Procurement Card and Declining Balance Card

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for a P-Card?
The P-Card Holder application form (pdf), will need to be filled out and signed by all required roles, as indicated on the form. The completed form is to be submitted to Accounts Payable Services.

If the application is the first P-Card application for you, an approving manager application form will need to be filled out and submitted for the card holder’s direct manager or higher.


Do I need to have an Approving Manager? Proxy Reconciler?

All card holders must have an approving manager for their P-Card (pdf), as the approving manager is responsible for approving all P-Card transactions. The approving manager must be the direct manager of the P-Card holder, i.e., the role one level up the organization structure from the P-Card holder.  The immediate manager may delegate an approver, who may not be a direct or indirect report of the card holder, nor anyone over whom the card holder may have influence.

A proxy reconciler is also required (pdf) for card holders and may not be a direct subordinate of the card holder. The proxy reconciler is a backup to the card holder for P-Card responsibilities (e.g. allocating and signing-off on transactions, running reports, etc.).


Where can the P-Card be used?

Anywhere VISA is accepted, however certain types of suppliers are excluded. All suppliers fall into a specific merchant category and are assigned a Merchant Category Code (MCC). Certain types of MCCs are blocked from use with the P-Card, such as restaurants and hotels.


May the P-Card be used in addition to an Open Order with a supplier?

No. Open orders may not be used in combination with the P-Card. Departments have the option of ordering with either a one-time purchase specific requisition, the P-Card, (if the purchase meets the allowable transactions per the procedure), or an open order, but not any combination of the three.


May the P-Card be used for employee travel? Student or guest travel?
The P-Card may not be used for employee travel, as employee travel is to be pre-approved by the travelers’ management, then reimbursed through the employee travel voucher process. Conference registration may be expensed as a contractual transaction on the P-Card, assuming there are no other violations to P-Card procedures.

The P-Card may be used for travel expenses for student travel or guest travel. Hotels may not be expensed on the P-Card, regardless of the traveler, since most, if not all, hotels require agreements that must be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel.  Hotels must be purchased from a requisition, or when applicable an approved declining balance card.


What is and isn’t allowable on the P-Card?
Please see the Procurement-Card Business Procedure (pdf), section 3.3.1 Allowed and Prohibited Procurement Card Rules, for a description and list of allowable and prohibited purchases on the P-Card.


What if there are Terms & Conditions or a contract involved in a purchase?
Generally, click-through agreements and terms & conditions are allowed for P-Card purchases, as the risk to the University is minimal. The Office of General Counsel has recommended card holders use their best judgment when reviewing such transactions. Please check with your Business Manager for further recommendations.

Purchases with significant contractual obligations are not allowed on the P-Card, which includes some categories on the “Prohibited” list, as these items need to be properly reviewed through the purchase requisition process.


What do I do if my P-Card is declined?
Take the steps outlined in the Procurement-Card Business Procedure (pdf), section 3.6.2.

1. Access the Bank of America Works system to determine the reason for the decline.

2. Contact Bank of America at 888-449-2273, for information on the decline.

3. Contact the P-Card program Administrator.
4. If the decline is determined to be erroneous, then contact the P-Card program Administrator with the following details:

  • Card holder name
  • Last 4 digits of account number
  • Supplier name
  • Transactions amount
  • Date of decline
  • Reason for decline (if known)
  • Business justification for purchase
  • Cost center

Is the NIU business purpose required for all transactions?
Yes, all transactions require the NIU business purpose. When reviewing transactions in the Bank of America Works system, provide the NIU business purpose in the “comments” box that is prompted upon signing-off.


I would like to place an order that exceeds the single transaction limit, or the monthly spend limit has been reached. How do I proceed?
If a limit has been reached, an alternative method for payment within NIU procedures will need to be initiated, such as through a purchase requisition.


What if sales tax is charged on a P-Card?
It is the card holder’s responsibility to contact the supplier to obtain a refund for any sales tax. If all possible attempts to obtain a refund have been exhausted, contact the P-Card program administrator with the following information:

  • Card holder name
  • Last 4 digits of account number
  • Supplier name
  • Transactions amount
  • Sales Tax Amount
  • Documentation of attempts to obtain refund
  • Cost Center

What do I do if there is suspected fraud on a card, or a card is missing?

If fraud is suspected, contact the Bank of America Fraud department at 866-500-8262. If the card has been compromised and Bank America is sending a replacement, contact the P-Card Program Administrator with this detail.

Card holders should report loss or theft of card to the issuer immediately.


When do transactions need to be allocated and signed-off?

All transactions must be properly allocated and signed-off within 2-business days of the end of the billing cycle. Please note, transactions must be signed-off by both the card holder and approving manager within this time frame.


When is the end of the billing cycle?

The last day of the month.


What if I incorrectly allocated and signed-off? Can I make any changes?

If a transaction has not been signed-off, changes to the allocation may be made. Once a transaction has been signed-off by the card holder (or proxy reconciler on behalf of the card holder), the approving manager may “flag” the transaction to send it back to the card holder for changes to be made.

If both the card holder and approving manager have signed-off on a transaction, no further changes may be made to the transaction. A P-Card Journal Entry form will need to be completed and submitted to journalentries@niu.edu for any changes.


What if I did not allocate and sign-off on a transaction on time?
If a transaction has not gone through the complete sign-off process before the appropriate deadline, a P-Card Journal Entry form will need to be completed and submitted to journalentries@niu.edu to transfer the expense to the correct funding.


How do I run a NIU billing cycle allocation report?
In the Bank of America Work System, take the following steps:, which are detailed in the Works instructions at (insert link):

  1. Reports tab à Create
  2. Category: Select “spend”
  3. Template: Select “choose from all available templates”
  4. Select template: “NIU Billing Cycle Allocation Report
  5. Report option: toggle to “basic” view
  6. Filters:
    1. Card: Click the magnifying glass à Select your card, or the card for which you are running the report
    2. Post Date: Click the calendar icon à Choose the date range for which you are running the report (hint: “selected cycle” toggle conveniently defaults date range to billing cycle when you click a date on the calendar)
  7. Submit Report

Who do I notify if I’m transferring departments or leaving the University?

Per the Procurement-Card Business Procedure (pdf), section 4.4.3:

“Each card holder is responsible for relinquishing his/her procurement card upon transfer, resignation, termination or voluntary cancellation of the card. When a card is cancelled, the card holder must return the procurement card cut in half to the P-Card program administrator. If a card holder is terminated, the card must be relinquished to the approving manager as part of the exit process.”


How do I turn in a P-Card?

Return the card to the P-Card program Administrator in Accounts Payable Services with the following steps:

  • Cut the card in half
  • Fill out the P-Card Holder application and select the option “delete”
  • If deactivating P-Card account entirely, supply a brief memo for the reason the card is being deactivated and returned
  • Return to the P-Card program Administrator in Accounts Payable Services during normal business hours

My P-Card is expiring. Do I need to do anything?
No. Bank of America automatically sends a replacement card before the expiration date of your current card.  The P-Card program administrator will contact you when your replacement card has arrived and is available for pick up.  Please be sure to bring your expiring card with you when picking up your replacement card.

Contact Information

P-Card@niu.edu

Program Administrator

William Lietz
wlietz1@niu.edu
815-753-1514

Program Managers

Kathy Marshall
kathymarshall@niu.edu
815-753-1504

Shyree Sanan
ssanan@niu.edu
815-753-2105