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Purchasing


Policies and Procedures

General Policies and Procedures

  1. Purchasing cards will only be issued to individuals, in the individual's name. There are no departmental cards.
  2. Only one purchasing card may be issued to an individual.
  3. Purchasing cards are not transferable between individuals.
  4. The cardholder must be an employee of the University of South Carolina.
  5. Purchasing cards are available to employees on all campuses.
  6. The purchasing card cannot be used to purchase food or other items for personal consumption.
  7. A default account and object code will be assigned to each purchasing card.
  8. Each department may have up to two department liaisons.
  9. Cardholders will be linked to their department by their default account code.
  10. Department liaisons will be responsible for all cardholders listed in their department.
  11. Department liaison may be a liaison for him/herself, but all card transactions must be approved by a supervisor.
  12. The purchasing card administrator resides in the purchasing department.
  13. The employee's department head must approve the request for a card, assign the default account and object code, assign department liaisons and submit this information to the purchasing card administrator.
  14. The employee's department head must provide notification to the purchasing card administrator once a change in department liaisons occur.
  15. The department head approval delegates transaction authority to the cardholder.
  16. Bank of America is paid once a month from a prepaid expense account.
  17. Departments are responsible for assuring the accuracy of credit card charges.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

Parties Involved

Agency – the University of South Carolina arranges with the card issuer, Bank of America, for the issuance of purchasing cards to designated employees and agrees to accept liability for the employees' use of the cards.

Cardholder – an employee of the University of South Carolina who is approved by his or her department head to use the purchasing card to execute purchase transactions on behalf of their department.

Card Issuer – Bank of America's services were contracted for/by the State of South Carolina, to issue Visa purchasing cards to University of South Carolina employees, to bill the University of South Carolina for all purchases made on the cards and to collect payment from the University of South Carolina on behalf of the vendors.

Department Head – a University of South Carolina official must approve an employee's request for a procurement card, assign department liaisons, designate default account and object codes for purchases on the purchasing card, and submit applications to the purchasing card administrator. Department head approval delegates transaction authority to the cardholder.

Department Liaison – an employee in each department or college responsible for proper use of the purchasing card within their assigned department containers. Each cardholder will be assigned to department liaison(s) by means of their department container and the liaison will be responsible for reviewing transactions of individual cardholders to make sure the transactions are classified as an appropriate expense.

Purchasing Card Administrator – the central coordinator located in the purchasing department who coordinates the purchasing card program and acts as an intermediary in correspondence with the card issuer.

Vendor – the merchant from whom a cardholder is making a purchase.

Cardholder's Responsibilities

The cardholder must only use the purchasing card for legitimate business purposes. The purchasing card may not be used for food, travel, registration fees, entertainment, cash (gift cards, incentives and postage are not allowed) and other categories as included in the Blocked Merchant Category Code list included in these policies and procedures. Misuse of the card will subject the cardholder to disciplinary action in accordance with University of South Carolina policies and procedures relating to disciplinary action and termination for cause.

The cardholder must:
  • Ensure the purchasing card is used only for legitimate business purposes. The purchasing  card is nontransferable.
  • Maintain the purchasing card in a secure location at all times.
  • Ensure the purchasing card is only used by the approved cardholder. Use by anyone other than the cardholder is strictly prohibited.
  • Adhere to the purchase limits and restrictions of the purchasing card, and ensure the total transaction amount of any single transaction does not exceed $4,999.99.
  • Obtain all sales slips, register receipts and/or purchasing card slips and provide to department liaison for reconciliation, approval and allocation of transactions.
  • Sign all monthly statements.
  • Notify department liaison if the default account and/or object code should be changed on a transaction.
  • Attempt to resolve disputes or billing errors directly with the vendor and notify Bank of America if the dispute or billing error is not satisfactorily resolved.
  • Ensure that an appropriate credit for the reported disputed items(s) or billing error appears on a subsequent cardholder's statement.
  • Not accept cash in lieu of a credit to the purchasing card account.
  • Immediately report a lost or stolen card to Bank of America at 1-888-449-2273 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year).
  • Immediately notify department liaison and/or purchasing card administrator of a lost or stolen purchasing card at the first opportunity during business hours.
  • Return the purchasing card to the department liaison upon terminating employment with the University of South Carolina.

If changing departments within the University of South Carolina, please contact the purchasing card administrator to coordinate the change and provide instructions for retaining purchasing card and approvals for new department.

Purchasing Cardholder Request Form [pdf]

Liaison Responsibilities

Each department head must designate a maximum of two department liaisons for each department. A department liaison may also be liaison for his or her own card. However, if the department liaison(s) is also a purchasing cardholder, it will be the responsibility of the liaison to have the monthly charges incurred on the their purchasing card reviewed and signed on the billing statement by their immediate supervisor or department head. An approver within the Bank of America’s web-based software application, Works, is also required for the liaison. The department liaison must attend all required training sessions and will be notified of these by email and broadcast messages on Works.

Responsibilities include:

  • Collecting vendor receipts and purchasing card receipts from cardholders and reconciling to Bank of America billing statements.
  • Retaining all charge slips and receipts for audit by internal and external auditors.
  • Signing monthly statements.
  • Approving and/or updating account and/or object codes and cost-sharing information on electronic billing distribution of individual cardholder account within the specified deadline using Works.
  • Identifying and updating transactions that require the submission of use tax and/or account changes within the specified deadline using Works.
  • If a change in account and/or object code, cost share, use tax needs to be made after the specified deadline, the department liaison is responsible for creating a journal entry to correct the necessary charges. Journal entries should be submitted directly to the USC Controller’s Office.
  • Attempting to resolve any disputes with vendor and/or Bank of America not resolved by cardholder within 60 days of the posting date. There is a 60-day period for resolution of disputes.
  • Notifying purchasing card administrator of default account and/or object code changes for individual cards as needed. This is especially important for upcoming expiring grants.
  • Notifying purchasing card administrator of lost or stolen cards.
  • Requesting that purchasing card administrator cancel a cardholder's card (e.g., terminated employee or loss of purchasing card privileges) as approved by department head.
  • Collecting canceled card from cardholder, cutting it in half and forwarding it to purchasing card administrator along with a cancellation request memo.
  • Making sure messages from Works are being received.

Purchasing Department Liaison Request Form [pdf]

Purchasing Card Administrator Responsibilities

The purchasing card administrator is responsible for the overall purchasing card program.

Responsibilities include:

  • Being a University of South Carolina contact with Bank of America.
  • Utilizing Works application from Bank of America.
  • Reviewing department-approved applications for completeness of required information.
  • Submitting completed applications to Bank of America and receiving purchasing cards from Bank of America.
  • Being a training department liaison before releasing purchasing cards.
  • Training cardholders before releasing purchasing card.
  • Having cardholder sign Purchasing Cardholder Agreement, signifying agreement with the terms of the purchasing card program.
  • Handling disputed charges/discrepancies not resolved by cardholder or department liaison.
  • Initiating change of purchasing card default account and/or object code upon request of department liaison.
  • Securing revoked purchasing cards and submitting information to Bank of America.
  • Processing upload of bill to accounting for charging individual departments.
  • Reviewing Bank of America's invoice, preparing for payment and submitting to Accounting for EFT payment.
  • Reconciling accounting statements as to payments to Bank of America and charges to individual departments.
  • Reviewing usage of purchasing card data for appropriateness.
Cardholder Eligibility

The criteria to obtain a purchasing card is as follows:

  • Applicant must be an employee of the University of South Carolina.
  • Applicant's request for a purchasing card must be approved by his or her department head.
  • Employee must attend a training session before a purchasing card may be issued.
  • Each individual cardholder must sign a cardholder agreement in the presence of the purchasing card administrator. 
Cardholder Liability

The purchasing card is a corporate purchasing VISA charge card, which will not affect the cardholder's personal credit. However, it is the cardholder's responsibility to ensure the card is used within stated guidelines of the Purchasing Card Cardholder Manual as well as the policies and procedures of the University of South Carolina relating to the expenditure of university funds. Failure to comply with program guidelines may result in permanent revocation of the card, notification of the situation to management and further disciplinary measures that may include termination.

Lost, Misplaced or Stolen Purchasing Cards

Cardholders are required to immediately report any lost or stolen purchasing card to Bank of America toll-free at 1-888-449-2273 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year). The cardholder must also immediately notify his or her department liaison and/or the purchasing card administrator about the lost or stolen card at the first opportunity during normal business hours.

 

Using the Card

Spending Controls

The purchasing card is to be used only for the purchase of supplies. University of South Carolina spending parameters for each Visa purchasing card issued is set at $4,999.99 per transaction with a standard maximum of $10,000 per month per card. The University of South Carolina, through the purchasing department, will adjust limits as determined by demonstrated need. All such requests will be reviewed and approved by the director of Purchasing. Requests for increased monthly limits should have a minimum of six months Visa history and no exceptions for the entire unit. Written justification from department head/dean/chair to include time/date parameters must be submitted in writing to the director of Purchasing for approval.

Declines

Should the purchasing card be declined by a vendor, the cardholder should immediately contact the purchasing card administrator for assistance. If a purchase is being made outside of normal business hours, the employee must find an alternate payment method or terminate the purchase and contact the purchasing card administrator during normal business hours. 

Emergency Transactions

Emergency transactions over $4,999.99 may not be handled with the purchasing card due to state procurement regulations. For any transaction that does not meet the spending controls assigned to the card, the cardholder must contact Purchasing for assistance.

Credits and Rebates

Vendors will issue all credits to the individual purchasing card account for any item they have agreed to accept for return. This credit will appear on a subsequent statement. Under no circumstances should a cardholder accept cash in lieu of a credit to the purchasing card account. 

Rebates for supplies purchased for the university are the property of UofSC and must be deposited back to the appropriate university account.

Unresolved Disputes and Billing Errors

The cardholder is responsible for contacting the vendor to resolve any disputed charges or billing errors. If the matter is not resolved with the vendor, the cardholder/department liaison should:

  • contact Bank of America by phone at 1-888-449-2273 directly.
  • mail or fax to Bank of America at 1-888-678-6046 a signed Dispute Form [pdf] to document the reason for the dispute, if form is requested.
  • contact the purchasing card administrator for assistance if an acceptable resolution is not obtained.

Note: The total amount billed by Bank of America will be charged to the individual department accounts and credits for disputed transactions will be posted to department accounts when the credit appears on the Bank of America billing. The cardholder has sixty (60) days from the posting date to report to Bank of America.

 

Card Administration

Security and Storage

Purchasing Cards
Protect your purchasing card as you would your own personal credit card. It should be kept in a secure location, with the card account number carefully guarded. The only person entitled to use the card is the person whose name appears on it. The purchasing card may not be used by another person for any reason.

Program Documentation
The department liaison assigned to each department container will maintain the cardholder's vendor receipts/packing slips/charge slips. All other documentation concerning the purchasing card program will be maintained by the purchasing card administrator located in the Purchasing Department. This documentation includes applications, cardholder agreements, agency billing statements, reconciliation of accounting statements, Works programs and documentation, and copies of transmittals and correspondence with Bank of America.

Purchasing Card Set-Up, Maintenance and Closure

All contact with Bank of America for card set-up, maintenance and closure (except for reporting lost or stolen cards) is handled by the purchasing card administrator who is located in the Purchasing Department, 803-777-4115.

Card Set-Up

  1. University of South Carolina employee completes a purchasing card application and submits to his or her department head for completion and approval.
  2. Department head completes the application by indicating the account and object code to be assigned to the card.
  3. Department head signature approval delegates transaction authority to the cardholder.
  4. Approved application is sent to the purchasing card administrator.
  5. Purchasing card administrator reviews application and submits it to Bank of America for processing.
  6. Upon receipt of the purchasing card from Bank of America, the purchasing card administrator will conduct a training session with the cardholder prior to issuing the card.
  7. Cardholder signs agreement signifying acceptance of the terms of the purchasing card program.  

Card Maintenance

  • Purchasing card administrator will use all available tools of Bank of America's software for the maintenance of cards.  

Closure

  • Lost or Stolen Cards – Cardholder must immediately report the lost/stolen card to Bank of America at 1-888-449-2273. Cardholder must also notify the purchasing card administrator, who will follow up with Bank of America, if replacement procurement card is not received.
  • Terminated Employees – Department liaison is to secure purchasing cards from terminated employees. The department liaison will immediately notify the purchasing card administrator by phone of the termination. A request for closing the cardholder account will be submitted to Bank of America by the purchasing card administrator within two days of receiving the notification. All purchasing cards are to be returned to the purchasing card administrator for disposal.
  • Other Card Revokes/Closures – Purchasing card administrator will notify Bank of America immediately of all revokes and closures.
  • Purchasing cards will be reviewed in January of each year. Any card with no activity for the previous 12 month period will be canceled and the liaison will be notified that this action has occurred.
  • Purchasing Card Cancellation Form [pdf]
Reconciliation, Approval and Allocation of Billing

Receipt and Payment of Bank of America Billing

  • Bank of America will electronically bill the University of South Carolina within seven days after the close of the billing cycle on the 27th of each month.
  • Purchasing card administrator will review bill for any obvious errors in charges. If none noted, payment in full will be made to Bank of America.
  • Purchasing card administrator will prepare payment voucher against prepay object code and submit to Accounting for an EFT to be issued to Bank of America.
  • Voucher will be prepared within five days of receipt of the Bank of America bill and processed so payment will reach Bank of America no later than 25 calendar days after the close of the billing cycle of the previous month.
  • EFT will be transmitted in accordance with Bank of America's instructions.

Allocation of Purchasing Card Charges to Departments 

A default account and object code will be assigned to each purchasing card issued. Bank of America will submit monthly an electronic billing statement to the University of South Carolina and all purchasing card transactions will be charged to the default account number unless adjustments are made as follows:
  • Department liaisons will change account and/or object codes as necessary.
  • Department liaisons will add analytical information for cost sharing, if necessary.
  • Department liaisons will identify transactions requiring payment of use tax.
  • Department liaisons will be notified via email each time a transaction is posted from the bank, allowing for immediate reconciliation in lieu of waiting for the statement at the end of the month to reconcile the charge.
  • Department liaisons will assemble and retain cardholders statements, charge slips and receipts for audit by internal and external auditors. Receipts for purchases made from federal funds must be maintained for seven years and all other receipts for three years.
  • Purchasing card administrator will process upload of the department charges to Accounting for proper charging of individual departments.
  • The total amount billed by Bank of America will be charged to the individual department accounts and credits for disputed transactions will be posted to department accounts when credit appears on the Bank of America billing.
  • Purchasing card administrator will reconcile the detailed electronic billing statement to amount paid Bank of America.
Audit

The University of South Carolina's internal control policies and procedures. 

Cardholder will:

  • Submit vendor receipt, invoice, packing slip and any other additional supporting documentation to department liaison. Cardholder should also supply copies of orders placed by telephone, fax or internet to department liaison.
  • Provide missing receipt affidavit to liaison for those receipts unable to obtain and/or receive duplicate copies. Must also be signed by the immediate supervisor. Repeated use of this method will subject cardholder to loss of privileges.
  • Indicate alternate cost center, object code and/or cost share account code for purchases to be charged if different than the default assigned to the purchasing card.
  • If the cardholder is also the liaison, it is a requirement that an approver must be designated to also approve the transactions of the liaison in the Works application. This is in addition to the supervisor and/or department head approving the paper electronic statement. The approver may be any employee. Not necessarily your immediate supervisor.
  • Sign the purchasing card statement.
     

Department Liaison will:

  • Match cardholder receipts to electronic billing.
  • Enter alternate cost center, object code and/or cost share account code when applicable.
  • Enter analytical for cost sharing to grants when applicable.
  • Identify transactions requiring the payment of use tax.
  • Retain all receipts and vouchers for audit by internal and external auditors. Receipts for purchases paid from federal funds are to be maintained for seven years. All other receipts must be maintained for three years.
  • Sign the purchasing card statement.
     

Purchasing Card Administrator will:

  • Process upload of department charges to accounting for charging individual departments. Upload to individual account codes is to be for the total amount of the electronic billing.
  • Reconcile UofSC monthly accounting statement for payments to Bank of America and charges to individual departments.
  • Make periodic audits of procurement card use and charges for appropriateness through the use of Bank of America’s Works on-line reporting system. Areas to be monitored include, but not limited to, compliance with SC Consolidated Procurement Code, compliance with purchasing card regulations, compliance with University of South Carolina regulations, and sales and use tax charges. Nonuse of card by cardholders will also be monitored.
General Procedures for P-Card Renewal Testing
  1. Bank of America issues cards with a three-year expiration date. All cardholders are trained prior to receiving a procurement card. Upon expiration of the cards, all cardholders will be required to complete an online refresher examination before the new card can be activated by the university's purchasing card administrator (P-Card administrator).
  2. Renewal cards are automatically mailed to cardholders. In order to remain active, refresher training is required.
  3. The test will be administered through the Blackboard software program maintained by University Technology Services.

I. Procedure

  1. The P-Card administrator will receive a card status report using the Works program.
  2. The P-Card administrator will verify the email address and network user ID.
  3. A group distribution notification will be sent to all liaisons with cards expiring within the next 30 calendar days, notifying the affected cardholders of their impending expiration date.
  4. Cardholders will receive a notice instructing them to complete an online test using the Blackboard system prior to the expiration date.
  5. Cardholders must take the test. If a cardholder does not take the test, the new card will not be activated and will be subject to cancellation.
  6. If a cardholder fails the test, the cardholder will be required to attend refresher training with the P-Card administrator and to retake the test.
Merchant Category Code (MCC) Blocking

The University of South Carolina has adopted the State of South Carolina's Blocked Merchant Category Code List with some allowable adjustments. Transactions will be blocked at the point-of-sale level at the types of vendors on the Blocked Merchant Category Code List attached to these procedures.

 

Blocked Merchant Category Code List

Code Category
3000 - 3299 Airlines
3501 - 3722 Hotels and Motels
4011 Railroads
4111 Local/Suburban Commuter Passenger Transportation, Including Ferries
4112 Passenger Railways
4121 Taxicabs/Limousines
4411 Steamship/Cruise Lines
4511 Airlines, Air Carriers (not elsewhere classified)
4582 Airports, Flying Fields, Airport Terminals
4722 Travel Agencies
4723 TUI Travel
4761 Transportation/Travel-Related Arrangement Services-Mail or Telephone Order (excluding travel agencies)
4784 Toll and Bridge Fees
4789 Transportation Services (not elsewhere classified)
4821 Telegraph Services
4829 Wire Transfer – Money Orders
5172 Petroleum and Petroleum Products
5271 Mobile Home Dealers
5309 Duty-Free Stores
5541 Service Stations (with or without ancillary services)
5542 Automated Fuel Dispensers
5598 Snowmobile Dealers
5681 Furriers and Fur Shops
5812 Eating Places, Restaurants
5813 Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) Bars, Taverns, Cocktail Lounges, Nightclubs, Discotheques
5921 Package Stores – Beer, Wine and Liquor
5933 Pawn Shops
5960 Direct Marketing Insurance Services
5962 Direct Marketing Travel-Related Arrangement Services
5963 Direct Selling Establishments/Door-to-Door Sales
5966 Outbound Telemarketing Merchant
5993 Cigar Stores and Stands
5997 Electric Razor Stores - Sales and Service
6010 Financial Institutions – Manual Cash Disbursements
6011 Financial Institutions – Automated Cash Disbursements
6012 Financial Institutions – Merchandise and Services
6051 Non-Financial Institutions – Foreign Currency, Money Orders (not wire transfer) and Travelers Checks
6211 Security Brokers/Dealers
6300 Insurance Sales and Underwriting
6381 Insurance Premiums
6399 Insurance (not elsewhere classified)
6611 Overpayments
6760 Savings Bonds
7011 Lodging – Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Central Reservation Services, (not elsewhere classified)
7012 Timeshares
7230 Barber and Beauty Shops
7273 Dating and Escort Services
7276 Tax Preparation Service
7277 Counseling Service – Debt, Marriage, Personal
7278 Buying – Shopping Services, Clubs
7280 Hospital Patient Personal Funds Withdrawal Accounts
7295 Babysitting Services
7297 Massage Parlors
7298 Health and Beauty Spas
7321 Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies
7361 Employment Agencies, Temporary Help Services
7392 Management, Consulting and Public Relations Services
7393 Detective Agencies, Protective Services and Security Services, including Armored Cars and Guard Dogs
7512 Car Rental Agencies (not elsewhere classified)
7519 Motor Home and Recreational Vehicle Rentals
7524 Express Payment Service Merchants – Parking Lots
7542 Car Washes
7833 Express Payment Service Merchants – Motion Picture Theaters
7929 Bands, Orchestras, Entertainers
7995 Betting (including Lottery Tickets, Casino Gaming Chips, Off-Track Betting and Wagers)
7997 Membership Clubs (Sports, Recreation, Athletic), Country Clubs, Private Golf Courses
8011 Doctors
8021 Dentists, Orthodontists
8031 Osteopaths
8041 Chiropractors
8042 Optometrists, Ophthalmologists
8043 Opticians
8044 Optical Goods and Eyeglasses
8049 Chiropodists, Podiatrists
8050 Nursing and Personal Care Facilities
8062 Hospitals
8111 Legal Services, Attorneys
8211 Elementary and Secondary Schools
8241 Correspondence Schools
8244 Business and Secretarial Schools
8249 Vocational and Trade Schools
8351 Child Care Services
8675 Automobile Associations
8931 Accounting, Auditing and Bookkeeping Services
9211 Court Costs, including Alimony and Child Support
9222 Fines
9223 Bail and Bond Payment
9311 Tax Payments
9411 Government Loan Payments
9700 Automated Rental Service
9751 UK Supermarkets – Electronic Hot File (for regional use only)
9752 UK Petrol Stations – Electronic Hot File (for regional use only)