University Credit Card Policy

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2014 |LAST UPDATED: February 2, 2015 | Policy Section: buying-paying

Responsible Executive

Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for finance and treasurer

Responsible Office

Financial Services

Contact

Jason Knoch, executive director of financial services and strategic initiatives, jknoch@princeton.edu or (609) 258-9181

I. Policy StatementBACK TO TOP

University credit cards are financial tools used by authorized individuals to enable certain types of payments while performing University business. All University credit card transactions must adhere to University expense policies.

II. Who is Affected by this PolicyBACK TO TOP

Anyone who holds a University credit card, anyone who acts as an expense delegate or approves transactions for a University credit card, or anyone that authorizes an individual to obtain or use a University credit card.

III. Definitions

Affiliate
An individual who performs work on behalf of the University, but is not faculty, staff, or a student. Affiliates may hold a University credit card, or perform other tasks associated with credit card substantiation, under the same guidelines outlined in this policy. An affiliate’s credit card activity must be monitored and managed by a Princeton employee.

Approver
An individual responsible for confirming transactions are appropriate, compliant with policies, and approved in a timely manner.

Cardholder
The individual who is authorized to hold and use a University credit card as a purchasing agent for the department, and ultimately for the University. Faculty, staff, students, and University affiliates may be cardholders.

Concur Travel and Expense System
The University’s authorized system for online travel booking and online expense management, including all credit card activity substantiation, report preparation, receipt retention, and approval workflow.

Cost Object Approver
An individual who has the authority to approve financial activity based on the Department ChartField and dollar amount of the transaction. Cost Object Approvers may report to the cardholder if the cardholder's activity is first reviewed by a Managerial (Default) Approver.

Department Chair or Head
An individual who is a department chair, department head, or office head.

Departmental Purchases
Expenses associated with the purchase of goods or services to support a University department, center, program, work group, or organization.

Departmental Purchasing Card
One of the cards available through the University’s credit card program, which is used for departmental purchases and may be used by those individuals who have the responsibility to purchase on behalf of their department. The Departmental Purchasing Cardholder is typically aligned with a departmental requisitioner who has been trained on departmental purchasing policies and procedures.

The Departmental Purchasing Card should be used for low dollar departmental goods and services (typically less than $2,500) that cannot be purchased through the Marketplace or from contract suppliers. Based on the business need, this card may also be used for payment of group and event expenses.

Departmental Purchasing Card Statement Cycle
One calendar month, beginning on the first day of the month and ending on the last day of the month.

Expense Delegate
An individual that is designated by the cardholder to assist in the substantiation of credit card activity and preparation of reports on behalf of the cardholder. The cardholder retains ultimate responsibility for the appropriate and allowable use and substantiation of all transactions associated with their University credit card.

Individual Business Expenses
Expenses associated with an individual’s work that is being performed as part of University responsibilities. May include expenses such as travel, business meals, and books to support an individual’s job duties, teaching, or research.

Low Dollar Purchase
Goods or services with a total transaction value less than $2,500.

Managerial (Default) Approver
An individual who has the authority to approve the appropriateness and allowability of financial activity based on a supervisory relationship to the individual who incurred or is reporting the financial activity. Managerial approvers cannot report to the cardholder or be the beneficiary of the purchase/transaction.

Travel and Expense Card
One of the cards available through the University’s credit card program, which is used for individual business expenses, including travel. The Travel and Expense card should be used for an individual’s business expenses while traveling or other reimbursable business expenses. This card may also be used to pay for individual guest travel.

University Credit Card Program
The overall University program that supports the use of Departmental Purchasing Cards and Travel and Expense Cards.

IV. PolicyBACK TO TOP

OVERVIEW

University credit cards are financial tools used by authorized individuals to enable certain types of payments while performing University business.

The University credit card program currently supports two types of credit cards. Departmental Purchasing Cards simplify the purchase of low-dollar goods and services that cannot be readily purchased through the Marketplace or through other contract suppliers. Travel and Expense Cards are the primary way to pay for travel and individual business expenses.

All credit card transactions must adhere to University expense policies. Each transaction must be substantiated, assigned appropriate ChartFields and supporting documentation, and submitted for departmental approval and then to the Office of Finance and Treasury in a timely manner.

Concur Travel and Expense is the authorized system for all credit card activity substantiation, report and receipt retention, and approval workflow. 

New cardholders must complete training that will highlight and supplement the information provided in this document. Failure to use the credit card in compliance with University policy can result in revocation and possible disciplinary action, as well as pay deduction. Fraudulent use of the credit card can result in employment termination, expulsion from school (for students), and criminal charges.

SUMMARY OF UNIVERSITY CREDIT CARD PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITIES

The responsibilities of each person involved in the University credit card program are explained below.

Approvers
Any University credit card approver is responsible for examining the card transactions to confirm the charges are appropriate and comply with University policies.

Expense reports, which contain Travel and Expense card transactions, are first routed to a supervisor of the cardholder for Managerial (Default) Approval.  This Managerial (Default) Approval occurs prior to submission of the expense report to a secondary individual for Cost Object Approval.

Both Departmental Purchasing Cards and Travel and Expense Cards have Cost Object Approvers. Cost Object Approvers are the only approvers for Departmental Purchasing Card statements. Cost Object Approvers approve Travel and Expense Card activity only after the Managerial (Default) Approver has done an initial review and approval of the Expense Report for appropriateness and allowability.

Cardholder
A University cardholder is authorized by the Department Chair or Head as the authorized user of the card. Cardholders are responsible for the security of the University credit card and are not authorized to share the card or card number with other parties. Cardholders must submit their own expense reports or statement reports; delegates may prepare reports but may not submit on the cardholder’s behalf.

Department Chair or Head
The Department Chair or Head is responsible for documenting the authorization and periodic recertification of specific departmental staff that are responsible for the University credit cards, namely: a cardholder, expense delegate, and approver. The Department Chair or Head is responsible to ensure that all cardholders, expense delegates, and approvers observe University policies and procedures, and state and federal laws and regulations, which apply to the University credit card transactions. The Department Chair or Head may delegate purchasing authority and payment approval. However, the Department Chair or Head retains the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the integrity of this University credit card purchase and approval process, even if specific tasks have been delegated.

Expense Delegate
An expense delegate may be assigned by the cardholder and is responsible for reviewing each credit card transaction in Concur on a regular basis. This includes verifying the accuracy of the transactions, documenting the business purpose, recording the appropriate ChartField, and notifying the cardholder that the report is ready for submission for approval.

Based on business need (such as faculty performing work for multiple departments or to ensure coverage during vacations), more than one expense delegate may be assigned by the cardholder. The cardholder and expense delegates are responsible for coordinating the functional activities in preparing the expense or statement report. The cardholder is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the University credit card is used properly, expense or statement reports correctly reflect the cardholder’s activity, and that expense or statement reports are submitted in a timely manner.

Financial Services
Financial Services reviews University credit card transactions on a sample basis, which does not replace the University Department Chair / Head’s responsibility above. Financial Services will direct the cardholder to correct the errors. If necessary, Financial Services may correct the department’s error and will provide the department with a copy of the accounting entry. If excessive or repeated errors occur, additional training may be required. In the unlikely event of chronic and irreconcilable accounting difficulties, the University credit card may be revoked or result in disciplinary action to the cardholder.

TIMELINESS OF SUBSTANTIATION

University travel and expense credit card transactions must be substantiated in an expense report, and approved by the department within 30 days of the expense being incurred.

University departmental purchasing card transactions must be submitted and approved by the department within 30 days of the monthly statement closing date.

CARD SPENDING AND TRANSACTION LIMITS

The default spending and transaction limits on departmental purchasing cards are:

  • $2,500 limit per transaction
  • $10,000 monthly credit limit

The default spending and transaction limits on travel and expense cards are:

  • $5,000/month; $5,000/single transaction for domestic travelers
  • $10,000/month; $10,000/single transaction for international travelers
  • $20,000/month; $20,000/single transaction for high volume travelers

Higher transaction and/or monthly limits may be approved by Financial Services if requested in writing by the Department Chair or Head. 

ALLOWABLE USES OF UNIVERSITY CREDIT CARDS

The Travel and Expense Card and the Departmental Purchasing Cards are designed and intended to be used to facilitate and support different types of financial transactions. 

  • The Departmental Purchasing Card facilitates the purchase of goods or services to support a University department, center, program, work group, or organization. This card should be used for low dollar departmental goods and services (typically less than $2,500) that cannot be purchased through the Marketplace or from contract suppliers. Based on the business need, this card may also be used for payment of group and event expenses.
  • Travel and Expense Cards are the primary way to pay for travel and individual business expenses. These types of expenses should support an individual’s work that is being performed as part of University responsibilities. These may include expenses such as travel, business meals, and books to support an individual’s job duties, teaching, or research.

Please review the Expense Type Listing on the University’s Travel and Expense website for a detailed listing of expense types and account codes that are available for each card.

UNALLOWABLE USES OF UNIVERSITY CREDIT CARDS

University credit cards may not be used to purchase these goods and services:

  • hazardous materials
  • chemicals
  • capital equipment
  • computers
  • independent contractors
  • entertainers
  • temporary employment
  • personal purchases
  • purchases from suppliers participating in the Marketplace or from contract suppliers

In general, purchases that require advanced documentation such as insurance, service level agreements, and pricing quotes should be paid via requisition.
The University enables credit cards using standard merchant category codes to restrict the purchase of other prohibited categories of goods and services. 

Physical Credit Card and Credit Card Number Security

University credit cards must only be used by the cardholder in whose name the card is issued. Cards or card numbers may not be shared. Credit Card numbers are classified as Personally Identifying Information (P.I.I.) as noted in the University’s Information Security Policy

Cardholder Responsibilities
Those requesting a University credit card must sign an application affirming that they have reviewed and agree to comply with University policy and any applicable sponsor restrictions, and understand that card issuance and continued use requires the successful completion of training as well as policy compliance. The cardholder also agrees: 

  1. To secure the physical credit card as well as the credit card number and not share the card, card number, or PIN for use by other individuals to conduct transactions.
  2. To use the credit card for business use only and promptly reimburse Princeton University for any non-business transactions. If the cardholder fails to reimburse Princeton University in a timely manner the funds may be deducted from the cardholder’s pay.
  3. Any unapproved or otherwise unallowable expenses transacted with the credit card, with the exception of charges deemed fraudulent and made without the cardholder’s consent or knowledge, must be reimbursed to Princeton University in a timely manner. If the cardholder fails to reimburse Princeton University in a timely manner the funds may be deducted from the cardholder’s pay.

Failure to use the credit card in compliance with University policy can result in revocation and possible disciplinary action, as well as pay deduction. Fraudulent or improper use of the credit card can result in employment termination, expulsion from school (for students), and criminal charges.

RECORD KEEPING

Images of receipts for University credit card transactions greater than or equal to $50 must be attached to the appropriate transactions in Concur. Receipts for transactions less than $50 should only be submitted if specifically required by an outside funder/sponsor. Paper receipts should be destroyed once a legible image is scanned and attached to the appropriate transaction.

A Missing Receipt Affidavit must be completed by the cardholder and attached to any transactions of $50 or greater if the original receipt is unavailable. Missing Receipt Affidavits must be completed by the cardholder and responsibility for these affidavits may not be delegated.

AUDITING

Financial Services reviews various reports provided by our credit card provider on a monthly and quarterly basis. Random audits of credit card activity and cardholder missing receipt logs are conducted by Financial Services and Office of Audit and Compliance.

The primary purpose of an audit is to ensure the proper expenditure of funds under this program. Failure on the part of a cardholder to properly implement credit card procedures may result in further guidance and training, or in a severe situation, revocation of the University credit card, payroll deduction, or disciplinary measures.

A secondary purpose for conducting audits is to identify opportunities for improvement within the credit card program.

V. Procedures BACK TO TOP

VI. Forms BACK TO TOP

VII. Contact Roles and Responsibilities BACK TO TOP

VIII. Update Log BACK TO TOP

2/2/15

Clarification of Approver roles, including Managerial (Default) Approver, and Cost Object Approver.


 

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