Using the Card


The procurement card is a VISA credit card issued by US Bank showing the name IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, the individual cardholder's name, and the ISU department name.

The procurement card program is designed to improve efficiency in processing and completing low-dollar purchases of approved commodities from any vendor/supplier that accepts a VISA credit card. This program will enable you to purchase approved commodities directly from vendors/suppliers. Payment for all procurement card transactions is performed electronically, which eliminates the need to process vendor invoices and to issue checks for payment of each invoice.

The card is a privilege granted to the individual by the university, so it is the duty of each cardholder to ensure the responsible use of university funds. The university will seek restitution for any inappropriate charges made to the card. Fraudulent or intentional misuse of the card will result in revocation of the card.

Procurement Services, Accounting, and the Internal Audit Office will monitor the performance of the procurement card program.


Questions or concerns regarding policy should be directed to


Cory HarmsDirector of Procurement Services

Phone: 515-294-2591



Questions or concerns regarding non policy should be directed to



Acceptable Uses

The Procurement Card is intended for the procurement of low-dollar supplies and may be used for purchases of all non-restricted commodities (see Limitations and Restrictions). Each procurement card is issued to a named individual and the university is clearly indicated on the card as the corporate buyer of products and services.

The use of the procurement card for registration fees and dues or memberships will be allowed. When the card is used for registration fees, all optional fees (e.g. tours, including meals) are considered personal and are not to be charged to the card. If optional and a meal is included, the payment is to be made with personal funds and reimbursement for the meal (maximum ISU meal amount applies) should be claimed on an employee travel reimbursement. The object code of all registration expenses must be 23200 for domestic conferences and 23300 for foreign conferences.

Dues or memberships may also be paid with the card providing some benefit is derived by ISU as a result of the membership (see the University Policy Library for further information). The object code must be 38200 for these expenses. Golf, airline clubs, and similar memberships are not allowable. The purchase of memberships such as Amazon Prime are considered reward programs and not allowable because these memberships are not limited to ISU business only, and can be used for personal purchases.

Journal reprints, classified advertising, and subscriptions may be paid with the card.


Limitations and Restrictions

All purchase transactions processed against the procurement card must be made by the individual to whom the card is issued. The card is to be used only by the named cardholder and is not to be loaned to another employee or any other person. The cardholder has full liability for any improper charges that result from allowing others to use the card.

All transactions are authorized or declined based on the following procurement card authorization criteria:

  • Single purchase limit, not to exceed $4,900*
    (including all delivery, shipping and/or handling charges)
  • Spending limit per monthly cycle, up to $15,000* **
  • Approved merchant commodity codes

*Lower limits may be established at departmental request.
**If beneficial to the university a higher monthly limit may be granted

The Procurement Card may NOT be used for the following transactions:


  • Items valued at $5,000 or more, tagable for inventory, with a useful life of 1+ year
  • Automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs)
  • Computers (servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, iPads)
  • Copiers
  • Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
  • Purchases involving trade of ISU property
  • Telephones, cordless telephones, IP phones, cell phones and related equipment (except from contracted vendors)

Employee Travel expenses

  • Airline tickets**
  • Hotel rooms (including reservation of rooms)
  • Meals
  • Car rentals
  • Parking fees
  • Gasoline and fuel

**Airline tickets can be purchased on specially-authorized p-cards and ONLY with our two contracted travel agencies (CTP and Key Travel). For more information please visit the air travel policy page on the Controller's Department site.

    To external vendors for items available through university stores, services, and cyBUY

    • Printing and photocopying
    • Business cards and letterhead 
    • Postal and parcel services
    • Photocopier supplies (including toner cartridges)
    • Cylinder gases and liquid nitrogen  


    • Services requiring a signed contract
    • Rental of high-value (>$5,000) or high-risk equipment
    • Construction services and repair of facilities 
    • Professional services
    • Moving services (employee relocation)
    • Telecommunication services (except from contracted vendors)

    Personal items and gifts

    • Items for personal use
    • Gifts benefiting an individual employee (if the funding does not allow such purchases)
    • Donations

    Items restricted due to standards/reporting issues

    • Package alcohol
    • Controlled substances
    • Computers (servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, iPads)
    • Firearms, weapons, and ammunition
    • Furniture, furnishings, and artwork (except from contracted vendor through AccessPlus)
    • Items for Campus Organizations 
    • Items from online auctions
    • Items from conflict of interest vendors
    • Laboratory animals, livestock, animal cages and aquariums
    • Leases/Rental of land and/or office space
    • Pharmaceuticals and drugs
    • Radioactive materials and hazardous materials

    Additional restrictions for cardholders without hospitality rights

    • Hospitality expenses
    • Meals and food for consumption
    • Entertainment expenses
    • Interview expenses
    • Hotel rooms for visitors to the university


    Cardholders are expected to purchase items that are stocked at University Stores whenever possible, unless substantial savings can be realized through cyBUY or other university contracts.

    Violating any of these policies may result in the immediate termination of the privilege to use the procurement card. Non-adherence to any of the procedures enumerated in the agreement, the user guide, or the statement of procurement card receipt, will result in revocation of individual cardholder privileges and may result in revocation of all division or departmental procurement cards.


    Meeting, Event, and Hospitality Usage

    The university has authorized the use of the procurement card for meeting, event, and hospitality expenses up to your p-card limit. Existing cardholders may request a configuration change to their procurement card by sending an email to the procurement card help desk at

    Hospitality expenses are allowed primarily for those functions with an explicit business purpose, which includes non-employees. Use of university funds for employee functions is allowable only in accordance with the University Policy Library. Business meeting meal costs are considered allowable, primarily for infrequently occurring functions with an explicit business purpose. The purchase of meals for departmental events that are primarily for employees may be transacted on the procurement card only when 206 (non-university) funds are used.

    The cardholder shall provide and maintain documentation regarding the business purposes of all hospitality transactions, including beginning and ending dates, location, event type, and names of participants. This information is required for compliance with IRS regulations and must be provided in order to complete the online reconciliation process.

    Purchases must be for the use and benefit of the university.
    NO PERSONAL PURCHASES ARE ALLOWED. Personal purchases made with the procurement card must be charged to the cardholder's u-bill by the reallocator, using the online reconciliation system in AccessPlus. 

    Acceptable uses include:

    • Annual staff retreats
    • Events for student recruitment/retention
    • Meals/hospitality for position interviewees/candidates
    • Meals/hospitality for visiting speakers
    • Meals/hospitality for other visitors/meeting attendees
    • Educational development seminars and conference expenses hosted by ISU
    • Lodging for non-employees visiting ISU
    • Meeting room expenses

    With regard to purchase of alcoholic beverages, please refer to the University Policy Library.

    When the Procurement Card is used for meeting and hospitality expenses,
    the following object codes should be used:

    • 24100 Travel - Domestic - Non-employee
    • 24200 Travel - Foreign - Non-employee
    • 36100  Hospitality for seminars/events/conferences 
    • 36200  Hospitality for meetings - ISU staff only
    • 36300  Hospitality for recruitment
    • 36400  Hospitality for fundraising
    • 36500  Alcohol
    • 36900  Other hospitality 

    Please note: Travel expenses will not be an acceptable use of the procurement card and will continue to be the responsibility of the university employee, reimbursable by processing a request through the employee reimbursement system for assessment of taxable meals.


    Ordering Process

    The procurement card program provides another option to the existing procurement procedures regarding transactions for goods valued at $4,900 or less (including all delivery, shipping, etc.). No single purchase is to exceed the cardholder's single purchase limit ($4,900 or less). Making multiple transactions to the same vendor on the same date to bypass a card's transaction limit is a violation of the Cardholder Agreement and Statement of Receipt, signed by the cardholder. Any evidence that a cardholder has used these or other means to avoid the transaction limit may result in the loss of procurement card privileges.

    Purchases of restricted commodities and purchases of more than $4,900 should continue to be processed in accordance with the established procurement/disbursement policies and procedures. Additional information about procurement procedures may be found at the procurement web site.

    Please be certain to follow these procedures when using the procurement card:

    1. Identify if the purchase is appropriate for a procurement card transaction. Refer to the Procurement and Payment Methods page for more information.
    2. Determine if your transaction total is less than your authorized transaction limit. If not, the transaction must be processed in accordance with established purchasing/disbursement policies and procedures, and the card may not be utilized.
    3. Contact the vendor/supplier and:
      • State that you are from Iowa State University, and you will be making a VISA purchase. Emphasize that the university is sales tax exempt!
      • If the vendor/supplier requests the university's sales tax exempt number, please provide the appropriate number:
        • Sales Tax: 1-85000775M
        • Federal Excise Tax: 42-70-0066Y
      • If the vendor/supplier requests a university sales tax exempt certificate, contact the procurement services help desk at 294-1308.
      • Place order.
      • Give vendor/supplier the procurement card number and expiration date, as well as the card verification value (CVV) if requested.
      • Give vendor/supplier your name, the department name, and complete delivery address. (Please provide the complete shipping address, including building name, room number, and street address to ensure proper delivery.) If the vendor asks for the statement or billing address, it is the address on your card statement (generally the address of your department administrative office). Contact the procurement services help desk at 294-1308 or for specific information.
    4. Make sure that the appropriate departmental personnel is aware of your purchase, and that you have followed all departmental procedures, including university record retention/documentation requirements. 
    5. When receiving a shipment, it is the responsibility of the cardholder to promptly inspect the shipment in accordance with receipt and inspection of purchased goods. In case of returns, the cardholder is responsible for coordinating the return directly with the vendor/supplier and for contacting a Procurement Card Program Administrator with any unresolved issues.

    An itemized card receipt must be retained as part of the purchase transaction documentation, as noted in the following section.


    Proof of Purchase Documentation

    The Procurement Card Program facilitates point-of-sale purchases, giving authorized cardholders the ability to purchase specific goods directly from a vendor/supplier. The procurement card will eliminate the time and effort spent on processing requisitions and other internal forms, filing of purchase order copies, distribution and the filing of multiple payment vouchers.

    With this authority comes the responsibility for maintaining adequate documentation at the source of the transaction (within the cardholder's department). It is the responsibility of each department and/or unit to retain itemized receipts for procurement card transactions in accordance with the University's Records Retention Policy. 

    Original documentation MUST be maintained at its source and MUST support an authorized (acceptable) business purpose for all transactions made with the procurement card. For hospitality transactions, the cardholder shall additionally provide the event type, beginning and ending dates, location, and names of participants. Documentation is to be maintained in the source department for ten (10) years (see University Policy Manual). 

    Effective 3/1/2014, procurement card receipts must be uploaded to the associated transaction in the AccessPlus p-card system.

    Supporting documentation might include the following:

    • Itemized cashier receipt or vendor/supplier invoice, showing the charges have been paid by using the card.
    • Copy of an itemized order confirmation or application when available.
    • Packing slip (for goods received).
    • Copy of registration form.
    • Certificate of lost receipt.

    Transactions will be subject to audit by the procurement services department, the controller's department, internal audit, and State of Iowa auditors.


    Reporting a Lost or Stolen Card

    If a procurement card is lost or stolen, the cardholder must immediately contact the procurement card administrator at 294-4589. It is also the responsibility of the cardholder to report the loss of a procurement card immediately to ISU's public safety office at 294-4428.

    The cardholder's department has full liability for any charges to the card, prior to the time it is reported lost or stolen. Should you need emergency assistance from VISA that USBank is unable to provide, VISA may be contacted at 800-847-2911.


    Transaction Discrepancies, Disputes, and Fraud

    Unauthorized transactions to unknown vendors should be reported to the Procurement Card Program Administrator immediately. 

    For unrecognized or incorrect transactions, the department should first seek resolution with the merchant. Should this prove unsuccessful, the department shall contact the Procurement Card Program Administrator with supporting information. 

    All discrepancies shall be communicated to the Procurement Card Program Administrator within 30 days of the post date. Your request will be investigated, and, if a resolution cannot be achieved with the merchant, sent directly to USBank for review. Once the charge is disputed, USBank will suspend the charge and request documentation from the merchant. If the merchant fails to provide suitable documentation within forty-five (45) days, the disputed amount will be credited on the next statement. 

    Transactions sixty (60) days past the statement date cannot be disputed with USBank and will be the responsibility of the cardholder's department.


    Employee Transfer or Termination

    The employee or employing department must immediately notify a Procurement Card Program Administrator upon learning of cardholder terminations or transfers. Advise the date that card privileges need to be terminated. Procurement Services will immediately notify USBank, thereby protecting the university through Visa's Liability Waiver Program. Failure to notify USBank within two (2) days of learning of employment status change voids this protection. The employing department is responsible for destroying and discarding the procurement card once the cardholder leaves the university/department. Do NOT send active procurement cards through campus mail.

    Additionally, should the employment status of a validator, reallocator, approver or any of their proxies change, the employing department shall notify a Procurement Card Program Administrator immediately. The electronic reconciliation system operates with cardholder specific databases, which includes the names and email addresses of each of the above. Any employment status changes not communicated to the Procurement Card Program Administrator will cause delays and errors in the reconciliation system.