09 - 103 What Can the PCard be Used For?

Allowable Purchases

The Purchasing Card program provides departments with a way to make allowable, small dollar, high volume purchases for campus business. Purchases made cannot exceed the approved limits associated with each card. The total purchase price is inclusive of shipping charges and any miscellaneous fees associated with the transaction. Purchases must be for the use and benefit of the University System of New Hampshire and its member institutions. Under no circumstances are unauthorized purchases allowed.

There are 5 types of purchasing cards:

  • Standard - Supplies and Business needs card

  • Standard Plus - Supplies and Travel card (NO Airline Charges)

  • Travel - Supplies, Travel and Airline Charges card

  • Airline (Department Card) - Airline charges only card

  • Abroad - Supplies, Travel and Airline charges card including costs outside US (+ Cash Access if deemed necessary)

Authorized Purchases Include:

  • Business meals

  • Conference & registration fees

  • Equipment (if under $5,000 including shipping, handling and any other fees)

  • Membership dues & fees

  • Postage (campus Mail Services excluded)

  • Printing & copying (campus Printing Services excluded)

  • Rentals with no intent of eventual purchase

  • Limited services - if the total labor/service charge is equal to or less than 15% of the total invoice amount, no prior authorization will be needed from Accounting Services or Purchasing provided the labor is not performed on campus grounds. Additional exceptions may be made on a case by case basis. See Procedure 9-106 Special Services Allowable on Pcards or check with your BSC to see if an exception already exists prior to contacting Accounting Services/Purchasing. Note that services may never be purchased via convenience checks.

  • Supplies

For PCards with the standard plus designation, authorized purchases additionally include:

  • Fuel (for rental and fleet vehicles only)

  • Lodging

  • Rail Tickets

  • Transportation from airline to hotel (shuttle service, taxi, parking lot fees etc.)

  • Vehicle Rental*

For PCards with the approved travel designation, authorized purchases additionally include:

  • Airline costs (including airfare, baggage fees and airport parking fees)

Restricted Purchases:

These purchases require prior authorization from Accounting Services unless you have a permanent exception in place:

  • Advertising (promotional)

  • Advertising (employment)

  • Air conditioners/Space heaters

  • Alcohol

  • Animals

  • Automotive repairs

  • Awards, gifts, and prizes

  • Cash Advances

  • Consulting services


* MasterRental Insurance
To get coverage:

  • Initiate and pay for the entire rental agreement/contract (tax, gasoline, and airport fees are not considered rental charges) with your MasterCard card. If a rental agency promotion/discount of any kind is initially applied toward payment of the rental vehicle, at least one (1) day of rental must be billed to your MasterCard card.

  • You must decline the Collision/Damage Waiver offered by the vehicle rental agency.

  • You must rent the vehicle in your own name and sign the vehicle rental agreement/contract.

  • Your rental agreement/contract must be for a rental period of 31 consecutive days or less. Rental periods that exceed or are intended to exceed 31 consecutive days are not covered.

  • You must rent a vehicle (including minivans and sport utility vehicles that are designed to accommodate nine passengers or fewer) that is intended for bound surfaces, such as concrete and tarmac. Rented vehicles must have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price that does not exceed USD $50,000.

The kind of coverage you receive:

  • MasterRental will pay for covered damages on a primary basis for which you or any other authorized driver is legally responsible to the rental agency.

** Payment for services is never allowed via convenience check

Unauthorized Purchases:

  • Donations

  • Equipment (over $5,000)

  • Personal Items (regardless of intent to reimburse)

  • Purchases from University employees, their spouses, parents, children or from any other individual where a conflict of interest exists.

  • Personal Meals (utilize per diem when traveling more than 50 miles from your campus address of record or staying overnight on business)

  • Leases of real property or lease-to-own costs

Contract Compliance

Use of the Purchasing Card does not allow circumvention of compliance with purchasing from contracted suppliers. The Campus Purchasing Departments negotiate and issue contracts that will provide the "least total cost" arrangements for goods and services. In order to assure the campus communities of "least total cost", purchases must be made from the contracted supplier whenever a contract exists.

When using the Purchasing Card 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) in order to ensure that proper discounts and tax exemptions are applied. If ordering from OfficeMax, please be sure to log in using your USNH username and password.

Changes in Limits

Any changes to cardholder limits, name, or cash advance status must be initiated through your account manager.

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. In the rare occasion when a PCard must be used to make these payments, the PCard Administrator must approve the transaction before the payment is made. Debarment and suspension should be checked prior to purchasing or contracting with any entity or agency. Please contact your campus purchasing office or sponsored programs administration for more information.

Changes to MCC (card type) coding may require additional training by the cardholder at the discretion of the applicable BSC and the campus card administrator.

Please note that any exception requests may require additional approvals depending on the type of change being requested.

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 Wednesday, October 19, 2016. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.