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Purchasing Card (P-Card) Policy

  • Related Documents:  Purchasing Card (P-Card) Procedure
  • Owner: Financial Services
  • Approver:  Chief Financial Officer
  • Approval Dates: January 2001, September 2010, November 2011, March 2017

I.    Purpose

1.   This Policy describes:

a)    who may obtain a TMU Purchasing Card (P-Card);

b)    the P-card’s authorized uses; and

c)    Identify roles and responsibilities.

II.   Application and Scope

2.   This policy applies to full-time University employees, long-term faculty, term employees where there is a minimum of one year remaining in the contract, and some shorter term employees at the discretion of Financial Services.  In this policy these employees shall be referred to as “Employees.”

III.  Definitions

3.   “Purchasing Card” or “P-Card”: a University  corporate credit card, with a monthly credit limit as set by the University , which can be used by designated employees:

a)   to purchase University-related goods or services which are Eligible Purchases; or

b)   for permitted business travel and meal expenses up to but not exceeding the per transaction limit set by the University.

A P-Card Profile is available in one of the three options:

a)   Purchases Only;

b)   Travel Only; or

c)    Purchases and Travel.

4.   “Approver”: the faculty department head or staff manager who is responsible for, among other things, ensuring the Cardholder’s purchases are Eligible Purchases and are charged to the correct cost centre.

5.   “Cardholder”: University employee who has been issued a P-Card for Eligible Purchases.

6.   “Eligible Purchases”: a P-Card may be used for the following:

a)   “Purchases Only” consisting of low dollar value non-travel related expenses, such as office supplies, books, subscriptions, membership fees, etc.;

b)   “Travel Only” consisting of permitted business travel-related expenses, such as transportation, accommodation, food, etc.; or

c)   “Purchase and Travel” consisting of low dollar value non-travel related expenses and travel related expenses, described above.

7.   “Ineligible Purchases”: non-permitted transactions, including but not limited to:

a)   Personal purchases meaning any expense of a personal nature unrelated to University business;

b)   A meal when the Cardholder plans to use a per diem for meals on that date;

c)   Gas purchase when the Cardholder plans to use a mileage claim for that trip;

d)   Purchases where internal chargeback is permitted including the University Bookstore, Food Services, Conference Services and the Athletic Centre;

e)   Consulting Services;

f)   Professional Services; or

g)   Any other purchase other than Eligible Purchases.

8.   “Purchasing Card Administrator": responsible for facilitation of the Purchasing Card program within Financial Services.

9.   “Supplier Documentation”: proof of purchase documentation from the supplier for each P-Card transaction, which includes, at a minimum:

a)   the date of the transaction;

b)   the name of the supplier;

c)   the dollar amount of the transaction; and

d)   description of the item(s) purchased.

IV.  Policy

10.   Employees who would like to obtain a P-Card must obtain written authorization from their supervisor.

11.   The P-Card is University property. It cannot be transferred to, assigned to, or used by anyone other than the designated Cardholder.

12.   Each faculty or department will determine and advise the permitted uses, limits, and restrictions of P-Cards issued to their Employees in accordance with the business needs of the faculty or department.

13.   The P-Card may be used by Employees for Eligible Purchases, supported by original receipts. P-Card users must forward all original receipts to Financial Services, in accordance with the P-Card Procedure.

14.   When a P-Card transaction is assigned to a departmental cost centre, each transaction must be approved by an Approver with the appropriate approval authority or their designate, as outlined in the Delegation of Financial Signing Authority Policy and Procedure.

15.   It is the Cardholder’s and the Approver’s responsibility to ensure that the P-Card has been used for an Eligible Expense and is supported by an original receipt. 

16.   When a Cardholder uses funding from an external agency, and the funding agency’s regulations for business and travel reimbursement are different from University regulations, funding agency regulations will take precedence.

17.   The University reserves the right to:

a)   audit all P-Card expenditures at any time, including after approval of P-Card expenditures, to ensure that all P-Card Cardholders have complied with the P-Card Policy, the P-Card Procedure, all other applicable University policies and procedures and external agency policies;

b)   require the Cardholder to reimburse personally the University for any Ineligible Purchases, regardless of whether the Approver previously approved the transaction as an Eligible Purchase;

c)   assign reimbursement for Ineligible Purchases made by the Cardholder against payments otherwise due and owing to the Cardholder by the University; and/or

d)   revoke the Cardholder’s P-Card and privileges at any time.

V.  Roles and Responsibilities

18.   Responsibility of Financial Services:

Financial Services shall:

a)   review P-Card applications from Employees for eligibility and completeness;

b)   submit approved P-card requests to provider;

c)   provide sessions so that Cardholders are trained and aware of applicable policies and procedures;

d)   maintain a permanent file of Cardholder applications and related information;

e)   assist in the resolution of problems involving Cardholders, suppliers and/or the P-Card issuing company;

f)   delete original receipts after ninety (90) days;

g)   review monthly billing statements, reconciliations, compliance and exception reports, and management reports for unusual activity;

h)   notify the appropriate department head or manager of issues; and

i)   undertake expense report compliance review programs.

19.   Responsibility of Chief Financial Officer:

a)   the Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the interpretation and administration of the P-Card Policy and Procedure.

20.   Cardholder Responsibilities

Cardholders shall:

a)   keep the P-Card in a secure place;

b)   immediately report a lost or stolen P-Card to both Scotiabank and the Purchasing Card Administrator;

c)   clear all Visa P-Card transactions through RUFIS (iExpense module) by completing and submitting an iExpense claim on a timely bases (normally within 30 days) of the P-Card transaction;

d)   obtain and retain original Supplier Documentation for all P-Card purchases made in person, by telephone, or online.  For clarity, supplier documentation, for purposes of this Policy, does not include receipts;

e)   submit all original receipts to Financial Services, failing which the University may suspend the Cardholder’s P-Card privileges;

f)   complete and submit a Supplementary Receipt Form (, or approved alternate format, and include it with the monthly submission, if the supplier documentation does not include the date of the transaction, the name of the supplier, the dollar amount of the transaction, and a description of the items purchased;

g)   retain for seven years all original Supplier Documentation (e.g. supplier quotes, contracts) for all P-Card purchases;

h)   submit separate iExpense claims for each  business trip and attach a copy of the written (e.g. email or memo) advance travel approval or by completing  the approved travel pre-authorization form (indicating the travel authorization number) (

i)   submit a separate iExpense claim for non-travel P-Card transactions;

j)   advise the Purchasing Card Administrator of a change in University position or department;

k)   return the P-Card to the Purchasing Card Administrator, Human Resources or departmental supervisor if the Cardholder terminates or resigns from the University; and

l)   when renting vehicles, may purchase additional insurance as provided by the supplier.

21.   Approver’s Responsibilities

Approvers shall:

a)   ensure the Cardholder’s purchases are Eligible Purchases and are charged to the correct cost centre;

b)   immediately report a lost or stolen P-Card to both Scotiabank and the Purchasing Card Administrator;

c)   inform the Purchasing Card Administrator of a change in a Cardholder’s department or position, long term disability, leave of absence, sabbatical, or depletion of budget/funds for themselves or any Cardholders reporting to the Approver;

d)   request the cancellation of P-Cards for Cardholders who cease to be employed by the University or who otherwise become ineligible for a P-Card;

e)   promptly review, approve, or deny P-Card clearing iExpense reports; and

f)   fully cooperate with all P-Card related inquiries, and compliance reviews.

22.   Responsibility of Dean, Senior Director or Department Head or designate

Deans, Senior Directors, Department Heads or designates are responsible for:

a)   approving the issuance of P-Cards to Cardholders;

b)   authorizing transaction limits equal or less than the limits for single purchases and the monthly credit limit as set by the University;

c)   authorizing Purchasing Card Profiles; and

d)   notifying Financial Services Program Administrator or Chief Financial Officer regarding any policy and procedures exceptions when they become aware of them.