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Procurement Card FAQs

General Information

  1. What are the benefits of having a Procurement Card?
  2. How do I apply for a Procurement Card?
  3. Is Procurement Card training available?
  4. As a cardholder, am I held personally responsible for Procurement Card use or misuse?
  5. Can I share my card with other individuals that need to make purchases?
  6. Where should I store the card for safekeeping?
  7. What should I do if the Procurement Card is lost or stolen, or I need to cancel a Procurement Card?
  8. What should I do if I’m going on a Leave of Absence?
  9. How do I change the MFK on my procurement card?
  10. How do I access the ProTrav application?
  11. Who do I contact if I have a Procurement Card question?
  12. Who do I contact for Workflow issues?
  13. How do I find news, information, and changes related to Procurement Card?

Procurement Card Purchasing

  1. What goods or services can be purchased with the Procurement Card?
  2. What are my Procurement Card credit limits? Can the credit limits be increased?
  3. Can the Procurement Card be used to purchase food or meals?
  4. What should I do if a transaction is declined?
  5. How do I handle sales tax when making purchases with the Procurement Card?
  6. What happens if I make a personal purchase with the Procurement Card?
  7. What are the guidelines regarding purchases for the sole benefit of faculty, staff, or their family members?

Travel on the Procurement Card

  1. What travel related expenses may be paid with the Procurement Card?
  2. Are receipts required for all travel related purchases?
  3. Are there I should be aware of when using my Pro Card for online airfare purchases?
  4. What is the policy for purchasing meals or food on the Procurement Card while in travel status?
  5. What if a cardholder spends more than their daily meal allowance with their PCard?
  6. If an individual spends over their meal allowance for a single day, can they offset the overage by applying the overage to another day or reducing out of pocket expenses on the Travel Expense Voucher?
  7. What if an individual purchases a meal from two different vendors, a week’s worth of groceries, etc.?

Procurement Card Vouchers (Documentation, Reconciliation, & Approvals)

  1. Do I need to have a receipt for all Procurement Card purchases?
  2. What should I do if I lost a receipt or didn’t receive one from the vendor?
  3. What if a transaction appears on the voucher that is incorrect or that I don’t recognize?
  4. How long do original receipts need to be kept?
  5. Who needs to approve a Procurement Card Voucher?
  6. When do Procurement Card Vouchers need to be completed?
  7. What happens if I do not complete my Procurement Card Voucher by the due date?

General Information

  1. What are the benefits of having a Procurement Card?

The Procurement Card provides the ability to efficiently purchase low dollar goods, such as office supplies. Most travel related expenses may also be paid via the Procurement Card, reducing the amount of out-of-pocket travel expenses incurred. ↑top

  1. How do I apply for a Procurement Card?

Sign into Employee Self Serve and click the Administration tab. Under the Systems section, click the ProTrav (PCard Vouchers & Travel) link to access the ProTrav application. Once logged into the ProTrav application, look under the PCard tab (on the left hand side) and click the Apply for Procurement Card link to start the process.

Follow the on-screen directions to complete the process. The Procurement Card application needs to receive Workflow approval from the department. Once Workflow approvals are completed, Accounts Payable reviews the application and, if approved, sends it to the bank. The card arrives to Accounts Payable within 7-10 business days and the cardholder is notified when available for pickup. Before card pickup, all new cardholders must complete Procurement Card training, see below for more information. ↑top

  1. Is Procurement Card training available?

Yes, Procurement Card Training is available via a self-paced online training or an instructor-led training. The Procurement Card training course is required for all new cardholders and a refresher course is required once every three years for current cardholders. ↑top

Topics presented during both the online or instructor-led training include: policies and procedures, purchasing for the University, allowable and non-allowable Procurement Card purchases, cardholder responsibilities, dates and deadlines, and a Procurement Card reconciliation demonstration.

Additional Information and instructions for signing up for either training course is available at: www.uiowa.edu/purchasing/Shared/training.htmtop

  1. As a cardholder, am I held personally responsible for Procurement Card use or misuse?

As a cardholder you share responsibility for the Procurement Card with the University. See Procurement Card Risk for additional information on your responsibilities as a cardholder. ↑top

  1. Can I share my card with other individuals that need to make purchases?

As a best practice, the Accounts Payable, Travel and Purchasing Department strongly discourages sharing your Procurement Card or card number with other individuals. Cardholders are responsible for all charges processed on their Procurement Card. Sharing your account number or allowing others to use your card increases the risk of unauthorized use and the potential for fraud. Unauthorized use can lead to card revocation and/or disciplinary action. Individuals who make frequent purchases should consider applying for their own Procurement Card. 

It is acceptable for a cardholder to make some University business related purchases on behalf of individuals who do not have a Procurement Card. The types of purchases that are acceptable to make for others include, but are not limited to, office supplies, conference registrations, airline tickets, hotel deposits, etc. The Procurement Card should not be used to pre pay the entire hotel stay for a traveler who is not the cardholder. An exception to this rule is paying hotel charges for a university guest at a local hotel. Credit arrangements can be made and use of the Procurement Card is acceptable for these instances. Otherwise, the traveler is expected to have the credit card with them at the time of check in and the Procurement Card should never be sent with another individual who is traveling. 

If the cardholder cannot personally make or pick up a purchase, instead of sending the card with another individual, the cardholder should contact the vendor to make the purchase and make arrangements for someone else to pick it up. Cardholders should never send a copy of your card to any vendor to “authorize” use of the card. If a vendor requires a copy of the credit card to process your transaction, choose another vendor or payment method.   ↑top

  1. Where should I store the Procurement Card for safekeeping?

Store the card in either a locked drawer or safe in the department. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to ensure the card is in a safe location and exposure to the card number is strictly controlled. Avoid permanently carrying the card in a billfold or purse to decrease the possibility of the card being lost, stolen, or used inappropriately. (*Note: It is acceptable for the card to be in the cardholder’s possession to pay for travel related expenses while in travel status). ↑top

  1. What should I do if the Procurement Card is lost or stolen, or I need to cancel a Procurement Card?

Notify Accounts Payable immediately if a card is lost or stolen via email at protrav@uiowa.edu or phone at 319/ 335-0115. If lost on University grounds, notify Public Safety at 319/ 335-5022. Outside of normal business hours, notify U.S. Bank directly at 800/ 344-5696 or internationally at 701/ 461-2010 (both numbers available 24 hours a day). Notify Accounts Payable the next business day.

To cancel a PCard, email protrav@uiowa.edu and provide cardholder name and the reason for cancellation (e.g. left University, transferred dept., etc). Do not include the credit card number. Once cancelled, a confirmation response is sent. The cancelled card should be cut in half and sent via campus mail to 202 PCO. ↑top

  1. What should I do if I’m going on a Leave of Absence?

For Leaves of Absence longer than 30 days, the cardholder needs to notify Accounts Payable via email at protrav@uiowa.edu or phone at 319/ 335.0115. The card is placed on hold for the duration of the LOA. Upon return, notify Accounts Payable again and the card is removed from hold and may be used shortly thereafter. The card is placed on hold for the cardholder’s protection, as the cardholder is ultimately responsible for all charges on their card. ↑top

  1. How do I change the default MFK on my procurement card?

To update or change the default MFK on your procurement card, send an e-mail to protrav@uiowa.edu stating what the new MFK will be. If the MFK has significant changes such as the department number changing, you may need to return your current card and apply for a new card because the Workflow approval path may change. ↑top

  1. How do I access the ProTrav application?

The ProTrav application is accessible directly at: https://protrav.bo.uiowa.edu. You may be required to log into Employee Self Service if not already logged into another Self Service application.

The ProTrav application is also accessible through Employee Self Service. Once logged in, click the Administration tab, and look under the Systems section for the ProTrav (PCard Vouchers & Travel) link. If having difficulties accessing the ProTrav application, send an email to ProTrav@uiowa.edu with a description of the difficulty or error message. ↑top

  1. Who do I contact if I have a Procurement Card question?

See the PCard Staff website for names and contact numbers. Most questions can be directed towards the card issuance, information, and maintenance contacts or an email sent to ProTrav@uiowa.edu. ↑top

  1. Who do I contact for Workflow issues?

First, contact your Workflow Administrator. If unsure who your Workflow Administrator is, log into Employee Self Service, click the Personal tab and look for the “My Workflow Administrator” link under the General section. If the Workflow Administrator can’t resolve the issue, send an email to protrav@uiowa.edu with an explanation of the issue. ↑top

  1. How do I find news, information, and changes related to Procurement Card?

The PCard news website provides this information. ↑top


Procurement Card Purchasing

  1. What goods or services may be purchased with the Procurement Card?

See the current list of goods and services which may be purchased in the Allowed Charges section of the Procurement Card Manual. ↑top

  1. What are my Procurement Card credit limits? Can the credit limits be increased?

To view your procurement card limits, sign into ProTrav, click on the pcard tab, then click on the + next to your name and click on the link titled Account Info. Your credit limits, billing address and default MFK will display on this screen.

The single transaction limit may be increased for travel or advertising related expenses. Keep in mind that splitting a transaction to circumvent the single transaction limit is a violation of Procurement Card policy.

To increase the monthly credit or single transaction limit, complete the applicable form available the department forms page and email to protrav@uiowa.edu or fax to 335.2443. ↑top

  1. Can the Procurement Card be used to purchase food or meals?

The Procurement Card may be used to pay for business meals and individual travel meals. Alcohol should not be paid for on the Procurement Card (alcohol should be paid by separate funds and reimbursed using an eVoucher). For more info regarding food purchases on the Procurement Card, see the Food Purchases section of the Procurement Card Manual as well as the Travel on the Procurement Card FAQs section on this website. ↑top

  1. What should I do if a transaction is declined?
  • Verify the correct billing info is provided to the merchant. The billing info for each PCard Account is viewable in ProTrav. To find this info, look under the PCard tab > My Cards section > click the “+” next to the cardholder’s name to expand available options, then click the “Account Info” link to display the card billing information.

  • Ensure the credit card number and expiration date was correctly provided (no numbers are transposed).

  • Check the available credit on the Procurement Card (keep in mind purchases not yet posted to the PCard account).

  • Verify the transaction is within the single transaction limit.

  • For additional assistance, contact Accounts Payable by email protrav@uiowa.edu, or phone 335.0115.  ↑top

  1. How do I handle sales tax when making purchases with the Procurement Card?

When making PCard purchases, notify the vendor at the start of the process that you’re making the purchase on behalf of the University of Iowa, which is a tax exempt entity. Most vendors will provide instructions on how to process the transaction or request documentation (e.g. tax exempt certificates) to verify tax exemption. The University’s Tax ID is located on the front of the PCard (42-46004813). Tax exempt forms are located on our department forms page.

The General Counsel website maintains a list of states the University of Iowa receives at least partial sales tax exemption for, and is located on their website. Even if the particular state isn’t listed, simply asking the vendor at the beginning of the transaction if the purchase can be made tax-exempt may help save the University from being charged sales tax.

If sales tax was charged on a purchase, it is the cardholder’s responsibility to follow up to obtain a sales tax credit.Contact the vendor and ask what the process is for obtaining a credit. If the vendor is being uncooperative or unresponsive, email ProTrav@uiowa.edu for additional assistance. ↑top

  1. What happens if I make a personal purchase with the Procurement Card?

Personal purchases need to be reimbursed back to the University. In ProTrav, a payroll deduct can be set up during the reconciliation process to repay the personal purchase amount. See the FAQ for Using the Payroll Deduction feature.

Keep in mind, personal purchases on the Procurement Card are a violation of the Procurement Card Agreement signed by all cardholders. Continued use of the Procurement Card for personal purchases may lead to card revocation and up to employee termination. ↑top

  1. What are the guidelines regarding purchases for the sole benefit of faculty, staff, or their family members (flowers, gifts, and incidentals)?

See the Operations Manual section titled Food, Beverage, Flowers, Gifts, and Similar Incidental Expenses for the most current information regarding University policy on these purchases, including interpretation of the policy. ↑top


Travel on the Procurement Card

  1. What travel related expenses may be paid with the Procurement Card?

Most travel related purchases may be made on the Procurement Card. For example, a cardholder can place hotel, airfare, car rental, taxis, and individual travel meal charges on the Procurement Card.

Please review the Travel Manual for more information of what travel expenses may be paid for using the Procurement Card. ↑top

  1. Are receipts required for all travel related purchases?

Receipts are required for all travel related purchases on the PCard, with the exemption of individual travel meals less than $75.00. Most travel related expenses on the Procurement Card require additional or more detailed documentation, see Supporting Documentation Guidelines in the Travel Manual for receipt and documentation requirements for specific travel related expenses. ↑top

  1. Are there issues I should be aware of when using my Procurement Card for online airfare purchases?
Click here to view Airline Ticketing Requirements for e-tickets booked on-line

On-line Airfare

The University Travel office would like to pass along some very important information to those of you who use the UI Procurement Card to purchase airfare on-line. As a security measure, for e-tickets booked online, airlines now require that the traveler have in their possession the credit card that was used to purchase the ticket. You may be asked to show the card prior to check in or boarding. This is true whether the ticket is booked directly on the airline’s Web page (UAL.com, AA.com, etc) or an on-line booking agency (i.e. travelocity.com). If an individual does not have the exact credit card used for the purchase, they may be denied boarding and be asked to step out of line and go to a phone to book a new ticket with a credit card they have with them. Airlines do not require this extra security measure for tickets booked through a travel agency or for paper tickets.

In order to avoid problems at check in and boarding the following solutions are recommended:

  • If booking on-line, use the Procurement Card in the name of the traveler so that the card can be taken with the traveler to the airport. (Note: A cardholder is not allowed to send their card with another individual in travel status.)
  • If you are using a “departmental” Procurement Card or the PCard of an individual other than the traveler, book your ticket(s) through one of the UI’s Preferred Travel agencies or another reputable agency.

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  1. What is the policy for purchasing meals or food on the Procurement Card while in travel status?

Business meals on the Procurement Card (whether in travel status or not) regardless of the dollar amount, require a receipt or documentation, including the number of individuals present for the meal and the UI business purpose.

Individual travel meals on the Procurement Card only require a receipt or documentation when they exceed $75.00 for the meal. Although rare, some international destinations provide meal allowances where a traveler would exceed the $75.00 threshold and require a receipt to be provided.

All meal allowances include any tip expense. If the tip causes the traveler to go over their allowance, the traveler would be responsible for reimbursing the overage back to the University.

Alcohol should not be paid using the Procurement Card and is never an allowable expense for an individual travel meal. Any alcohol should be split out from the bill and paid by personal funds.

A single cardholder may purchase individual travel meals for multiple UI individuals traveling to the same destination. During reconciling the Procurement Card, the expense would need to be properly associated to each of the traveler’s Travel Expense Vouchers as an individual travel meal. The actual expense for each traveler should be claimed, rather than splitting the expense evenly among all individuals. ↑top

  1. What if an individual spends more than their daily meal allowance with their PCard?

If a cardholder or traveler spends over their maximum daily meal allowance, they are responsible for reimbursing the University for the amount through payroll deduction or a personal check.

The cardholder or traveler should make every attempt to stay within their daily meal allowance, including keeping track of total meal costs for the day and splitting payment between PCard and personal funds when necessary.

Continued abuse of the meal allowance (e.g. going over the maximum allowance and reimbursing the University) may lead to card suspension or revocation. ↑top

  1. If an individual spends over their meal allowance for a single day, can they offset the overage by applying the overage to another day or reducing out of pocket expenses on the Travel Expense Voucher?

No, the individual can’t offset any overage by applying the overage to another day or reducing out of pocket expenses on the TEV. The overage should be reimbursed through payroll deduction or providing a personal check. ↑top

  1. What if an individual purchases a meal from two different vendors, a week’s worth of groceries, etc.?

The purchases are allowable as long as the individual does not exceed the maximum meal allowances.

For meals from two different vendors (e.g. breakfast for $5.00 and coffee for $1.50) reconcile the larger charge to the appropriate meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and reconcile the smaller charge under the “Other” expense category. For using the “Other” category for meal charges, reference the day and specific meal for the charge.

If purchasing a week’s worth of groceries to space out as meals through the trip, expense the total grocery purchase out over the meals it applies towards. ↑top


Procurement Card Vouchers (Documentation, Reconciliation, & Approvals)

  1. Do I need to have a receipt for all Procurement Card purchases?

Most Procurement Card purchases require documentation identifying the purchase.
There are two exceptions:

  • Freight-UPS or Fed Ex shipments. If the cardholder has set up an account with Accounts Payable, the shipping detail will display on the reconciliation panel when the user clicks the Trans Detail button. If the complete detail does not display, supporting documentation is required.

  • Individual travel meals under $75.00 as detailed in the “Travel On the Procurement Card FAQs”.

Acceptable documentation includes an invoice, receipt, order form, or packing slip; the documentation identifies the vendor, purchase date, dollar amount, and itemized purchase description.

Procurement Card Vouchers will not be approved by audit staff unless appropriate documentation is provided for all purchases. ↑top

  1. What should I do if I lost a receipt or didn’t receive one from the vendor?

Contact the vendor to request a duplicate or acceptable documentation. The vendor should either be able to provide an invoice, packing slip, or a written description of merchandise purchased as well as the dollar amount of the purchase. If you experience difficulties in obtaining a receipt, email ProTrav@uiowa.edu for assistance or recommendations. ↑top

  1. What if a transaction appears on the voucher that is incorrect or that I don’t recognize?

For incorrect or foreign transactions on a voucher, the appropriate method may be to dispute the charge or to contact the bank to initiate a fraudulent claim. The first step is to determine if a business relationship exists with the vendor.

If a business relationship doesn’t exist (e.g. you’ve never made a purchase from this vendor) then typically the transaction is considered fraudulent and needs to be reported to the bank.

If a business relationship exists (e.g. you’ve made purchases from this vendor before) then typically the transaction needs to be resolved through vendor communication or disputed if communication is unsuccessful.

If unsure whether to proceed with a fraudulent claim or dispute the transaction, send an email to protrav@uiowa.edu or call 319/ 335-0115.

If the transaction is incorrect (e.g. charged for an item you didn’t receive, sales tax was charged to the purchase, etc.) the appropriate method is to try and resolve the issue directly through the vendor, if possible. If vendor communication is unsuccessful, proceed with completing a dispute in the ProTrav application.

The dispute process is completed while reconciling a PCard Voucher. At the reconciliation screen, click the “New Line” link next to the transaction to dispute. The PCV Line Editor box appears at the top of the screen. Mark the “Dispute Transaction” checkbox and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the dispute form. Once done, print the form out and fax to US Bank at the number provided at the top of the form. Keep in mind: Disputes need to be received by the bank within 60 days of the posting date.

While a dispute is being resolved, use a departmental MFK to pay the expense, if a dispute is resolved in cardholder favor, a credit is provided by the bank, use this same departmental MFK for the credit. If the dispute is resolved in merchant favor, the cardholder or department is responsible for providing appropriate documentation to Accounts Payable to support the transaction.

For fraudulent claims, the cardholder or reconciler needs to notify Accounts Payable at protrav@uiowa.edu or 319/ 335-0115. Once done, the cardholder will need to contact the US Bank Fraud Department at 800/ 523-9078. Be sure to inform the bank that the charge is “unauthorized”. ↑top

  1. How long do original receipts need to be kept?

Accounts Payable requires original receipts to be kept until the voucher is audited and loaded to General Ledger.

A department may have additional retention requirements. A funding source such as a grant may require different retention timeframes as well. Check with your department to verify how long original receipts need to be kept. ↑top

  1. Who needs to approve a Procurement Card Voucher?

A PCard Voucher requires two approvals using the Workflow application. The cardholder’s approval is always required and cannot be delegated. The second approval may be anyone delegated the authority to approve on behalf of the department. However, no one individual may approve a form in more than one capacity. It is the cardholder and department's responsibility to ensure the appropriate departmental approvals are obtained.

If a transaction involves an individual providing the second approval (such as a cardholder who purchases airfare for their supervisor, who is typically the second approval on their voucher) an additional level of approval (in this instance, the manager of the traveler and cardholder would be appropriate) is required. ↑top

  1. When do Procurement Card Vouchers need to be completed?

The completed Procurement Card Voucher, including appropriate documentation and all Workflow approvals needs to be complete by the18th of each month. If the 18th falls on a holiday or weekend, the voucher should be submitted the prior business day. Keep in mind Workflow approvals may cause delays in voucher submittal. ↑top

  1. What happens if I do not complete my Procurement Card Voucher by the due date?

Procurement Card Vouchers (PCVs) need to be completed by the 18th of the month following billing cycle completion (e.g. the February PCV needs to be completed by March 18th).

For vouchers not completed through Workflow by the 18th of a month, an email reminder is sent to the cardholder and anyone with reconciliation access to the PCard to complete the PCV and ensure it receives all Workflow approvals.

Vouchers not completed by the end of the month (e.g. February PCV not completed March 31st) are considered to be in “default” and all transactions are charged against the default MFK specified for the Procurement Card.

Once the voucher is received, audited, and approved, all charges are reversed from the default MFK and charged against the MFKs specified on the voucher.  

Continual delay of voucher completion causes additional University resources to be expended and untimely recording of expenses to the General Ledger. Continual delay may also result in card suspension or revocation. Additionally, PCard expenses not fully reconciled could be deemed personal and reimbursed through cardholder payroll deduction. ↑top