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Fiscal Policy Statewide Services Unit
FAQs

Purchasing Card (P-Card) Program Overview

What is the P-Card Program?

The Office of the State Comptroller's, Fiscal Policy Statewide Services Unit, and the Office of Administrative Services, Procurement Unit, have come together to co-sponsor commercial card solutions for the State of Connecticut. Save time. Get your purchases quickly. Order from the Internet. Pay one bill. Write one check - instead of hundreds. The P-Card Program is designed and intended to more effectively meet your purchasing and travel needs.

How does it work?

The P-Card is a MasterCard issued by JP Morgan Chase Bank. It works just like a personal credit card. However, each card has custom designed features, with built in controls, to meet the specific needs of the cardholder and the agency.

The process is fully automated, allowing all purchases to be tracked and easily managed. Each credit card issued can be monitored using Pathway, an Internet application, to view transactions 24 hours after a purchase has been made.

The Payment Process

Each cardholder receives one monthly Pathway statement of his/her transactions from their agency coordinator. Each agency verifies and reconciles one monthly total for all agency transactions and processes one monthly payment to JP Morgan Chase.

What's in it for the Cardholder?

The P-Card allows you to do your job with greater efficiency by reducing processing time and obtaining commodities and travel services faster.

What's in it for your agency?

The P-Card reduces the time and paperwork associated with:

Offers an alternative to a variety of processes including:

What's in it for the vendor?

Accepting the P-Card ensures the vendor payment within 48 hours, increasing cash flow, reducing wasteful paperwork, and reducing accounts receivable overhead costs.

Flexible Controls

The P-Card offers the buyer more flexibility than traditional buying practices. It sets limits and standards allowing each card to be customized with a:

P-Card Perks

Enjoy the flexibility and security the P-Card has to offer.

Purchasing Card Manuals

State of Connecticut Credit Card Use Policy

P-Card Cardholder Work Rules

Agency P-Card Coordinator Manual

Pathway Guide for Coordinators

P-Card Forms

The following forms are found in the Agency P-Card Coordinator Manual

Fiscal Year Spending Volumes (EXCEL)


Effective July 1, 2011, all payments for purchases under $1,000 by state agencies are to be paid with a State of Connecticut Purchasing Card (P-Card).  Refer to the Office of State Comptroller's Memorandum at: http://www.osc.ct.gov/2011memos/numbered/201111.htm  for additional information.

The Office of the State Comptroller has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions that will address questions/concerns agencies have regarding the new payment policy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can agencies still use e-pro? Are e-pro users exempt?
A. Agencies can still use e-pro but payment for the purchase would be with a p-card.  In this instance, you can go through e-pro, stop the process at a certain point in e-pro, and make the payment on the p-card instead of processing a voucher to the vendor and issuing a check. The P-Card can be used either at the beginning of the ordering process or at the end of the process. Agencies would not be exempt from paying the bill with the p-card if they use e-procurement.

Q.  How do I purchase office supplies?
A. Most office supply transactions are $250 or less - so most office supply transactions will be paid with a
P-Card starting July 1, 2011: 

*Vendor Internet Website ordering process:  Purchase office supplies directly from the vendor's website which have been exclusively set up for State of Connecticut contract pricing/items.  Set up a User ID and password with the vendor.  Create a template and reuse for future orders.  Payment is made with a P-Card account.  Website information is available directly from the contract.  DAS Procurement Contract Specialists have incorporated P-Card language in the contracts for the acceptance of P-Card payments.  Review the contract and if there are any issues, the contract specialist will want to be made aware.

*CoreCT ordering process:  Purchase office supplies via CoreCT E-procurement so the approval process is not disrupted.  Print the order and fax it to the vendor.  Payment is made with a P-Card account.  Call the vendor with the P-Card account number or set up the payment process with the vendor to charge a P-Card

Q. What about credit limits currently assigned to cardholders?
A.  Each agency will have to monitor the spending limits and controls for cardholders and make adjustments as needed through the DAS P-Card Online System.

Q.  Do  Personal Service Agreements have to be paid with the p-card?
A. No, vendors on Personal Service Agreements do not have to be paid with the p-card.

Q. Should agencies use the p-card to pay for monthly copier rental, rubbish removal and other contractual payments that are on purchase orders? 
A. Yes agencies can use the p-card for these purchases. However, if the payment is for a Personal Service Agreement or a Maintenance vendor and the agency uses the purchase order for tracking the monthly charges, agencies may continue to do so.

Q.  How will an agency encumber funds?
A. The requirement to encumber funds has not changed and agencies always have had to encumber the funds necessary for each month for the P-Card payment.  If an agency has recurring expenses then encumber them on the one purchase order to JP Morgan Chase instead of individual purchase orders for each vendor. 

Q. How should an agency track and control their budget?
A. Through EPM reporting provided the purchase order is coded properly or by using either the transaction detail function or the transaction detail with level 3 detail report (RPT171) in Pathway Net. Both can be exported as an excel document and can be sorted to meet any needs an agency may have. These capture all transactions after 24 hours after posting for any period chosen.

Q. Can we still use the p-card for purchases over $1, 000?
A. Yes, as long as the p-cards have a limit of $2,500 and the agency procedures allow for the purchases.

Q. Won't there be an increased risk for duplicate payments?
A. If the agency's policy is to pay for anything under $1,000 with the p-card and the agency receives an invoice for something that should have been paid for with the p-card, then the agency should check before process another payment.  Agencies should not pay the invoice until researching p-card transactions and verifying it was not already paid to avoid a duplicate payment.

Q.  What impact will there be on record retention?
A. State record retention schedule for most financial records is three years or until audited.  If an agency would like to download their data from Pathway Net into an Excel spreadsheet, that can be done and then it can be saved for as many years as an agency would like to keep it.  The State Comptroller's Office can provide assistance on how to manage this. 

Q. Tracking of controllable assets?
A. If the asset is coded properly it will move to the asset module the same way it would if on an individual PO. If there are different types of assets purchased they would require a separate line of coding for the different asset types. If the asset did not get entered properly the agency will have to add it through the basic add feature.

Q.  Can utilities be paid with a p-card?
A.  Memorandum 2011-11 directed agencies to pay for all purchases under $1,000 with a p-card. The payment for utilities under $1,000 with a p-card is on hold until further notice.  If an agency has been using the p-card to make utility payments, continue to do so.  Agencies that have not been using the p-card should not commence.  See Core-CT Fin Daily Mail dated June 30, 2011.

Q.  What if a vendor charges a fee to accept payment by p-card?
A. Vendors who charge a service fee for paying by credit card should not be paid with the p-card. 

Q.  What about services rendered by another state agency?  Can they take a credit card?
A.  Direct payments to another state agency should only occur on a transfer invoice (giro payment) and this will not change

General Questions on the Purchasing Card can be directed to: Office of the State Comptroller, Fiscal Policy Statewide Services Unit (860) 702-3430.
 

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