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Procurement Card manual

A page within Business Services


  1. Overview
  2. How To Use The Procurement Card
  3. Resolving Errors, Disputes, etc.
  4. Sales and Use Tax
  5. Card Activation
  6. Card Control
  7. Ineligible purchases


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Procurement Card Program was established to provide departments with a simple, cost-effective, and convenient way to make low dollar purchases.  The program is designed to replace most low dollar purchase orders and blanket orders.

 The Program is NOT intended:

  • To avoid or bypass appropriate procurement or payment procedures, but to be a complement to existing procedures.
  • For personal use.

The procurement card may be used at any merchant or service provider that accepts the card, subject to the limitations described in Appendix A.

The procurement card may be used in much the same manner that personal credit cards are used for in-store purchases and for mail, telephone, internet, or fax orders.

This manual provides the guidelines for using your procurement card, so please read it carefully.  Your signature on the Procurement Cardholder Agreement (Appendix A) indicates that you have read and understand these guidelines and that you agree to follow them.

Accurate record keeping is essential to the Program's success.  There are no extraordinary requirements -- merely that you retain all sales slips, receipts, etc. that document the purchase. You are responsible for your procurement card's security and for the transactions made with your procurement card.  The procurement card is issued in your name, and purchases made with it are your responsibility.  Do not allow others to use your card.  Use of the card outside these guidelines and procurement policy may result in personal liability.

Finally, remember that you have been entrusted with University funds through your card, and this responsibility should not be taken lightly.

Vendor/merchant acceptance...

The procurement card should be accepted by any merchant that would normally accept a VISA credit card. 

Some restrictions have been built into the Program...

No single transaction may exceed $5,000 and you may not spend more than $5,000 per two week period; however, UWL departments may establish lower transaction limits and also limit the numbers of transactions within a specific period.  You should be aware if additional limits apply within your department.

The procurement card may not be used to make purchases of technology equipment such as PC's, laptops, iPads or printers.  UWL has developed campus standards for technology equipment and the purchase of such equipment must be done through the following website    

Some merchants and vendors have been blocked from usage in this Program.  If you present your procurement card to any of these vendors, the transaction will be turned down.  These restrictions are few and fairly obvious (cash advances, financial services, etc.), and you should not have a problem using the procurement card with those merchants with which you have normally used purchase orders.  If a purchase is declined and you feel it should not have been, you may call the toll-free number on the card's reverse to determine the reason.

Exceptions to the transaction and vendor restrictions can be made in certain circumstances, e.g., overseas travel, special events, etc., but they must be arranged in advance and be approved by department heads.  After the fact exceptions will not be possible.

Success and satisfaction are the goals...

This Program is designed to be simple to use, providing you needed products quickly and with fewer steps than with the standard purchase order system.  If you have a personal checking account and charge card, you will find this Program no more difficult than they are to use.

Not only will you obtain your needed products quicker with this Program, but merchants and vendors will be paid quicker, usually within a few days.  This should translate to greater merchant acceptance, better service for you, and potential discounts from normal prices.

Your feedback is important!  We in Purchasing Services need to know if you have concerns, questions, or suggestions for improvement.  Accordingly, the Program Administrator's telephone number is at the bottom of each page in this manual.

This Program's continued success and existence will depend a great deal upon its responsible use.  We ask that you abide by the guidelines and restrictions in this manual and not risk the Program by using the procurement card to circumvent procurement policy or to avoid following normal purchasing procedures.  The procurement card is issued in your name, and it commits your department's funds. The manner in which you use this Program will reflect upon and affect both you and your department.

How to use the Procurement Card

The steps in a typical procurement card transaction...

1.  After selecting a vendor or merchant, make the purchase or place the order, providing your procurement card number to the vendor as the means of payment.  Give your name as the cardholder, not UWL, though you may wish to identify the card as an institutional procurement card.

2.  If the order is to be shipped to you, use the following address:

Your Name or Department 
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 
855 East Avenue North 
Your Room Number and Building Name 
La Crosse, WI 54601

Use the following as the billing address:

Your Name or Department 
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 
1725 State Street 
La Crosse, WI  54601

All mail, UPS, FEDEX, and other parcel shipments are centrally received at UWL.  In order to ensure that the shipment gets delivered to you after receipt at UWL, there must be a name or department in the shipping address.

3.  If you make your purchase in a store, you should receive a receipt or sales slip.  Ensure that the merchant specifically identifies what is purchased and does not use a description such as "miscellaneous merchandise."  You should not be charged sales tax for over the counter purchases made within Wisconsin.  If the merchant refuses to grant you tax relief, follow the procedures in  Sales and use tax , page 5.

4.  If you are ordering an item or items for which UWL normally receives an educational or institutional discount, you will need to identify this as an institutional purchase.  Provide UWL's customer number, if you know it, or, on phone orders, ask the salesperson to look it up.  This will not only assure that you get the discount, it should also ensure that sales tax is not charged where UWL is exempt.  IMPORTANT:  Be sure that the salesperson uses your address above as the "ship to" address and not the vendor's default address for UWL, which is often Campus Stores in the Physical Plant.

5.  You will usually receive some documentation of your purchase, be it a sales slip, receipt, or packing list.  Keep that receipt as back-up documentation for your periodic reconciliation.  For something like a magazine subscription, where no receipt will be provided, you may wish to keep a copy of the order form.

6.   Record your purchase or order on the Procurement Card Transaction Register (Appendix B) and keep your receipt documentation with the register.

7.  Every two weeks you will receive a statement from US Bank if you have used the card during that period.  Reconcile this statement with your receipts (much as you might balance a check book) and report any discrepancies as described in Resolving errors, disputes, returns, and credits .  You have sixty (60) days from the date of the statement to dispute any erroneous charges.

8.  Staple the receipts to the statement, sign the Cardholder Signature line, and provide the statement to your immediate supervisor for signature on the Approver Signature line.  These signatures indicate that the purchases were appropriate and approved by the supervisor.

9.  You will be required to turn in your statements and  original  receipts to Purchasing Services on a bi-weekly basis.  You may make and retain copies for your own records.  A listing of specific records to be returned will be provided.

10.  If the statement contains expenses incurred during the course of business related to travel, please include a copy of the TER along with a copy of the receipts for the expenses (the original receipts should be submitted with the TER).

Resolving errors, disputes, returns, and credits

Resolving procurement card problems is very similar to the process you would follow with a personal credit card, except that Business Services will be involved if initial contacts do not settle the problems.  Disputed billings can result from failure to receive goods or services charged, fraud or misuse, altered charges, duplicate charges, or unprocessed credits. 

If you suspect fraud, contact  US Bank customer service at 1-800-344-5696 immediately.  US Bank will cancel your existing account and issue you a new card.   Also contact Business Services so that we are aware of the situation and are able to provide assistance if necessary

The cardholder is responsible for initially following up with the vendor or US Bank, as soon as possible, on any erroneous charges, disputed items, or returns.

The cardholder should contact the vendor first to resolve any outstanding issues, and this should settle most problems.

If the problem is non-receipt of an order and the vendor claims to have shipped it, contact Campus Stores at 608.785.8643 to see if the order has arrived.  If it had arrived without an adequate delivery address, Campus Stores would have placed it in a holding area pending identification.

If the cardholder is unable to reach agreement with the vendor, the next step is to contact US Bank at 800.344.5696.

US Bank must also be notified of any disputed item within sixty (60) days of the billing cycle in which the item was purchased. If notification is not made within this period, the transaction is considered valid.

If initial contacts with the vendor and US Bank do not settle the dispute, contact Purchasing Services.

Documentation should be kept for credits received and for returns or exchanges.

Sales and use tax

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is exempt from Wisconsin sales and use tax on its purchases.  It is also exempt from federal taxes.  You may, however, be required to pay sales tax to other states for purchases made in those states, depending upon their laws.

Most local merchants are aware of UWL's tax status, but you may encounter merchants or vendors that either refuse to exempt your purchase from sales tax or who ask you to complete a tax exemption form.  If the merchant refuses to give you tax exemption, you must decide if you wish to make the purchase.  Asking you to complete a form is a reasonable request, as the merchant would be personally responsible for the tax if you were given tax exemption and the form were not on file.   The tax exempt number for UW System is ES 40706, and it is printed on the face of your card.   This number should be the one provided when making a claim for tax exemption within Wisconsin.

If sales tax is charged to your card, it will be listed on your statement.  At that time you should contact the vendor to obtain a credit to your card account.

You should report all tax exemption problems to Purchasing Services so that action may be taken to prevent future occurrences.


When you receive a new card, you will have to activate it before it can be used.  A sticker on the card will provide activation instructions, and during the activation process you may be asked for the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN).  You do not provide your SSN, you must provide four digits the Program Administrator will issue you.  Please call the Program Administrator at 608.785.8724 for those digits.  

Card Control

Card control is a jointly shared responsibility between the cardholder and the department head. The cardholder agrees to protect and properly use the procurement card, and the department head assumes responsibility for card and records management within the department.

Card Control Principles and Policy:

  • When the card is received it should be signed immediately by the cardholder and kept in a secure place.
  • Only the authorized cardholder named on the card may use the card.
  • Canceled, revoked, and expired cards shall be cut in half and returned to Purchasing Services in 125 Graff Main Hall.
  • If a procurement card is lost or stolen, immediately notify US Bank at 800.344.5696 and Purchasing Services at 608.785.8724.
  • To aid the reconciliation process, the cardholder is responsible for keeping all credit card slips, cash register receipts, packing slips, etc., and for recording each transaction accurately and completely on the procurement card register.
  • Department heads are responsible for monitoring card usage within their departments and for ensuring that cards are returned to Purchasing Services when cardholders depart their departments or the University.
  • Random audits will be conducted of cardholder and card manager records to ensure compliance with the Procurement Card Program procedures and to ensure the card is being used for appropriate transactions.
  • Procurement card records (statements and original receipts) are to be turned in monthly to Purchasing Services.
  • Procurement card transaction volume will be reviewed quarterly by the Procurement card administrator to identify unused/idle accounts. Follow-up will be performed with the cardholders to determine if cards will be closed by month end or remain active.
  • The business purpose for each expense should be indicated on the supporting documents turned in with the Procurement card statements bi-weekly. Business purpose explains the intended use of the product or service and how it supports the mission of the department or University. Supporting documents include receipts, invoices, packing slips, etc.

Ineligible purchases

  • Air Conditioners/Space Heaters
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Ammunition/Weapons
  • Capital Equipment/Components
  • Cash Advances
  • Fines
  • Flowers
  • Fuel for personal vehicles 
  • Gift Cards/Gift Certificates
  • Insurance
  • Laundry 
  • Office Decorations
  • Personal Items
  • Personal Meals
  • Printing
  • Professional Services
  • Receptions/Gifts
  • Room Service
  • Technology Equipment

This list is not all-inclusive, and there may be some exceptions. Please remember that all purchases may be fully disclosed as a public record to the extent provided by the Open Records Law.