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PROCARD HANDBOOK



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Overview and Benefits
The Procurement Card (ProCard) program was implemented at DePaul University by Procurement Services to streamline small dollar-value purchases and reduce administrative costs.  The ProCard is a VISA card issued through PNC Bank.  Transaction information is provided to the university through IntelliLink.

Departments and cardholders participating in the program benefit through reduced administrative processes when placing orders.  By using the ProCard, authorized individuals can make purchases quickly and easily, thereby bypassing the requisition and purchase order process.  Individuals can also use the ProCard for purchases at stores, restaurants and for travel expenses, reducing the need for personal expenditures and after-the-fact reimbursements.

The university benefits from this program through an overall reduction of administrative costs.  By delegating small-dollar value purchasing activity to cardholders, Procurement Services staff is free to assist with larger value orders.  The Accounts Payable department benefits by cutting a single check to the bank as opposed to many smaller vendors.

Important Contacts
Contact Contact for

Laurie Krauel
ProCard Program Administrator,
Procurement Services
lkrauel@depaul.edu
(312) 362-5272

  • New ProCard applications
  • Changes to card limits
  • Changes in approving officials
  • Questions relating to appropriate use
  • Questions relating to the IntelliLink system 

Norma Rodriguez
Manager, Accounts Payable
(312) 362-5372

  • Approval for gift card purchases or other taxable expenses via the ProCard

Financial Accounting
(312) 362-5497

  • Fiscal year cross-over requests

PNC Bank
(800) 685-4039

  • Customer service questions
  • To report a lost or stolen card
  • To report fraudulent activity

Departmental Budget Managers
and/or Approving Official

  • Departments may have stricter guidelines than those listed in this handbook.  Contact your department officials if you have any questions regarding specific guidelines for your area

Enrollment in the Program
Individuals who meet eligibility requirements described in this section are encouraged to enroll in the Procurement Card program.  ProCards are issued upon successful completion of the application process and may be used immediately upon activation by the cardholder.

Eligibility
Full-time faculty and staff are eligible to apply for a ProCard.  Full-time employment is defined as working a minimum of 35 hours per week.

ProCard Application Process
Eligible employees of the university may enroll in the Procurement Card program by submitting the following forms to Procurement Services.  Note that cardholders are limited to one ProCard, regardless of the number of budgets available to the cardholder.

With respect to the Notice Regarding Background Investigation, the subject of this investigation is limited to criminal background history (which will provide the university with information concerning any previous felony and/or misdemeanor convictions), verification of educational history and verification of previous employment history.  Information regarding credit history will not be sought pursuant to this investigation. Prior felonies of a financial nature may disqualify the applicant from ProCard eligibility.

Investigations may be conducted at any time after receipt of authorization and throughout employment.  However, ordinarily, investigations will not be sought more frequently than once every two years, unless the university deems it necessary based on extreme circumstances.

Receipt and Activation of ProCards
PNC Bank issues ProCards upon successful completion of the application process.  The issuance process generally takes 2-4 weeks.  ProCards are delivered to Procurement Services, after which the cardholder is notified that it is ready to be picked up.  ProCards will only be distributed to cardholders unless other arrangements are made in advance between the cardholder and Procurement Services.  ProCards will also not be distributed unless the cardholder presents the following form to Procurement Services:

If this is the individual’s first ProCard, a training session is required prior to receipt of the card.  Training can take place in a group session or one-on-one with the ProCard Administrator. 

ProCards will be declined until activated by the cardholder by calling PNC Bank at the phone number that appears on the label affixed to the ProCard.

Changing, Closing or Canceling ProCards
To make changes to limits, change default chartfields, close a ProCard or any other changes, the Approving Official should email the ProCard Program Administrator with their request.

In the event that a ProCard must be cancelled due to loss, theft or unauthorized use, contact PNC Bank immediately at (800) 685-4039 and Procurement Services at (312) 362-5272.

Procurement services reserves the right to cancel any ProCard at any time without notice.

ProCard Rules & Restrictions
Acceptance and use of the ProCard requires that the cardholder abide by all rules and restrictions listed in the Procurement Card policy and in the Employee Acknowledgement of Responsibilities / Acceptance Agreement.  These include restrictions on spend and transaction counts, purchasing restrictions, receipt retention requirements and proper documentation of transactions.

Violation of any of these restrictions can lead to suspension of the card, notification to an approving official and/or disciplinary action.

Spend and Transaction Counts
In general, the ProCard is limited to $2,500 per transaction and $10,000 per cycle (typical cycles run from the 16th of the month to the 15th of the next month).  Approving officials may request lower limits than these if desired when applying for a card.  Additionally, based on specific needs, higher spending thresholds may be accommodated.

The number of transactions is generally limited to 25 per day and 50 per cycle.  Again, approving officials may request lower limits than these if desired and based on specific needs, higher thresholds may be accommodated.

Purchasing Restrictions
Restrictions relating to purchases placed on the ProCard include:

Improper Usage - The Assistant Director is using the travel tickets and approving the expense
Purchaser
Flyer
Approver
Admin Assistant
X
 
 
Assistant Director
 
X
X
Director
 
 
 

Proper Usage
- The Assistant Director is using the travel and the Director (as approving official) is approving the transaction. If the Admin Assistant reported to the Director, that individual could also purchase the airline tickets for the Assistant Director.
 
Purchaser
Flyer
Approver
Admin Assistant
 
 
 
Assistant Director
X
X
 
Director
 
 
X

Receipt Retention
Itemized receipts are required to be scanned and stored in the online ProCard system for all transactions.  Once the transaction has been fully approved, in the online ProCard system, the hard copy receipt may be disposed.  Grants, third-parties or departmental rules may have additional retention requirements. 

Proper Documentation of Transactions
All transactions on the ProCard must be properly documented within 60 days of the date the expense(s) were incurred in order to comply with DePaul policy and IRS rules.  This includes documenting any credits/refunds and transaction fees.  Some specific guidelines for documentation include:

Transactions with missing documentation may be charged as personal income to the cardholder if the IRS were to conduct an audit of the program.  Cardholders would be personally liable for any taxes associated with the additional income.

Cardholder Roles & Responsibilities
The role of the cardholder is to make purchases according the established restrictions listed above.  Cardholders are reminded that even the most stringent security steps must be augmented by common sense and careful use of the ProCard.  The responsibilities of the cardholder include:

Approving Official Roles & Responsibilities
The role of the approving official is to ensure cardholder’s compliance with university policies and ProCard restrictions.  These responsibilities include:

Approval Timeline
All transactions should be submitted by the cardholder and approved by an approving official in a timely fashion.  Per policy, this should generally take place within two weeks following the close of a cycle. However, users are strongly encouraged to review, submit and approve transactions as email notifications are received of outstanding charges.

In addition, per IRS regulations, all transactions must be commented with a valid business purpose and be submitted online within 60 days of the date the expense(s) were incurred. Procurement Services regularly distributes deadline information and publishes these dates online as well. 

Rejected Transactions
Approving Officials who do not approve of a transaction should request more information from the cardholder in the system (rejecting it back to them or manual follow-up).  However, all transactions must eventually be approved.  To meet this requirement, one of the following scenarios should take place:

  1. The concern is corrected (e.g. comments are entered, receipt is attached and legible, expense is explained)
  2. The cardholder reimburses the university for an unapproved expense and the Office of Compliance and Risk Management is notified A ProCard Personal Purchases Form is completed and attached to the transactions in the ProCard system.
  3. Disciplinary action is taken in accordance with Human Resources policies

Responsibilities of Approving Officials for Cardholders on Leave
If a cardholder goes on leave (maternity, FLMA, military, etc.), the approving official is responsible for notifying Procurement Services so that the card can be temporarily suspended.  Once the cardholder returns, the card will be restored to its normal privileges.

If charges occurred on the card prior to the leave, but before the cycle closes, the ProCard Coordinator will work with the approving official to approve the transactions.

Using the ProCard
The ProCard works like any other credit card.  The basic ordering process involves selecting a vendor, making the purchase and receiving the order.

Vendor Selection
Whenever possible, departments are strongly encouraged to use an existing university preferred vendor for their purchasing needs.  A listing of preferred vendors can be found at the Procurement Services website.

If a preferred vendor cannot meet the needs of your purchase, a new vendor can be selected.  Cardholders should take into account factors that provide value; including quality, price, services, delivery dates, etc. when selecting a vendor.

Making the Purchase
Orders can be made in person, by phone, fax, mail, or over the internet.  When placing an order with a vendor, make sure of the following:

For all ProCards, the billing address is the same as the addressed used on the application.

Cardholders are cautioned to take extreme care when conducting transactions online.  Only conduct online transactions with reputable companies with secure web sites.  When possible, store order information on a computer or print out order information before an order is submitted.  Keep this information to verify deliveries (quantities, model numbers, prices, etc.).

Receiving the Order
As with any item ordered, whether through traditional channels or through the use of the ProCard, cardholders should take special care to carefully inspect all deliveries.  Make sure that there is no visible damage to the outside of the packages before signing for any delivery.  Open packages immediately and verify the items received after signing for receipt of the goods.  Most vendors/delivery companies have very limited time frames for making shortage or damage claims. 

Sign the packing slip after verifying the correctness of the order, or resolving discrepancies with the supplier/deliverer, and store it with the corresponding receipt.

Returns and Credits
Make return and credit arrangements directly with the vendor when such circumstances apply.  The vendor should issue a credit to the cardholder’s ProCard.  Return and credit transactions should be recorded in the same manner as any other transaction and the return and/or credit receipt should be attached to the transaction.  All returns/credits should go back against the ProCard.  No cash or checks should be accepted.

Keep in mind that IntelliLink transmits all transaction data electronically to the university.  Credits are not reflected on department budgets until IntelliLink transmits the information.  The approving official is ultimately responsible for ensuring that credits are posted to the cardholder’s account.

3rd Party Credits
Cardholders and Budget Managers should confirm receipt of reimbursement from ProCard purchases made on behalf of third parties (e.g. meals, memberships, airfare, books).  The deposit receipt from the 3rd party's reimbursement should be scanned and attached to the transaction, along with the purchase receipt.

Resolving Errors and Disputes
Errors may appear from time to time in the information transmitted by the bank.  This may be due to vendor error or the pending outcome of a dispute. Disputed transactions can result from failure to receive goods or services, fraud or misuse, altered charges, defective merchandise, incorrect amounts, duplicate charges, etc. Approving officials are ultimately responsible for resolving any erroneous or disputed transactions, even though resolution may take several months. Approving officials should document errors and disputed activities, attach corresponding information to the receipt(s), and ultimately ensure any warranted credit has been received. Most billing errors are simple mistakes and easily resolved by calling the vendor. If a transaction is fraudulent, the bank should be contacted and the card should be cancelled. Any suspicious activities should be reported directly to Procurement Services.

For questions about transactions posted on a ProCard, contact PNC Bank at (800) 685-4039.  If the resolution of a dispute is not satisfactory to the university, approving officials should escalate the issue by notifying the Procurement Services department and filing a formal dispute with PNC Bank.  Formal disputes should be submitted via the ProCard Transaction Dispute Form.

PNC Bank will try to help with all disputes; however, the bank is only required by law to investigate charges within 120 days of the original transaction date.  PNC Bank will assist the university with all disputes raised after 120 days; however it is more difficult to obtain detailed receipt information from vendors after this time.

Billing and Payment
DePaul University remits payment for ProCard transactions every fourteen (14) days.  The payment is based solely upon information provided in the ProCard online system.  Payments will not be reduced because of disputed transactions unless the vendor or the bank has issued a credit (or a temporary credit) during the period.

Cardholders and approving officials should take care to ensure that payment is not made both on a ProCard and through Accounts Payable.  Contact AP at x2-5335 if this has occurred to attempt a stop-payment or work with the vendor to obtain a ProCard refund.

Best Practice Guidelines
Listed below are several best practices that departments may find helpful in their use of the ProCard. 

Approval Timeline
All transactions should be submitted by the cardholder and approved by an approving official in a timely fashion.  Per policy, this should generally take place within two weeks following the close of a cycle. However, users are strongly encouraged to review, submit and approve transactions as email notifications are received of outstanding charges.

In addition, per IRS regulations, all transactions must be commented with a valid business purpose and be submitted online within 60 days of the date the expense(s) were incurred. Procurement Services regularly distributes deadline information and publishes these dates online as well. 

Audit and Quality Assurance Reviews
Procurement Services, Compliance & Risk Management and Internal Audit perform regular audits and quality assurances to ensure proper usage of the ProCard.  Audits include:

Additionally, departments or cardholders that appear on these reports (as well as random selections) will be selected for spot audits. An audit report will be drafted and shared with the cardholder, approving official, department manager, Internal Audit and others as necessary.

A history of all violations is kept and repeat offenders may lose their ProCard and may be subject to disciplinary action.  ProCard privileges may also be suspended or revoked at any time by Procurement Services.

Additionally, the Office of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management conducts Quality Assurance Reviews (QAR) that evaluates the performance of the university's budget managers against DePaul's management standards, including ProCard standards.  Internal Audit may also conduct ProCard audits at any time.

Appendix
There are several forms and additional pieces of information relating to the ProCard that can be found online: