Policy Manual



Purchasing Cards

Policy #:


Authorized by:

Associate Dean for Administrative and Financial Services 11/24/98

Approved by:

Dean of the University 11/24/98

The state of South Carolina created the Purchasing Card Program in response to the need for state agencies to reduce the paperwork and employee time involved in traditional purchasing methods. USC Sumter, as a department of the University of South Carolina, has elected to participate in the Purchasing Card Program. This campus is bound by the policies and procedures prescribed for all departments by the University of South Carolina. The University Purchasing Office has created a Policy and Procedures area on its Web page. The address is http://purchasing.sc.edu/cc/. (This policy is not part of the comprehensive USC policy manual.) USC Sumter has adopted the following local policy in addition to the policy provided on the internet.


Intended Use and Limitations


Purchasing cards can, in many instances, replace the need for a Purchase Order, Direct Expenditure Voucher, or Petty Cash. Cards are issued with two limits encoded in them: 1) a single purchase cannot exceed $1,500.00, and 2) no more than $5,000.00 can be charged within a single billing period (approximately one month). "Hard-coded" means that if a cardholder attempts a transaction that exceeds either of these limits, the card will be declined at the point of purchase. The $1,500.00 limit is set to reinforce the requirement to request bids on all purchases that exceed that amount.

In addition to these limitations, the department to which the card is charged has a finite budget that cannot be exceeded. This limit, however, must be enforced by the fund manager of that department, and must be strictly observed by the cardholder(s).

Most required supplies and services that do not exceed the transaction limits should be purchased using the card. There are two exceptions to this rule - routine office supplies and computer supplies. USC Sumter has purchasing procedures for these areas that take advantage of purchasing in quantity and ensure the compatibility of computer technology on campus.


Office Supplies


USC Sumter will continue to stock commonly used office supplies in Shipping and Receiving. A list of supplies and their prices will be published annually (with periodic updates) and will be provided to each office. As order forms are completed, prices should be listed and totaled by the ordering office. Order forms will be submitted to Shipping and Receiving to be filled. On a monthly or quarterly basis, these costs will be charged to each department. Departments should never independently purchase supplies that are available in Shipping and Receiving. If a department chooses to purchase an item not stocked in Shipping and Receiving, the department cardholder will use the purchasing card, if it is an appropriate transaction for the card. The item will be charged directly to that department's budget. The department fund manager remains responsible for insuring that the budget is not exceeded.


Computer Supplies


Computers, computer parts, and computer supplies will be ordered by, or in coordination with, the Computer Advisory Committee and the Computer Services Department of USC Sumter. CSD will be consulted and will have the authority to decide which brand names, hardware specifications, and software specifications will be ordered, regardless of which individual cardholder makes the purchase.


Causes for Card Termination


Being an authorized cardholder is a privilege that can be terminated for cause by the cardholder's supervisor, the USC Sumter Budget Director, the Assistant Dean for Administrative and Financial Services, and the Dean of the University. The Budget Director is the designated campus liaison to USC Purchasing for the Purchasing Card Program. It should be noted that if a USC Purchasing Card is used for personal purposes, not only will the card be terminated, the individual employee to whom the card was issued will be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, potential termination of employment. A card may be terminated if:

  • The Purchasing Card is used for personal or unauthorized purposes.

  • The Purchasing Card is used to purchase alcoholic beverages or any substance, material, or service which violates policy, law or regulation pertaining to the University.

  • The Cardholder allows the card to be used by another individual.

  • The Cardholder splits a purchase to circumvent the limitations of the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code.

  • The Cardholder uses another Cardholder's card to circumvent the purchase limit assigned to either Cardholder or the limitations of the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code.

  • The Cardholder fails to provide Departmental Liaison with required receipts.

  • The Cardholder fails to provide, when requested, information about any specific purchase.

  • The Cardholder does not adhere to all of the Purchasing Card policies and procedures.


Obtaining a Card


The logical person to be the cardholder in a department usually is the fund manager. Since the cardholder will be the primary purchaser for the department, the fund manager should evaluate the logistics particular to that department. The fund manager should send a request to the Budget Director specifying the employee's name, social security number, and the desired default account. The Budget Director will have the proposed cardholder sign an application and will forward that application to the Purchasing Office in Columbia. When the card is produced by the bank, it will be sent directly to the USC Purchasing Office. The employee must got to the Purchasing Office in person, and sign for the card.

The following two sections, "Cardholder Responsibilities" and "Campus Liaison Responsibilities" are taken directly from the Policy and Procedures Web pages of the USC Purchasing Office.


Cardholder Responsibilities


Following are several key responsibilities for each Cardholder. A Cardholder must:

  1. Ensure the Purchasing Card is used only for legitimate business purposes. Misuse of the card will subject Cardholder to disciplinary action in accordance with University Policies and Procedures relating to disciplinary action and termination for cause.

  2. Adhere to the purchase limits and restrictions of the Purchasing Card and ensure that the total transaction amount of any single transaction does not exceed $1,500. Furthermore, the Cardholder must ensure that all purchases are within all other spending and vendor guidelines established by the University.

  3. Ensure that the Purchasing Card is only used by the approved Cardholder. Use by anyone other than the approved Cardholder is strictly prohibited. The Purchasing Card is not transferable between Cardholders.

  4. Obtain all sales slips, register receipts, and/or Purchasing Card slips and provide to Departmental Liaison (Budget Director) for reconciliation, approval and allocation of transactions. A Cardholder must also notify the Departmental Liaison if the default account number and/or class code should be changed on an individual transaction.

  5. Attempt to first resolve a dispute or billing error directly with the vendor and notify NationsBank if the dispute or billing error is not satisfactorily resolved. A Cardholder must also ensure that an appropriate credit for the reported disputed item(s) or billing error appears on a subsequent Cardholder Memo Statement. Under no circumstances should a Cardholder accept cash in lieu of a credit to the Purchasing Card account.

  6. Call NationsBank at 1-800-538-8788 immediately (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) to report a Purchasing Card lost or stolen. A Cardholder must also notify the University Purchasing Card Coordinator about a lost or stolen Purchasing Card at the first opportunity during business hours.

  7. Return Purchasing Card to Departmental Liaison upon terminating employment with the University or transferring Departments within the University.


Campus Liaison Responsibilities:


The campus liaison for USC Sumter is the Budget Director. The responsibilities include:

  1. Collecting vendor receipts and purchasing card receipts from Cardholders and reconciling to NationsBank billing statements.

  2. Retaining all charge slips and receipts for audit by internal and external auditors.

  3. Approving and/or updating default account number, class code and cost-sharing information on electronic billing distribution of individual Cardholder account in advance of the monthly default cut-off date for approvals established by the University Purchasing Card Coordinator.

  4. Identifying transactions which require the submission of use tax to the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

  5. Attempting to resolve any disputes with vendor and/or NationsBank not resolved by Cardholder.

  6. Notifying University Purchasing Card Coordinator in 3 to 5 days of any unresolved disputes, noting the reason for dispute.

  7. Requesting the University Purchasing Card Coordinator to change default account for individual cards as needed and approved by Department Head.

  8. Notifying University Purchasing Card Coordinator of lost or stolen cards.

  9. Requesting University Purchasing Card Coordinator to cancel a Cardholder's card e.g.(terminated employees, transferring departments, loss of purchasing card privileges) as approved by Department Head.

  10. Collecting canceled cards from Cardholders and forwarding to University Purchasing Card Coordinator.