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Administrative Regulations

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Purchasing Card Program

The University of Toronto Procurement Policy governs the use of the Purchasing Card (PCard).

The PCard is a University authorized credit card assigned to authorized full-time faculty and staff responsible for the purchase of low value goods and services up to specified amounts, and for University business only. Charges are paid directly by the University on the assumption that purchases have been reconciled against monthly statements and have been approved for payment. The use of the PCard for personal purchases is not permitted.

Departments may use the PCard where it is efficient, economical and operationally feasible to do so, and in accordance with the Program’s Administrative Regulations including Roles and Responsibilities.

Use of the PCard is a privilege. The University views inappropriate use as a serious matter and expects cardholders to act with strict prudence and professionalism. Failure to adhere to PCard Program Administrative Regulations constitutes misuse of University property and may result in cancellation of the PCard and, where appropriate, disciplinary action, dismissal and criminal prosecution.

The University must demonstrate sound financial stewardship over all funds expended to ensure the continued trust of all stakeholders and funding sources. PCard transactions must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure orders are filled correctly, delivered according to expectations, and priced according to agreed-upon quote and/or price provided by the supplier at the time of purchase. PCard Program participants are required to perform this due diligence to prevent erroneous charges, fraudulent activity, and to demonstrate sound financial oversight and control over funds expended.

Thresholds and Allowable Uses

The following Regulations apply to the use of the PCard:

PCard spend thresholds are as follows:

  • A single transaction does not exceed $10,000 (excluding taxes)
  • The monthly spend limit does not exceed $50,000 (excluding taxes)
  • Purchases must not be split to circumvent the single transaction limit
  • Departments may request a transaction and/or monthly spend limit increase where justified and with approval from the department head; a PCard Change Request form must be completed and sent to Procurement Services

The PCard may also be used for the purchase of the following:

  • Conference registrations
  • Subscriptions (e.g. newspaper, magazine)
  • Memberships
  • University Cell Phone Bills

Amazon Business

The Amazon Business platform provides the University community an additional marketplace for products not available through uSOURCE or other Approved Supplier contracts, for low value goods (less than $10,000) required for business purposes. Amazon Business is an extension of the University’s PCard program and all purchases made on the platform are subject to the Administrative Regulations for the PCard program. The Amazon Business account is optional and PCardholder access will only be granted at the discretion of the department head.


The PCard may be used to purchase goods and services related to research and innovation funds as follows:

  • The PCard is requested and used by the individual Principal Investigator who is responsible for ensuring that transactions are eligible expenses based on sponsor requirements;
  • The purchase(s) must be directly related to the funded research (i.e. must be considered an “allowable expense” by the sponsor);
  • The Principal Investigator must retain all back-up documents to support the purchase and ensure these are readily available for reconciliation purposes;
  • Responsibility rests with the department for promptly reallocating expenses considered to be ineligible by the research sponsor or which exceed the approved budget.

Additional Requirements

  • The PCard is assigned to one individual cardholder who is the only person authorized to use the card and is responsible for all transactions
  • Purchases made using the card are subject to the normal application of HST
  • Purchases made outside Canada will be converted to Canadian funds by the card service provider at a rate equal to the Interbank rate on the day the transaction is posted to the card account

Prohibited Categories

The PCard may not be used and will be declined at point of initiation (based on the supplier’s Merchant Category Code) for the following:

  • Goods and Services for the personal use of an employee
  • Donations
  • Personal Travel
  • University business travel and hospitality (use the Travel and Hospitality Card instead)
    • Transportation expenses (e.g. Airline, rail, bus, car rental and other transportation)
    • Accommodation and lodging expenses (e.g. hotel, and other accommodation)
    • Food and beverage expenses (e.g. restaurants, fast food outlets)
  • Cash Advances and ATM withdrawals
  • Financial instruments of any kind such as money orders or bank drafts
  • Temporary help
  • Laboratory and research animals
  • Radioactive material (see Purchasing Restricted Substances)
  • Hazardous material
  • Maintenance contracts
  • Extended rentals or leasing of equipment
  • Internal university purchases such as Facilities and Services work orders, computing services etc. The exception is the MedStore, which can accept the PCard
Note: Through Amazon Business, PCardholders will have access to all items available on the standard Amazon.com site, which may include non-business related goods and services such as personal items, gift registries, reseller businesses etc. that may not be appropriate for business related purposes.

Roles and Responsibilities

The PCard Program requires all program participants to adhere to the roles and responsibilities described below. Program participants include:

  • Card Service Provider (Bank of Montreal)
  • Central Procurement Services
  • Campus Card Coordinator
  • Individual Department
  • Department Card Coordinator
  • Individual Cardholder
  • Internal Audit

Card Service Provider

The Bank of Montreal is the financial institution which issues the card, determines the terms and conditions of its use, and is sourced in accordance with the University Procurement Policy.

Central Procurement Services

Responsible for overall PCard Program administration on behalf of the University including selecting the PCard Program Service Provider. In addition, this central services department is responsible for PCard training and support.

The Director of Procurement Services (or delegate):

  • Supports periodic random reviews of PCard use to determine whether administrative regulations are being followed
  • Refers questionable purchases to the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Internal Audit
  • Approves changes in PCard credit limits if the circumstance is justified
  • Identifies and implements improvements where necessary

Campus Card Coordinator

Each campus has a designated PCard campus card coordinator responsible for the following:

  • Requests the issue of the PCard from Bank of Montreal
  • Processes approved cardholder status changes
  • Recommends – in consultation with cardholder and department head – adjustments to monthly credit limits for each PCard issued based on projected use

Individual Department

Departments must use the PCard provided by central Procurement Services and are responsible for any fees and charges identified with the card. There is no fee to obtain and use the PCard.

The University is legally liable for unauthorized use of the PCard until notification of loss, theft or cancellation has been reported to Bank of Montreal by the cardholder. This liability is the responsibility of each department. Lost or stolen cards must be reported to both the campus card coordinator and Bank of Montreal.

Responsibility for ensuring PCard expenses are recorded in the Cost Center, Fund and Fund Center prior to grant/fund termination and any related University processing deadlines also rests with the department.

Department Card Coordinator (DCC)

Each department head must designate a senior staff member to act as the Department Card Coordinator to authorize, monitor and control the issue and use of department PCards, including monthly reconciliation activities. The Department Card Coordinator must ensure every cardholder is informed of the administrative regulations, of his or her responsibilities, and of the restrictions regarding the use of the PCard. Each cardholder must agree and acknowledge these responsibilities in writing prior to receiving a card.

Responsibilities include:

  • Ensure each PCard is used only by the person whose name is on the card
  • Ensure the PCard is used only for the procurement of low value goods and services for authorized University business in accordance with the parameters and limitations in the Administrative Regulations, and within any specific grant or restricted fund limitations of a sponsor
  • Review individual cardholder billing reports for propriety of use (e.g. splitting orders to circumvent transaction limits)
  • Follow-up on questionable purchases with cardholder, head of department and Director of Procurement Services
  • Ensure all cards held for pick-up are kept in a secure location, including cards issued to employees on extended leave of absence or away from their regular place of work for an extended period of time

PCard Reconciliation Process

  1. Download the Account Statement Report (Central Billing Report) from Spend Dynamics. See the DCC Manual for step-by-step instructions.
  2. Request credit card statements and related receipts/invoices from all cardholders within the department.
  3. Ensure transactions listed on cardholder statements match transactions outlined in the Account Statement Report and all related receipts/invoices have been submitted.
  4. Locate any missing receipts/invoices or complete an attestation (this should be a rare occurrence).
  5. Verify price charged to all PCards are correct and attributed to appropriate accounts (GL, CC, CFC, Fund, IO).
  6. Input journal entry in FIS to correct any charges to incorrect accounts. A journal entry may also be required to ensure the appropriate tax code was applied to the transaction.
  7. Retain copy of cardholder statements, Account Statement Report and all other supporting documentation on file. File the entire package at the department level, and make available for audit purposes.
  • Monthly reconciliations should be completed shortly after the close of each monthly billing cycle to ensure all transactions for the month are legitimate and accurately reflected in the University’s financial system.
  • Department head approval is required if a PCard is to be issued in the name of the Department Card Coordinator. One-up statement reconciliation of the purchases made using this card, must be reviewed for compliance by the department head.

Individual Cardholder

Full-time employee (faculty or staff) are responsible for the following:

  • Understand and comply with the PCard Program Administrative Regulations
  • Request PCard by completing the PCard Request form approved by the head of the department, and
  • Sign cardholder acknowledgement of responsibilities and obligations and provide it to the Department Card Coordinator prior to receiving the card
  • Present personal identification to Department Card Coordinator when receiving card
  • Use PCard only for purpose it is intended, and not for personal purchases
  • Ensure PCard is kept in secure location at all times
  • Take every precaution when providing the credit card number to suppliers to avoid the risk of unauthorized use of card number
  • Report to Department Card Coordinator any status changes such as transfer, termination, retirement, expired funding and credit limit changes
  • Prepare, when required, the PCard Change Request form and forward to Department Card Coordinator with proper one-up authorization
    • If a temporary credit limit change is necessary, cardholder must inform Department Card Coordinator as soon as possible to avoid merchant declining card. If a transaction is declined, see PCard Declined Charges
  • Purchase must not be split to bypass transaction or monthly limit
  • Return PCard to Department Card Coordinator or campus card coordinator if requested
  • Retain record of purchases made (receipts, packing slips, etc.) or provide these to the Department Card Coordinator for audit trail purposes and to facilitate reconciliation and account verification (i.e. packing slips, card vouchers, transaction log, card statements)
  • Reconcile expenditures made upon receipt of cardholder monthly statement
  • Settle disputed items promptly by notifying Bank of Montreal and provide any information and assistance requested to settle disputed items
    • When a disputed purchase does not accurately reflect a transaction made by the cardholder (wrong amount, incorrect account number, multiple postings etc.), it should be reported immediately by contacting purchasing.help@utoronto.ca  for removal from the account until resolved.
    • Issue with merchants (late delivery, damaged goods, order discrepancies, etc.) is not considered a disputed item and must be settled directly with the merchant.
  • Immediately report the cancellation, loss or stolen card to the Campus Card Coordinator and Bank of Montreal.

Internal Audit

The Internal Audit department reviews the University’s PCard activity to ensure all cards are being used in accordance with these Administrative Regulations.

Related Guidelines

Travel, Hospitality and Related Expenses
For eligible travel, hospitality and related expenses see Travel and Other Reimbursable Expenses.

Records Management
For information on the retention of PCard statements, see Records Management – Payments to Vendors.