09 - 103 Using a USNH PCard

A. Card Types

The Purchasing Card program provides select personnel with a way to make allowable, small dollar purchases for campus business. Purchases made on a USNH PCard cannot exceed the approved limits associated with the related card. The total purchase price is inclusive of shipping charges and any miscellaneous fees associated with the transaction. PCard Purchases must be solely for the use and benefit of the University System of New Hampshire and its member institutions.

The Purchasing Card represents the institution's trust in the Cardholder and an empowerment of that Cardholder as a responsible employee or active student of the institution. As such, each Cardholder is required to safeguard and protect his/her institution's assets, including the Purchasing Card.

The difference between misuse and fraud is intent. Misuse implies a violation occurred without foreknowledge that the action was incorrect or inappropriate, while fraud involves an awareness of the impropriety and a conscious decision to proceed.

It is against the law to use any governmental funds for personal use. USNH and its member institutions are funded in part by state appropriations. In addition, many areas are funded through state and federal funds as grants and contracts. As a result, any personal use of institutional funds may be construed as a criminal act and subject to prosecution. These statutes apply not only to purchases made on the Purchasing Card, but to any purchases made using institutional funds and regardless of the intent to reimburse.

There are four types of purchasing cards:

Individual Cards

  • Standard - This is a procurement card for supplies and other business needs
  • Travel - This a card for all travel related charges
  • Abroad - Supplies, Travel and Airline charges card including costs outside US (+ Cash Access if deemed necessary)

Departmental Cards

  • Standard Plus - This is a card for both travel and non-travel business expenditures for an entire department

Departmental cards require one individual on record with the issuing bank as the responsible party for the card. Changes to the type of card require the Cardholder to submit a new application and complete the online training related to the new type of the card requested.

B. Card Limits

PCards will be issued with the following standard maximum limits in place:

  • Single purchase amount limit: $3,000 per single transaction
  • Monthly purchase amount limit: $10,000 per month

Higher limits or a different mix of allowable MCC’s may be requested on the purchasing card application form when the business needs justify it; it must be approved by campus CFO or designee.

C. Authorized Purchases

1. Standard PCard authorized purchases include the following:

  • Conference/registration fees and business meals
  • Membership dues & fees
  • Supplies and equipment costing less than $5,000 (including shipping/handling fees)
  • One-time service where the vendor is not an independent contractor (See USNH Procurement for more information) whether on or off campus, provided performance will last for 2 days or less, or the vendor requires payment via credit card. When service performance will extend beyond 2 days, an approval from the USNH Procurement Office (Purchasing@usnh.edu) is required prior to engaging the vendor.

2. Travel PCards are used to purchase only travel related goods and services such as transportation, lodging, and restaurants. Supplies and services are not allowed on this type of cards. Authorized purchases include:

  • Airline, bus, rail and taxi costs (including shuttle service, baggage and parking fees)
  • Conference/registration fees and business meals
  • Fuel (for rental and fleet vehicles only)
  • Lodging, including AirBnB, HomeAway and VRBO (a subsidiary of HomeAway)
  • Vehicle Rental (See Procedure 9-108 Vehicle Rental Insurance via PCard on how to obtain coverage)

3. Abroad PCard authorized charges may include all purchases allowed on the Standard Plus card or be customized to the business needs of the Cardholder which may include access to cash abroad.

4. Standard Plus department cards can be used for travel and non-travel related goods and services.  Authorized purchases include:

  • Airline, bus, rail and taxi costs (including shuttle service, baggage and parking fees)
  • Conference/registration fees and business meals
  • Fuel (for rental and fleet vehicles only)
  • Lodging, including AirBnB, HomeAway and VRBO (a subsidiary of HomeAway)
  • Membership dues & fees
  • Supplies and equipment costing less than $5,000 (including shipping/handling fees)
  • Vehicle rental See Procedure 9-108 Vehicle Rental Insurance via PCard on how to obtain coverage)
  • One-time service where the vendor is not an independent contractor (See USNH Procurement for more information) whether on or off campus, provided performance will last for 2 days or less, or the vendor requires payment via credit card. When service performance will extend beyond 2 days, an approval from the USNH Procurement Office (Purchasing@usnh.edu) is required prior to engaging the provider.

Note that beginning in fiscal year 2020 USNH’s primary means for procurement will gradually be moving to the UshopNH System. UshopNH must be used whenever possible and practical. All purchases through UshopNH will use a predefined payment type for each vendor which will generally not be an USNH PCard.

D. Exception Requests and Approval

Any temporary changes to Cardholder limits, change to allowable MCCs (Merchant Category Codes), or other exceptions to allowable purchases must be made in writing via e-mail or by the use of a PCard Change Request Form to campus CFO or designee, and include satisfactory reasons for the need to use a PCard. In general, requests to increase limits should be within a reasonable range (15% or less). Once the request is approved, it must be included with supporting documentation of the transaction. If campus PCard Administrator action is required, such as in limit or MCC changes, approval obtained is emailed to the campus PCard Administrator to make the necessary change. The approval must include the grant Principal Investigator (if applicable), as well as the person who has authority to approve the exception (campus CFO or designee). In addition, use of the card to purchase select type of services must be approved by USNH Procurement). Please note that any change requests may require additional approvals depending on the type of change being requested.

Requests for permanent changes to Cardholder limits, changes to allowable MCCs, or exceptions to allowable purchases must be made at the time of the application. If made later, the change will require a new card application.

E. Contract Compliance

All PCard purchases must comply with USNH policies. PCards are not intended as a way to deviate from directives set forth in USNH’s Purchasing, Business Expenditures, Travel, or institutional policies and procedures.

Use of the Purchasing Card does not allow circumvention of compliance with purchasing from contracted suppliers, nor does it mean that the limitations or additional requirements around procurement thresholds can be ignored. The Campus Purchasing Departments negotiate and issue contracts that will provide “the best value” arrangements for goods and services. In order to assure the campus communities of the “best value”, purchases must be made from the contracted supplier whenever a contract exists.

When using a PCard to make a purchase through a contracted supplier, the Cardholder should emphasize to the supplier that this is a USNH, UNH, PSU, KSC or GSC purchase (whichever is applicable) to ensure that proper discounts and tax exemptions are applied.

F. Grant Related Purchases

Grant related purchases are still subject to OMB Uniform Guidance Cost Principle and must be allowable and approved by the Principal Investigator. The PCard manager should review monthly transactions that automatically swept to the default grant fund to ensure all expenses were allowable to the grant.

Due to federal requirements prohibiting doing business with parties that are suspended or debarred, grant related purchases of $25,000 or more from a single vendor must use a purchase order rather than a PCard. Each vendor’s federal Debarment/suspension status should be checked prior to purchasing or contracting with any entity or agency. Please contact your campus Purchasing or Sponsored Programs administration offices for more information.

G. Unauthorized Purchases

Personal purchases are not allowable on any USNH PCard, even if the Cardholder’s intent is to reimburse the university. Personal purchases made with the card will subject the Cardholder to disciplinary action, up to and including, card cancellation, termination of employment, and criminal prosecution.

All USNH Purchasing Cardholders are prohibited from making the type of purchases listed on the following page via their PCard. If there is a business need for any of the products below, other methods of procurement must be used. These methods include purchasing from UshopNH, invoicing directly or through a PO, or purchasing with personal funds and requesting reimbursement. If there is no other means to purchase the required item, a request to allow the purchase on a PCard must be made in writing as described in section D above.

UNAUTHORIZED PCARD PURCHASES:

  • Advertising (promotional) other than ads made through memberships associated to platforms such as LinkedIn, Adobe, Google, Constant Contact, Basecamp, Hootsuite, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
  • Advertising (Help wanted)
  • Air conditioners/Space heaters
  • Alcohol
  • Animals or animal related purchases that are restricted by law
  • Awards, gifts, and prizes
  • Biomedical products
  • Cash Advances (except for Abroad cards)
  • Cell phones 
  • Consulting services
  • Construction/Renovation
  • Donations
  • Equipment (costing $5,000 or over per item, including shipping, discounts, installation, etc.)
  • Fines, fees, penalties
  • Flowers
  • Furniture
  • Gasoline for personal vehicle
  • Gift cards
  • Goods that require government licenses to procure, special permissions or are otherwise controlled under US Export laws
  • Independent contractor payments
  • Insurance
  • Liquor stores
  • Payments to individuals (including those you can access through PayPal and other clearinghouse type sites)
  • Personal purchases of any kind (regardless of intent to reimburse)
  • Personal meals (must utilize per diem when traveling overnight on business)
  • Postage (allowed on an exception basis only - campus Mail Services excluded)
  • Prescription drugs or services
  • Printing & copying (allowed on an exception basis - campus Printing Services excluded)
  • Purchases from University employees, their spouses, parents, children or from any other individual where a conflict of interest exists
  • Purchases involving a license, contract or agreement of any kind, including leases of real property or any type of leases.
  • Purchases from USNH departments, except dining halls 
  • Radioactive materials
  • Services lasting for more than 2 days
  • Software (allowed on an exception basis -Campus CFO or designee approval needed)
  • Telephone equipment 
  • Tuition for any type of USNH course
  • Weapons or ammunitions

 


The official version of this information will only be maintained in an on-line web format. Any and all printed copies of this material are dated as of the print date. Please make certain to review the material on-line prior to placing reliance on a dated printed version. 

This page last updated Tuesday, November 5, 2019. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.