University of Vermont

About the UVM Purchasing Card

The University of Vermont is pleased to provide the UVM Purchasing Card for Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student employees.  This purchasing tool will allow you to acquire the goods you use, and eliminate the need for out of pocket expenses.

What is a Purchasing Card?

A Purchasing Card is a payment mechanism designed to help companies and institutions maintain control, while reducing the administrative cost associated with authorizing, tracking, paying, and reconciling small purchases.

How does a Purchasing Card Work?

To the end user, or purchaser, the Purchasing Card works just like an ordinary credit card. The UVM Purchasing Card is a  MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card issued by Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh, PA.

Each card is assigned to a default chart string, which can be a regular departmental, grant or contract account.  Purchases can be reallocated from the default chart string and/or account to another chart string/account with appropriate authority.

On a monthly basis, all cardholders or other designated employees must reconcile their card purchases to a monthly statement from the bank.  Documentation is forwarded to Procurement Services for review and archival storage.

Procurement Services pays the bank in full, on a monthly basis, for all transactions that have occurred during the billing cycle.

Why a Purchasing Card?

  • UVM spent over $2.5 million using more than 20,000 LPO's in FY97.
  • LPO purchases accounted for half of all orders processed in FY97, but only 8% of the dollar volume.
  • UVM spent over $1.3 million using more than 10,000 PO Checks in FY97.
  • Many vendors are resistant to, or confused by, current processes.

Program Goals

  • Reduce costs associated with small dollar purchases
  • Maintain or improve accountability and control
  • Streamline administrative overhead and procedures
  • Replace paper-based systems with electronic solutions
  • Improve faculty and staff efficiency and effectiveness

Benefits to the Cardholder

  • Reduction of petty cash reimbursements and out-of-pocket expenses
  • More options for small dollar purchases (<$4,999.99) conducted by phone, electronically, or by visiting local merchants
  • Automated recording and notification of transactions through email
  • Empowering the employee to make purchasing decisions
  • Allow for web based ordering

Benefits to UVM

  • Removing the need for certain transactions to flow through purchase orders
  • Consolidating invoices and payments
  • Increasing accountability and control of small dollar purchasing

Benefits to Vendors Doing Business with UVM

  • Most vendors already familiar with credit card transactions
  • Payment received within 72 hours of transaction posting
  • Authorized vendors that accept MasterCard for payment can accept UVM's Purchasing Card.

Recommended Uses for the Purchasing Card

The Purchasing Card should be used for all purchases under $4,999.99 where the vendor accepts MasterCard.  The following is a short list of examples of items that can be bought with a Purchasing card:

  • Postage stamps
  • All supplies (except hazardous material or chemicals) not covered by Blanket PO's or other contracts
  • Tools and hardware
  • Dues and subscriptions
  • Books (including departmental library materials)
  • Computer software
  • Memberships (professional organizations only)
  • Conference registrations/training
  • Airfare
  • Equipment under $4,999.99
  • Hotels, restaurants, transportation

Here's the bottom line;

It's FAST because you don't need to generate a Purchase Order Requisition, so you're saving time and money on processing costs.

It's EASY because all you have to do is present the Purchasing Card or give the Purchasing Card number to the merchant over the phone, and your order will be placed and paid for within the vendors terms.

It's CONVENIENT because you may carry the card with you, and you don't need to use your own money for departmental needs and expenses, then be reimbursed.

A Purchasing Card is a credit card for UVM faculty and staff to use for University business only.   

UVM Purchasing Cards have default limits of $4,999.99 per transaction and $25,000 per cycle.   Cards are initially assigned a default chart string and account.  The account is 64099 for PurCard Transactions.  For a given transaction, however, chart string and account can be changed and charges split among several chart strings if so desired, using the reallocation process.  Instead of paying numerous individual invoices to various vendors, UVM makes one consolidated payment to Mellon Bank each month.

Up-Front Authority

For the Purchasing Card to have its most beneficial impact on the way UVM conducts its purchasing and payment processes, we have designed it so that the purchasing authority is up-front.  Essentially, the cardholder is delegated the authority (by management or their supervisor) to purchase certain goods and services.  Transactions are reviewed by the cardholder (if they have been delegated that authority by their management), or by a designated employee and reconciled against a monthly statement from Mellon Bank.

Last modified February 12 2010 02:09 PM

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