Procurement Card Policies & Procedures

The Procurement Card (PCard) is a MasterCard credit card, which can be used for approved purchases up to $5,000 of all non-restricted commodities from any supplier that accepts MasterCard as a form of payment. The PCard provides a faster, more efficient way to purchase lower dollar goods, however, cannot be used as payment for certain restricted items.

Several major features of the program are that it enables departments to be self-sufficient, eliminates redundant and/or no value added processes and provides a simple, online means to allocate or distribute charges.

A Procurement Card is a MasterCard credit card, which can be used for purchases of all non-restricted commodities from any supplier that accepts MasterCard as a form of payment.

The Purchasing Office has developed many supplier relationships and is continually negotiating pricing contracts that provide the University with great savings. Cardholders can currently take advantage of supplier relationships/contracts that cover such items as printers, scientific goods, toner, software, coffee supplies and many more.

Key Contact People

Tufts Support Services
Card Administration

Phone 617-627-7000
Fax 617-627-7001

John Homich
Purchasing Director
Phone 617-627-6333
Fax 617-627-3081

Ellen Ziegler
Disbursements Compliance Analyst
Phone 617-627-2413
Fax 617-627-3879

Possible Uses Include

  • Miscellaneous Supplies
  • Computer Peripherals and Software
  • Catering
  • Equipment Repairs
  • Dues and Subscriptions
  • Reprints of Journal Articles
  • Petty Cash Items
  • Replacement of Blanket Orders (with purchasing approval only)
  • Replacement of Business Expense Type Reimbursements


  • Provide users with an efficient means to address their ordering needs. – Enable departments to be self-sufficient.
  • Create a “paper-scarce”, responsive ordering system.
  • Eliminate redundant and/or “no value added” processes.
  • Improve the level of service provided to the departmental user.
  • Provide a simple, online means to allocate or distribute charges.

Policy Statement

We feel the Tufts University Purchasing Card Program meets these objectives of the university and improves the overall level of service provided to the customer. The policies and procedures of the program are detailed below.

Procurement Cards are assigned to individual employees and are prohibited from being transferred to, assigned to, or used by anyone other than the designated employee. Use for personal purchases is strictly prohibited. The Procurement Card CANNOT be used as payment for certain restricted items. Fraudulent and/or misuse of the card is grounds for revoking Procurement Card privileges and may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Non-Tufts employees, temporary and student employees are not eligible for Procurement Cards.

Specific controls are placed on each Procurement Card; these include dollar and transaction volume limitations as well as being coded for use only at specific merchants. The Department Head, the Budget Center Representative, the Principal Investigator (P.I.), and the Director of Purchasing define the individual card controls in concert.

Purchases made on the Procurement Card will be available for approval in the PeopleSoft Procurement Card System, typically within three to five days of the actual purchase. Cardholders and/or departmental proxies will be able to view charges on-line and, if necessary, distribute charges to the appropriate PeopleSoft Chartfields. A charge will automatically post to the default PeopleSoft Chartfields in 21 days if the Cardholder or Proxy does not approve it. This may result in extra paperwork by the Cardholder and/or Proxy to reallocate funds.

The Procurement Card should not be confused with the University's MasterCard Travel card, which is a separate program, designed to facilitate the handling of travel and entertainment expenses. Unlike the MasterCard Travel cards, University funds are committed whenever the Procurement Card is used to purchase merchandise.

Keeping Your Card Secure

Always keep your card in a secure place. Just as you would your personal credit card, treat it as if it were cash. Tufts University is liable to JP Morgan Chase for all charges, except those representing misuse

The Procurement Card is a corporate card, there will not be a personal credit check and use of the card will not impact your personal credit history.

Procurement Card Transaction Flow

Purchasing Card Transaction Flow

Policies & Procedures

Applying for a Card

Setting up a New Cardholder To obtain a Procurement Card there are a few simple steps that need to be followed:

Procurement Card Application

The Procurement card application must be completed and forwarded to the Procurement Process Representative, at Tufts Support Services (TSS), 62R Talbot Ave., Medford. The Procurement Card application requires confidential information from the cardholder that is used to identify the cardholder and verify credit card ownership when a card is activated or canceled. All information requested of the cardholder will be kept confidential. Failure to provide such information will prevent the issuance of a card. A cardholder will need to provide their Tufts Employee ID (not your social security number) and a password.

The Procurement card application is also used to define cardholder purchase limitations and set default accounting information. There is a second form for additional chart fields. The individual, the Department Proxy, Department Head, the appropriate Budget Center Representative or PI and Sponsored Accounting Rep., and the Procurement Programs Administrator must sign the cardholder application form prior to submission to JP Morgan Chase. Under normal situations, it takes approximately 10-15 business days to receive the card from JP Morgan Chase.

Cardholder Training

Prior to being issued a card, the cardholder complete eLearning training courses.  Additional information regarding these courses will be e-mailed to the employee once the card application is received.

The purpose of the training sessions is to ensure that the cardholder is familiar with the policies and procedures, including the online system, and to answer any questions the cardholder may have regarding use of the card.

Cardholder Agreement Form

The cardholder must sign the Tufts University Procurement Card Cardholder Agreement form that specifies that they will protect the card and adhere to proper polices and procedures. An applicant will not receive a card if they do not attend a training session and sign the cardholder agreement form. An applicant may not send someone else in his or her place. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.

Access to Procurement Card System

An application for PeopleSoft ID to access the Pcard System is required and must be filled out prior to access being provided. The form is a security feature designed to protect the integrity of the system. The form must be signed by the cardholder, the cardholder's supervisor and the Procurement Process Representative.

Making Changes to a Procurement Card

JP Morgan Chase requires a Procurement card application to be filled out for all changes to a card. This is to ensure that the proper signatures are obtained. The Cardholder Account form is kept on file for future reference. The entire form will not require completion, just the sections for the information that might be changing.

Adding or Deleting Chartfields

To add or delete Dept ID's and Project/Grants to the profile of a proxy, one must e-mail

Cardholder Limits

Each individual Procurement Card has preset control limits built-in. There is a maximum transaction limit of $5,000, which cannot be raised. Purchases over $5,000 must go on a requisition and be sent to the Purchasing Office. The monthly limit is $25,000, which can be raised if the need arises. The bank cycle runs from the 16th to the 15th of each month.

All Procurement Cards are coded for use with specified merchants using Merchant Category Codes. Merchant Category Codes (MCC) are classifications of merchants by MasterCard International based upon Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes. As such, similar merchants, such as the airline companies, are grouped together. At the point of purchase, when the supplier seeks authorization for the sale, the cardholder's profile is checked to ensure the MCC is within the allowable codes. If not, the authorization is declined. The Tufts University default code is tufts, which is open to all MasterCard codes except:

  • Airlines, Train lines
  • Automobile Rentals
  • Hotels and Motels
  • Cash Advances, Travelers Checks

If other limitations are required please contact the Procurement Programs Administrator by email

Card Restrictions

The Procurement Card CANNOT be used as payment for the following items:

  • ALL items intended for personal use
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Automotive gasoline
  • Capital Equipment (at or above $5000)
  • Cash Advances
  • Computers (allowable only when purchased through a Preferred Supplier)
  • Construction and renovations
  • Consulting services
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Furniture and Furniture Related Items
  • Gift Cards (allowable for Study Funds only)
  • Laboratory animals
  • Meals IN restaurants
  • Prescription drugs or other controlled substances
  • Radioactive materials
  • Refrigerators (unallowable for clinical/lab areas only)
  • Temp Agencies
  • Transportation Providers (group motorcoaches, shuttles, buses, trolleys, etc)
  • Travel and entertainment related expenses (including airline tickets)
  • Unallowable items as per A-21 guidelines (office supplies, other)
  • Wireless Devices (allowable only when a Communications Form is on file)

*Restriction includes fabricated equipment (where sum of components add up to $5000 or more).

Whenever possible, MCC codes will be utilized to restrict purchases of the above items. If you are uncertain whether a commodity and/or supplier are authorized for purchase with the Procurement Card, please contact the Procurement Programs Administrator.

Making a Purchase

Most employees are already familiar with making purchases using a credit card. The process for placing an order using the Procurement Card is very similar to those used when making a purchase with any commercial credit card. When making a purchase the following steps should be followed:

  • Confirm that the purchase is appropriate for the Pcard by referring to the list of restricted items.
  • Confirm the total cost (including shipping and handling) will not exceed present transaction limits.
  • Make sure you are obtaining the best possible price. Any cardholder can contact Purchasing to ask if there is preferred/contracted supplier to use.
  • Tufts University is a non-profit organization and therefore tax exempt. The University’s tax-exempt number is E-042-103-634. The number is embossed on the front of your PCard. If a supplier requires a hard copy of the tax-exempt form, please visit the Sales Tax Exemptions on Purchases.
  • Record the name of the person taking the order and the order/confirmation number, should subsequent problems/issues arise.
  • Upon receipt of the item, retain copies of the charge slip, sales receipt, statement, and/or packing slip. Receipts must be readily available for audit. Improper documentation may result in loss of the Pcard.

If the product or service you are ordering is available under an Approved Supplier Contract, the order must be placed with the University's contract supplier. 

Once it is determined that the purchase can be made using the Procurement Card and a supplier is chosen, the cardholder has a choice to make the purchase online, via phone or in person. If you are making a purchase in person, simply follow the above steps (where applicable) and give the credit card to the clerk. Please ensure that the supplier is aware of the University's Tax Exempt status.

Receiving Procedures

When placing an order using the Procurement Card, you must provide the supplier with specific delivery instructions including the user's name, department, building, and room number. If specific delivery instructions are not included on the packing slip, the receiver will refuse the package and it will be returned. Items returned will then be passed on as an expense to your department. The following information provides examples of appropriate delivery instructions.

Medford Campus Grafton Campus
Tufts University Department Street address Building/Room # Attn: MC-(End User's Name) Medford, MA 02155 Tufts University Receiving 200 Westboro Road Attn: MC-(End Users Name) Department/Room North Grafton, MA 01536Please note:Receiving hours for Grafton are 8:00 - 11:45 and 12:30 - 2:00 Monday through Friday
Boston Campus  
Stearns, M&V, South Cove & Jaharis Tufts University Receiving 37 Tyler Street Attn: MC-(End Users Name) Department Name Building/Room Boston, MA 02111Please note: Receiving Hours for 37 Tyler and One Kneeland are 8:00 - 12:00 Monday through Friday. Dental School/Biomedical Sciences School Tufts University Receiving One Kneeland Street Attn: MC-(End Users Name) Department Name DHS - Room # Boston, MA 02111
Other Locations for Boston Except HNRC  
Tufts University Department Street address Building/Room #Attn: MC- (End Users Name) Boston, MA 02111

Declined Card

If your credit card is declined, the cardholder should contact JP Morgan Chase at the phone number on the back of the Procurement Card. JP Morgan Chase will inform the cardholder why the card was declined and how to remedy the problem.

Lost or Stolen Cards

It is the cardholder's responsibility to report lost or stolen cards immediately to JP Morgan Chase. Tufts is responsible for any and all purchases made until the card is reported missing. A toll free number (800-848-2813) has been established for your convenience and is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. After notifying JP Morgan Chase, the cardholder must report the lost card to the Procurement Programs Administrator. It takes approximately 3-5 business days to receive the replacement card.

Disputing a Transaction

A cardholder may dispute any charge that appears on the Procurement Card system. If there is a charge that is not recognized by the Cardholder or appears to be incorrect, the Cardholder must submit a Statement of questioned item form within 60 days after the transaction date. A copy of the form should also be mailed to the Procurement Programs Administrator, TSS, 62R Talbot Ave., Medford Campus. The form should be emailed to JPMorgan Fraud team at

During JP Morgan Chase's investigation, they will issue a credit to the Procurement Card account in question for the disputed amount. When the investigation is complete, the cardholder will be notified of the resolution. If unsatisfied with the resolution, please contact the Procurement Programs Administrator immediately.

If you are waiting for a credit from a supplier and do not receive it, you should file a dispute. JP Morgan Chase will automatically give you a credit and work with the supplier. Please remember, credit processing can take up to 30 days.

Canceling a Card

Send an e-mail to tss@tufts to have a card canceled. Then cut the card in half and destroy the card. The reasons for canceling a card are:

  • Termination of employment
  • Request by an authorized person (Supervisor, Procurement Programs Administrator etc.)
  • Transfer to another department (cardholder may reapply in new department)

The Proxy is responsible for notifying the Procurement Process Representative upon the termination of an employee. The Proxy is also responsible for all paperwork that needs to be done to cancel the card. The Procurement Programs Administrator should be notified two weeks prior to the employee leaving the University so all the transactions are cleared beforehand.

Failure to use the Procurement Card in accordance with this policy will result in the loss of Procurement Card privileges and may include appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Returns, Damaged Goods, Credits

The cardholder is responsible for inspecting all goods upon arrival. If goods purchased with a Procurement Card need to be returned, the cardholder should work directly with the supplier. Here are some tips:

  • Always retain boxes, containers, special packaging, packing slips, etc. until you are certain you are going to keep the goods. Some items, such as software or fragile pieces, cannot be returned without the original packaging materials.
  • Read all enclosed instructions carefully. Often a phone number and other instructions are included on the packing slip and/or receipt.
  • Many suppliers require you to obtain a "Return Authorization Number" before they will accept a return. If you neglect to get this number when it is required the package may be refused and/or no credit issued to your account.
  • In some cases there may be a restocking fee (usually a percentage of the purchase price). If the supplier is completely responsible for the error or problem, you should not have to pay this or any other fee. However, if they are not fully responsible you may have to pay it. You may use the Procurement Card to pay this fee as long as it does not exceed any of your limits.
  • Lastly, make sure that the charge for the returned items: a) Never appears on the Procurement Card System, or b) Is credited properly

If this does not happen, refer to disputing a transaction for instructions on how to resolve the problem. Please note, it can take up to 30 days for a credit to go through.

Documentation and Record Keeping

Cardholders or their Proxies must retain original receipts for all transactions in their files. Pcard documentation is subject to audit; therefore it must be maintained and easily accessible. The audits will be conducted periodically by a member of the Finance Division, on occasion by Audit and Management Advisory Services, as well as our external auditors.

Cardholders are responsible for obtaining all documentation necessary to support the business purpose of the purchase. If the business purpose is not clear, a notation should be made on the Posted Transaction Report. The cardholder must give all documentation to their Proxy for filing. All Procurement Card purchases must be supported by at least one of the following items:

  • The actual sales slip
  • The cash register receipt
  • A copy of the order form
  • A supplier/merchant statement
  • Packing Slip
  • Online order confirmations (screen print out)

On a monthly basis, the department cardholder must print out the Posted Transaction report and match the credit card receipts to it.  A Disbursement Analyst will visit your department periodically to review such documentation.  They will notify departments in advance of the audit.

Procurement Card Audits

As Pcard use continues to expand, the need to audit these transactions has grown proportionately. A daily review of the incoming transaction file combined with onsite audits ensures compliance. In a broad way the audits ensure users are properly following the Business Expense Policy/Guidelines (PDF) as well as the Pcard Policy. The audits are also used to solicit feedback to improve the program.

Daily Review

When reviewing the daily transaction file the primary concern is the reasonability of the charge, does the supplier appear appropriate for the needs of the department? There are several other actions that may initiate further investigation:

  • Splitting of charges
  • Purchases of restricted items
  • Potentially fraudulent charges

If there is a transaction that appears questionable an email will be sent to the cardholder requesting a justification for the transaction.

Onsite Review

Periodically, Disbursements Compliance Analysts will visit departments on all three campuses, and review their files. During this review, easy access to properly maintained paperwork is expected. As with the daily review, the following items will initiate further investigation:

  • Sales Tax (which the University is exempt from)
  • Purchases of restricted items
  • Potentially fraudulent charges

Missing or incomplete documentation is considered to be a misuse of the card and may result in the revoking of Pcard card privileges. These receipts are the primary documentation supporting the purchase. Do NOT dispose of these items.

Databases will be maintained with the information gathered from the audits. The information will be used to track our findings and identify any continued or prolonged misuse of the card. The information gathered will also help identify areas where additional training or education may be needed.

Automatic Card Renewal

A new Procurement Card will be mailed directly to the Procurement Programs Administrator approximately one month before the expiration date. The Procurement Programs Administrator will contact the cardholders and or Proxy to arrange delivery of the new card. When you receive your new card, the old card should be cut up and securely disposed of.