Procurement Card Program Policy

Summary of Policy

The Dartmouth College Procurement Card (P-Card) Program is designed to improve efficiency in processing low dollar value purchases ($4,999.00 or less) while providing adequate documentation of expenses, appropriate charging of expenses, and approvals.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

Table of Contents

P-Card Program Overview
Documentation Requirements For P-Card Purchases
Suppliers with Level III Detail
P-Card Non-Compliance Consequences
Policy Specifics

Examples of Prohibited Goods/Services That Cannot Be Charged to a P-Card
Setting Up A New Cardholder
P-Cardholder & P-Card Purchaser Responsibilities 
Department Named P-Cards
Multiple P-Cards in One Cardholder's Name
Approving P-Card Transactions in the Oracle P-Card System
P-Card Documentation and Record Keeping
Document Management OnBase Services
P-Card Audits
Useful Information and Web Links

P-Card Program Overview

  • The P-Card program is a method for conveniently paying for allowable small dollar items. The Business Expense Policy provides specific requirements for allowable travel and business expenses.
  • The Dartmouth P-Card Program is designed to improve efficiency in processing low dollar value purchases ($4,999.00 or less). The P-Card is a Visa Card and can be used to make purchases for goods (not services) with any merchant who accepts the Visa Card.
  • P-Card transactions for non-restricted commodities cannot exceed $4,999.00 per transaction (including all delivery, shipping and/or special handling charges). Transactions exceeding the $4,999.00 limit normally require a Purchase Order.
  • P-Card transactions are for items of tangible ownership and basic services. P-Cards may not be used for entertainment expenses, or any travel related expenses (with exceptions: conference registration and for some bus tickets. See Transportation Options for more information). See full list of prohibited goods or services below.
  • P-Card transactions are approved and allocated to the appropriate chart string or PTAEO in Dartmouth's P-Card system. Each night approved P-Card transactions are loaded into the general ledger. Approvals should be done in the system weekly, prior to sweep days, i.e. Fridays each week.  Finance Centers and/or Department Approvers have between 15 and 20 business days to reallocate P-Card purchases to the appropriate chart string or PTAEO before the P-Card system automatically posts the transaction to the default account. The Sweep/Post Date for each transaction is shown in the P-Card systems.
  • Documentation for P-Card purchases is expected to be delivered to the appropriate approving entity within seven business days from date of purchase. See details regarding required documentation below.
  • All items purchased with Dartmouth funds (subvention, grants, gifts, or reserve funds) are the property of Dartmouth College.
  • If a Cardholder doesn't abide by Dartmouth College purchasing policies, the Procurement Card Non-Compliance penalties will go into effect. The P-Card is a privilege, not an entitlement.
  • It is strongly recommended that before anyone uses or is given a P-Card they review all P-Card policies and regularly use the Procure-To-Pay Guide for obtaining the correct method to pay for goods and services.
  • Contact your Finance Center, Department P-Card Approver or Procurement Services with questions prior to purchasing items or anytime you need assistance.

Documentation Requirements for P-Card Purchases

For transactions paid for with a P-Card, the Cardholder must provide documentation of the expense. This documentation can be either a detailed receipt or for specifically identified vendors (see below) the level III detail in the P-Card system will satisfy the receipt requirement. Expense documentation should identify individual items purchased. Detailed documentation is almost always available if the vendor is made aware before completing the purchase. It is the Cardholder's responsibility to make sure the correct documentation is provided.

Receipts are not required for items under $75 purchased on a P-Card, with the following exception:

  • NCAA rules and regulations require all varsity coaches and non-coaching staff members with sports specific responsibilities in those varsity sports are required to submit receipts for all purchases and provide a descriptive business purpose, regardless of amount.

At $75.00 and over the receipt must be included. Only exception is for WB Mason where no submission is required if the purchase is for office supplies and the chart string is the default.

Purchaser must submit the P-Card eForm in the Finance Forms Library, a business purpose and the chart string no matter the dollar amount.

Submission of the documentation of the expense is expected within seven business days to the Finance Center or Department P-Card Approver. In addition to a receipt, the following information is required for every P-Card purchase:

  • Business purpose: Explain why the item was purchased and how it relates directly to business activities.
  • Name of the person who used the card if different from purchaser
  • The GL or PTEAO string to be charged if other than the default string.

For purchases where food is served the business purpose must include an attendee list. If the number of attendees is large, you can list categories of attendees (e.g. 'Dartmouth faculty members and visiting professor, discussion following lecture').

Receipts that only show a total amount, with no specific details of the purchase are, unacceptable, except in the case of the identified list of vendors (see below). A Cardholder will need to contact the vendor for a detailed receipt. If one is not available, the Cardholder will need to document the details of the purchase. Below is an example that illustrate an inadequate and an adequate business purpose of the same item.

Example of Purchase: Java 7 software was purchased

  • Inadequate Business Purpose: Techs needed it
  • Adequate Business Purpose: Will be using this for testing upgrades to Oracle Financials

Suppliers with Level III Detail

Some vendors pass level III detail, which includes detail of items purchased, to the P-Card system. Because the detail description of purchases for these vendors is available, card holders do not need to provide receipts for these purchases. A description of the item that is enough to determine natural class or expenditure type is all that is necessary.

The following suppliers provide level III detail in the P-Card system:

  •  Airgas
  •  Amazon
  •  B & D (Becton Dickson)
  •  B & H Photo
  •  Beckman Coulter
  •  BioRad
  •  DKC – Digi Key Corp
  •  EMD Millipore Corp
  •  Fastenal
  •  FedEx
  •  Fisher Scientific
  •  FW Webb
  •  Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc.
  •  Lifetech
  •  McMaster Carr
  •  MSC
  •  New England Biolabs
  •  PerkinElmer Life Sciences, Inc.
  •  QIAGEN, Inc.
  •  R & D Systems
  •  Sigma Aldrich Corporation
  •  The Home Depot
  •  VWR International
  •  W W Grainger, Inc.
  •  W B Mason Co Inc.

P-Card Non-Compliance Consequences

Dartmouth's procedure for Non-Compliance identifies consequences for any person who uses a P-Card in a manner not consistent with Dartmouth purchasing procedures. Deliberate fraudulent or misuse of the P-Card may result in loss of P-Card privileges or disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

The Cardholder agrees to provide the supporting receipts from the vendor for each transaction to the appropriate primary reconciler in the department or the appropriate Finance Center before the sweep date. Failure to report or document any purchase within the specified timeframe will be deemed non-compliant and may result in loss of P-Card privileges.

Policy violations reside with the person responsible for the P-Card violation regardless of any change in position within the institution subsequent to that date.

Policy Specifics

  • PERSONAL PURCHASES: No personal purchases are allowed regardless of intent to reimburse the College. In the event an inadvertent personal purchase is made it should be immediately identified to the Finance Center or Department Approver. Reimbursement to Dartmouth College is required for personal purchases. The preferred method of reimbursement is through debit or credit card. See Returning Funds for Personal Expenses Charged to a Procurement Card (PCard). If unable to pay through a debit or credit card, a check payable to Dartmouth College with the Miscellaneous Receipt form must be submitted to Dartmouth's Cashiers Office.
  • PYRAMIDING PURCHASES: Pyramiding is defined as purchasing multiple items from the same vendor on the same date, within a short interval of time on the same P- Card with the result of circumventing the per purchase limitation set on the card. Below is an example of pyramiding.
  • Many types of purchases that are not allowed on a P-Card require a purchase order. Please review the Procure-to-Pay Guide or contact your Finance Center to discuss which procurement method should be use.
  • TRAVEL, ENTERTAINMENT, ALCOHOL, MEALS in RESTAURANTS, ETC.: All Travel, Entertainment expenses including but not limited to Alcohol Purchases, Meals for Events, Meals in Restaurants, Parking Fees, Parking Tickets/Fines, Gasoline purchases, Rental Cars (with the exception of ZipCars), Cabs, Buses (with the exception of the Dartmouth Coach, Concord Coach Lines & Boston Express Bus) Airfare, Tolls, Hotel/Lodging, and Conference Room Rentals are not allowed on P-Cards. Please refer to the Business Expense Policy for specific details.
  • HOLDING HOTEL/CONFERENCE ROOMS: P-Cards may not be used to hold any kind of travel related expense, such as hotel or conference rooms. Travelers may use a Dartmouth College Corporate Pay Card or their own personal credit card for travel expenses.
  • SERVICES: The P-Card may be used to pay for some basic services. Services are intangible and require specific insurances and guidelines that must be met before an agreement is made. Please refer to Procurement's Procure to Pay Guide for detailed information regarding allowable methods for the purchase of services and the section that follows "Examples of Prohibited Goods/Services That Cannot Be Charged to a P- Card" to make sure the service you are looking at is allowed on a P-Card.
  • GIFTS & GIFT CERTIFICATES: Please refer to the Business Expense Policy and the Research Participant Payment Policy and Procedures for detailed information regarding gift rules and procedures.
  • Regardless of expenditure amount, documentation for all gifts/gift cards purchased with a P-Card must include the name of the person using the P-Card if other than the Cardholder, a detailed receipt, specific business purpose and recipient name(s). Gifts, food, gift cards, etc. cannot be purchased with College funds to pay for non-work-related events such as birthdays, baby showers, etc.
  • CLINICAL STUDIES INCENTIVES/RESEARCH PARTICIPANT PAYMENTS: The policy for all incentives/payments for research participants must follow specific guidelines as outlined under the Controller's Research Participant Payment Policy and Procedures.
  • FOOD PURCHASES: Food ordered for a meeting that is picked up or where the vendor drops it off at a location on campus is considered a Food Purchase (take-out) and the P-Card is an appropriate payment method. An event where the vendor brings food and provides additional services such as cooking, serving, setting up/cleaning up before/after the event is considered catering and can be charged to a P-Card if under $4,999 and the supplier is on the Approved Food Providers list.
  • INTERNAL PURCHASES: The P-Card may not be used to purchase any services or goods internally from any departments or establishments that are associated with Dartmouth College. Internal account transfers, using a chart string or PTAEOs should be used to charge any goods or services between affiliated areas. Below are examples of internal purchases:
    • The Computer Store
    • Central Stores and other stockrooms
    • Conferences and Events
    • DDS (Dartmouth Dining Services), Thayer Dining, Courtyard Café, Novak Café, Collis Café, Collis Center, Collis Market, DCAD Tickets, Athletic Events, etc.
    • Dick's House
    • HR Classes or Seminars
    • Parking Operations
    • Computing Services: Web & Video Services, Classroom Technology Services
    • Hopkins Center
    • The Hanover Inn/PINE
    • The Hood Museum
    • Baker Library
    • Registration for an event hosted by a Dartmouth Department

Examples of Prohibited Goods/Services That Cannot Be Charged to a P-Card

In general, purchases that require advanced documentation such as insurance, service level agreements, and pricing quotes should be paid via requisition.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animals (*)
  • Automotive gasoline
  • Caterers, unless they are listed on the Approved Food Providers List
  • Travelers Checks, Foreign Currency, etc.
  • Construction and renovations
  • Gifts or gift cards for non-work-related events such as weddings, baby showers birthdays, housewarming, etc.
  • Insurance
  • Internal Dartmouth College services. A P-Card may not be used to pay for any goods or services internally at Dartmouth College. For example: Any purchase at the Computer Store, Tickets for Athletic Events, HOP Tickets, Hood Museum purchases, Baker Library Fees, Central Stores purchases, or any other internal purchases.
  • Leases and rental agreements (unless a master agreement is on file with Procurement)
  • Maintenance/service agreements requiring a signed agreement (unless a master agreement is on file with Procurement – refer to the Procure-to-Pay Guide for specific category information
  • Meals in restaurants - No sit-down or in-house service is allowed
  • Medical Services
  • No personal purchases
  • Prescription drugs and controlled substances
  • Professional, Consulting or Personal services.
  • Radioactive and hazardous (***) materials
  • Services to sole proprietorships, individuals, or non-incorporated businesses
  • Software licensing agreements
  • Temporary employment services
  • Travel and Entertainment related expenses and advances (this includes but is not limited to: airfare, hotel shuttle service, cabs, car rentals, buses (with the exception of the Dartmouth Coach, Concord Coach Lines & Boston Express Bus), trains, parking fees, parking fines, tolls, internet access, hotel/lodging fees - including room rentals for conferences, meals in restaurants/hotels, any entertainment services, etc.)

(*) Contact Center for Comparative Medicine and Research
(**) Contact Denise Moses in Procurement Services before purchasing any furniture
(***) Contact Environmental Health and Safety regarding hazardous materials

Setting Up a New Cardholder

  • P-Cards are for people who make frequent, low dollar purchases. All applicants are required to read, complete and sign the Procurement Card Authorization form. Signing the Cardholder form indicates agreement with the policies and procedures of the P-Card Program. Failure to provide all form information and appropriate signatures will delay or prevent the issuance of the P-Card. Procurement Services will retain all P-Card information as confidential.
  • Completed forms should be submitted through the General Request eForm.
  • P-Cards applications are processed on Fridays and normally arrive within ten to fifteen business days from date of input into the JPMorgan Chase bank system.

P-Cardholder & P-Card Purchaser Responsibilities

  • All Dartmouth non-student employees are eligible to apply for a Procurement Card.
  • When the Cardholder signs the Dartmouth College P-Card Authorization form they agree to adhere to the policies and procedures of the P-Card Program.
  • The person whose name appears on the P-Card is responsible for protecting the card and is accountable for all purchases made using the P-Card. All purchases must be made by, or under the immediate direction of, the person to whom the card is issued.
  • The Cardholder is responsible for ensuring that anyone using their P-Card understands the policies. If they do not verify this prior to the person using the card, the Cardholder risks the possible cancellation of the P-Card.
  • The Cardholder is responsible for providing adequate documentation for all P-Card transactions. Adequate documentation is defined in the Documentation Requirements section of this policy.
  • The Cardholder is responsible for charges hitting the correct accounting string. To request a change in a chart string for a Cardholder's default P-Card account, an email from the Fiscal Officer giving permission for this change must be emailed to  Procure-to-Pay@Dartmouth.Edu. The email should contain the Cardholder's name, the last six digits of the credit card, the new chart string to use and the approval of the Fiscal Officer. PTAEOS are not allowed to be the default account for any P-Card.
  • LOST CARD: Report the loss of a card immediately to Procurement Services, JPMorgan Chase and the appropriate Finance Center or Departmental P-Card Approver. Please contact Procure-to-Pay@Dartmouth.Edu with the last six digits of the credit card that was lost and the full name of the Cardholder or call: 603-646-2435. JPMorgan Chase may be contacted at: (800) 270-7760.
  • DISPUTING A TRANSACTION: The Cardholder is responsible for attempting to resolve a dispute with the vendor within fifteen (15) days of receipt of a disputed purchase. If a resolution is not possible:
    • The Cardholder must alert JPMorgan Chase of the disputed item: (800) 270-7760. The bank will provide a dispute form to fill out and return. The bank requires that they work directly with the Cardholder to resolve the problem.
    • You will need to provide security information to JPMorgan Chase to confirm you identify. If you don't remember the security information provided you're your P-Card account, contact Procure-to-Pay@Dartmouth.Edu for assistance.
  • TRANSACTION DOCUMENTATION RETENTION: Documentation of the expense should be sent to the Finance Center or Department Approver within seven business days of purchase. Finance Centers and Department Approvers (for documents maintained in the department) are responsible for maintaining P-Card transaction documentation for 7 years for auditing purposes.

Department Named P-Cards

Dartmouth College does not support or issue P-Cards that are in a Department or Project name. P-Cards will only be issued to individuals employed by the College. Any grandfathered department/division still using a P-Card with a departmental name will be solely responsible for any financial losses due to disputes or fraudulent activities. A departmental account will be charged the fraudulent or disputed amounts.

Multiple P-Cards in One Cardholder's Name

Dartmouth College no longer issues multiple P-Cards to an individual. Previously, staff may have received multiple credit cards so that each P-Card defaulted to a different/specific chart string. This practice is no longer allowed.

Approving P-Card Transactions in the Oracle P-Card System

  • The P-Card Approvers are responsible for reviewing each transaction to ensure all policies are met. When there are questions about the purchase the first point of contact is the Cardholder. If the Cardholder is not forthcoming with missing information the Finance Center should follow up with the appropriate Fiscal Officer. Departmental P- Card Approvers should contact their Finance Center or Fiscal Officer immediately so appropriate steps are taken.
  • All P-Card transactions must be processed on-line in the P-Card reallocation system before the sweep/postdate by a Department Approver or Finance Center employee. Finance Centers and/or Department Approvers have between 15 and 20 business days to reallocate P-Card purchases to the appropriate chart string or PTAEO before the P- Card system automatically posts the transaction to the default account. The Sweep/Post Date for each transaction is shown in the P-Card systems. These dates relate only to P-Card approvers. Cardholders must supply all receipts and information within seven business days from date of purchase.
  • See the P-Card System Users Guide on how to navigate and process transactions in the Oracle System.

P-Card - Documentation and Record Keeping

Document Management OnBase Services

Dartmouth's Digital Records and Document Management system is OnBase. All P-Card documentation is expected to be submitted through the P-Card eForm within thirty days of the expense being charged. All faculty, staff, and students have access to Finance eForms.

  • Your NetID and Password are required for using the forms.
  • For every P-Card purchase, all receipts, notes and any other required transaction information will be archived as the official records of the transaction. All PCard receipts for chart strings or PTAEO must be retained for 7 years.
  • These records are primary documents supporting financial transactions. This documentation must be archived electronically by the Finance Center, Department Approver or as directed by the Fiscal Officer. Images will be uploaded into a secure server (OnBase) for records retention. It is critical that sound documentation and record keeping procedures are established to ensure information crucial to internal and external audits is complete.
  • Note: Hard copy documentation for P-Card transactions prior to the implementation of electronic storage must also be maintain for 7 years.

P-Card Audits

P-Card transactions are audited regularly by Central Finance and an outside auditing firm. All audit material requests will go through the appropriate Finance Center or trained Department Approver. Please contact Financial Services at, if you have any questions regarding audits or P-Card procedures. When audits are performed the appropriate Finance Center will assist in the gathering of any records, if necessary. Department Approvers or Cardholders may be contacted to provide additional information supporting the business purposes of any transactions under review.

Useful Information and Web Links

Office with Secondary Responsibility:

Finance Center Approvers/Department Approvers

Approved by:

Chief Financial Officer

Exclusions & Exceptions

The Director of Procurement Services or the Controller may approve an exception to P-Card policy for unique circumstances.

Policy ID


Effective Date

March 30, 2016

Last Revised Date

March 19, 2024


Finance & Administration

Office of Primary Responsibility


Office(s) of Secondary Responsibility

Last Reviewed Date

April 18, 2022

Next Review Date