What is a P-Card?
Procurement cards, also known as P-Cards, are Bank of America-issued Visa cards that allow cardholders to make purchases of goods and some services under $1,000. Typical P-Card purchases include supplies or food for meetings and events. Your adviser has access to a P-Card to complete these types of purchases on your group's behalf. Student groups can also apply to receive a group P-Card under certain circumstances. Please note that P-Cards cannot be used to pay for goods or services for any of our FTF-approved vendors.
How can I apply for a P-Card?
Most student groups do not qualify to have a student cardholder and will rely on their advisers and/or governing boards for P-Card purchases. At the discretion of Undergraduate Student Life, governing board members and select student group leaders, designated as P-Card holders, must undergo P-Card training to become a cardholder. Each summer, student group P-card activity is evaluated to determine which groups may continue to have P-Card privileges. If your group has a justifiable need for a student P-Card, you may reach out to your adviser for more information; if spots become open, they will reach out with next steps to move forward.
P-Card Spending Limits
P-Cards have a preset declining balance of $5,000. Each transaction made by the cardholder reduces the credit available on the card. Once the available funds reach $0, the card is no longer available for use. The declining balance is replenished each July. P-Cards also have a preset single transaction limit of $1,000, which means that no single purchase can exceed $1,000. You may not split a charge larger than $1,000 into two payments to stay under the single transaction limit. If you have a need to purchase something above your $1,000 limit, check in with your adviser on other available options. Purchases larger than $2,500 may need a Purchase Order created. Learn more about purchases of $2,500 or more.
Additionally, the P-Card policy limits the cost of food purchases as follows:
- Breakfast: $10 per person
- Lunch: $15 per person
- Dinner: $25 per person
Approved P-Card Purchases
Below are some common examples of approved items for purchase using the P-Card. This list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions about whether or not the P-Card can be used for a purchase, please contact your student group adviser.
- Supplies and materials for events and programs
- Food (only from grocery stores or local restaurants for pickup or delivery)
- Registrations for conferences and seminars
- Subscriptions and memberships
- Promotional and marketing purchases through an approved promotional vendor
- Printing costs
- Overnight air and ground delivery charges (e.g. United Postal Service)
- Newspaper, journal, online advertising fees
- Minor computer equipment, software and/or supplies
- Lab supplies and minor equipment
Restricted P-Card Purchases
Below are some common examples of items that are not approved for purchase using the P-Card. This list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions about whether or not the P-Card can be used for a purchase, please contact your student group adviser.
- Anything that can be purchased locally through an FTF-approved vendor
- Personal items
- Alcoholic beverages
- Catering services or food orders that require an agreement or contract
- Travel and travel-related purchases including but not limited to taxi cab fare, airfare, food while traveling, car rentals, lodging, gas, tolls
- Raffle prizes
- Flowers, greeting cards, candy, fruit baskets
- Personal celebrations, gifts of sentiment or appreciation
- Cash advances, cash back on purchases, cash refunds on returns
- Live animals
- Contracted services from an individual including but not limited to payments for DJs, speakers, performers, engagements that would involve a University contract or agreement
- Fuel or gasoline
- Leases, insurance
- Charitable contributions or donations
- Deposits for events or venues
- Data storage, cloud storage or file hosting and sharing sites
- Online auction sites (e.g. eBay)
How to Reconcile Your P-Card
For each P-Card purchase, you are required to submit receipts and supporting documentation to Administration and Planning, who will reconcile your purchases each month on your behalf. All necessary paperwork must be submitted within three business days of the purchase, or the 22nd of each month, whichever comes first, to ensure that transactions are reconciled in a timely manner. Cardholders must submit all documentation in person to Administration and Planning in 510 Lerner Hall or email the documents to USLadmin@columbia.edu.
The following documents are required to successfully reconcile purchases:
- Approved financial transaction form (FTF)
- Itemized receipt
- Must be legible and include the date, vendor contact information, an itemized breakdown of each item purchased listed with unit price and the the total payment amount
- Completed P-Card cover sheet
- Business purpose
- A legitimate business purpose describes why this purchase was necessary to conduct University business
Lost or Stolen P-Cards
If your P-Card is lost or stolen, you as the cardholder should immediately:
- Notify the card issuer, Bank of America, by calling 1-888-449-2273
- Notify Administration and Planning at USLadmin@columbia.edu and copy your adviser on the email so that we may will alert the P-Card staff on your behalf
Cardholders are responsible for all unauthorized charges on the card until the card issuer is notified, so it is critical to notify Bank of America and Undergraduate Student Life immediately if you think your card has been lost or stolen. Once you report your card lost or stolen, Bank of America will close the account.