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Authorized employees of Howard Community College may be issued, in their name, a procurement card (PCard), similar to a credit card, for making small purchases.  The objective of the PCard is to provide a convenient and less burdensome method than the standard purchase order process for procuring and paying for low dollar value goods and services.  The cards can be used when making purchases in person, over the phone, or via the Internet.  It is to be used only for college-related purchases for goods or services.  College purchasing policies and procedures are still applicable to purchases made with the PCard, and as the college is a tax-exempt entity, it is the responsibility of the authorized user to ensure that all transactions are not charged Maryland sales tax.  The cards may not be used for personal purchases.

All PCard users are required to obtain training on the use and responsibilities associated with the PCard program.  Restrictions may be placed on an individual PCard user as deemed appropriate by the user’s supervisor, cost center manager, area vice president or the program administrator.  All PCard users are subject to periodic audit of all purchases.

The procurement office reserves the right to take possession of a PCard from a cardholder who violates any provision of this procedure or misuses the card.  In addition, the employee is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, and may be subject to criminal prosecution.  Upon termination of employment with the college, the employee will surrender the card to the procurement office.  The procurement office will then cancel the card.

  The following actions are prohibited:

  • providing false statements concerning the use of a PCard;
  • using the card for personal use or unauthorized transactions;
  • knowingly ignoring false charges and not reporting discrepancies between the employee log and the bank to the procurement office immediately;
  • not obtaining detailed receipts for expenses on a consistent basis; or
  • going over budget and not being able to cover the expenses within budget authority.

Generally, employees are limited by a single transaction amount of $5,000, as well as a monthly total transaction amount of $5,000. Standing exceptions to these amounts are approved by the appropriate president’s team member on a case by case basis, after consideration of the routine purchasing practices of the employee.  Employees are also assigned purchasing code restrictions that provide the categories for allowed transactions.  For example, only certain employees are authorized to purchase gas or services using the procurement card.  The procurement office manages the assignment of employees to the appropriate purchasing codes, as well as any exceptions for single transaction amounts or monthly transaction needs.  

The following types of purchases are not allowed:

  • purchases of personal items or services for any reason;
  • personal telephone calls;
  • local purchase of gasoline, except when filling a college vehicle with the vehicle’s associated card;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • cash advances;
  • rentals or lease of land or buildings;
  • flowers, gift cards, or gifts of any kind;
  • salaries and wages; or
  • legal services. 

Exceptions to these disallowable purchases will be made on a case-by-case basis with pre-approval by the president or designee.  If an employee requires an exception to disallowed purchases, the procurement office should be contacted immediately.

It is the responsibility of the card user to ensure there is adequate budget for all purchases prior to making purchases on the card. 

Employees are required to report lost or stolen cards immediately to the bank, and to the procurement office. 

The college will not be responsible for any misuse of a procurement card by an employee, and the employee will be held liable for any misuse.


Policy Manual Review/Revision:   05/08/15