Purchasing Card Policies
Purchase College - SUNY
P-Card Usage Policies and Procedures
(Last Revision May 1, 2019)
In association with Citibank, the State of New York has developed a NY State Purchasing Card (hereinafter referred to as P-Card) to allow employees to make purchases at the point-of-sale, over the telephone or Internet. The Card allows you to spend money directly out of your budget. From the College viewpoint, it works like a debit card. From a supplier’s viewpoint, it is a Visa Card, and is processed like any other credit card. The Purchasing Card delegates purchasing authority to you. You can get exactly what you want, when you want it, faster, and with a minimum of paperwork. You can use the Purchasing Card to buy the things you would normally buy for your department. Naturally, the same restrictions that apply to other methods of purchasing also apply to the Purchasing Card.
In order to be delegated authority, you have to undertake some responsibility. Naturally, you have to protect the Purchasing Card, just as you protect your own credit cards. You have to agree to use the Purchasing Card responsibly. You must retain the transaction records for audit purposes. You must attach the transaction records to your monthly Memo Statement from Citigroup and submit them to your department head/supervisor for review and approval. The department head indicates approval by signing your monthly PLOT sheet. Note: Always keep a copy of your PLOT sheet and backup records (transaction invoices).
- Cards are issued after request to Purchasing/AP dept.
- Requests for P-cards are made by the Division Officer and include the following info
- name and title
- default account (this can be changed for individual transactions and should be noted on plot-sheet)
- telephone number
- office location
- P-card limits (the Division Officer specifies limits to the card – card holder’s department funding levels must be considered)
- Maximum single card transaction is $15,000
- For item’s costing $2,500 and above, steps should be taken to ensure that prices are reasonable. The “Reasonableness of Price” form should be completed and maintained to support both the selection of the vendor and reasonableness of price. The original copy should be submitted with the plot sheet.
- It is possible to change P-card limits once the P-card is set up. The cardholder’s reporting supervisor(s) and reporting officer are required to forward written authorization to the Director of Purchasing & Accounts Payable for limit changes.
Temporary limit changes would be warranted, for example, when there would be an out of the ordinary charge for a cardholder in a particular billing period. The limit(s) would be changed to accommodate the special circumstances and revert back to the original limit(s) at the end of the billing period when the unique situation is completed. If a cardholder is constantly requesting temporary limit increases, he/she should consider requesting permanent increases. A temporary limit increase requires authorization of the cardholder’s supervisor.
Permanent limit changes would be appropriate if the cardholder expects to spend at higher levels in greater than one billing period. A permanent limit increase requires authorization of the cardholder’s supervisor and the reporting VP-level Officer.
Training and Card Holder Responsibilities:
- Cardholders should be trained in card usage and given a copy of the P-card policies and procedures and they should sign an acknowledgement form regarding training and receipt of the policies and procedures.
- The cardholder has to protect the Purchasing Card, just as they protect their own credit cards.
- The cardholder has to agree/attest, in writing, to use the Purchasing Card responsibly.
- The cardholder must retain the transaction records (including copies of plot-sheet and backup records) for audit purposes.
- The cardholder must attach the transaction records to your monthly Memo Statement from Citigroup and submit them to your department head/supervisor for review and approval.
- The department head indicates approval by signing your monthly PLOT sheet.
Card Usage Requirements:
(1) Purchasing Card – Acceptable Use
Goods and services from merchants that accept the credit card.
Examples of allowable purchasing card purchases:
- office supplies
- classroom supplies
- facilities cleaning supplies
- maintenance/repairs of equipment
- duplicating/photocopying services
- conference registration fees
Required Vendors/Merchants to Consider:
- NYS Preferred Sources:
- New York State Office of General Services (OGS) contracts
- New York State Certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBE);
- New York State Certified Women Business Enterprises (WBE);
- New York State Certified Minority Women Business Enterprises (MWBE).
(2) Purchasing Card – Disallowed Use
There are some goods and/or services for which the purchasing card cannot be used either because
- There is an alternate payment method for such use or
- Because the use would not be permitted with New York State funds.
Purchasing any of the disallowed goods and/or services could result in cardholder repayment to the College for the unauthorized purchase and in loss of purchasing card privileges.
The purchasing card may NOT be used for the following:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Bus (including shuttles and charters carrying non-employees)
- Car Rental
- Cash advances and cash refunds
- Cash back on purchases
- Food items and/or beverages (including bottled water)
- Formal contracts approved by the Office of the State Comptroller
- Gift certificates
- Gifts (retirement, birthday, award plaques/trophies, etc.)
- Hiring construction contractors to do repair work/alterations of any type
- Medical services (doctor visits, emergency dental work, prescriptions)
- Office/staff kitchen/break room supplies (including cups, utensils, plates, etc.)
- Personal use items
- Relocation expenses
- Savings bonds
- SUNY-wide contracts
- Travel & entertainment (including travel for faculty/staff/students and non-employees)
- Weapons, explosives
- No purchases may be made with the intent of later reimbursing the College
(3) Purchase of Equipment
When PLOT sheets are submitted to the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office, the P-card reviewers will (be responsible to) identify equipment of $5,000 and over and notify the ICO (via email) of the equipment purchases for property control system inclusion. The ICO will follow up in tagging, and recording the equipment information in the SUNY asset system.
(4) Sales Tax Exemption
The cardholder should always use the “State of New York Employee Tax Exemption Certificate” when making official College purchases. In the event that New York State sales tax amounts are being charged on a cardholder’s credit card, the cardholder is required to go back to the vendors/merchants for the return of the sales tax amount by either credit to the P-card or by check refund. Check refunds should be delivered to the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office for processing the check refund amount back to the cardholder account number where item was charged.
For New York State sales tax NOT credited/refunded:
On a quarterly basis, the cardholder is required to submit:
- A listing of charges made to New York State merchants/vendors that paid sales tax that cannot be credited/refunded;
- Legible photocopies of the invoices/receipts that paid NYS sales tax that have not been credited/refunded;
- A brief memorandum explaining why sales tax was paid and cannot be credited.
(5) Split Charging
Having a single purchase split into multiple invoices on one statement, multiple statement periods, multiple cardholders, or multiple fiscal years is not acceptable.
If a transaction does not fit within the cardholder’s limits, the cardholder should:
- Request an increase in the cardholder’s limits, or
- Submit the goods and/or services request on a purchase requisition for purchase order processing with payment through the voucher processing system.
(1) Citibank Statement (Monthly Reporting)
Access the Citibank Commercial Cards site for your Statement. When a purchasing card is issued, the cardholder sets up a user ID and password through this website, under Self registration for Cardholders. Only the cardholder and Citibank are privy to the cardholder’s user id and password.
(2) Certification (Monthly Reporting)
Cardholder certification for a billing cycle must be completed by the end of the following month of the statement. For example, January 2019 billing cycle will be available for certification on 02/14/19 (approximately); the cardholder is required to certify by 02/28/19. The purchasing card login and step-by-step instructions are available at: SUNY Financials Procurement Card.
(3) What the PLOT sheet is:
The PLOT sheet is the Procurement List of Transactions. The cardholder is required to list the transactions for a billing cycle on the PLOT sheet and to attach the supporting documents (invoices, receipts, reasonableness of price form if applicable etc.) to the PLOT sheet.
(4) PLOT sheet Due Date:
The completed PLOT sheet with all backup documentation is required to be received by the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office by the end of the following month of the statement. For example, the January 2020 billing cycle (for the period 01/07/2020-02/06/2020) PLOT sheet should be received by the Purchasing & Accounts Payable office by 02/28/2020.
(5) Required PLOT sheet Information:
- Cardholder Name. This should be typed or printed clearly.
- Department Name. This is the department to which the cardholder belongs.
- Transaction Period. The transaction period is the period represented on the PLOT sheet. For example, 01/07/19-02/06/19 is the January 2019 billing period. Either representation is acceptable.
- Transaction Date. This is the transaction date showing on the monthly statement for a transaction(s).
- Vendor/Merchant. This is the vendor/merchant from whom goods or services were purchased. It should match the merchant name on the monthly statement.
- Merchandise Description (Detailed). The goods/services purchased must be described in detail. The intended use of the goods/services must be stated. If the goods/services were purchased for a particular event, meeting, publication or production, that must be identified by name and date. Car washes, auto repairs, and/or auto parts must identify by vehicle plate number the specific vehicle involved plus year, make, model, and vehicle ID (VIN) number. When a print job is paid by the P-card, an original print sample must be included with the PLOT sheet.
- Date Received. The goods/services must be received in order to allow payment to a merchant. If goods/services have not been received, the cardholder should 1-contact the merchant to determine where the goods are, and/or 2-dispute the charge. Prepayment of goods/services is not permitted.
- Purchase Cost. This is the credit card charge amount, and this should match the ‘amount’ on the credit card statement.
- Account Number. This is the account number where the item will be charged. If the transaction is charged to the cardholder’s default, leave blank. If the transaction is being charged to other than the cardholder’s default, indicate the account charged.
- Dispute (✔ if Yes).
- Additional Information. This field is available for useful information concerning a transaction to provide additional details.
- Cardholder signature.
- Supervisor Name printed
- Supervisor signature
(6) What to attach to the PLOT sheet
- The PLOT sheet should be the cover page.
- A screen print of the certified certification page from the SUNY system.
- A copy of the Citibank credit card statement. (See above (1) Citibank Statement)
- Vendor/Merchant invoices and receipts that show what was purchased and the amount. Invoice/receipt items should be itemized showing descriptions, quantities and unit costs.
- Any other pertinent documentation (for example “Reasonableness of Price” form).
(7) Additional Information concerning attachments to the PLOT sheet
- 8-1/2 x 11” invoices/receipts should be stapled (single staple) to the PLOT sheet.
- For invoices/receipts smaller than 8-1/2 x 11”, the invoices/receipts should be glued or taped to an 8-1/2 x 11” sheet of paper.
The College is required to collect and maintain a copy of the original freight/shipping invoice when shipping/freight charges are in excess of $100, with the exception of the following:
- United Parcel Service (UPS)
- Parcel Post (United States Postal Service Parcel service)
- Shipment by the vendor’s own truck
- Shipping of surplus State property
- Shipping charges between two State agencies
If the merchant’s freight/shipping method falls into one of the above exception categories, please have the merchant state this. It is acceptable if it is stated on the merchant’s itemized invoice. Otherwise, the merchant’s original shipping/freight invoice is required to be submitted with the PLOT sheet.
(9) Signatures on the PLOT sheet
- The cardholder and the cardholder’s supervisor must sign the PLOT sheet when there are transactions.
- When there are no transactions for a billing period, only the cardholder is required to sign the PLOT sheet
Other Issues on Compliance:
(1) P-card Termination Policy
The P-card can be terminated for the following reasons:
- Employee separation It is the responsibility of each cardholder and cardholder supervisor to notify the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office of his/her pending separation from Purchase College at least one full billing period prior to the employee’s departure or immediately upon notice of separation. This will allow the cardholder sufficient time to complete all PLOT sheets and certifications before leaving.
- P-cards with No Activity P-cards with no activity for six (6) consecutive billing period months will be automatically terminated.
- Intentional Misuse of P-card
Intentionally misusing the purchasing credit card is a serious violation of cardholder responsibilities:
- 1st instance - written warning and p-card re-training;
- 2nd instance - three-month suspension of P-card privileges;
- 3rd instance - revocation of Card privileges.
(2) Safeguarding the P-card and related systems
- Acceptable locations to keep the procurement purchasing card:
- Cardholder’s wallet
- Locked desk drawer or safe accessible by the cardholder only
- The cardholder should never give the P-card to someone else to make charges.
- Do not post or write the card number in any place that is easily accessible.
- Never photocopy the back of the p-card that contains the 3-digit security code and cardholder signature.
- The cardholder’s user id and password for each of the Citidirect system (for statement retrieval) and the SUNY system (for certification) should not be shared.
(3) Scams / Phishing
Email and telephone scams requesting cardholder information are commonplace.
- A cardholder should never give the purchasing card account number to anyone who calls or emails asking for it. The cardholder should be the initiating party to a transaction.
- A cardholder should ignore/delete emails that discuss the cardholder’s account. The only emails concerning the purchasing card that should be considered are those from the Purchase College Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office. Even Citibank will not send emails concerning a cardholder’s account; they will send a hardcopy letter through the mail.
- If a cardholder believes his/her purchasing card account number has been compromised, contact the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office at ext-6070 to terminate the compromised account and set up a new account.
(4) Excessive Use of a Single Vendor/Merchant – Procurement Rules, Regulations and Limits:
The P-card operates under the same procurement rules and regulations as all State University of New York purchases. Generally, there is a limit on the total amount the College as a whole can spend with one vendor/merchant in a 12-month period after which price quotes and/or bids must be solicited.
The Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office monitors this spending. However, it is good practice for all cardholders to use:
- NYS Preferred Sources
- NYS OGS contracts
- Certified MBE, WBE and M/WBE
The Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office will notify cardholders when purchases to specific vendors should be halted.
(5) Dispute Process
When a transaction on the cardholder’s statement is not recognized by the cardholder, the cardholder should do the following:
- The cardholder should review his/her records. Perhaps the transaction is showing with an alternate merchant/vendor name.
- Contact the merchant to find out who made the charge. The credit card statement usually has the telephone number for each merchant listed. It may be that you failed to keep a record of the particular charge in question.
- When all avenues are exhausted for determining a valid charge, the merchant should be contacted and advised that the charge is not the cardholder’s, and the cardholder should request a credit to the account.
- If the merchant will not credit the account, the cardholder should:
- Advise the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office of the situation.
- Contact Citibank at the telephone on the back of the credit card.
- Complete a Dispute Form and fax to Citibank as directed.
- In situations of suspected fraud, Citibank will always terminate the violated account and issue a new card account.
- The cardholder should always complete the Dispute Form and forward back to Citibank (with a copy to the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office). Citibank’s receipt of the Dispute Form will initiate the crediting of the improper charge to the cardholder’s account.