Purchasing Card

Types of cards

Purchasing Card

Intended for low-dollar, best-judgment purchases to be paid directly by the University. The purchasing 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

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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Purchasing Card

Employees applying for a purchasing card must complete and submit the Automated Purchasing Card Application and Agreement. Complete details of the process are included in Procedure 3013.1.

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 attend 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 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

Cardholder Calendar

The purchasing card program operates on a bi-weekly billing cycle. Cardholders should reference the Cardholder Calendar to determine the dates of each billing cycle and when their statements will be generated by U.S. Bank.

View Cardholder Calendar

Generating a Cardholder Statement

To access your bi-weekly Cardholder Statement, login to Access Online.  From the Welcome screen, select the desired account number and click View Current Statement.

Login to Access Online

Account Changes and Cancellations

To request a change in your current account setup or an account cancellation, please submit the Account Update Request Form.

Download Account Update Request Form (doc)

Visa Benefits

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

VISA guide to benefits (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 your card is declined, contact U.S. Bank Customer Service, your site manager or the Purchasing Card Program Manager to determine the reason for the decline.

View Common Decline Reasons

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 Department 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.I. 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, monitoring for policy compliance, retaining purchasing card records and assisting auditors with post-payment purchasing card reviews.

Similar to a purchasing cardholder, a site manager is expected to be familiar with all purchasing card policies and procedures.  Full details regarding site manager review/reconciliation and Access Online use are outlined in Procedures 3013.5 and 3013.6.


The purchasing card program operates on a bi-weekly billing cycle.  Site Managers should review the Site Manager Editing Calendar to determine billing cycle dates and funding allocation deadlines.

 View Site Manager Calendar


Purchasing card site managers use U.S. Bank’s web-based transaction management tool, Access Online, to review card activity, allocate funding and run reports.

Sign Into Access Online

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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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Policies and Procedures - Mandatory Training

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 two hours. Approved card applications will be processed after applicants complete the required 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 live demonstration of Access Online, U.S. Bank’s transaction management tool. Purchasing Card Policies & Procedures should be completed prior to attending Purchasing Card Site Manager Training. This session takes approximately 75 minutes.



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Purchasing Card Program Manager: Meghann Grove
21 North Park Street
Suite 5301
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 262-3300

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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.