state of connecticut

PURCHASING CARD CARDHOLDER WORK RULES

OVERVIEW

The Purchasing Card program is co-sponsored by the Department of Administrative Services Procurement Services and the Office of the State Comptroller. It is designed and intended to more effectively meet your purchasing and travel needs. It streamlines and simplifies the purchasing and accounts payable functions by eliminating waste and low value activities, ultimately, reducing transaction costs, and improving vendor relations. The Purchasing Card (P-Card) is a tool that facilitates the timely acquisition of materials, automates data transactions for accounting purposes, supports travel services and offers flexible controls to help ensure proper usage.

The Purchasing Card Program (P-Card Program) reduces the time and paperwork associated with purchase orders under the specified p-card transaction limits, invoices and checks. The P-Card also offers an alternative to a variety of processes including petty cash, check requests, low dollar purchase orders, online purchases including conference registrations and travel reimbursement. The P-Card Program is not intended to avoid or bypass appropriate procurement procedures, but rather, to complement the existing processes available.

Effective July 1, 2011, payments for purchases by all state agencies under $1,000 shall be made using the State of Connecticut Purchasing Card. Purchasing cards (P-Card) must be used for payments to any vendor that provides commodities, services and/or utilities. Exceptions to this policy would be for purchases that must be approved using the Core 10 process, vendors who do not accept credit cards and purchases to restock inventories carried in the Core-CT inventory module. Agencies are encouraged to continue the use of P-Cards for all transactions within their agency purchasing policies. Please refer to Comptroller's Memorandum 2011-11.

WORK RULES

The Cardholder Work Rules provide information about the process, the types of purchases that can and cannot be made, records that must be maintained and reconciled for each cycle, and other pertinent information.

This guide is a description of the work rules for any employee entrusted with the P-Card. Please remember that you are committing agency funds each time you use the P-Card. You are the person responsible for all charges made to the card that has been issued to you. Intentional misuse or fraudulent abuse may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

The P-Card will have no impact on your personal credit. Although the P-Card lists an individual's name, it is a corporate card issued to the State of Connecticut.

HOW IT WORKS

The P-Card is currently a MasterCard issued by JPMorgan Chase Bank. It works much like a personal credit card. However, it is a commercial card and each card has custom designed features, with pre-set controls built into the chip/magnetic strip, to meet the specific needs of the cardholder and the agency.

The P-Card simplifies the procurement and disbursement process by facilitating point-of-demand purchasing. Purchasing authority is delegated to the ordering departments enabling the authorized cardholders to place orders directly with the suppliers.

AGENCY PROCEDURES

Please refer to your agency's procedures for processes and guidelines specific to your agency. These may include the types of purchases that can and cannot be made, important contacts, telephone numbers, and your agency's tax-exempt certificate.

POLICY FOR P-CARDS

Commodities/Services

The P-Card is to be used for official State of Connecticut purchases wherever MasterCard is accepted and in conjunction with current state contracts. In addition, the P-Card is to be used in conjunction with agency purchasing policies.

Unacceptable purchases with the card:

Travel Option - Hotel and Car Rental Purchases 

A travel option is available to agencies currently participating in the P-Card Program. This option is available to frequent travelers within an agency. The P-Card, modified with this travel option, allows for payment of cost of hotel lodging, out-of-state car rental and gasoline for out-of-state car rentals.

When using the travel option, all personal expenses, i.e., meals, movie rental, personal telephone charges, restaurant, room service, gasoline for state vehicles, etc, must not be charged to the State of Connecticut Purchasing Card.

Travel Account - Airline and Rail Ticket Purchases

The Travel Account allows purchasing authority to be delegated to one person within an agency, the Travel Account Cardholder, who is then designated as the "Travel Coordinator" enabling him/her to place orders directly with the State contracted vendor, Sanditz Travel.

State purchases made through the Travel Account should be in accordance with Travel Regulations established by DAS. The Travel Account is to be used for purchases related to State business only. The Travel Account is only to be used for the purchase of airline/rail tickets which can be purchased through the State contracted vendor, Sanditz Travel.

Department Cards

Department Cards are State of Connecticut Purchasing Cards ("P-Cards") that are issued in the name of a state agency, division, business unit or other functional unit of an agency or department, instead of in the name of an individual state employee. See "Department Card Guidelines and Security Procedures."

CREDIT CARD LIMITS

The Purchasing Card Program provides enhanced control for each transaction. When the vendor at the point-of-sale requests a purchase authorization, the MasterCard system validates the transaction against pre-set limits established by the agency. All transactions are approved or declined (instantaneously) based on the following Purchasing Card authorization criteria:

These limits are required for each card. Your supervisor and agency business office have determined what these pre-set limits will be for your individual card. If any of these limits are reached, further transactions in that month's billing cycle will be denied.

Single Transaction Purchase Limit

Each Purchasing Card will have a single transaction limit assigned by the agency. The transaction limits cannot be changed by the cardholder. The P-Card will reject purchases for amounts greater than this limit. Under no circumstances should a transaction be split in order to bypass the single transaction dollar limit.

HOW TO USE THE PURCHASING CARD

The Purchasing Card may be used to purchase approved goods at the point of sale, over the phone, by fax or by mail.

1. Identify: Identify if the purchase is appropriate for the P-Card by determining if your transaction total is less than your card limit. If not, the purchase must be processed in accordance with established procurement policy and procedures.

2. Contract: Determine if the item you need is available from a State contract. If the item you are ordering is available from a State contract supplier, the order must be placed with the State contract supplier. Always use the State contract unless it cannot meet your business need in terms of delivery time. See "Contract Compliance."

3. Contact: Call or go to the vendor's place of business and place the order. If calling, advise the vendor that you are calling from the State of Connecticut and you will be making a MasterCard Purchasing Card purchase. Emphasize that it is a tax-exempt purchase. Please note: the tax-exempt number is imprinted on the card under the cardholder name. However, this information is not automatically passed to the vendor through the magnetic strip.

4. Order: Give the vendor the account number and expiration date on your P-Card. Important: Tell the vendor that the address label/packing slip that accompanies the package must contain the following information; cardholder's name, agency name, building and room number, street and city address. Packages that are not labeled as described may delay the delivery of items ordered indefinitely. Under no circumstances should the vendor indicate the Purchasing Card number on any address label or packing list. Listing this information would threaten the security of your card. Inform the vendor not to send a bill or invoice to the ordering department or your business office. Submitting an invoice for a charge card transaction may result in a duplicate payment.

5. Record: Enter the purchase transaction information on the cardholder's Purchase Log. See "Completion of the Purchase Log."

6. Retain: Retain all documentation pertaining to the purchase. See "Proof of Purchase Documentation."

7. Inspect: Inspect the shipment when it is received or picked up. In case of returns, the cardholder is responsible for coordinating the return directly with the supplier.

CONTRACT COMPLIANCE

While the P-Card is a purchasing tool, it does not signal a change in policy regarding compliance with the State's contract suppliers.
DAS Procurement Services is authorized to negotiate and issue contracts that will provide the State with "least total cost" arrangements for goods and services required from outside vendors. In negotiating those contracts, DAS Procurement Services will consider not only the vendor's line item pricing for the products or services, but will also consider the vendor's:

Supplier contract pricing and performance are normally based on the State's overall anticipated volume of purchases during the contract period. In order to assure state agencies of "least total cost" of goods or services, and to fulfill the obligation to consolidate all of its requirements with the authorized contract supplier(s), all offices are obligated to order required goods or services from those suppliers who are authorized contract suppliers.

Circumventing the use of these contracts may result in some initial savings, but repeated circumvention reduces contract value, discourages vendors from bidding in the future and eventually results in higher prices. What appears to be a savings on an individual purchase basis can and often does result in higher costs over time.

COMPLETION OF THE PURCHASE LOG

The Purchase Log, CO-501 (see Exhibit A) has been preprinted on an envelope for the convenience of maintaining all documentation related to P-Card transactions. Cardholders are responsible for recording each transaction on this log, and retaining all documentation in this envelope*. A new envelope should be used for each billing cycle. If more lines are needed for a particular billing cycle, please make a copy of the Purchase Log and attach it to the envelope.

*The Purchase Log Envelope was developed and intended for the convenience of reconciliation and ease of auditing. Use of the Purchase Log Envelope is strongly recommended. However, agency procedures may differ from this process if compensatory controls are already in place. Please refer to your agency procedures for information regarding the Purchase Log Envelope.

Recording Returns on the Purchase Log

If you need to return a shipment, please record this as a credit on the Purchase Log. A return should be recorded as two separate transactions. The first is the purchase. The second is the return of the same item. This is how it will appear on your Payment Net Statement.

Proof of Purchase Documentation:

Cardholders are responsible for maintaining adequate transaction documentation. Documentation must support the business purpose of all transactions made with the P-Card. Agencies are responsible for record retention in accordance with the State Librarian's Record Retention Policy. Supporting documentation should include one of the following items:

MONTHLY CARDHOLDER STATEMENTS

Each cardholder will receive a Payment Net Statement from his/her agency coordinator each billing cycle. The cycle cutoff date is the 10th of each month. The statement identifies each transaction made with the P-Card during the billing cycle, and is reconciled against the Purchase Log.

RECONCILING YOUR ACCOUNT

Compare each transaction on the Payment Net statement with each transaction on the Purchase Log. If a transaction recorded on the Purchase Log does not appear on the statement, put a line through the transaction. Copy this transaction to the Purchase Log for reconciliation in the next month's billing cycle.

The Purchase Log Envelope** must be signed by the cardholder as proof of reconciliation and then approved and signed by the cardholder's reviewer. After proper signatures are attained, it should be forwarded to the agency's business office with the original Payment Net statement and the original receipts inside, by the last day of the month.

**Agency procedures may differ on the use of the Purchase Log Envelope. Please see "Completion of the Purchase Log" for more information.

RESOLVING STATEMENT ERRORS AND DISPUTES

Most errors and disputes can be resolved between you and the supplier directly. However, if there is a charge that is not recognized by you, or if it appears to be incorrect, and you are unable to straighten it out with the vendor, it can be disputed through JPMorgan Chase Bank. Submit the "Dispute Form" (see Exhibit B) with supporting documentation within thirty (30) days of the statement date to your agency Purchasing Card Coordinator. Your agency coordinator will fax the paperwork to JPMorgan Chase Bank and wait for a response.

Purchasing Card accounts will be paid in full regardless of whether or not there is a disputed transaction. When JPMorgan Chase Bank has completed the investigation, you will be notified of the resolution. If the dispute is settled in your favor, your account will be credited for the disputed transaction amount.

During the dispute process, the Program Administrator may be required to request copies of a receipt or invoice. If this is necessary, your account will be charged $5.00 for each copy supplied by JPMorgan Chase Bank.

PAYING THE BILL

The Purchasing Card is a corporate account. The Purchasing Card bill will be paid in full each month by your agency's business office.

CHIP CARD INFORMATION

Receive and Get Started with Your New Chip Card:

Activate your Chip P-Card

You will be prompted for security information. (If department card, the custodian activates the card with his/her information.) The automated system will ask for:

Create the PIN

KNOW YOUR AGENCY COORDINATOR

Your Agency P-Card Coordinator is the person at your agency that is responsible for card applications and issuance, card cancellation, card limits, entering cardholder information into Core CT, reconciling the accounts, reviewing cardholder authorizations, paying the bill and communicating with the Program Administrator.

Agency P-Card Coordinators use P-Card On-Line (POL) and Payment Net for managing their agencyís cardholders.

Keep your Agency P-Card Coordinatorís contact information handy.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR P-CARD OR DEPARTMENT CARD IS LOST OR STOLEN

Follow the procedures outlined on the next pages, which can also be found on the P-Card webpage. It is suggested to print this and keep it out for quick reference. The process and responsibility for the Cardholder is outlined, and it also includes the steps for the Coordinator and Administrator.

REFUSAL OF CARD OR ACCOUNT

Should you be declined at the point of sale for any reason, please contact your agency Purchasing Card Coordinator or JPMorgan Chase Bank at 1-800-316-6056 (the number on the back of the card). Every effort will be made to determine why your card was declined.

DEPARTMENTAL CHANGES

If you transfer to a new department or leave the agency, return your P-Card to your agency Purchasing Card Coordinator immediately. Your card will be cancelled and destroyed.

PURCHASING CARD AUDIT ACTIVITY

To ensure the continued success of the Purchasing Card Program and to meet audit requirements, random audits will be made by appropriate personnel, including the Auditors of Public Accounts and the Office of the State Comptroller. The random audits are to help ensure adherence to the Program's policies and procedures.

DEPARTMENT CARD GUIDELINES AND SECURITY PROCEDURES

Department Cards enable an agency to streamline purchasing and accounts payable functions in a single unit or division because the Department Cards generate only one account to be reconciled and paid. Department Cards allow flexibility since more than one authorized card user are allowed to utilize one Card to make authorized purchases for the agency, unit or division.

Department Card Accountability

Individually issued cards have one to one accountability for purchase transactions. Therefore, at the point of sale, the vendor can verify the cardholder belongs to the card, via matching signatures, and other forms of identification, and feel confident the transactions is legitimate. Department cards do not have the same one to one accountability, since the card is not issued in an individualís name and multiple users are able to purchase with it. It is harder to determine accountability for a purchase made with a Department Card.

Vendor Acceptance for Department Cards

Vendors have the right to refuse any credit card for payment. Department Cards may not be accepted by all vendors because it is harder to verify if the card user is authorized to use the card. The vendor wants to ensure the transaction is legitimate and that they will be paid for the sale. Individually issued cards are embossed with the cardholder name on the front and their signature on the back of the plastic. This information can be verified by matching signatures and or other forms of identification. The Department Card will have the name of the agency's department or unit embossed on the front of the card and the signature panel will display the phrase "See Employee ID". The vendor should ask to see the Card Userís State ID.

Agency Department Card Procedures

The requirements set forth in this document govern the physical handling of Department Cards. Separately issued agency specific Purchasing Card ("P-Card") Program Procedures are already in place to control the purchasing done with P-Cards issued to individual staff. These same rules will apply to the Department Cards.

Agency P-Card Coordinator Responsibilities for Department Cards

The Agency P-Card Coordinator shall keep an up-to-date list of all active Department Cards, along with the names of the Department Card Custodians responsible for securing them. The Agency P-Card Coordinator shall make sure that each Department Card Custodian is familiar with, and abides by, the State of Connecticut Purchasing Card Program Cardholder Work Rules and the more specific, Agency Purchasing Card Procedures for purchasing with P-Cards.

Department Card Custodian

For each Department Card issued within an agency, a Custodian shall be assigned. The Department Card Custodian is a specific agency staff person assigned with the responsibility of the security of the Department Card (see Security) and the monthly activity reconciliation.

Department Card Signature Panel

On the back of each Department Card, the Signature Panel shall be signed with the phrase, "See Employee ID". Each Card User shall be instructed to carry his/her employee ID for verification purposes when making a purchase using the Department Card.

Department Card User

A Card User is an individual authorized by the appropriate Department Card Custodian to use a Department Card. Prior to obtaining authorization to become a Card User, the employing agency shall provide the individual with a State of Connecticut Credit Card Use Policy, shall require the individual to sign that s/he has received such policy, and shall maintain the signed policy on file. Additionally, each Department Card Custodian shall ensure that all such individuals and Card Users are familiar with, and abide by, the State of Connecticut Purchasing Card Program Cardholder Work Rules and the more specific, Agency Purchasing Card Procedures for actual purchasing with P-Cards. The existence of a signed State of Connecticut Credit Card Use Policy on file for the individual, and proper and complete tracking of Department Card usage on the forms discussed below, including all required signatures, shall be considered authorization by the Department Card Custodian for the individual to be a Card User.

Department Card Security

Department Cards are issued to the Department Card Custodian who is responsible for the security of the plastic and of reconciliation of the transactions. The Department Cards shall be held in a secure location at each site where they are issued. When a purchase needs to be transacted using the Department Card, it shall be released to a Card User for that purpose. All Department Card usage shall be tracked and recorded through the use of two forms, the Department Card User Log Form CO-504D and the Department Card Purchase Log Sheet. The Department Card Custodian is responsible for these two forms.

Department Card User Log Form [CO-504D]

The release of the Department Card from its secured location to the Card User shall be tracked through the use of the CO-504D Department Card User Log form. This document tracks the card by providing the name of the Card User that signed it out and the date and time out and date and time returned. On this document, the Card User's name shall be recorded and his or her signature obtained. The date and time the card is being taken is recorded. When the Card User returns the P-Card, that date and time is also recorded. The Department Card Custodian shall sign and date the Department Card User Log and submit it to the Agency Purchasing Card Coordinator at the end of each billing cycle.

Department Card Purchase Log Sheet [CO-503D]

The CO-501 P-Card Log Sheet has been modified to become the CO-503D Department Card Purchase Log Sheet. It includes a spot for the Card User who made the purchase to record his or her name in addition to all the other data normally collected on this form. The Department Card Custodian shall submit Department Card Purchase Log Sheets in accordance with existing agency procedures.

EMERGENCY P-CARD +

The State of Connecticut Emergency Card Program is part of the current Purchasing Card Program administered by the Office of the State Comptroller and Department of Administrative Services. The purpose of the Emergency Card is to have a purchasing mechanism that is activated in the event of a State of Emergency.

Emergency Cardholders -

Not all agencies will have a need for an emergency purchasing card, while some agencies will have a need for more than one emergency purchasing card. Each State agency must determine if a need exists to designate emergency cardholder(s). Emergency cardholders will have transaction limits raised and be responsible for placing orders, maintaining receipts in a purchasing log envelope and forwarding to the Agency Purchasing Card Coordinator. The Agency Purchasing Card Coordinator will be responsible for maintaining the list of authorized agency individuals designated as emergency cardholders.

There will be two types of emergency card purchasers:

The Department of Administrative Services will serve as the Statewide Purchasing Card
Administrator and liaison with the bank of record to maintain the current listing of authorized emergency staff and to ensure that the emergency limits have been activated.

Emergency Credit Limits

The Comptroller has established specific limits for the use of the Purchasing Card during a State of Emergency and will conduct post audits on the use of the cards.

Authorized emergency limits have been established at $250,000 per transaction. The limit of transactions per day and per month is 999. The Purchasing Card emergency credit limits will not be activated until the Governor declares a state of emergency and the Governorís designated staff person sends an email to DAS P-Card Administrators requesting the emergency card program activation.

QUESTIONS

Questions may be directed to:
State Comptroller's Office,  OSC/Accounts Payable Division, Elizabeth Macha/Sarah Ormerod, Phone # (860) 702-3405/(860)702-3410, Elizabeth.macha@ct.gov , Sarah.ormerod@ct.gov 

Department of Administrative Services, Procurement Unit, Carlos Velez (860)713-5092 carlos.velez@ct.gov , Kerry DiMatteo (860)713-5072 kerry.dimatteo@ct.gov , or Philip St. Amand (860)713-5792 philip.st.amand@ct.gov