Purchasing Card

This guide details how to apply for a purchasing card, proper card usage, and card account management.


A UW–Madison purchasing card is a University-liability VISA card issued and supported by U.S. Bank and authorized for UW–Madison business-use only.

Types of cards

Purchasing Card

The purchasing card is intended for low-dollar, best-judgment purchases to be paid directly by the University. The card is assigned to a specific UW-Madison employee and may only be used by that individual.

A Wisconsin Purchasing Card. Business Services can help departments set up and use a purchasing card to make purchases.

Department Purchasing Card

The department purchasing card is similar to a purchasing card; however, with additional approvals and documentation requirements, the Department Purchasing Card can be used by both the cardholder and other authorized purchasers.

Department Purchasing Card. Accounting Services can help with access to this card.

My Corporate Card

The University also offers a personal-liability My Corporate Card to employees for business-related use. The corporate card is not considered a purchasing card.

How to get a Purchasing Card

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Apply

Purchasing Card

Employees applying for a purchasing card must complete and submit the PCard Request Form, an electronic purchasing card application available in the Shared Financial System (SFS). The PCard Request Form tile can be found on the SFS homepage:

Screenshot of the Pcard Request Form tile in the Shared Financial System (SFS). The tile is white with the words "PCard Request Form" and a stylized paper icon underneath.

Access SFS to apply for a Purchasing Card

Department Purchasing Card

Employees applying for a department purchasing card must complete and submit the Department Purchasing Card Application. Complete details of the process are included in Procedure 3013.9.

Apply for a Department Purchasing Card

Complete mandatory training

Before a purchasing card application can be processed, the card applicant must complete a Purchasing Card Policies & Procedures training session. In addition to Purchasing Card Policies & Procedures, Department Purchasing Card applicants will be invited to complete an online Department Purchasing Card Training.

Sign up for Purchasing Card training

Receive and activate the card

U.S. Bank will mail the card directly to the card applicant at the address indicated on the card application. Cards are typically received 7-10 days after applications are processed.

  • Activate the Card: To activate a purchasing card, visit U.S. Bank’s Access Online, click Activate Your Card, and follow the prompts on the subsequent screens.
  • Sign the Card: Be sure to sign the back of your new purchasing card.
  • Register for Access Online: To gain online access to your purchasing card account, visit U.S. Bank’s Access Online, click Register Online, and follow the prompts on the subsequent screens.

Complete details of the process are included in Procedure 3013.1 (Purchasing Card) or Procedure 3013.9 (Department Purchasing Card).

Making purchases

Purchasing Cards can be used to pay for products, goods, services, and travel expenses. Each type of purchase has policy requirements and spending thresholds.

A computer with a credit card highlighting making secure purchases.

Purchasing Card use and account management

Purchasing cardholders are expected to have a thorough understanding of all purchasing card policies and procedures to ensure program compliance and best business practices are achieved. Procedure 3013.2 outlines proper purchasing card use and account management. The following are key highlights.

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Card sharing

Only the individual whose name is embossed on a purchasing card is allowed to use that card to make purchases. Cardholders may not share their cards or account numbers with others; however, a cardholder may use the purchasing card to make purchases on behalf of other employees or non-employees (e.g. airfare for another traveler). Full details are outlined in UW-3013 Purchasing Card Policy.

Making purchases over $5,000

The purchasing card is only intended for purchases within the University’s $5,000 best-judgment purchase limit.  If you need to make a purchase exceeding $5,000, please contact Purchasing Services.

Contact Purchasing Services

Vendor eligibility

A vendor’s eligibility to do business with the University is contingent upon their compliance with various state statutes. Prior to making purchases, cardholders must ensure the intended vendor is not on either of State of Wisconsin’s two Ineligible Vendor Lists.

Ineligible Vendor Directory

Tax exemption

The University is exempt from the payment of sales and use tax on purchases made in the state of Wisconsin and also has tax treaties with several other US states. For tax-exempt documents, see UWTravelWIse.

Wisconsin sales tax exemption

Sales tax exemption from other states

Frequently questioned purchases

If you are unsure whether something is allowed to be purchased with your purchasing card, please see the list of Frequently Questioned Purchases.  Some of these items are allowable on the card and some are not.

View frequently questioned purchases

Purchasing from other UW Departments

The purchasing card should not be used to make payments to other UW–Madison departments or UW System institutions. Instead, cardholders should utilize an internal billing payment method.

Transfer money to a different department

Biweekly billing cycle calendar

Cycle credit limits are automatically renewed at the beginning of each billing period. Billing cycle dates are available on the Biweekly Billing Cycle Calendar.

View 2022 Biweekly Billing Cycle Calendar (PDF)

View 2023 Biweekly Billing Cycle Calendar (PDF)

Add/Remove a Proxy Reconciler

To add/remove a Proxy Reconciler to assist in transaction reconciliation, submit the Account Update Request Form.

Account Update Request Form 

Account changes and cancellations

Submit the Account Update Request Form to request a change in your current account setup or an account cancellation,.

Download Account Update Request Form (PDF)

Visa benefits

Your purchasing card comes with travel benefits from VISA, including emergency/roadside assistance and some insurance.

VISA guide to benefits (PDF)

Purchasing Card reconciliation and instructions

Purchasing card transactions are reconciled in the Purchasing Card Module of the Shared Financial System (SFS). Cardholders, known as reconcilers in the module, may reference the Purchasing Card Reconciler Business Process Guide for instructions on reconciling transactions.

Log in to SFS Purchasing Card Reconciler Business Process Guide (PDF)

Declines, disputes, and fraud

The following are additional resources cardholders may need in the event of a card decline, a lost/stolen card, or suspected fraudulent activity.

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Purchasing Card declines

U.S. Bank may decline a purchasing card transaction for a variety of reasons. If you card is declined, contact U.S. Bank Customer Service at (800) 344-5696 or the Purchasing Card Program Manager to determine the reason for the decline.

View common decline reasons (PDF)

Filing a dispute

Purchasing card transactions must be disputed within 90 days of the transaction date. Contact U.S. Bank Customer Service at (800) 344-5696 to file a dispute.

Note: Fraudulent transactions should be reported as such and not disputed.

Reporting a lost or stolen card

Please report lost or stolen cards to U.S. Bank Customer Service at (800) 344-5696 as soon as possible. If you believe your card may have been stolen on campus, please contact the UW–Madison Police Department at (608) 264-2677.

Reporting fraud

If you suspect fraudulent activity on your purchasing card, please contact the U.S. Bank Fraud Prevention Unit at (800) 523-9078.

Purchasing Card audits

The UW-Madison Purchasing Card Program is audited routinely by various entities, including the UW System Administration Office of Internal Audit, the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, the Legislative Audit Bureau, and the UW–Madison Purchasing Card Program Office.

Non-compliance with UW–Madison Purchasing Card policy or procedures will result in consequences as outlined in Section III.K. of Procedure 3013.2: Purchasing Card Use and Account Management.

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Site manager resources

A purchasing card site manager is the individual who oversees the card program at the department or divisional level. The site manager is responsible for reviewing card activity and monitoring for policy compliance. Like a purchasing cardholder, a site manager is expected to be familiar with all purchasing card policies and procedures.

Site manager review and reconciliation

Full details regarding site manager review and reconciliation are outlined in Procedure 3013.5 – Site Manager Review and Reconciliation.

View Site Manager Review & Reconciliation Procedure

Purchasing Card transaction approval and instructions

Purchasing card transactions are reconciled and approved in the Purchasing Card Module of the Shared Financial System. Site managers, known as approvers in the module, may reference the “Purchasing Card Approver Business Process Guide” for instructions on approving transactions.

Log in to SFS

Purchasing Card Approver Business Process Guide (PDF)

Non-compliance procedures

If a site manager discovers cardholder non-compliance with purchasing card policy or procedure, the Non-Compliance Procedure should be referenced.

View Non-Compliance Procedure

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Training

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Policies and procedures

This session is required for all purchasing cardholders and site managers and is a prerequisite to Purchasing Card Site Manager Training. The course provides an overview of how the purchasing card works, guidelines for card usage, cardholder responsibilities and documentation requirements.

This session takes approximately 90 minutes.

Approved card applications will be processed after applicants complete the required training.

Register for policies and procedures training

Site manager training

This session, in conjunction with Purchasing Card Policies & Procedures, provides a site manager with the knowledge necessary to maintain and oversee the Purchasing Card Program at the department level. The session includes an overview of site manager responsibilities and a demonstration of the site manager reconciliation process in the Purchasing Card Module of the Shared Financial System (SFS). Purchasing Card Policies & Procedures should be completed prior to completing Site Manager Training.

This session takes approximately 75 minutes.

Register for site manager training

Purchasing Card module Q&A sessions

These sessions are intended for all users of the Purchasing Card Module of the Shared Financial System (SFS) including cardholders, site managers and proxy reconcilers. The sessions will review frequently asked questions and also provide an open forum for users to ask questions they might have.

Register for Purchasing Card module Q&A session

Watch previously recorded sessions:
March 23, 2022 Q&A Session recording  April 21, 2022 Q&A Session recording

Contact

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Purchasing Card Program Manager: Meghann Grove
21 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 262-3300

Purchasing Card Program Administrator:
Rebecca Lin
21 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 265-1023

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For general card-related questions, please contact pcard@bussvc.wisc.edu

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U.S. Bank Customer Service:
(800) 344-5696
U.S. Bank Access Online Help Desk:
(877) 887-9260
U.S. Bank Fraud Investigations:
(800) 523-9078

If you believe your card was stolen, contact U.S. Bank Customer Service (above) and UW Police and Security at (608) 264-2677.