P-Card Procedures

Download P-Card Procedures

Welcome to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Purchasing Card (P-Card) Program. The Arkansas Office of State Procurement (OSP) has developed this program to help state agencies better manage low dollar supply purchases and bring many benefits to the university, the State of Arkansas, and our vendors. The P-Card will facilitate the acquisition of low dollar goods and services needed for conducting official university business.

P-Cards are only distributed to specific individuals for departmental purchases of commodities/services for UA Little Rock official business purposes. To obtain a P-Card, full-time faculty or staff (students are not eligible) must complete the P-Card Employee Agreement. The P-Card Employee Agreement must be completed and signed by the cardholder, the unit (departmental) supervisor, and the vice chancellor of the unit (department). If a supervisor requests a P-Card, the P-Card Employee Agreement must be signed by his or her immediate supervisor.

Departments participating in the UA Little Rock P-Card Program will abide by the terms of these procedures unless prior written exception is requested and approved by the P-Card administrator. No policy and procedure statement can include all possible outcomes. Exceptions will be resolved as circumstances and prudent business practices warrant on a case-by-case basis. The P-Card Program’s success depends on participation and cooperation.


New P-Card cardholders and coordinators are required to attend face-to-face training before a P-Card will be issued. New approvers have the option to complete the training online or to attend face-to-face training. Existing cardholders, coordinators, and approvers are required to complete training annually as set out in UA Little Rock’s Procurement Cards Policy 308.6, and this training may be online or face-to-face, as determined by the university.


Cardholders are required to store P-Cards in a safe, secure location. Only the approved cardholder is allowed to make purchases using the P-Card and are prohibited from allowing anyone else to use their P-Card.

If a P-Card is lost or stolen, the cardholder must immediately report the loss to the issuing bank, the cardholder’s direct supervisor, and the P-Card administrator. If the occurrence happens after business hours, the cardholder should immediately call the issuing bank and report the lost or stolen P-Card. The telephone number is located on the back of the P-Card and should be recorded and stored in an alternative location for accessibility in case of emergency.

Credit Limits

Each individual P-Card has a single transaction credit limit of $500 (including shipping/freight and taxes) and a monthly expenditure limit of $2,500. Limits may be increased or decreased, with approval, depending on unit requirements and to accurately reflect the spending level in accordance with authority and spending history.

Permanent increase in credit limits. Requests for a permanent increase in the single transaction credit limit and/or the monthly expenditure limit (from what was initially established/approved at the time of application) requires completion of a new P-Card Employee Agreement.

Temporary increase in credit limits. For a temporary increase in the single transaction and/or monthly expenditure limits above previously approved credit limits, the following approvals are needed before the temporary limit can be granted (this can be in the form of an email):

  • Temporary credit limit increase between $501 – $5,000 – Department Chair or Director
  • Temporary credit limit increase between $5,001 – $15,000 – Dean, Assistant Vice Chancellor, or Assistant Provost
  • Temporary credit limit increase $15,001 and above – Associate Provost, Associate Vice Chancellor, or Vice Chancellor

Appropriate Usage

The P-Card should only be used to purchase commodities/services that are not governed by other agreements and/or policies and when securing quality products and/or services at a competitive price without compromise. These procedures ensure that we are diligent in safeguarding our funds and performing our respective duties in an ethical manner.

Restricted Commodities (these items may require additional action)

Mandatory state contract items. Items covered by mandatory state contracts may not be purchased using the P-Card, unless the purchase is from the state contract vendor at or below the state contract price. Procurement Services can provide written documentation about state contract vendors willing to accept the P-Card. For example, office supplies, paper products, such as paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue, copy paper, etc., must be purchased as allowed by state contract. For ease of purchase, many of these items are carried by UA Little Rock Central Stores.

Non-mandatory or cooperative contract items. Items covered by non-mandatory or cooperative contracts may be purchased using the P-Card if purchasing from a contract vendor.

Promotional items. Promotional or novelty items requiring an approved UA Little Rock logo/brand or an approved logo/brand of a specific program may not be purchased with a P-Card unless the item(s) are approved by the Office of Communications, ensuring branding and design meet university specifications and standards. All purchases for promotional items, regardless of cost or method of procurement, must be processed with a competitive quote bid, cooperative contract, or formal bid. Refer to Procurement of Promotional Products on Procurement Services’ website for comprehensive information on this process.

Food, meal, and beverages. Food (grocery store), meals, and beverages may be allowed only with prior approval from Procurement Services. Approval is rare. A Special Meeting Form and/or Sodexo waiver may be required prior to authorization to use the P-Card for these purchases.

Furniture. Purchase of small furniture items are allowed on the P-Card without prior approval. However, large furniture purchases (i.e., purchases that exceed bid limits or if an office is being outfitted) should follow the normal requisition and purchase order process to ensure that state contracts are used and best price obtained.

Computers, laptops, and tablets. Any information technology related purchase must be pre-approved by IT Services, per the Technology Purchases Procedures. Additionally, use of a P-Card to purchase these items must be pre-approved by Procurement Services. Low cost cabling or connectivity-related cords and devices are an exception to this provision.

Note: Technology vendors are required by Arkansas law to complete a Voluntary Products Accessibility Template (VPAT) prior to any information technology-related purchase. This form certifies that the purchased technology is accessible to visually impaired or blind individuals. Procurement Services and IT Services will ensure that the VPAT form is in place prior to purchase, which is the purpose of the pre-approval process outlined above and further detailed in the Technology Purchase Procedures.

Signatory Authority

All items purchased must abide by UA Board of Trustees policy and/or UA Little Rock policy. Some purchases may require accepted terms and conditions adhering to the approval process and an official UA Little Rock signature. The cardholder should never, under any circumstances, be involved or associated in such scenarios and should never execute a purchase using their assigned P-Card without consent of Procurement Services (e.g., the supplier asks you to sign an agreement as a condition of the purchase).

Delivery/Ship-To Address

All commodities ordered via P-Card needing to be shipped must be delivered to a destination that is an official UA Little Rock address or verifiable off-site location due to a special project or grant activity. This internal process is necessary for preventing fraudulent activity.

Fraudulent Charges and Disputing Transactions

The disputed items process allows cardholders to withhold payment of fraudulent charges appearing on the statement until the disputed items are resolved. Fraudulent charges are the only items the cardholder will be allowed to dispute.

A fraudulent charge is an unauthorized transaction(s) made with a lost, stolen, compromised, or counterfeit card/card number. If fraudulent charges are identified, it is the cardholder’s responsibility to immediately contact US Bank at 800-523-9078 and report the fraudulent activity. The cardholder must communicate with US Bank to reissue a new card. The cardholder should then notify his/her direct supervisor and the P-Card administrator in Procurement Services.

Disputable transactions are merchant errors or errors in billing between the merchant and cardholder. For example, these may include multiple billing, billing the wrong amount, billing without receiving merchandise, or billing on a cancelled order. If a charge is disputable, notify the P-Card administrator in Procurement Services for assistance.

Procurement Services recommends frequently reviewing all transactions to identify fraudulent charges as soon as possible. Detecting fraudulent charges promptly allows the bank adequate time in pursuing all investigations with efficiency.

Declined Transaction

If a transaction is declined, the cardholder should call the P-Card administrator for an explanation of the denial. The most common reasons for P-Card declinations include:

  • Monthly spending limit exceeded
  • Restricted vendor or Merchant Category Code (MCC)
  • Single transaction limit exceeded

Accounting and Reconciliation of Expenditures

A detailed sales slip, receipt, or invoice must be provided for each item on the cardholder’s monthly statement. As purchases occur, it is prudent to obtain and secure these documents.

Supporting Documentation. Obtaining some form of official supporting documentation is crucial, whether the purchase is made in person, via telephone, facsimile, postal service, or online. Any transaction the cardholder cannot provide said documentation or a notarized Missing Document Affidavit for will be considered a personal expense, and the cardholder will reimburse the university immediately. If not compliant, further disciplinary actions will be taken.

Valid supporting documentation may include:

  • Receipt and/or transaction slip from the merchant
  • Order form
  • Invoice showing credit card payment
  • Packing slip from the delivery annotated by the cardholder as ordered by, received by, paid by and signature of the cardholder.

All documentation must include the following minimum information (cardholder must handwrite any of these item on the receipt if the vendor receipt does not include them):

  • Vendor name
  • Date of the purchase
  • Description and quantity of each item purchased
  • Per item cost, if available from the merchant
  • Total cost of the transaction
  • Cardholder name and card number

Supporting documentation must fit onto an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. If smaller, then the receipt must be securely taped on all edges to an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. The tape should secure only the receipt’s edges and never be placed over the receipt’s documentation. The entire original or photocopied receipt must be visible.

Reallocating Charges. Cardholders should access their account online throughout the open cycle and for each transaction:

  • Reallocate the charge to the most appropriate accounting code.
  • Provide an explanation of why the item was purchased and how it will be used in the Comments box.
  • List any and all transactions that are fixed assets for inventory purposes in the Internal Audit box. Fixed assets are defined as any and all furniture, vehicles, equipment, desktop computers, laptops, all-in-one computers, tablets, servers, and other state property having a useful life expectancy of one year or greater and a valued cost of $500 or greater.

Depending on the number of monthly transactions, a cardholder may prefer to reallocate and add the required comments/information on a daily or weekly basis.

Cardholder Activity and Transaction Detail Reports. The Cardholder Activity Report and supporting documentation for each transaction must be forwarded to Procurement Services each month at the end of the billing cycle no later than the deadline listed on the Credit Card Billing Cycle Timeline. The Cardholder Activity Report must be signed by the cardholder, coordinator (if applicable), and designated approver verifying all transactions. In the absence of the approver, then the approver’s one-up supervisor may verify the transactions.

In addition, the Transaction Detail Report should be printed and attached to the Cardholder Activity Report so as to provide a copy of the transaction comments entered online. Alternatively, comments may be handwritten on the Cardholder Activity Report, according to the guidelines detailed above.

Reconciliation. Reconciliation is required. If a transaction has not been reconciled, Procurement Services will send out a notification of possible non-compliance. If requested documentation is not submitted to Procurement Services within the noted time frame, the P-Card will be suspended until such time as the documentation is submitted and has satisfied the requirement per the Compliance Process.


Procurement Services has an established process for notification of possible P-Card non-compliance and violations.

Non-compliance and violations may result in one or more of the following: verbal or written warnings; suspension or cancellation of the P-Card; disciplinary action (including loss of employment); and civil or criminal penalties.

Split Purchasing. Split purchasing is the splitting or fragmenting of a purchase greater than the single transaction limit on the card or $20,000, whichever is lower, and paying for the item(s) in separate payments of less than the single transaction limit on the card or $20,000, whichever is lower over an interval of time, to allow for a larger purchase on the P-Card or to exceed the bid threshold. Individual purchases to any merchant may not exceed the single transaction limit on the card or $20,000, whichever is lower. Purchases exceeding the single transaction limit on the card or $20,000, whichever is lower, must be purchased utilizing the requisition to purchase order process. Intentional splitting of a purchase to circumvent UA Little Rock procurement policies and procedures will result in cancellation of the P-Card (in addition to any other disciplinary action) and may result in civil or criminal penalties.

Unauthorized Sharing of a P-Card. Unauthorized sharing of a P-Card includes but is not limited to, allowing another person to use a cardholder’s P-Card.

P-Card Non-Allowable Purchases

There are items that may not be purchased with the P-Card due to existing state contracts, restrictions imposed by Constitutional Amendment 54, and university policy.

Three Strikes. If ANY non-allowable item is purchased on a P-Card, it will result in an immediate strike on the cardholder’s status, as follows:

  • First strike: Card will be shut down for 30 days.
  • Second strike: Card will be shut down for 60 days.
  • Third strike: Card will be shut down indefinitely and cardholder may not reapply for a university-issued P-Card.

In the event that ANY purchases appear to be fraudulent in nature, the P-Card administrator reserves the right to immediately shut down the card and contact university administrators to alert them to potential fraud.

Non-Allowable Items (not a comprehensive list)

Procurement Services has developed the following list to make users aware of non-allowable items. The list does not include all non-allowable items and is subject to change.

  • Printing. Printing is restricted by Constitutional Amendment 54, and therefore, the P-Card should never be used for printing purchases of any type. Contact UA Little Rock Printing Services for all printing needs.
  • Decorative items (for non-public areas). Items such as wall-hangings, plants, lamps, clocks, etc., that are intended for use in non-public areas. Faculty and staff offices and employee break rooms are not considered public areas.
  • Items for personal/staff use. Items for non-university use are not permitted. For example, narcotics, prescriptions, and other over-the-counter medications; party and holiday decorations, greeting cards, supplies and food for birthday, retirement, or other celebrations; personal office supplies such as flowers, plants, and personalized office supplies; small appliances such as microwaves, toasters, refrigerators, coffee makers; candy, soft drinks, juice, coffee, etc.
  • Cash advances.
  • Fuel. Excluding bulk fuel purchases for the campus.
  • Travel expenses. Any expenses related to travel, such as airfare, lodging, rental cars, etc., with the exception of registration fees.
  • Hazardous materials. Radioactive, biohazard, explosive, or any other hazardous materials.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Gifts, contributions, sponsorships, and pledges.
  • Gift cards.
  • Other. No construction, remodeling, capital equipment, or items that have been deemed to be a fixed asset.

This list may be adjusted and re-evaluated from time-to-time.


It is understood there may be cases when the use of the P-Card may be expanded outside the traditional policy. All requests for exceptions to the policy and procedures established in this guideline must be by a written submission to Procurement Services via email to the P-Card administrator. Procurement Services will review any and all requests and notify the requestor of the approval or denial. Any and all copies of documentation pertaining to said request should be kept on file in the department and submitted as supporting documentation with the purchase receipt and activity log. The exception request must be made prior to the purchase.

Questions or Assistance

Please direct any questions, inquiries or problems regarding P-Cards to Procurement Services at 501-916-3144 or procurement@ualr.edu.

(Updated 6/2018)