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Corporate Card Policy and Procedures

The purpose of this policy is to provide Vassar employees with information about the credit card program and guide employees in the use of their College issued credit cards in a manner that is consistent and fair to each employee while managing costs and ensuring compliance with Federal regulations and College policies.

Many members of the Vassar community travel or make regular small dollar purchases in the normal course of performing their duties. The standard purchasing method for large transactions can be a burden for small regular purchases and travel-related expenses. The College recognizes this burden and has established a credit card program with JP Morgan to provide employees with an efficient, cost effective method for purchasing these goods and services.

As a card holder, the employee will have:

  1. a flexible and convenient way to pay for goods, services and travel-related expenses,
  2. reduced need to request purchase orders and check requests,
  3. reduced need to use personal funds and request reimbursement, and
  4. access to PaymentNet, a web-based tool provided by JP Morgan that can be accessed anywhere and assists in tracking and reviewing credit card charges.

See also, Explanations for commonly used functions in PaymentNet.

How to request a card

All Vassar employees conducting business on behalf of the College are encouraged to request a credit card. To request a card, request an application from purchasing@vassar.edu; send the completed form to purchasing@vassar.edu. Employees who are issued Vassar credit cards have a responsibility to use institutional and grant funds wisely and carefully in furtherance of Vassar’s educational mission.

How the credit card program works

  • Cards are issued in the employee’s name but are paid each month by the College.
  • Cards are issued with a $10,000 monthly and $2,000 individual transaction limit. These limits are designed to provide sufficient funds for most employee needs while giving the College some protection in the event an employee’s card information is stolen. If a card holder requires higher limits to support College activities, credit card limits can be adjusted by Purchasing with appropriate senior officer approval.
  • Card holders need to retain an itemized receipt for each purchase. The receipts are necessary to confirm transactions and support the College in the event of an audit by a government agency. Card holders should be especially mindful of this when purchasing meals, as some restaurants will only return the summary receipt with the total and the tip. In this case, a detailed receipt which lists the meals and drinks purchased must be requested and retained.
  • Each month, card holders need to reconcile their statements with their receipts. This will ensure that appropriate documentation is available for review and that there aren’t incorrect or fraudulent charges on the account. If a purchase receipt is missing, card holders should fill out the Missing Receipt Affidavit and retain it with their records. Card holders can use the Reconciliation Worksheet or the Transaction Allocation Report on PaymentNet to assist with reconciling expenses each month.
  • Additionally, card holders need to assign the appropriate budget number and account to each transaction for proper tracking of expenses and reporting, by category, to the IRS. Card holders can setup a default budget number and account based on their most commonly charged expenses (e.g. travel). Purchasing can provide assistance with this task. At least once each month before the 5th work day of the following month, card holders or their designee should log into PaymentNet and assign the appropriate budget number and account or confirm the default accounting. Promptly reviewing the assigned budget number will avoid the need to correct charges with a journal entry after the expenses have been recorded in the College’s accounting records.
  • Card holders must review their charges and receipts with their manager once the statement and receipts are reconciled. The card holder and manager both must sign and date the reconciliation as documentation of the manager’s review and approval of the purchases.
  • Approved, reconciled statements and receipts should be kept in department files for seven (7) years.
  • Each month Purchasing will conduct random audits of transactions and records to ensure compliance with Federal regulations and College policies. All card holders regardless of rank, title, or position will be audited at least once every other year. Once notified of being selected for an audit, card holders should provide copies of their records within two (2) weeks.

Purchasing Guidelines to remember when using your credit card

  • The credit card program is intended for Vassar College business. Card holders may not use their Vassar credit card for personal expenses. If a card holder accidentally uses their Vassar credit card for personal expenses, they should alert their manager and contact the Purchasing Department on how to reimburse the College for the expense. Documentation of reimbursement should be retained with the credit card statement.
  • A credit card is issued in the card holder’s name and is the responsibility of the card holder. In general, cards should not be shared with others. A normal exception to this would be an assistant making travel arrangements for the card holder. However, card holders may make purchases for other Vassar employees using their College credit card. The card holder needs to retain the receipt(s) for the purchase and include it in the review with their manager like any other purchase.
  • Grants, gifts, and endowments are established for specific purposes and cannot be the default budget number for your credit card. The College must preserve the integrity of the restrictions placed on these funds. However, grants can be added as budget number options in PaymentNet with the approval of the Director of Grants Accounting. Gifts and Endowments can also be added as budget number options in PaymentNet with the approval of the Associate Controller or appropriate delegate.
  • Vassar is exempt from New York State sales taxes as a non-profit organization. When making purchases in New York State, the card holder should inform the vendor that Vassar is tax exempt and request sales tax to be removed from the bill. Vassar’s New York tax exempt ID appears under the card holder’s name on the credit card and can be recorded by the merchant for their documentation. By taking advantage of the College’s exempt status and not paying sales taxes, Vassar is able to maximize the College’s purchasing power.
  • Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for travel and entertainment expenses. Please review and make sure you understand the guidelines in the Travel and Entertainment Policy prior to making travel and entertainment purchases on your card.
  • Certain items are generally prohibited for purchase by the College and may not be purchased using a Vassar credit card. These include:
    • Weapons
    • Gift Cards — Gift cards can be considered compensation when given to regular or student employees. The value may need to be taxed per IRS guidelines. If the purchase of gift cards is approved by a senior officer, card holders should contact payroll to discuss the gift card purchase to determine if tax adjustments must be made.
    • Bulk alcohol purchases — Vassar credit cards may not be used for bulk purchases of alcohol (i.e. alcohol purchased outside of a business-related meal). Third party caterers holding a valid liquor license must be used for service of alcohol at College sponsored events. Bulk purchase of alcohol and distribution by a College employee are prohibited because they expose the College and the employee to significant legal and financial risk. Consult the Travel and Entertainment Policy for guidelines for alcohol purchases while on approved business travel or while entertaining at Vassar.
    • Charitable Contributions — Vassar’s not-for-profit status is specific to the fulfillment of the College’s mission. Regulations prohibit Vassar from making contributions to other not-for-profit entities that are outside of Vassar’s mission. Contributions made to such organizations could jeopardize the College’s not-for-profit status.
    • Hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials — Purchase of these materials require pre-approval by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety in addition to card holder’s senior officer.
    • Political Contributions — Contributions to political candidates and political parties are strictly prohibited for 501(c)3 organizations. Making contributions would jeopardize Vassar’s not-for-profit status.
    • Prescription Drugs
    • IT Hardware and Software — Purchase of IT hardware, software, and services requires pre-approval by the Chief Information Officer in addition to the card holder’s senior officer, to ensure compatibility with existing systems as well as agreement on future replacement requirements.
    • Cash Advances - If cash is required for travel, follow the requirements in the Travel and Entertainment Policy.

    Any exception to these prohibitions requires the advance approval of the appropriate senior officer and, in some cases, outside authorities such as funding entities.

Contact Purchasing if you have any questions about this policy or to see if a purchase meets the credit card purchasing guidelines.