A procurement, or purchasing, card is used like a credit card and is suited to low value transactions. It differs from your personal credit card in a number of ways:
- the card can be blocked so that it cannot be used for specific types of expenditure such as hospitality or fuel
- it will have an individual transaction limit, for example, £500 meaning that it may only be used for individual purchase transactions up to the stated level
- it will have a monthly transaction limit, for example, £5,000 meaning that it may only be used for transactions totalling that amount during the monthly period
- the monthly bill must be settled at the end of the accounting period ie there is no extended credit period as with a conventional credit card
- the monthly bill must be reconciled against the card’s transaction log to ensure that all charges are correct
The decision to introduce and use a procurement card will rest at institutional rather than departmental level, thus, if you are located in a department and do not have a procurement card you should contact your Head of Procurement, in the first instance.
When implementing, or indeed using, a procurement card the following issues should be considered:
- Who should have and use a procurement card?
- Financial limits (individual transaction and monthly)
- When to use them (contracted suppliers only or any supplier)
- What categories should be blocked
- Control issues
- Day-to-day Policies and Procedures
- Transaction log (to track the use of the card and provide an audit trail)
- Monthly reconciliation (also refer to the Free eSolutions software below)
- Recharging transactions
- Appoint a procurement card administrator
For further information see the CCS's ePurchasing Card Solution framework agreement and A Guide to E Procurement.