Purchasing Card

A P-Card is a procurement card used to purchase goods and limited services authorized by the University. The most common items approved for purchase using the P-Card are:

  • Books
  • Conference fees
  • Membership costs
  • Subscriptions 
  • Postage 
  • Media storage
  • Office supplies - not available at Staples
  • Supplies and materials - not available at Staples
  • Promotional items - strictly from these exclusive vendors
  • Food delivery on campus - strictly food delivered and consumed on campus

Cardholders have a monthly credit limit set and based on normal expenditures, as well as a single transaction limit that cannot exceed $2,500 per purchase. Splitting the purchase into multiple transactions to circumvent the single transaction limit is strictly prohibited. The following items are strictly prohibited and cannot be paid using the P-Card:

Restricted Items 

  • Alcohol 
  • Flowers 
  • Fruit baskets
  • Gifts (ex. gift baskets, gift cards)
  • Edible arrangements 
  • Entertainment
  • Food off campus
  • Catering 
  • Parking
  • Auctions (ex. ebay)
  • Fines
  • Foreign fees (ex. visa fees)
  • Donations
  • Purchases using a Paypal account
  • Promotional items (not purchased from our exclusive vendors)


Cardholders are encouraged to work with the vendor to resolve any issue related to their purchases. To dispute an unfamiliar charge, the cardholder must file the dispute within 60 days of the transaction date. All disputed transactions must be reconciled by adding a comment explaining the transaction is in dispute with the bank, changed to "verified" status, and approved before the hardclose deadline. 

To report a lost or stolen P-Card, immediately call Bank of America Customer Service at (888) 449-2273. To request a replacement of a damaged P-Card, notify the P-Card Team at pcard@columbia.edu 

Cardholders are encouraged to reconcile their purchases as soon as the transaction has posted; prior to internal deadlines and in advance of hardclose. Here are the steps to guide you through the process from start to finish:

Step 1: Cardholder determines items to be purchased are approved to be paid using the P-Card.

Step 2: Cardholder informs the vendor the University is tax exempt (if applicable) and makes the purchase.

Step 3: Vendor charges the P-Card and provides cardholder with an itemized receipt showing confirmation of payment. Cardholder is responsible to obtain a valid receipt for reconciling purposes which must be filed according to record retention policy. 

Step 4: Cardholder determines the receipt is itemized and shows confirmation of payment. Cardholder saves receipt in PDF format with the proper naming convention: 

  • Hotel transactions: uni-cardholder_billcycle_vendor_guest_$amount
  • All other transactions: uni-cardholder_billcycle_vendor_$amount

Step 5: Cardholder reconciles purchase:

  • Allocates “Staged” transaction to the proper speedchart and 5-digit account.
  • Add the standard description and upload the receipt with the proper naming convention.
  • Validate budget to ensure budget status is valid.
  • Set transaction  to “Verified” status and save.

Step 6: Verified transaction will route for review and approval. Approver will notify the cardholder if correction is deemed necessary. Once the transaction is approved, it will appear under statement status "Closed."