Credit Card Policy and Procedures
The purpose of this policy is to provide employees with information about the credit card program and to provide a guide for the use of their Vassar issued credit card in a manner which is consistent and fair to each employee, while managing costs and ensuring compliance with Federal and State regulations and College policies.
In an effort to provide employees with an efficient, cost effective method for making small dollar purchases of goods or services as required during the normal course of their duties, or when traveling for approved business purposes, the College has established a credit card program with JP Morgan.
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.
How to request a Corporate or Pcard
All employees conducting business or making purchases on behalf of the College are encouraged to request a Vassar issued credit card. A Corporate Card (C-Card) should be requested for an employee who will be traveling or conducting other business on behalf on the College, and a Purchasing Card (P-Card) should be requested when the employee is responsible to make payments for goods and services purchased on behalf on the College. Please note that personal expenses are not to be paid for with College issued credit cards. Any violator will be subject to disciplinary action.
- Cards are issued in the employee’s name and are paid by the College, but safekeeping over the card is the responsibility of the card holder.
- Sharing of the card is prohibited, even between members of the same department or division of the College.
- Transaction and monthly limits will be authorized by your Supervisor/Chair.
Card holders and their supervisors will be expected to adhere to the guidance set forth in this policy. Any violator will be subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to credit card revocation and/or the requirement to reimburse the College for any unauthorized charges.
Please note the following guidelines, responsibilities, and expectations.
- Card holders must obtain prior approval for expenses incurred on behalf of the College and paid for with a Vassar credit card, including but not limited to travel and lodging accommodations, conference registration, professional license and membership subscriptions, annual dues, etc.
- Card holders must obtain an itemized receipt for each purchase. 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.
- All itemized receipts must be attached to the expense report line item or p-card verification transaction in Workday. The receipts are necessary to substantiate the expenditure and support allowability by the College, donor, other funding agency, and the IRS and will made available for review by the College’s external auditors or other governmental agency as needed.
- In the event that a receipt is lost, card holders must complete a Missing Receipt Affidavit and attach it to their P-Card verification or Expense Report transaction line.
- All card holders must verify their Pcard charges or create expense reports for their C-Card charges even if the transaction is a credit (refund) or fraud. These transactions will appear in Workday within a few days of the purchase. All appropriate documentation (as noted above) must be attached to the transaction, and the correct budget information (funding source) tags must be included. For more information on all Workday procedures, please go to the job aids located on the Workday info site at: https://workdayinfo.vassar.edu
- Under IRS guidelines, qualified travel and entertainment expenses are non-taxable to the employee as long as the employee completes the necessary steps to substantiate the expense within a reasonable time frame as defined by the employer’s ‘Accountability Plan’. Vassar’s Accountability Plan has established 60 days from the date of the transaction as a reasonable time frame.
While we ask employees to process credit card transactions within 14 days, failure to submit a fully completed Expense Report or Purchasing Card verification, including all required documentation, within 60 days of the date of the transaction will result in the expenses being considered taxable to the employee in accordance with IRS regulations. In these circumstances, the College will report taxable amounts to the IRS and the employee will be responsible to pay any applicable taxes. Strict adherence to this policy will be followed.
- All credit card activity, expense reports, and verifications, for all card holders, will be audited each month by Card Integrity, an independent third party vendor engaged to review transactions for appropriateness and allowability to ensure that card holders are following the guidelines as set forth in this policy. A report of their findings will be prepared and distributed to each Senior Officer at the conclusion of their audit.
- The credit card program is intended for Vassar College business, therefore Vassar issued credit cards may not be used 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 attached to the transaction in Workday.
- Vassar is exempt from sales tax in NY, NJ, TX, and FL and as such the cardholder should inform the vendor and request that sales tax be removed from any purchases made in those states. Vassar’s New York tax exempt ID appears on the face of the credit card, just beneath the card holder’s name and should be provided to the vendor for their documentation. Vassar is able to maximize the College’s purchasing power by taking advantage of the it’s exempt status and not paying sales tax on purchases in these states. In addition, there are instances where hotels, airlines, and other venues will honor the College’s tax exempt status in other states as well when the employee asks.
- For more detailed information, please review and make sure you understand the guidelines in the Travel and Entertainment Policy, (insert policy) prior to making travel and entertainment purchases on your card.
- Lost credit cards and fraudulent activity must be reported to JPMorgan Chase at 800-316-6056. Once reported, please advise Purchasing.
Certain purchases are generally prohibited including but not limited to:
- Gift Cards – Gift cards are considered taxable income to the recipient and in some circumstances are viewed as additional compensation when given to regular or student employees. In the unusual circumstance that the purchase of gift cards is approved by a Senior Officer, card holders must contact Accounting Services to discuss the purchase and the appropriate process necessary to collect any required tax information and supporting documentation.
- Bulk Alcohol Purchases – Bulk purchases of alcohol (i.e. alcohol purchases in excess of the amount allowable with a business meal, as noted in the College’s Travel and Entertainment Policy) are prohibited without prior written approval of a Senior Officer for College sponsored events, in which case cannot be paid for with a Vassar issued credit card. When the College is hosting an event where alcohol will be served, a reputable third party caterer, holding a valid liquor license, must be hired for any alcohol service. Distribution or service by any College employee exposes the College and the employee to substantial legal and financial risks and is strictly prohibited. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action. Please refer to the Travel and Entertainment Policy for guidelines related to alcohol purchases.
- 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. There are strict federal regulations surrounding such purchases.
- 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. Paying for a plate or table at a political dinner or other similar engagement is viewed as a contribution when the cost of the dinner is lower than the amount paid, therefore is also prohibited.
- Prescription Drugs
- Gifts or flowers for individual employees
- Gifts or prizes to students unless there is a programmatic purpose
- Travel Insurance
- IT Hardware and Software – Purchase of IT hardware, software, and other 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
- Traffice and/or parking violations fines, and towing
- Repairs to personal vehicles when used for College travel
- Gasoline purchases when mileage is being reimbursed
- Celebratory events where there is no business purpose, including employee or student birthdays, baby or wedding showers or gifts. For annual office holiday or end of year function, a nominal amount, ($15 total per person may be used as a guide) may be covered by a departmental budget but must be approved in advance by the appropriate Senior Officer.
- Personal Entertainment expenses (movies, spa visits, golf outings, optional conference activities not included in the general conference fee)
Any exception to these prohibitions requires the advance approval of the appropriate Senior Officer and, in some cases, outside authorities such as funding entities, legal counsel, or independent auditors.
Contact Purchasing (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the allowability of a particular purchase or about this this policy.
Fraudulent Use of the Credit Card
The term “fraudulent use” refers to the use of the card with a deliberately planned purpose and intent to deceive and thereby gain a wrongful advantage for oneself or others. In addition to the College receiving reimbursement from the cardholder, any or all of the following actions may occur when fraudulent use of the card occurs:
- Immediate suspension of card privileges.
- Removal of cardholder’s purchasing authority.
- Formal disciplinary action, which may result in the termination of employment.
- Any actions deemed appropriate by the College, including criminal prosecution.