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P-Card FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Click on one of the topics below to view frequently asked questions about the Purchasing Card (P-Card).

P-Card Training

P-Card Training

  • Do I have to complete training before getting a Procurement Card (P-Card)?
  •  Yes. Training is required for all prospective cardholders, as well as fiscal officers/delegates. Training should be completed before filling out a P-Card application.
  • Who is required to complete the refresher training? How often am I required to complete refresher training?
  • P-Card refresher training is required for active cardholders and fiscal officers once a year. An e-mail notification will alert you when it's time to complete the online training and provide a deadline. The training should be completed by the deadline in order to ensure that the card account remains active.
  • Can I complete the training if I am interested in learning more about the P-Card program, but not interested in getting a card at this time?
  • Absolutely! The online training is available to any UC Davis employee who wishes to learn more about the program.
  • What do I need to complete the online training?
  • You will need your UC Davis login ID and Kerberos password to access the training.
  • How long does the training take?
  • The training takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

Applying for the Card

Applying for the Card

  • How do I apply for the P-Card?
  • After you complete the online training, you can start the P-Card application. Note that there are 2 separate sections of the application.

    1. The Cardholder section of the Application should be completed first. After the cardholder completes this portion of the application, the system will assign an application request number. This number must be given to your fiscal officer, so they can complete the Fiscal Officer section.
    2. The Fiscal Officer section requires the application request number. Once the fiscal officer has entered this number, s/he can complete the remaining sections of the P-Card application.
    After the fiscal officer submits the application, s/he will receive an automated e-mail message. The e-mail contains several questions that must be answered by the fiscal officer before a P-Card is issued.


  • When applying for the P-Card, to whom do I send the original signed Cardholder Agreement?
  • The original signed Cardholder Agreement should be sent to the Purchasing Card Application Processor in Procurement & Contracting Services. Keep a copy for your records.
  • Will my personal credit history be checked when I apply for a P-Card?
  • No. Your personal credit history will not be checked or affected when applying for or using the P-Card.
  • How long does it take to get a P-Card once the application has been submitted?
  • After Procurement & Contracting Services has processed the application, it takes approximately two weeks for the bank to process the request and send the card.
  • Who is eligible for the P-Card?
  • The P-Card program is available to all departments, except Medical Center (Chart H account) departments. In general, employees who regularly provide a purchasing function for the department and receive departmental approval are eligible for the P-Card. In order to ensure a proper separation of duties, account managers are generally not eligible to be cardholders.
  • I am an affiliate of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), but I am not a UC employee. Am I eligible to become a Purchasing Cardholder?
  • Yes. ANR has an internal approval process for affiliates. Contact your appropriate Regional Office Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for instructions.

Problems with the Card

Problems with the Card

  • What do I do if my P-Card is lost or stolen?
  • Refer to Reporting Lost or Stolen Cards for instructions.
  • What if I find charges on my card for purchases I did not make?
  • Refer to Disputed or Unauthorized Charges for instructions.
  • Is the fiscal officer notified automatically when a transaction occurs on a P-Card?
  • Yes. Each time a charge occurs on a Purchasing Card, the fiscal officer (or their delegate) receives a Procurement Card (PCDO) document in their KFS Action List. This document identifies what card was used (cardholder name and last 4 digits of card number), the merchant where the purchase was made, and the FIS account charged.


    The PCDO document serves two basic purposes:

    • Alerts PCDO reviewer that a charge has occurred. By taking any action on the document, the PCDO reviewer certifies that the transaction did occur, is necessary for business purposes, and that source documentation will be kept on file for the required period of time.
    • Allows charge to be moved to a different Full Accounting Unit.


  • I have recently changed my name. Am I required to get a new P-Card with my new name?
  • You will need to apply for a new card with your new name. Once the new card arrives, you should e-mail the Procurement Card Administrator with the last 4 digits of your old card number and indicate that the old card should be canceled. Dispose of the old card properly.
  • One of the cardholders I review made a purchase for the department that was not an authorized expense. What can I do about it?
  • Your department has the option to request that the cardholder either return the item or reimburse the university, per section V of PPM 350-10.

    If the item is being returned, then the card will be credit.  Reference the original PCDO document on the PCDO that is generated by the credit.  If the department decides to request reimbursement from the cardholder, please follow the instructions on our Personal or Unauthorized Purchases page.  In addition, you should refer the cardholder to PPM 350-22, and have them review sections IV.B on allowable purchases, and V.A on their responsibilities as a cardholder.

  • As the reviewer/fiscal officer of a cardholder I noticed a personal purchase was made, what do I do?
  • Please notify the P-card Administrator of the violation immediately, by e-mail to . The expense should be repaid to the university following the instructions on our Personal or Unauthorized Purchases page.  In addition, you should refer the cardholder to PPM 350-22, and have them review sections IV.B on allowable purchases, and V.A on their responsibilities as a cardholder.



  • What kind of source documentation is required for P-Card purchases?
  • The business purpose of all transactions made with the P-Card must be supported by appropriate source documentation from the vendor. Examples of source documentation includes invoices, detailed sales receipts, packing slips, subscription forms, and e-mail/Web site order confirmations. Source documentation must provide the department with enough detail (complete item description and price paid) to allow verification of all expenditures listed on the Procurement Card (PCDO) document and the general ledger. The department must retain all source documentation for six years or as long as required by the University's Disposition Schedules Manual or the specific funding source.
  • I've heard that each purchase made on the P-Card can be recorded on a "Purchasing Log." What is a Purchasing Log?
  • A Purchasing Log indicates what was purchased on the P-Card. For more information, visit the Purchasing Log Examples page.
  • When using the P-Card, does any paperwork need to be sent to Accounts Payable or Procurement & Contracting Services?
  • No. Your department is the Office of Record for all paperwork associated with the P-Card, including sales receipts, bank statements, Purchasing Logs, vendor invoices, and packing slips. In general, documentation should be kept on file in your department for 6 years, per P&PM 350-22, Section V.

Using the Card

Using the Card

  • What are the benefits of the P-Card?
  • The P-Card is a convenient way to purchase goods and materials up to the delegated transaction limit of $4999 per vendor, per day. The P-Card eliminates the need to process KFS Requisitions and Payment Requests, makes purchasing easier for the employee, and because payment is immediate, vendors ship purchases faster.
  • How can I determine what I can purchase with the P-Card?
  • The P-Card can be used to purchase the same items as those purchased on a KFS Requisition that becomes an Automatic Purchase Order (does not require approval of Purchasing).

    If your P-Card is assigned to an extramurally-funded account, there may be additional restrictions as to what can and cannot be purchased. In general, the more restrictive policy applies.

  • Can I use the P-Card to purchase against an agreement?
  • Yes. Although you can use the P-Card to purchase against an agreement, you may not exceed the delegated limit of $4999 per transaction on the P-Card, even if the transaction limit on the agreement is higher. If using an agreement, provide the vendor with the agreement number to ensure appropriate pricing, terms, and conditions.
  • Does the $4999 per transaction limit include taxes and shipping and handling?
  • Yes. When placing an order, be sure to consider any taxes and shipping and handling charges. The total of all charges cannot exceed $4999.
  • Is it ever acceptable to split a transaction to bypass the delegated purchasing limit of $4999 per transaction?
  • No. Orders exceeding the transaction limit are to be processed on a KFS Requisition. Procurement & Contracting Services will work with vendors to get the best price for these purchases.
  • What is the difference between the P-Card and the Travel Card?
  • The P-Card is used to purchase the same types of items that can be processed on a KFS Requisition that becomes an Automatic Purchase Order (does not require approval of Procurement & Contracting Services). The P-Card cannot be used as payment for any travel or entertainment expenses, as the policies regarding travel and entertainment expenses are different from the policies regarding delegated purchases.

    The Travel Card is issued to employees for travel and entertainment-related expenses only (e.g., airline tickets, hotel charges, car rental, meals, etc.). Employees who regularly travel or entertain on behalf of the university are strongly encouraged to apply for the Travel Card.

  • Can the P-Card be used for registration fees?
  • Visit the How Do I Buy chart to determine the best way to purchase registration fees. 
  • Can my department share one P-Card or can I let a co-worker use my P-Card?
  • No. The P-Card cannot be transferred to, assigned to, or used by anyone other than the person whose name is embossed on the card. Neither the physical P-Card nor its account number should be shared with or transferred to any other person to use. Violations of this policy will result in revocation of the card.
  • Once initiated, can a P-Card transaction be stopped?
  • No. Once the charge has been made, your account will be debited. The cardholder is responsible for making arrangements with the vendor to obtain a credit or billing adjustment.
  • Can the P-Card be used for any type of services?
  • Due to insurance and liability issues, service transactions are not allowed on the P-Card.
  • Can the P-Card be used for repairs?
  • No. Repairs are considered a "service" and most services are unauthorized purchases under the P-Card program. There are a number of liability issues that must be considered before any repair can be approved. For these reasons, most repairs must be processed on a KFS Requisition. See P&PM 350-10 Section III B for more information.
  • Can I use my P-Card to make online purchases?
  • Yes. Be sure that you use secure Web sites for online ordering. Most websites have addresses beginning with "http". Secure sites begin with "https."
  • Can the P-Card be used for sympathy gifts or employee non-cash awards?
  • Per Policy and Procedure Manual section 380-50 the P-Card may be used for sympathy gifts and non-cash awards for employee recognition. Review the policy for specific information on gifts and awards that are allowable.
  • How do I change the Procurement Card (PCDO) document reviewer or other default attributes assigned to my P-Card?
  • The Procurement Cardholder (PCRD) document in KFS is used to change the person assigned as the Procurement Card (PCDO) reviewer. Additional P-Card attributes that can be changed on the PCRD include the default chart of account and account the card is charged to, the sub-account, project, and ledger reference. This document can only be processed by the fiscal officer assigned to the account on the P-Card.
  • What is the P-Card renewal process?
  • P-Cards renew every 2 years, and renewal cards are automatically issued to current cardholders. Expired cards should be destroyed promptly.
  • What do I need to do with my P-Card if leave the university or move to another department? How do I cancel my P-Card?
  • Refer to Canceling a P-Card for instructions.
  • Why are some P-Card transactions taxed a second time in KFS? What do I do if a transaction has been taxed twice?
  • Refer to the information on the Procurement Card Document Use Tax page.
  • What do I do if a vendor doesn't charge tax on a P-Card transaction?
  • For non-California vendors that don't charge tax, a system-added tax will automatically be assessed on the purchase.

    If a California vendor does not charge tax, the cardholder should contact them to determine why a tax was not assessed. Some types of purchases may not be taxable (such as purchases for resale), and the vendor should be able to provide additional information.

  • I am using the P-Card for a subscription, and the vendor will periodically charge our card, instead of processing a single charge. Are recurring charges allowable on the P-Card?
  • Recurring charges are acceptable as long as the charges are reviewed by the cardholder on the statement and reviewed by others (i.e. Fiscal Officer) for appropriateness and accuracy.

    There should be an invoice, billing statement or another source document to substantiate each recurring charge. This documentation is to be reviewed and signed.

  • Can the P-Card be used for subscriptions?
  • Yes. Subscriptions are an appropriate purchase on the P-Card. Source documentation for a subscription may include a subscription form or confirmation slip from the vendor.

    See the UCD Policy and Procedure Manual for more information on allowable P-Card transactions.

  • What information appears on the Procurement Card (PCDO) document?
  • The PCDO contains the following information on a P-Card transaction:

    • Cardholder name
    • Last 4 digits of the card number
    • Merchant name
    • Point-of-sale text, if provided by the vendor (could include item description or order number)
    • Full Accounting Unit (FAU) to which the transaction was charged
    • Dollar amount
    The above information should always be verified.


  • Can the P-Card be used for conference calls?
  • Yes. Conference calls are allowable on the P-Card.
  • Can the P-Card be used for any expenses associated with exhibiting at a conference?
  • The P-Card may be used for the purchase of materials and supplies in conjunction with exhibiting at a conference or trade show.

    The P-Card may not be used for exhibit booth rentals. ALL booth rentals must be processed on a KFS Requisition to ensure that any applicable applications or agreements are reviewed and signed by an authorized buyer in Procurement & Contracting Services.

  • Can I use the P-Card for a room deposit?
  • Per P&PM 330-05, off-campus room reservations must be reviewed/approved by specific central departments on campus (e.g., Procurement & Contracting Services) and therefore cannot be processed on a P-Card. Instructions on processing a room reservation deposit are available here.
  • I used the P-Card for a transaction made in a foreign (non-American) currency. Is there any type of fee associated with the currency conversion?
  • The currency conversion charge is 1.5%. 1% goes to Visa, the remaining .5% to US Bank.
  • My P-Card is assigned to an account that is funded by an outside agency or is federally-funded. Are there any special considerations for a card assigned to an extramurally-funded account?
  • Supporting documentation for each expense must be complete and clearly indicate what was purchased on the card. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110 includes several areas that address supporting documentation, including subpart C.

    If supporting documentation is not adequate, the expense must be transferred to a non-extramurally-funded account. This transfer should be processed on the Procurement Card (PCDO) document.

    For cards assigned to a federal account with a specific end date, you should contact the Procurement Card Administrator when the contract has ended and request that the card be canceled.

  • Can the P-Card be used to purchase furniture?
  • Yes, the P-Card can be used to purchase office furniture up to a set dollar amount. See the Allowable Use page for information.
  • What happens if I used my P-Card instead of my Travel Card for travel or entertainment expenses?
  • The P-Card payment is already made and can't be undone. When the Procurement Card (PCDO) document is received, add a note to the document explaining it should have been on the Travel Card instead. Change the object code to a travel or entertainment object code. You can also change the account or other parts of the accounting line. The transaction needs approval of the department head or delegate responsible for travel or entertainment transactions. Accounts Payable also needs to be aware of the transaction.

    Create an AggieTravel report for the remaining charges. Add a comment specifying the charge that was paid using the P-Card; it's recommended that you include the PCDO document number on your AggieTravel entry as well.

    In addition, since this was an improper use of the P-Card, provide the Card Program Administrator  with a self report e-mail that includes:

    • Vendor
    • Date
    • Cardholder name
    • Amount
    • Brief explanation
    The Card Program Administrator will follow up with a formal self report e-mail to the cardholder.


  • Can the P-Card be used to purchase gift cards?
  • Yes, gift cards may be purchased using your P-Card provided the gift card is for acceptable business purposes and University policy is followed. For proper policy and procedure, please refer to P&PM for employee , non-cash awards 380-50) and P&PM for non-employee, non-cash awards 260-45. If purchasing gift cards for award/prize presentation to students who are receiving any type of student aid, you should first consult with Undergraduate and Prestigious Scholarships at or 530-752-2804 to discuss the proper reporting requirements. NOTE: Gift cards are available at UC Davis Stores. Be sure to check the Memorial Union, Tech Hub, and Sacramento store locations for internal purchasing opportunities before purchasing at non-UC Davis sources. UC Davis Stores have many different cards for numerous merchants from which to choose.
  • Can Amazon Web Services (AWS) transactions be purchased on a P-Card?
  • The short answer is yes, but only if the following steps are taken:

    • The request for Amazon Web Services (AWS) must be checked by the Information and Educational Technology (IET) department.  This can be done by going to the IT Catalog ( and filling out the AWS form.
    • IET receives the request and creates a ticket with incident number for review.  After IET checks the request for completeness and validates against the UC Davis Data Sensitivity Guide, the services can be paid with a Procurement card.
    • The incident number (begins with 'INC', located in the confirmation email subject line from the UC Davis Service Desk) must be referenced in the PCDO document in the explanation field.
    If an account has already been created for AWS but not done through the IET department, please follow the process above.  Failure to do so will result in the department not being able to make payments going forward using their P-Card without proper checks from IET.


  • Can the P-Card be used to buy custom imprinted or emblematic items?
  • Yes, but if you are considering having emblematic items produced, you must be certain that any use of the UC or UC Davis names, seals, and trademarks is reviewed and approved by the Office of Trademark Licensing and that the supplier is licensed to use the UC logos . The Campus Departments link at the main site gives information on how you can get imprinted merchandise produced and approved. Policy & Procedure addresses the use of the University name in 310-65.
  • What if I made a personal purchase on my Procurement Card?
  • Personal purchases made on the Procurement Card are a violation of policy. A best practice would include using separate accounts for UC Davis business and personal shopping to avoid the accidental purchase of goods on a personal card.  If a personal purchase has been made, please follow the instructions on our Personal or Unauthorized Purchases page
  • As the reviewer/fiscal officer of a cardholder I noticed a personal purchase was made, what do I do?
  • Please notify the P-card Administrator of the violation immediately, by e-mail to . The expense should be repaid to the university following the instructions on our Personal or Unauthorized Purchases page.  In addition, you should refer the cardholder to PPM 350-22, and have them review sections IV.B on allowable purchases, and V.A on their responsibilities as a cardholder.
  • Do I need to keep a hard copy of source documentation if I have already uploaded the documents in KFS?
  • The attachment of supporting documents within KFS meets the requirement that documents be retained for five years after the close of the fiscal year in which a P-Card purchase was made, and any other documentation, such as bank statements, need not be retained for longer than that period. It is important to note that the 5-year retention meets the Procurement Card program requirements ONLY and that other factors (such as the specific funding source) may require the retention of additional documents or retention for a longer period of time.