages be charged to General or Auxiliary funds. Therefore if a restaurant receipt lacking descriptions or itemization of purchases is submitted, it will be assumed that alcohol was purchased and the entire amount of the charge will be transferred by journal entry to a discretionary gift fund, once the financial manager, the Dean or the Chairperson, has been notified.

If a receipt is lost, cardholders should contact the merchant and request a copy of the receipt.  If a copy of the receipt cannot be obtained from the merchant, the cardholder should use the Missing Receipt Affidavit for Card Purchases*.  The completed affidavit is approved or denied by Procurement Services. Once returned, the cardholder can scan/upload the form to the corresponding statement in Concur to be used in place of a receipt. Frequent use of this form or submitting transactions without receipts is not acceptable and will subject the cardholder to personal financial liability. 

Forms

Forms that may be necessary to support PCard transactions can be found on the Procurement Forms webpage and include:

  • Request for Exception
  • Missing Receipt Affidavit for Card Purchases
  • Business-Related and Entertainment (BRE) Expense Form
  • Business-Related and Entertainment (BRE) Expense Request for Exception
  • Gift Cards - Request for Pre-Approval

Explanations

Cardholders are expected to supply detailed explanations when documentation isn’t clear.  This is necessary when the description of an item is lacking or is illegible on a receipt or when the business purpose of the transaction is not easily identifiable.

Notes can be made in comments in Concur for each transaction and additional documentation, such as brochures, agendas, tickets, etc., can be attached to the PCard statement.


SALES TAX

YSU is a tax-exempt organization.  Therefore, it is not subject to most federal tax and is always exempt from Ohio sales tax. Cardholders must inform all merchants of the tax-exempt status and check that Ohio sales tax is not added to the purchase.

Some merchants may require a Tax Exemption form before deducting the sales tax from your purchase. Without a copy of the certificate, the merchant is not obligated to give the exemption. Cardholders should carry a copy of the YSU Blanket Certificate of Exemption* with them.  

If sales tax is charged, the cardholder must contact the merchant and request a credit be issued for the tax and applied to the card. The cardholder must request a copy of the credit receipt. The cardholder is responsible to verify that the credit is posted to their account.

It is recognized that there may be instances when a merchant will not accept the Certificate of Exemption (e.g. restaurants). However, the PCard Program Administrator should be informed of a merchant who continually refuses to honor the university’s tax-exempt status.

Cardholders should refer to the PCard Program webpage periodically for merchants who require specific tax-exempt numbers and will not accept our Certificate of Exemption.


INTERDEPARTMENTAL PURCHASES

The PCard should not be used for interdepartmental purchases such as parking, print shop, telephone, YSU Marketplace, or tickets for university events.

Funds can be transferred by requesting a journal entry through the Controller's Office.


CONCUR

YSU uses the Concur system to process and store PCard transactions. Once authorized, employees can access Concur through the MyYSU portal.

PCard statements are automatically generated monthly in Concur once a cardholder has transactions. For statement dates, refer to the Billing Cycle Chart, found on the PCard Program webpage.  

As transactions post in Concur, the cardholder will be notified by email.  Cardholders, and/or their assigned delegate will review and reconcile transactions by selecting account codes from a drop-down list that best fit the expense.  See Operating Expense Account Code Descriptions*.  Fund/org/program codes automatically populate the statement from the default codes that were entered on the cardholder application and inputted into their profile. These codes can be changed for individual transactions by allocating expenses. 

Notes can be entered in comments to further explain transactions.  Receipts and other documentation should be scanned and uploaded to the statement.

Once expenses have been reconciled and support has been uploaded, the statement can be submitted. Cardholders should submit as early as possible to allow approvers time to review. See Cardholder Training in Concur*.

PCard statements must be approved by the Financial Manager on or before the Deadline Date listed on the Billing Cycle Chart. See Approver Training in Concur*.

When all statements for the cycle have been approved in Concur, expenses are uploaded to individual budgets in Banner. Generally, this process takes place during the first of the month.


MEMBERSHIPS, DUES, CERTIFICATIONS, AND LICENSING FEES

Individual memberships, dues, certifications, and licensing fees can be paid with university funds ONLY when there is a direct benefit to the university.

Memberships that are institutional in nature, generally in the university's name, are allowable.

See University Policy 3356-3-15, Memberships, Dues, Certifications, and Licensing Fees on the University Policies website.


BUSINESS-RELATED AND ENTERTAINMENT (BRE) EXPENSE 

Purchases of food, beverages, tickets to events, gifts, prizes, flowers, greeting cards, gift cards, etc, must have a clear business purpose. These types of purchases must provide a direct benefit to the university.

A completed Business-Related and Entertainment (BRE) Expense Form* should accompany the receipt as supporting documentation for the transaction. 

The purchase of gift cards requires pre-approval from the Controller. See Gift Card - Request for Pre-Approval*.

Individuals making and approving these types of purchases should carefully review the Business-Related and Entertainment (BRE) Expense Guidelines* to gain insight into existing restrictions and limitations. A thorough understanding will help the cardholder avoid personal financial liability for non-compliant purchases. 

Exceptions to the BRE Guidelines must be pre-approved by submitting a completed Business-Related and Entertainment (BRE) Expense Request for Exception* to the Vice President for Finance & Business Operations.

* BRE forms and guidelines can be found on the Procurement Forms webpage, under Purchasing Policies and Procedures.


ISSUES WITH PCARD USE

Declined Transactions

A transaction may be declined because of the following:

  • The transaction limit or monthly limit has been exceeded.
  • The card was never activated.
  • The merchant category code (MCC) is blocked. *

* A merchant category code is a four-digit number assigned by the bank card industry to classify a merchant by the type of goods or services it provides. YSU utilizes MCC's to define rules and restrictions associated with card transactions.  Each cardholder's account includes a group of MCC's based on their purchasing needs.    

Cardholders can contact the PCard Program Administrator or call the number on the back of the card to determine why a transaction was declined.

Personal Purchase Charged in Error

If a cardholder mistakenly charges a personal purchase to their PCard, the cardholder must try to obtain a credit from the merchant and recharge the amount to their personal credit card. If the cardholder is unable to secure a credit from the merchant, the university must be reimbursed for the full amount of the purchase.

To reimburse the university, the cardholder must deposit personal funds through the University Bursar's Office, within five days of the transaction. The Departmental Deposit Slip, which can be found on the University Bursar's Forms webpage, must list the same departmental FOAP that the PCard transaction will be reconciled to when processed in Concur.  A Request for Exception* form and the original deposit receipt must be sent to the PCard Program Administrator.  A copy of the approved form and deposit receipt will be returned to the cardholder to include with the transaction in Concur. 

Pyramiding/Splitting Transactions

Pyramiding or splitting a transaction to circumvent the transaction limit is prohibited and will result in immediate PCard suspension and notification to your supervisor.  For example: If a cardholder wants to make a $2,000 purchase, but the cardholder's transaction limit is $1,500, it is NOT allowable for the cardholder to request that the merchant split the transaction into two $1,000 transactions. Note that pyramiding is prohibited whether the transaction is for several items or for one item. Cardholders should use the Request for Exception* form to request a temporary increase, if there is a particular need.

Transaction Disputes

For unauthorized transactions appearing on the PCard statement, cardholders should contact Bank of America at 1-888-449-2273 to initiate a dispute. When a transaction is disputed, the cardholder should still reconcile the transaction to an appropriate expense account. Once a credit is issued and posted at a later date, the cardholder will enter the same expense used previously, therefore crediting the expense for the disputed amount. 

For valid transactions with product or order fulfillment issues, the cardholder should first attempt to rectify directly with the merchant. If the merchant is unresponsive, a dispute can be initiated with Bank of America by calling 1-888-449-2273. 

Returns

The cardholder should return unwanted or damaged items to the merchant and request a credit to the PCard account. The PCard Program Administrator can assist if the cardholder is having difficulty. The cardholder is responsible for verifying that the credit appears on a subsequent statement. 

Damaged Cards

If a card is damaged or demagnetized, replacement plastic should be requested. Call the PCard Program Administrator to request a new card. The new card will contain the same number as the current card. The cardholder will be notified by the PCard Program Administrator when the card arrives. The damaged card can be destroyed by the cardholder. 

Lost or Stolen Cards

A lost or stolen PCard must be reported immediately.  First, inform Bank of America at one of the numbers listed below, then inform the PCard Program Administrator via phone (330) 941-3166 or email ljmudryk@ysu.edu.

Bank of America
Toll-free @ 1-888-449-2273 within United States
1-602-379-8753 outside U.S (collect)
 
When calling to report a lost card, begin by stating that it is a Youngstown State University PCard. You may be asked to provide the following information:
  • Cardholder name
  • Verification ID (YSU and birth month and day, i.e. YSU0420) 
  • Telephone number (office)

The fraud team will verify all the charges on the account, to make sure the charges are valid.  Upon receipt of your call, Bank of America will block the card from further use and a new card, with a new account number, will be issued. 

Expiration and Reissue of Cards

Expired PCards will automatically be re-issued by Bank of America.  Accounts will be blocked from re-issuing if the account has never been activated.  Re-issued cards will be sent to the PCard Program Administrator who will contact the cardholder when the card arrives.  Cardholders will be required to collect the new card in person and complete refresher training.  The cardholder must contact Bank of America to activate the new card. 


AUDITING PROCESS

PCard transactions are subject to internal review and are audited annually as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

Concur Detect, an auditing tool, uses artificial intelligence to streamline the review and approval process in Concur.  Once a cardholder submits a PCard statement, Concur Detect will automatically review each line-item transaction and associated receipt images within a report and flag transactions that may be at risk of non-compliance with YSU’s guidelines.  All flagged transactions require manual review by an auditor.  Concur users will see the workflow step called “Pending External Validation” indicating that the report is being reviewed internally.   If corrections or additional documentation (e.g., missing receipts) are required, the report will be sent back to the submitter for review and correction.

Transactions in Concur are examined for the following:

  • Purchases are allowable and reasonable.
  • BRE purchases are compliant with the guidelines.
  • Individual memberships, dues, certifications, and licenses have VP approval.
  • Itemized receipts are provided.
  • Proper FOAP is assigned.
  • Sales tax has not been paid.
  • Transactions have not been split to circumvent limits.
  • Necessary forms are included, and completed correctly.
  • Invoices paid are current for that billing cycle.
  • Ship to address is YSU; not a private address. 

Based on findings, cardholders may receive an audit request for additional information or missing documentation.  Cardholders are subject to suspension for failure to comply with an audit request by the specified due date. 


DISCIPLINE PROCESS

Violations of PCard Guidelines will be fully pursued by the university and can result in suspension or cancellation of cardholder privileges, personal financial liability, and/or personnel actions.  Non-compliance by cardholders, and the subsequent approval of non-compliance by financial managers/supervisors, will not be tolerated. 

Personal Financial Liability

The cardholder must reimburse the university the amount found to be in violation of the PCard Guidelines. 

To reimburse the university, the cardholder must deposit personal funds through the University Bursar's Office. The Departmental Deposit Slip, which can be found on the University Bursar's Forms webpage, must list the same departmental FOAP that the PCard transaction will be reconciled to when processed in Concur. The Request for Exception* form and the original deposit receipt must be sent to the PCard Program Administrator. A copy of the form and deposit receipt will be returned to the cardholder to include with the transaction in Concur.   

Suspension of Privileges

Cardholders may be suspended for a minimum of 30 days for the following:

  • Failure to complete the monthly process in Concur by the due date*
  • Failure to comply with audit requests
  • Multiple or chronic violations of the PCard Guidelines
  • Pyramiding/splitting transactions
  • Circumventing use of university contracted vendors. See University-Wide Contracted Vendors webpage for a complete list of these vendors.
  • Sharing individual cards

*  Includes financial manager/supervisor approval

Once suspended, privileges will not be reinstated until the cardholder complies with any outstanding audit requests, completes a Suspended Cardholder Request for Reinstatement*, and attends a PCard training session.

Cancellation of Privileges

Failure to exercise compliance with the PCard Guidelines following reinstatement will result in cancellation of card privileges. The period of time before the cardholder can re-apply will depend on the severity of the violation. 

Appeals Process

A written appeal may be sent to the Controller within five (5) business days of the issuance of disciplinary action. 


ALLOWABLE PCARD EXPENSES (Not all inclusive)

  • Advertising ($1,000 or less for total services provided)1
  • Business-Related & Entertainment (BRE) expenses
  • Fees & services ($1,000 or less for total services provided)1
  • Institutional memberships
  • Maintenance service agreements ($1,000 or less for total services provided)1
  • Individual memberships, dues, certifications, and licensing fees (VP pre-approval is required)
  • Professional services non-individual ($1,000 or less for total services provided)1
  • Subscriptions, books, journals
  • Supplies ($1,000 or less and not available through university contracted suppliers)
  • Webinars

 1 Purchases greater than $1,000 must be processed through eCUBE and may require a signed agreement.


UNALLOWABLE PCARD EXPENSES (Not all inclusive)

  • Amazon prime membership
  • Appliances (refrigerators, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, water coolers, coffee makers)
  • Capital purchases1
  • Cash advances
  • Celebration decorations (department or office)
  • Cell phones (obtained through ITS, see University Policy 3356-4-12, Cellular Equipment Usage, on the University Policies website.)
  • Cleaning supplies1
  • Computers, notebooks, laptops, tablets, and other computing equipment with central processing units (should be purchased through eCUBE.)
  • Conference fees (when traveling)
  • Donations
  • Furnishings (furniture, standing desks, window coverings, desk lamps, office decor)1
  • Gasoline/propane
  • Hazardous chemicals/controlled drugs/radioactive materials 2
  • Interdepartmental (parking, print shop, telephone, tickets for university events)
  • Kitchen supplies (paper towels, dish soap, plates, napkins, silverware)
  • Medical and pharmaceutical expenses (unless pre-authorized)
  • Personal items (hand gel, lotion, tissues, pain relievers, heaters, fans, air purifiers, general cleaning supplies, personal food & drink, general office items)
  • Printers and ink cartridges/toner (purchased through Technology Support)
  • Professional services – individuals (refer to the Independent Contractor Guide*)
  • Promotional items (use eCUBE)
  • Rentals (equipment or facilities)
  • Software licenses/renewals (use eCUBE form)
  • Travel

1  Purchased through eCUBE

Hazardous chemicals are defined as any chemical with the following information on the label: Explosive, Flammable, Oxidizer, Corrosive, or Poison, and with  either a flammability, health, or reactivity designation factor above level one. For product/substance classification assistance call Chemical Management. Chemical Management, Chemistry, Biology and Physics buyers are exempt from this restriction. These purchases should be processed in eCUBE.
 
Revised December 2019