Purchasing Card User Manual

The purchasing card will delegate authority for purchasing low dollar items directly to designated employees of Winona State University. This program is to be used to purchase supply items only.

Credit cards provide the University with a cost-effective, convenient and streamlined method of purchasing items, thereby reducing the volume of individual payments processed by the University to vendors. It will also allow for more flexibility in choosing vendors. It will not be necessary for cardholders to create a purchase order or to use field orders to buy supply items. The resulting time savings will enable all personnel to perform more effectively by:

  • eliminating purchase orders/delays
  • eliminating field orders
  • eliminating supply item reimbursements to faculty and staff
  • reducing paperwork
  • eliminating/reducing vendor invoices
  • eliminating the need for State vendor files
  • reducing invoicing and credit problems
  • reducing the number of open accounts to establish
  • reducing the number of accounts payable checks processed 

An employee must complete a training session before they can apply for a Purchasing Card. At the training session they will be given at least two forms to complete; 1) the Employee Cardholder Agreement (signed by employee only) and; 2) a Purchasing Card Application Form (signed by both the employee and their Supervisor – or the responsible party for the cost center requested).

If an employee wishes to charge against more than one cost center, they will need to complete a form for each cost center. The form(s) will be reviewed and employee status will be verified. The set-up information will be submitted to the card company for approval. The employee will receive one card for each cost center requested. The card(s) will be sent to the Business Office.  The employee will be notified when the card(s) arrive. The original copies of all forms will be kept in the employee’s personnel file.

Cardholders are authorized to use the card to purchase merchandise required as a function of their duties at Winona State University. All purchase transactions processed against the Purchasing Card must be made by the individual to whom the card is issued. Unauthorized and/or inappropriate card use is addressed in Part 5 of this procedures manual.

A purchase made with a credit card may be made in-store, by telephone, fax, Internet or U.S. mail.

General Use Instructions

Determine that the total of the supply items to be purchased is not more than $3,000. If the total is over $3,000, use regular purchase order procedures. If the total purchase is not more than $3,000 your purchasing card can be used if the vendor will accept Visa.

In-store Orders
  • Present the card at the time of purchase and notify the clerk that WSU is tax exempt (#1746999). This number is imprinted on every purchasing card.
  • Sign the credit card charge as requested and obtain an itemized receipt for attachment to your weekly statement.
  • If you are charged tax, request immediate credit.
Telephone, Fax or Mail Orders
  • Ask the vendor to create an account for you. Both the bill to and the ship to address should be Winona State University with your name. Our shipping address is 175 W. Mark St. Our mailing address is PO Box 5838.
  • Give the vendor your purchasing card number and expiration date.
  • Make sure you notify them that we are tax exempt (1746999).
  • Make sure the vendor puts your full name (not just a department name), on their shipping label.
  • Ask the vendor to put your last name and the last four digits of your Visa card number in the purchase order field of the invoice and/or packing slip.
  • Try to insist that the vendor enclose a packing slip/invoice with each shipment.
  • If the vendor cannot enclose a packing slip/invoice with each shipment, insist they mail one immediately to “your” attention. You will need one within five working days to attach to your statement.
  • When the merchandise is delivered verify that the receipt matches what was shipped.
  • Inform vendor that all information regarding your purchases must be sent to your attention. They are not to send copies of invoices or statements to the Business Office Accounts Payable.
  • If you are charged tax, request immediate credit.
Internet Orders
  • It is very important that a copy of the order form is made at the time the order is sent.
  • Inform the vendor that WSU is tax exempt. (#1746999). Some Internet sites automatically add tax.
  • You must have a verification/confirmation of the order or an invoice to be attached to the credit card statement.
  • If you are charged tax, request immediate credit.
Vendors should be cautioned that, according to their merchant agreements, they are not to post any transaction until the day the item(s) are shipped. Absolutely no “back ordered” items are to be charged until they are shipped.

Every transaction must have a receipt. Receipts and/or packing slips and the customer’s copy of the charges must be attached to the weekly statement. Information on a receipt(s) must include:
  • vendor name
  • what was purchased
  • the cost
  • your last name and last four digits of your cc
Collect and save all receipts from purchases made. Receipts will need to be attached to your US Bank statement and submitted to the Business Office weekly.

A weekly statement is processed every Wednesday for each purchasing card with activity and is sent to the individual cardholders through campus mail. The statement will show all transactions posted to the account for that week. On the same day, a summary spreadsheet is sent to Accounting for payment processing through ISRS Cost Allocation.

It is the responsibility of the employee cardholder to verify the correctness of the billing by performing the following reconciliation:

  • Verify that all items included on the weekly activity statement are correct. Compare your individual receipts to the weekly statement. Make sure your itemized receipt matches the amount on your statement. It is your responsibility to get the correct receipt from the vendor. Make sure all returns/credits and disputed items are taken care of.
  • Staple the original itemized receipts in order behind the statement.
  • The cardholder must sign the statement to verify the correctness of the billing and to verify that the goods have been received. Signing the statement indicated that all charges on the card are in compliance with University policy and procedures.
  • The individual designated as the responsible person for the cost center associated with each card must also review and sign each statement. If the cardholder is also the responsible person for the cost center, then a second signature from someone within that work area is required.
  • Statements will not be accepted without two proper signatures.
  • Retain a copy of all receipts and statements. This will be your documentation for returns and verification of disbursed transactions against the cardholder’s cost center.
  • Submit reconciled statements to the Business Office – Purchasing Department – Somsen 106. They must be received by the time frame indicated on the cover sheet sent with each weekly statement. Vacation or extended leave conflicts are your responsibility to resolve. Your internal procedure should include a backup plan for submitting statements on time in your absence. Violation of this deadline may result in deactivation of your card.
  • Purchases made during the last calendar days of the fiscal year will be charged to the fiscal year in which the date of transaction is posted by the vendor.
  • All transactions are audited for compliance.


The purchasing card is the property of Winona State University and is not to be used for personal transactions under any circumstances regardless of reimbursement to the University.

A cardholder who makes an unauthorized purchase with the card or uses the card in an inappropriate manner or for personal use, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as well as revocation of the purchasing card, criminal prosecution and restitution of the authorized use. 

All charges that are not authorized and approved by the University will be the responsibility of the employee to whom the card is issued. The employee will reimburse the State of Minnesota at Winona State University for all incurred charges and any fees related to the collection of those charges.

Unauthorized and/or inappropriate card use includes, but is not limited to:

  • Items for personal use (such as Kleenex tissues, greeting cards, invitations, paper cups or plates, pictures, radios, art objects, etc.), flowers, holiday decorations or artwork
  • Alcoholic beverages, drugs, or pharmaceutical products
  • Items which would be given away for promotional purposes
  • Registration fees
  • Payments to individuals, employees, or students for any reason (including consulting services, honorarium payments, contributions of any kind and student aid payments.)
  • Expenses for faculty and staff recruiting, advertising, or entertainment of prospective employees
  • Travel related expenses: Payment for hotel/motel rooms or conference lodging deposits, airline, rail or bus tickets, entertainment, parking fees, lodging, vehicle rental, bus fares, taxi expense or food
  • Moving expenses
  • Gifts, donations or contributions to individuals or organizations
  • Purchase of or removal of hazardous or radioactive materials
  • Cash advances
  • Weapons of any kind or explosives
  • Pyramiding (multiple purchases to cover same transactions)
  • No Food – or anything that requires a special expense form
  • Mailing services (UPS, FED EX, PAC-N-MAIL, etc)
  • Electronic devices, including but not limited to: iPads, Kindles, Tablets, iPhones, handheld devices, cameras, hard drives, computers, printers, monitors, TVs, projectors, etc.
  • No furniture

Abuse includes, but is not limited to:

  • using the card for personal charges
  • exceeding budget limits
  • loss of receipts/not submitting receipts in a timely manner

Process when abuse is suspect may include, but is not limited to:

  • temporary revocation of the purchasing card
  • asking cardholder about the items
  • visit with the supervisor or manager
  • review with vendor (if appropriate)
  • contact Human Resources
  • notify union representative

A cardholder who makes an unauthorized purchase with the card or uses the card in an inappropriate/abusive manner will be subject to revocation of the credit card and disciplinary action, including restitution to the University for Unauthorized Purchases, possible card cancellation, as well as possible termination of employment at the University and criminal prosecution.

If the cardholder is unsure whether a purchase can be processed with the card, please call the Purchasing Card Administrator, ext 5069 or ext 2568. Do not charge and inquire after the purchase.

If any item purchased with a credit card is deemed not acceptable, arrangements must be made for a return for credit or an exchange. A cash refund or check is prohibited unless the vendor insists that a refund must be by cash or check, and then the funds must be deposited immediately with the University.

The use of the Visa card results in a liability to Winona State University; it is not a personal liability for the cardholder. It is however the responsibility of each individual cardholder to:

  • Safeguard the credit card and credit card account number at all times; lost or stolen credit cards must be reported immediately to 800.344.5696 and the WSU Purchasing Card Administrator is to be notified immediately: Greg Ratajczyk (gratajczyk@winona.edu; Ext 2568)
  • Keep the credit card in a secure location at all times.
  • Review in a timely manner weekly statements from US Bank for accuracy and ensuring all transactions posted are legitimate transactions made by the cardholder. If not, see the section on handling returns/credits and disputed items.  
  • The supervisor or responsible person for the cost center being used must review and sign the weekly statement. The signature of the supervisor or responsible person for the cost center indicates that all charges on the account have been approved and are in compliance with the University and Minnesota State policy.
  • When cardholders leave (sabbatical, medical, termination, retirement, etc.) the University, they must return the purchasing card to the Purchasing Department. If the cardholder will be returning, the card will be reduced and filed until the return. If the cardholder is not returning, cut the card in half prior to sending it to Purchasing.
  • Take any other steps necessary to ensure that the credit card is used only for authorized purposes.


The purchasing card should be treated with the same level of care used with personal credit cards.

  • The card cannot be loaned to another person.
  • Do not give the account number to another employee who does not have a card. The only person to use the purchasing card is the person whose name appears on the front of the card.
  • The purchasing card account number should be guarded carefully. Do not post the number or write it in any location that is accessible to other.
  • If for any reason a PCard is out of service (fraud, employee leaving, expired, etc.), the card must be physically returned to the Business Office for proper disposal.
  • If the card is lost or stolen call US Bank immediately at 800.344.5696. This number is available 24 hours a day. 

Vendors are blocked by a merchant code; however, commodities are not. Just because the card is accepted does not make it an authorized purchase. The program has been set up to block out certain vendors that do not fall within the purchasing card requirements. The purchasing card will be declined by a vendor if the vendor has been blocked or if the credit limit on the card has been exceeded. 

If you have a problem with a purchased item being damaged or broken, or an error on your billing statement resulting from use of the Purchasing Card, you should first try to reach a resolution with the vendor that provided the item. In most cases, disputes can be resolved directly between the cardholder and vendor.


Returns are handled just like any credit card purchase. Ship the item back to the vendor or if bought locally, take it back along with the purchase receipt and your purchasing card, and request that a credit be applied on your account. If the item was shipped, keep a copy of the shipping form and or packing slip in case further follow-up is required.


The vendor should issue credit for any item that has been discussed and agreed to for return. The credit will appear on a subsequent statement. Any item purchased with the purchasing card that is returned must be returned for credit. A cash refund or store credit will not be acceptable.

Disputed Items

If you have a disputed charge and cannot reach resolution with the supplier, call the number on the back of your card within 60 days of the date the charge first appeared on your weekly statement.

Maintaining the security of the Winona State purchasing card is the responsibility of the individual authorized to use the card. This is true for online transactions as well as for traditional use. While there is some liability protection against credit card fraud, personal diligence is required to prevent personal legal obligation of charges.   

The following guidelines are recommendations for general online credit card use:

  • Document all online transactions, at the point of the transaction. Note the date and time, web location (URL) and perform a print screen for the final transaction.
  • Read the site’s security, “terms of use” and /or Privacy policy before proceeding with any transaction. If you feel uncomfortable with the terms, do not proceed with the transaction, but contact the site directly to discuss your concerns.
  • Do not save any credit card and/or password information on your computer or vendor websites. Most sites and browsers offer this option, but it provides a means for others to easily access this information.
  • Always use an up to date browser with a secure http connection indicated by https:// in the address bar of your browser and a "Locked Padlock" symbol near the address bar before proceeding with the transfer of any credit card information.
  • The Technical Support Center (TSC) will also assist in installing and
  • configuring your browsers to ensure the highest level of security possible.
  • Never email your credit card information to a vendor or other user for use on your behalf.
  • Always password protect your computer and mobile devices and do not share them with others.
  • Report any concerns to the Purchasing Card Administrator.

Additional training can be attained by contacting Teaching Learning Technology or reviewing the security training for internal users.