2.30 Purchasing Card Policies

2.30 Ithaca College Purchasing Card Policy

I. Policy Statement

Ithaca College preferred method of purchasing is utilizing the requisition/purchase order process in the Cloud instead of the Purchasing Card).   If you have questions, please contact the Office of Accounts Payable at accountspayable@ithaca.edu

Ithaca College maintains a purchasing card program that allows authorized individuals to make specific, business-related purchases of non-travel related goods and services paid for directly by Ithaca College when there is no other option for purchasing or payment. Authorized individuals should make their purchases with an awareness that they are using College funds, the vast majority of which are derived from student tuition payments. It is our responsibility to be attentive to the reasonable and effective use of the resources provided by our students and their families for their education.

II. Purpose

This policy provides general guidelines for the appropriate and reasonable expenditure of Ithaca College funds for non-travel related goods and services.

III. To Whom This Policy Applies

1. Individuals authorized to make specific business-related purchases of non-travel related goods and services.
2. Individuals with supervisory responsibilities for Ithaca College budgets.
3. Individuals who initiate, review, approve, process, or record financial transactions on behalf of the College.

IV. Responsibility

The President, Vice Presidents, Deans and Directors are responsible for assuring that within their administrative units or schools:

1. Budgeted funds are available to meet all non-travel or business related commitments.
2. Proper authorization for purchases is obtained for any commitments made.
3. All expenditures follow appropriate Ithaca College policies, regardless of the source of funds.
4. There is recognition of the added conditions placed on expenditures paid from federal and/or state funds, or from restricted gifts, and those restrictions are accounted for when expenditures are planned.

V. Overview

Ithaca College established a Purchasing Card program to provide a convenient, cost effective, and decentralized method, for individuals whose jobs require them, to make frequent business-related purchases. Any individual who has been authorized to use a purchasing card may initiate a transaction in person, over the internet, or by telephone, within the limits of this policy, and receive goods. Payments to suppliers are made via the MasterCard settlement system. Accounts Payable processes monthly reconciliations to the Mastercard program with JP Morgan.

Each program, department or division is responsible for designating an appropriate individual to approve Ithaca College non-travel related expenditures. 

The Cost Center Manager (CCM) is an employee designated, for a department code, to be the first approver for any transactions charged to accounts containing that department code. The CCM is typically an administrator or coordinator within the department. There can be only one CCM per department code.

 The Cost Center Manager Hierarchy begins with the CCM, escalates to the CCM's supervisor, and continues through a series of supervisors depending on the dollar amount of the transaction. Dollar amount thresholds can be found through this link:  https://ithaca.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/34/Portal/KB/ArticleDet?ID=866

This policy is divided into the following major sections:

• Types of Purchasing Cards
• Eligibility and Application Guidelines
• General Purchasing Card Guidelines
• Cardholder Responsibilities
• Supervisor Responsibilities
• Definitions

Types of Purchasing Cards

A Purchasing Card is a credit card issued by a financial institution to an organization to make direct purchases from vendors. The individual named on the card is authorized to make certain business purchases on behalf of the organization. Purchasing Card transactions do not require a requisition or purchase order to complete the transaction. In the event a department has a need to issue multiple Purchasing Cards it is recommended that a department card(s) be issued. A department purchasing card is issued in the department’s name and would be the responsibility of the departmental coordinator. If you are interested in finding out more about departmental purchasing cards, contact the Accounts Payable department at 274-3808. Ithaca College has established both an individual purchasing card and a departmental purchasing card that may be issued based on departmental needs.

Individual Purchasing Card

Individual purchasing cards are issued to authorized faculty and/or staff who have been approved to make business related purchases on behalf of the College. These cards are embossed with the cardholder’s name on them and may only be used by the cardholder. The cardholder is responsible for ensuring the safekeeping of this type of card.

Department Purchasing Card

Department cards are designed to limit the number of purchasing cards that are issued within any one department. These cards are issued to a specific department and embossed with the department’s name on the card. The Department Coordinator, or other designee within the department, is responsible for ensuring the safekeeping of this type of card. This would most likely be accomplished by “signing out” the card to an individual for authorized purchases and then making sure that this card is returned to the department along with the required supporting documentation for any purchases made.

Eligibility and Application Guidelines

Ithaca College benefits eligible faculty and staff are eligible to apply for a purchasing card provided their roles require them to make frequent business-related purchases. Due to liability concerns that potential fraud presents, departments are expected to limit the number of purchasing cards that are authorized for issuance to only those employees whose roles require them to make frequent business-related purchases. **The Purchasing Card should not be issued to individuals for “just in case” purchases.

Application Process

Ithaca College eligible employees are required to complete the Finance Cloud online application process if they are interested in obtaining an Ithaca College Purchasing Card.  Keep in mind that purchasing cards will only be issued to individuals whose roles require them to make frequent business-related purchases.  For the credit card approval process to be completed an individual’s application must be approved by their Supervisor through the Cloud Workflow process. Note: the Ithaca College Purchasing Card Program Administrator has final authority in determining whether an application meets the suggested guideline specifications.

To apply for an IC Purchasing or Travel Card from the Expense Module, click the link on the Travel and Expenses Dashboard.

The Program Administrator will maintain all records of credit card requests, limits, and cardholder transfers and lost/stolen/destroyed card information.

On-going Privileges to Use Purchasing Card

Failure to comply to card holder responsibilities may result in the following consequences:

First Offense: Email warning to cardholder and supervisor

Second Offense: Written warning to cardholder, supervisor, and respective Dean, Vice President, or President.

Third Offense: Card suspension after 90 days of outstanding credit card charges

Fourth Offense: Card Cancellation – privileges revoked

Note: The Program Administrator will be responsible for issuing the warning notifications  to the employee, supervisor, Dean, Vice President, and/or President.

In addition to the initial review and approval by the College Purchasing Card Program Administrator in determining whether an application meets the suggested guideline specifications, a regular review of all cardholders’ purchasing activity will be performed on an annual basis. This review will not only assist in ensuring compliance with the College’s purchasing guidelines, but will allow the program administrator to determine the continued need for a cardholder to carry a College Purchasing Card.  (For example, if during the program administrator’s review of cardholders purchasing activity, it is determined that a cardholder has not shown reasonable use of their purchasing card during the fiscal year their card privileges may be revoked.)

General Purchasing Card Guidelines

Purchasing Card Restrictions

The College’s Purchasing Card is designed to provide a convenient, cost effective, and decentralized method for departments to make business related purchases for goods and/or services. The single purchase dollar limit on any business related purchase made using the Purchasing Card is $2,000. There may be an occasion when a department needs to make a purchase higher than $2,000. Please obtain email approval from your Supervisor and contact accountspayable@ithaca.edu. Under no circumstances should a transaction be split into multiple transactions in an attempt to stay within the single purchase limit of $2,000. Any such attempt to split transactions for such a purpose will be considered misuse of the Purchasing Card and the cardholder will be subject to the consequences outlined below.

Purchasing cards are issued to cardholders with their name embossed on the front of the card. Because of this the cardholder is the only individual that is authorized to make purchases with that card. Any cardholder that shares or lends the Purchasing Card to another employee is considered to have misused the Purchasing Card and will be subject to the consequences outlined for misuse of the Purchasing Card.

**Note that this policy allows for departments to have a more stringent set of Purchasing Card restrictions than are set forth within this policy.

Unauthorized Purchasing Card Use

The College’s Purchasing Card shall not be used for the following types of transactions or purchases. Note: This list is intended to be representative, not comprehensive:

• Personal Purchases
• Cash Advances
• Consultants, Freelancers, or Contractors – individuals who are hired to perform a specific service or provide highly specialized advice or professional expertise, which may require a contract and legal review. There are tax and insurance requirements related to these types of payments. If you are unsure whether or not an individual is a consultant contact the Program Administrator.
• Capital Assets – a capital asset is an item that is permanent in nature having a useful life of no less than 5 years, is tangible, and is held for purposes other than investment or resale
• Needles or Syringes
• Radioactive Materials
• Research Animals
• Pest Control Services
• Security Systems – these systems must be coordinated through the Ithaca College Campus Safety Office
• Alcoholic Beverages
A cardholder who makes unauthorized purchases or carelessly uses their Purchasing Card may be personally liable for the total dollar amount of such unauthorized use plus any administrative fees charged by the issuing financial institution in connection with the misuse. The cardholder will be subject to disciplinary actions as outlined under the misuse section.

Making a Purchase or Return

Purchasing Cards can be used as payment for business related goods or services from a “Supplier of Choice” within the guidelines of this policy and any additional guidelines outlined by your department.

Purchases may be made in person, over the Internet, by phone, fax, or U.S. Mail.

Cardholders must always inform the supplier they are using an Ithaca College Purchasing Card and that Ithaca College is exempt from New York State Sales Tax. If you are charged sales tax, contact the merchant and obtain a credit to the card for the amount of the sales tax. Report any supplier who refuses to honor Ithaca College’s New York State Sales Tax Exemption Certificate to the Program Administrator.

Cardholders should utilize the following “checklist” when making a purchase:

1. Confirm that the supplier accepts MasterCard.
2. Direct the supplier to include the following information on the shipping label and packing list:

a. Cardholder’s name and telephone number
b. Complete delivery address
c. Order Number

3. It is extremely important that all purchases be sent to the cardholder or department ordering the merchandise, as this will ensure that the documents necessary for the record keeping are readily available to the cardholder.
4. If necessary, advise the individual within your department responsible for receiving merchandise of the supplier’s name and order number, anticipated delivery date, number of boxes expected, and carrier (ie. UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.)

If items purchased using the Purchasing Card are found to be unacceptable, the Cardholder is responsible for obtaining a replacement or correction of the item as soon as possible.

If the Cardholder is disputing a charge, he/she must first contact the supplier for resolution. If these attempts fail, the cardholder is required to submit a dispute by calling the number on the back of the JP Morgan Purchasing Card and contacting the Program Administrator. 

Purchasing for Federal and State Grants

Federal and State Grants may be audited and are subject to external and internal controls.

It will be the responsibility of the Cardholder to verify that all Purchasing Card receipts for Federal and State grants are approved via e-mail by the Principal Investigator, have appropriate documentation and approvals, and are in compliance with the College policies and procedures as outlined in this document.

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to review and approve all Purchasing Card receipts for Federal and State grant expenditures via e-mail. By approving the receipts, the Principal Investigator has ensured that the costs charged to the grant are allowable, allocable, and reasonable.

Consequences for Misuse of Purchasing Card

Individuals given Purchasing Card access by the College and their department are held accountable for all transactions related to their card. Consequences for misuse of the Purchasing Card are serious, and may include card suspension, card revocation, disciplinary action, employment termination and legal action.

The following responsibilities, while not all inclusive, are critical and must be followed by all cardholders:

  • Review and approval of all purchasing transactions
  • Required supporting documentation and/or receipt for each purchase, along with required information, must be added to an Expense Report and submitted for approval within 10 days. If after 30 days an expense report is not submitted for approval, the individual card holder and their supervisor will receive an initial email reminder to complete their expense report as soon as possible.  If after 60 days an expense report is not submitted for approval, the individual card holder and their Dean, Vice President, or the President will receive an email reminder.  If after 90 days an expense report is not submitted for approval, the College will suspend the cardholders privileges until all transactions over 10 days have been resolved and any expenses that are 90 days or more outstanding may be treated as income to the employee. These funds will be subject to required payroll tax withholding and reported on the employee's W-2.

Note: card holders will not be allotted any credit limit increase if they have unreconciled charges on their card that are 30 days or more.

  • Use of the Purchasing Card for personal use is strictly prohibited under any circumstances.
  • Ensuring that sales tax is not applied to Purchasing Card transactions. (Note: In the event sales tax is charged on a purchase the cardholder must first request tax exemption and if unsuccessful, supply a supporting statement explaining the circumstances.)

Cardholder Responsibilities

In addition to proper adherence of this policy’s purchasing guidelines, a cardholder is expected to maintain the proper and required documentation for every purchase made with their Purchasing Card, review their monthly statement for accuracy, and provide the necessary card security as described below.

Transactions charged to a Purchasing Card must be added on an Expense Report and submitted for approval within 10 days by either the Cardholder or their delegate. See the “Consequences for Misuse of Purchasing Card” for reference to expense reports that go beyond 10 days.

Cardholders are required to obtain an itemized receipt or supporting documentation as proof of purchase for each purchase made.

Failure to submit the supporting documentation and/or itemized receipt is considered a misuse of the Purchasing Card and subject to the consequences as outlined in this policy.

Note: All Purchasing Card transactions are subject to periodic audits to ensure compliance with the College’s policies.

Review of Monthly Statement

At the end of each billing cycle, the Cardholder shall receive from the bank a monthly statement of account that will list the purchases made with their Purchasing Card.

The Cardholder is responsible for reviewing each transaction listed on the monthly statement for accuracy within five (5) business days of receipt of the statement. The Cardholder is responsible for reporting any errors on the statement to their Department Coordinator. The Cardholder and Department Coordinator, in conjunction with the Program Administrator, will take the necessary steps to correct these errors.

It is the Cardholder’s responsibility to safeguard their Purchasing Card and card number. A cardholder must not allow anyone else to use their Purchasing Card or account number. Any violation of this could constitute misuse of the Purchasing Card and subject to loss of card privileges and/or other consequences.

If the card is lost or stolen the cardholder shall immediately notify JPMorgan, who is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-316-6056. The Program Administrator and Department Coordinator are also to be notified immediately. A new card will be promptly issued to the cardholder after the reported loss or theft. A card that is subsequently found by the cardholder after being reported lost must be destroyed.

Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisor Responsibilities

The Supervisor Hierarchy begins with the supervisor of the employee submitting a transaction and continues through a series of supervisors depending on the dollar amount of the transaction.

Transactions requiring approval in IC Finance Cloud will automatically generate a notification email to the approver.

Cardholder Separation

Prior to separation from the College, the cardholder shall submit all expenses on an Expense Report and then surrender their Purchasing Card and all outstanding receipts or supporting documentation to their Supervisor. The Supervisor will notify the Program Administrator for cancellation with the bank and destroy the card.



Approval: Every credit card transaction must be reviewed and approved by an identified individual other than the cardholder and the departmental coordinator.

Cardholder: Employee who has been issued a Purchasing Card and who is authorized to make business related purchases in accordance with this policy.

Delegate: Another employee that a cardholder can assign Expense tasks to on their behalf.

Department Card: Purchasing card issued in the departments name. This type of card remains in the designated department and is kept in a secured location. It is released to an authorized faculty/staff member for purposes of College related purchases, and then returned to the department for safekeeping.

Department Coordinator: Designated departmental employee(s) responsible for reviewing online transactions and posting transactions to the proper accounts.

Individual Card: Purchasing card issued to authorized faculty and/or staff who have been approved to make business related purchases on behalf of the College. These cards are embossed with the cardholder’s name on them and may only be used by the cardholder.

Program Administrator: The person in the Accounts Payable Department who is responsible for all program details, including all cardholder inquiries. If suspensions or revocations occur, however, notifications will be issued by the Accounts Payable Manager with copy to the Director of Procurement and Compliance.

Requisitioner: An employee who has a need for materials or services that can only be fulfilled by a supplier. Under the Ithaca College Purchasing Card Program a requisitioner may be a cardholder.

Single Purchase Limit: A dollar limitation on purchasing authority delegated to a cardholder. Currently this limit is set at $2,000.

Statement of Account: The monthly listing of all transactions by the cardholder, issued by the Financial Institution directly to the cardholder.

Supplier: A company from which a cardholder is purchasing materials and/or equipment or services under the provisions of this policy.

Last Updated: January 24, 2023