Purchasing Card Policy (P-Card)


The Purchasing Card (PCard) system was implemented to facilitate procurement of standard, low dollar value items that are not available through a University Preferred Supplier, or through a Workday Punchout. It is not uncommon for transactions in this category to range from 50% to 70% of total transactions; however, account for only 10% of total cost.

The major benefit derived from this system is a reduction in transaction processing cost including payment. Detailed accounting reports are provided by the system administrator (Paymentnet4 – JP Morgan) to provide payment documentation and audit trails.

Policy Statement 

Regular employees (full or part-time) who are authorized to purchase goods under $5,000 may request a PCard, however, individual departments can impose more restrictive requirements. PCards are assigned to individuals. The individual whose name appears on the card is ultimately responsible for charges to that card. PCards are to be used by the person to whom it is issued. Sharing Purchasing Cards is prohibited.

Brown’s Purchasing Card Program eliminates most of the paperwork associated with University purchases of, and payment for, items costing less than $5000. With the Purchasing Card (PCard) you can

  • Place orders with ease,
  • Quickly receive goods and supplies,
  • Eliminate up-front approval processes,
  • Reduce paperwork:  No purchase requisitions, no supplier invoice to process,.

Brown’s PCard is a  credit card that is accepted by most suppliers and merchants. Cardholders may place orders in person, over the telephone, or through the internet (using well established reputable internet suppliers). PCard activity may be viewed online through the credit card company’s website. Purchasing Cards are perfectly suited for the following purchases:

  • Supplies that are not available through preferred suppliers or punchout
  • Gifts and Hospitality, in accordance with the University's Gifts & Hospitality Policy (requires a meals and hospitality form)
  • Postage
  • Books
  • Express Postage
  • Periodicals
  • Dues & Memberships
  • Films
  • Newspapers
  • Equipment Repair
  • Computing Supplies that are not available through preferred suppliers or punchout
  • Equipment Rental (other than vehicle rentals)
  • Software
  • Conference Registration Fees
  • Approved Rail and Bus tickets for Faculty, Staff, and Students
    *Note: Do not put travel transactions purchased on a PCard on the travel expense reimbursement form. 

The PCard may not be used to purchase:

  • Items that are considered to be equipment (over $5,000 in value)
  • Restaurants
  • Personal items
  • Personal Memberships (personal memberships such as Amazon Prime, BJ's)
  • Prescription drugs and controlled substances
  • Radioactive Material
  • Travel (except tickets for rail and bus)
  • Vehicle Rentals
  • Weapons and ammunition

*The purchase of gift cards is unallowable except in specific circumstances that have been reviewed and approved in advance by the Director of Disbursements. 
** If you have any questions about the export control classification of the items you intend to purchase, you should contact Brown's export control officer.

Misuse of the PCard may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.


Brown's PCard:  The Pcard is a credit card that is accepted by most suppliers and merchants. Cardholders my place orders in person, over the telephone, or through the internet. PCard activity may be viewed online. All charges will be paid monthly by the Controller's Office and electronically charged to each department's designated Organizational BAT Key. The charges default to predetermined Organizational BAT Key.

Account Levels.  The Paymentnet System permits three levels of on-line account access:

  • Cardholder - Individual cardholders can review and reallocate their charges to the appropriate cost center or grant by choosing the appropriate BAT-key. Charges can be split among multiple Bat-keys.
  • Manager - Individuals responsible for financial oversight can obtain on-line access to review charges made for all PCards within their department, reallocate charges to other BAT-keys assigned for their use, and create department reports.
  • Divisional - Individuals responsible for the financial oversight of a division can obtain on-line access to review charges made for all purchasing cards within their division. Reporting and query functions are also available. 

Cardholder Responsibilities

Cardholder responsibilities include Card Protection, Transaction Tracking, Purchases, appropriate spending of Grants and Contracts, Organization BAT Keys, and Audit. 

Card Protection

  • The cardholder is responsible for protecting the card and is accountable for all purchases made using the card.
  • Purchases must be made by or under immediate direction and supervision of the cardholder.  (cards are not to be given to others to use)
  • Loss of the card must be immediately reported to the online service provider, JP Morgan Paymentnet at 1-800-270-7760.
  • Purchasing Services must be notified if the cardholder changes departments.
  • The card must be returned to Accounts Payable if the cardholder leaves Brown.
  • The cardholder must promptly report disputed charges online to Paymentnet (within 60 days of the charge).
  • Do not save your Brown University PCard account number on any personal online accounts (eg. Amazon, PayPal.)

Transaction Tracking

  • Transactions must be recorded and tracked in a transaction log. A log may be maintained on a computer spreadsheet or manually. Make sure the business purpose of the expense is recorded on the log. Transaction logs require review by someone other than the cardholder.
  • Original receipts or scanned copies of the originals for all credit card purchases must be kept by the department for 7 years.
  • If the purchase is charged to a grant, receipts must be kept the longer of 7 years or three years following the final payment by the government.
  • Acceptable receipts for internet purchases include an e-mail confirmation, shopping cart list, or quote. The information on the receipt should match any packing slips received as well as the PCard charge.


  • Purchases must only be for the use and benefit of Brown University.
  • The cardholder is responsible for protecting the card and is accountable for all purchases made using the card.
  • Maximum transaction limit for all items is $4,999.99, whether one item is purchased or multiple items are purchased. $5,000 is the threshold for the University's asset capitalization policy therefore purchases greater than $4,999.99 must be on a purchase order. (Equipment can not be purchased with PCard.)
  • Split transactions are prohibited. Split transactions occur when a single item costing more than the cardholder single transaction limit is broken into two or more transactions to bypass the policy on transaction limits. The cardholder is responsible for ensuring the vendor does not split a transaction greater than $4,999.99 into multiple smaller transactions.

Grants and Contracts

  • Grants and contracts must adhere to all of the granting agency & OSP policies, restrictions and guidelines.

Organizational BAT Keys

  • PCard charges default to several different Organizational BAT Keys, depending on the MCC code of the vendor. The cardholder must review charges on the Paymentnet online system, reallocate charges in incorrect Organizational BAT Keys, reconcile to the transaction log, and approve the charges. This must be done within 3 business days after the month ends in order to change the BAT keys to which your transactions have been assigned using the Paymentnet system. Once transactions are loaded into Workday, you must use the journal entry process to change your transaction accounting. New Organizational BAT Keys needed to accurately post transactions must also be requested before each monthly deadline.


All transactions and related recordkeeping are subject to audit by the Controller’s office, Internal Audit, external auditors, and the Federal government.

Department Manager Responsibilities

  • Accounts Payable must be notified if the cardholder changes departments. The card must be returned to Accounts Payable if the cardholder leaves Brown.
  • Ensure that someone in the department other than the cardholder reviews credit card activity and receipts on a regular basis. If the Department Manager is the cardholder their supervisor or someone designated by their supervisor should review the log.
    • Review the cardholder's transaction log. Ensure all receipts are attached and that there is a detailed business purpose for each purchase.
    • Ensure hospitality purchases (flowers, gifts, etc.) have completed Meals and Hospitality Form attached to the receipt.
    • Log onto Paymentnet and compare the manual log to transactions recorded in the system. Ensure the correct Organizational BAT Key is applied to the expenditure.
    • Sign and date the PCard log to indicate review.
  • Cardholders are automatically given system access to their charge activity. To request manager or divisional access, complete an Application / Change Form and select "G," System Review / Reporting Access, for this type of request. Include a list of departments along with your request for Divisional access. Manager and Divisional access must be approved by Accounts Payable.

Controller's Office Responsibilities 

  • Process PCard applications.
  • Cancel cards when no longer needed.
  • Run reports for Procurement analysis.
  • Review and approve use of PCard for special circumstances.
  • The Controller's Office will cancel PCard privileges when the PCard is used for personal purchases.
  • The Controller's Office will suspend PCard privileges when policies and procedures are not followed including when the PCard is used for prohibited purchases, and the PCard is used for split transactions at the point of sale (e.g. $5,750 transaction split into two smaller transactions of $2,500 and $3,250).

  • The Controller's Office selects transactions for audit every month. It is the cardholder's responsibility to respond to the Controller's Office request for receipts and transaction logs.
  • PCard purchases are subject to audit by Internal Audit, external auditors, and the Federal government.

Paymentnet is the web-based electronic payment system that Brown University uses to administer its PCard program. The cardholder uses the Paymentnet System to review all PCard charges, reallocate the charges to the appropriate Organizational BAT Key, and create reports of purchasing activity.

To access Paymentnet:

Go to: https://www.paymentnet.jpmorgan.com

  • Enter Brown's organizational ID (us00140, lower case)
  • Enter your user ID - (assigned by Purchasing Department)
  • Enter your password. Your password was assigned to you and sent to you in a separate e-mail.
  • Once in the system, immediately change your password: Click on Change Pass Phrase and follow the Paymentnet instructions.
  • Changes to the allocation of charges within the Paymentnet System can be made up to the third business day of the next month.  After that time, the information is transferred into Workday and any additional changes to the cost center being charged need to be made using the Journal Entry process.

To request a PCard:

Complete a Purchasing Card application and have it authorized by your supervisor (Department Head or the Department Manager). You may not approve your own PCard application. Submit the application to the Purchasing Services.

The PCard is issued by Purchasing Services upon the cardholder's completion of a mandatory training session on PCard policies & procedures and on the PCard system, Paymentnet. The cardholder must also sign a Brown University Purchasing Cardholder Agreement upon completion of the training.

Frequently Asked Questions
Policy Owner
Approved by 
Director, Insurance & Purchasing Services

Dorothy Vetere
PCard Coordinator/Accounts Payable Specialist

Revision Date:  Tue, 2017-01-31 15:24