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Card Usage Guidelines

The Purchasing Card is the authorized buying method for low dollar one time purchases from external suppliers. All authorized Cardholders must utilize their purchasing card in accordance with Financial Policy #2303 - Use of a Purchasing Card and the Ben Financials Commodity Matrix. At no time is an authorized Cardholder to use their Purchasing or Fleet Fuel Card for a personal purchase.

Purchasing Services conducts random Purchasing Card activity audits to ensure compliance with the program commodity and supplier restrictions listed below. Cardholders violating Purchasing Card commodity and supplier restrictions will be contacted and their School or Center senior financial officer will also be notified when appropriate.

Please direct questions regarding the Purchasing Card commodity and supplier restrictions to the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in Purchasing Services.

Product and Service Restrictions Supplier Restrictions
  • Products or services available from a University preferred contract or Penn Marketplace supplier
  • Alcohol such as beer, wine or spirits
  • Animals for use in laboratory research
  • Antibodies, Drugs and Reagents
  • Business entertainment
  • Car Rentals (Purchasing Card can be used for PhillyCarShare)
  • Cash advances including wire transfers and money orders
  • Catering services requiring a formal supplier contract
  • Consulting Services
  • Express shipping services
  • Firearms or ammunition
  • Gasoline or Diesel
  • Gifts and donations
  • Hazardous materials (defined as radioactive materials, chemicals and reagents, biological materials, compressed gas, bulk ethyl alcohol and DEA licensed materials, including prescription drugs)
  • Hotels and motels (Purchasing Card can be used to make Club Quarters, Inn at Penn and University Sheraton hotel reservations)
  • Human Subject Payments (Use Greenphire Clincard)
  • Insurance premiums
  • Medical services (defined as expenses related to medical care or services)
  • PayPal and eBay online payment accounts (only upon receipt of prior approval from the Card Program Administrator)
  • Purchases with a unit cost of $10,000 or more
  • Relocation and moving expenses for faculty and staff
  • Service payments to individuals
  • Travel services such as airlines, car rental companies, and entertainment (e.g. meals at restaurants). (Purchasing Card may be used to purchase AMTRAK train tickets and Septa Keys.)
  • Purchases from a Deactivated Supplier.
  • Purchases from suppliers listed in the Systems for Award Management (SAM)
  • Purchases from eBay (only via PayPal upon receipt of prior approval from the Card Program Administrator)
  • Purchases from Foreign Visitors, Non-Resident Alien (payments to or on behalf of a foreign visitor; including travel related expenditures such as airfare, shuttle, train, etc.)
  • Purchases from an Individual
  • Purchases from a Penn Marketplace Supplier.
  • Purchases from a Preferred Contract Supplier.

Audit Guidelines for Schools and Centers

Best Practices to Keep Your Card Safe

Best Practices for Fraud

Cardholder Monthly Audits

Each month, the Purchasing Card Program Administrator will randomly select a number of cardholders and visit them to conduct a formal review of their card activity, required documentation, and compliance with policies and procedures.